The South Florida Palm Society is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate information about and encourage interest in palms and the use of those plants.  The South Florida Palm Society uses its funds to help support local botanical gardens, individual scientific research expeditions or projects, conservation and planting projects and educational efforts.


*** Next Event: Spring Garden tour, date to be announced.

*** Morningside Park Palmetum Project:

Morningside Park has had this Palmetum since it was designed and constructed in 1953. While a dozen or so of the original 1953 plantings remain, many palms were lost to attrition over time. The South Florida Palm Society, in agreement with the City of Miami, adopted the Palmetum and aspires to restore it to glory. SFPS members engage in planting, irrigating, fertilizing, weeding, mulching and general maintenance of the palmetum, at no cost to the City. Rare palms have been donated by Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Montgomery Botanical Center, various commercial nurseries owned by SFPS members, and individual donations. The SFPS has also donated the identification signs for each palm, and gives educational tours of the Palmetum.



Post Mortem on Hurricane Irma in Southeast Florida, by Leonard Goldstein


July 31, 2017: Keeping Virginia Key beautiful with native palms, courtesy of the South Florida Palm Society

Nothing works better in putting the right palm in the right place. The Board of Directors voted at the last meeting to approve a request from TREEmendous Miami for funds to buy 30 Sabal Palms for installation on Virginia Key Beach as part of a long-running project to restore native flora to the key. Twenty of the palms had about 6 ft. of wood, and the remaining ten had 15-16 ft. of wood.

Irma Damage Report:

In spite of the park's location on Biscayne Bay, only five of the 30 Sabal palms planted on July 29 were toppled by Irma. On September 16, TREEmendous Miami held an emergency workday to prop up the fallen palms and perform remedial work on the shrubs and broadleaf trees installed in August. It appears at this point that 29 of the palms will survive; the lone casualty began exhibiting problems in early August.

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Next Event: Spring Garden tour is being planned.

Under Articles and Websites:

  • "Getting the tough ones to germination" advice on scarification of seeds. Should help those who pickup up the free Attalea and Acromia seeds at the last meeting - See Articles and website links

  • Articles/ links of interest including identification guide to Syagrus and Coccothrinax palms by Dr. Larry Noblick - See Articles and website links


Recent Meetings and Tours

Feb 5: Chad Husby of Fairchild Botanic Tropical Garden presented his most recent trip to Thailand, in search of new plant acquisitions for the garden and future plant sales. Scientists may stil hunt for new palms growing in the wild, but their search sometimes takes them to local vendors for exotic plants. It helps to be there during the celebration of the King's birthday. In the true spirit of Dr. Fairchild, it is great to see FTG scientists making connections throughout the tropical world. The group made a return visit to Nong Nooch nursery, with their immense collection and sculptures including dinosaurs. Seems approproiate as palms evolved during the age of dinosaurs. The presentation ended on a discussion of how these new acquisitions can be grown at FTG. After bringing back 22 large boxes of plants, They may need another greenhouse!

Dec 4, 2017. Another excellent holiday party. Some really fine food including one awesome key lime pie. Elections were held. The members elected to three-year terms at the holiday party were: Julio Alvarez Lenny Goldstein Lou Sguros Rosita Stoik Jorge Zaldivar Alvarez, Stoik and Zaldivar will be serving their first term on the board. Many palms were donated for the action including a very large and beautiful Sealing Wax Palm, which attracted some high bids.

Oct 2, 2017: Elvis Cruz presented the final episode of his Asian tour following the 2016 IPS Biennial Meeting with visits to gardens and local attractions, including interesting perspective on local culture.

Aug 7, 2017. Dr. Carl Lewis, director of Fairchild Garden, presented "Palms of the Spice Islands" which a recent FTG organized trip retraced routes taken by Dr. David Fairchild's famed Cheng Ho Expedition undertaken on the eve of World War II. His presentation intermingled beautiful photos taken on the trip, with those taken by Dr. Fairchild.

June 5, 2017. Kevin McLeod discussed some of the more practical aspects of growing palms in South Florida. He has been particularly successful at growing Copernicia and other similar Carribean palms with drilling deep holes, frequently all the way to the water table in south Florida's coral rock. Other topics discussed wer: best watering practices, cutting and trimming palms, fertilizing practices; the difference between 3-month and 1-year fertilizer formulas and difficulty of ridding palms of nutritional deficiencies.

April 29, 2017: The Spring Garden tour began at Dr. Page's house, with an astounding Talipot palm planted very close to his house. The tour proceeded to two more homes, with relatively small backyards, but phenomenal collections of palms. In all, it was clear that in order to have an excellent collection, a large backyard is not a prerequisite.

April 3, 2017: A slide presentation of the IPS's 2016 Biennial Tour, by Elvis Cruz, included Kuching and Singapore. Kuching - An old Malaysian city with some traditionally Asian features, and world-class palm touring nearby. Singapore - An ultra-modern city, with some of the best cultivated gardens on earth including astounding pictures of Licuala orbicularis, Jubaea chilensis, and an astounding joey palm. Mixed in with the slides were a quirky mix of the fauna of the both Malaysia and Singapore, including the occasional leeches. An auction of palms and a couple orchids followed the presentation.

Feb 6, 2017:Jeff Searles presented his travels in Borneo in advance of the 2016 IPS Biennal Meeting. Borneo is a most interesting place. Not only is it the largest island in Asia, but it is the third largest island in the world. For several reasons, it has been slow to give up its secrets. Its thick tropical lowland forests, majestic Mt. Kanabalu, and gigantic leeches have long presented for- midable challenges to explorers. Some historians believe that no westerner was able to traverse the island until 1982!

Nov 5, 2016: The SFPS 2016 Fall Garden Tour took place in the Redland. First we visited Botanics Wholesale Nursery with an abundance of unusual palms including Joey palms and other tropical plants. Then it was on to the Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC). Operated by the University of Florida, the facility occupies about 160 acres and boasts a very nice collection of palms that includes Copernicia fallaensis and Attalea crassispatha. Our third stop was at Kevin McCloud's house where he is growing a huge Tahina palm. He shared with us some of his secrets which includes making a big hole for his Tahina and doing a really diligent job of palm hunting among the vendors.



Going once, Going Twice, Sold!!!!!!!

Jeff Searles was the SFPS volunteer auctioneer and did a terrific job.


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