Analysis of landscape palm species richness and diversity in Southeastern Florida

George E. Fitzpatrick


Southern Florida, due to its subtropical climate, has higher species richness and species diversity of palms than other parts of the state. While just 11 species are regarded as native to Florida, and another 14 species are now recognized as naturalized in the state, over 70 palm species are regularly offered for sale by commercial nurseries, and are used in landscaping in southern Florida. Six residential landscapes in southern Florida were surveyed for the palms growing in them. Landscape area ranged from 0.11 to 0.30 acres per landscape, total number of palms in each landscape ranged from 12 to 151, with a grand total of 359 palms comprising 70 species in the six landscapes. Species richness in the six landscapes ranged from 4 to 56 per landscape and species diversity, measured using the Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index, ranged from H' = 1.1135 to H' = 3.8132. The 10 most abundant species accounted for 228 out of the total of 359 plants, or 64%, while the remaining 36% of the palms were distributed among the remaining 60 species. Wodyetia bifurcata, the foxtail palm, was represented in five out of the six landscapes, and six species, Dypsis decaryi, the triangle palm, Dypsis lutescens, the areca palm, Hyophorbe lagenicaulis, the bottle palm, Phoenix roebelenii, the dwarf date palm, Syagrus romanzoffiana, the queen palm, and Washingtonia robusta, the Mexican fan palm, were represented in four out of the six landscapes.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283