Washingtonia robusta
Photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Mexican fan palm


  • This plant has a Plant Risk Evaluator rating of No PRE Rating
  • This plant has been rated Moderate by the California Invasive Plant Council
  • This plant has a California Invasive Plant Council Alert


Mexican fan palm is a single-trunked palm tree that is commonly used in landscaping. It has become invasive in riparian areas, orchards, and landscaped areas in the San Francisco Bay area, southern Sacramento Valley, and on the south coast of California. See CalWeedMapper for its distribution in California outside of cultivation.

In riparian areas it creates monospecific (single-species) stands, making a dense thicket that can grow to 80 ft. tall. The dead fronds can create a fire hazard.

It can hybridize with the native California palm, Washingtonia filifera to form hybrid Washintonia x filabusta.

The seeds can be dispersed by water when growing near a creek, or by birds.

Why is this plant not included on the invasive plant list?

Mexican fan palm was considered for addition to the list in 2015 because it is too late for the PlantRight program to have much of an impact on this plant's spread. It is already planted in many areas and is a popular tree in southern California. Even if it was added to the PlantRight list, our potential for impact would be minimal because it is already so widespread.

More information

For more information about this plant, please see the following resources: