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  • Trachycarpus fortunei (Photo: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)
  • Trachycarpus fortunei (Photo: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)
  • Trachycarpus fortunei (Photo: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)
  • Trachycarpus fortunei (Photo: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)
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Common name
hemp palm (English), Chinese fan palm (English), windmill palm (English), Chinese windmill palm (English), palma de jardín (Spanish), hochstämmige Hanfpalme (German), palmier de Chine (French), chusan palm (English), palmeira-moinho-de-vento-da-China (Portuguese, Brazil)
Synonym
Chamaerops fortunei
Trachycarpus caespitosus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Chamaerops excesla
Trachycarpus excelsa
Similar species
Trachycarpus martianus, Trachycarpus takil, Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Summary
Trachycarpus fortunei, commonly known as the Chinese windmill palm, is an evergreen palm that is primarily cultivated for ornamental purposes. Recognisable by its large, fan-shaped leaves, it can grow in varied climates - from warm-temperate to sub-tropical. It is one of the cold-hardiest palm species. This temperature sensitivity has allowed T. fortunei to be used as a bioindicator for tracking climate change, as recent range increases correlate with climactic warming. Seeds are spread by birds, and plants are frequently documented as escaped from cultivation. However, seedlings are climatically more sensitive than adult palms and thus seedlings are not always successful in establishing, particularly in areas at the edge of the plant’s distribution. Invaded environments include fragmented and natural forests, disturbed areas, riparian zones, shrub and scrublands, urban areas and wetlands.
Species Description
Trachycarpus fortunei is a dioecious, evergreen palm that can grow up to 15 m. Leaves are large (up to 1 m), distinctive and fan-shaped (1 m) from a sharply toothed petiole, which to around 1 m long, and even longer in shady areas.The trunk is straight, solitary and fibrous, and dead leaves hang from the top forming a skirt - however, the plant does not produce a trunk when it is small. Male flowers (yellow) and female flowers (greenish) grow on separate plants on large, branched and drooping spikes, followed by fruit that ripens to from green to blue-black. Fruit is kidney-shaped and 10-12 mm long (ARC 2008; Gibbons 2003; Koike 2006; Weedbusters 2010; Windsor-Collins et al. 2006).
Notes

Species interactions: In New Zealand Trachycarpus fortunei has recently been identified as major food source for the lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata). Flowers from just four plant groups appear to be regularly used by this endemic bat species: Collospermum spp., Knightia excels, Metrosideros spp. and apparently, T. fortune. The pollen of the exotic palm amounts to up to 57% of the analyzed diet (Peterson et al. 2006).\r\n

Climate change: While T. fortunei is native to sub-tropical China (along with Myanmar and the Himalayas), it is one of the most cold-hardy palms. T. fortunei is thus cultivated as an ornamental in many countries and its cold-tolerance is well documented (Caramyshev et al. 2006; Essig & Dong 1987; Koike 2006; Khurram & Miyamoto 2005; Walther & Berger 2007). Outside of its native range, T. fortunei has established itself in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, the United States, and more recently, Switzerland (Armengol et al. 2005; GCW 2007; USDA-ARS 2010; Hodel et al. 2006; Walther 2003). \r\n

The establishment of T. fortunei in the south of Switzerland is further north than the previous northernmost palm population in Europe, and exists outside the usual latitude range for palms (Walther et al. 2007). It is thought that this invasion and range expansion of T. fortunei may be being aided by climate change effects; in this case milder winter conditions. Research has linked the effects of climate change with an increase in survival of species outside their normal ranges (e.g. Berger et al. 2007; Niinemets & Peñuelas 2008; Pyšek et al. 2003; Van der Veken et al. 2007; Walther et al. 2009). This can be most easily seen in places of higher latitude and altitude where temperature previously constrained the survival of thermophilous species such as T. fortunei (Walther et al. 2009). \r\n

