Trachycarpus fortunei (Hook.) H. Wendl.

Chinese Windmill Palm

Bull. Soc. Bot. France 8: 429 (1862) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Sparingly established

Erect dioecious or polygamous palm to 13 m high; stem 10–30 cm diam., usually covered with fibre from leaf sheaths. Leaves palmate; leaf-sheaths initially with a ribbon-like appendage; lamina semicircular to circular in outline, to 2 m long and 1.2 m wide, green on abaxial surface, divided to c. three-quarters of their length into 30–51 stiff or distally pendulous narrow-lanceolate segments; segments 30–80 cm long, 2.5–4 cm wide; petiole 60–100 cm long, margins with very fine teeth. Inflorescences 70–90 cm long; flowers yellow; sepals triangular; petals ovate. Fruit reniform; seed reniform, 9 mm long. Flowers Spring-Summer

*HSF. Of unknown wild origin, but most likely originating in south-east China.

Sparingly established in the Dandenong Ranges.

Flowers Spring-Summer.One of the most commonly cultivated palm species in temperate areas throughout the world due to its cold hardiness. Trachycarpus fortunei has also been cultivated in China for thousands of years primarily for harvesting trunk fibres used to make ropes, mats, brooms, mattresses, brushes and rain capes (Essig & Dong 1987; Gibbons & Spanner 2013). This long history of cultivation has obscured its origins, with its place of wild occurrence not known with certainty. Several forms have arisen in cultivation in China and Japan, that are recognised based on leaf and trunk features, including ‘Wagnerianus’ that has small and stiff leaves and small overall size and ‘Winsan’ that has leaves with a completely circular outline, with segments that radiate parallel to the petiole. These forms are very rare in cultivation in Australia and naturalised plants in Australia belong to the most commonly cultivated form which can attain the upper leaf and trunk dimensions given in the description and has leaves that are not completely circular in outline.

Created by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2016-05-31
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-02-08
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Arecales
family Arecaceae
genus Trachycarpus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Trachycarpus fortunei in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Trachycarpus fortunei in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Highlands-Southern Fall present introduced