Palms have long been recognised as bioindicators for warm climates in palaeontology (Walther et al. 2007). While the range expansion of T. fortunei in Europe had been previously noted, in 2007 Walther et al. investigated the climactic factors underlying this expansion. Using information on conditions of actual and modelled data of the native and introduced ranges of T. fortunei, a larger picture was built of climactic constraints on T. fortunei establishment and growth. This enabled the authors to determine whether establishment of populations in southern Switzerland were a function of changing climactic conditions or due to chorological causes, such as increased availability of seed sources. \r\n

Examination of meteorological data in the native range in China and in Switzerland gave a minimum average temperature of 2.2°C of the coldest month as a threshold for seedling survival and successful growth to maturity. Viewing the mean monthly temperature data for Switzerland from 1864 – 2008 showed a marked increase in favourable conditions since the 1950s. Continuously favourable conditions in terms of temperature and length of the growing season have occurred since the 1970s (Walther & Berger 2007) which is correlated with the establishment of wild T. fortunei populations in this area over the past few decades. \r\n

Based on this temperature threshold, other areas in Europe that were previously unsuitable for palms may have appropriate climactic conditions to support the growth and establishment of seedlings (Walther & Berger 2007). It is extrapolated that new areas of the world will become increasingly suitable for T. fortunei survival under current climactic trends. This will likely continue the expansion in range of T. fortunei, as in southern Switzerland (Walther et al. 2007). T. fortunei and other palms may therefore be good bioindicators for climactic changes occurring globally.

Uses
Uses are primarily ornamental and medicinal (USDA-ARS 2010), T. fortunei is also used as food for both humans (flowers) and animals (seeds), in construction (house pillars, thatched roofs), and the fibre can be used to make a variety of products, including ropes, mats and furniture (Essig & Dong 1987). Wax can be derived from the fruit exterior, which can be used to make polishes, wax paper and carbon paper, among others (Essig & Dong 1987).
Habitat Description
Trachycarpus fortunei is a warm-temperate palm (Taylor et al. 2000), but is widely grown in warm-temperate and sub-tropical regions (Essig & Dong 1987). T. fortunei appears tolerant to cold, frost, seaspray and wind (Caramyshev et al. 2006; Sydney Water 2010). It is thought that limiting factors for establishment of T. fortunei are precipitation in warm-temperate and subtropical areas, and minimum winter temperature and growing season length towards the poles (Berger & Walther 2006; Walther & Berger 2007; Walther et al. 2007).
Reproduction
Trachycarpus fortunei only reproduces by seed. While normally dieocious, individual trees have been shown to sometimes grow both male and female flowers. Flowers are grown on large, branched, drooping spikes during summer, and are then followed by small kidney-shaped fruit (10 - 12 mm) that ripen from green to blue-black during autumn. T. fortunei produces prolific seed, which is dispersed by birds, wind and gravity (Koike 2006; Li et al. 2006; Weedbusters 2010).
Pathway
(Walther 2003)

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Auckland Regional Council (ARC)

Review: Gian-Reto Walther, Department of Plant Ecology, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Publication date: 2010-11-01

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2021) Species profile: Trachycarpus fortunei. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1667 on 28-09-2021.

General Impacts
Trachycarpus fortune competes with native edge and understory species. T. Fortune can persist for many years in the understory, where leaves cast shade on other seedlings and saplings, competing with native understory species. It may also form dense stands before a thinning process works when it grows up (Ishii & Iwasaki 2008; ARC 2008).
Management Info
The implications of management measures for organisms other than the target species should carefully be considered. In case of Trachycarpus fortunei in New Zealand, removing T. fortunei implies the removal of the provider of a large portion of the diet of the vulnerable native lesser short-tailed bat, Mystacina tuberculata (Peterson et al. 2006).\r\n\r\n

The spread of T. fortunei can be controlled by cutting the frutescence before seeds have ripened, physically removing plants, by digging out small individuals and seedlings and felling larger ones. This can then be followed up with treatment using herbicides. However, from a certain stem height the palm is no longer able to resprout, thus herbicide application is not necessary (G.-R. Walther, pers. comm.). It is recommended that sites be monitored and any seedlings or regrowth be treated (Ishii & Iwasaki 2008; Weedbusters 2010). \r\n

There are implications for management regarding the effects of climatic change, as new areas become suitable for invasion by species that were previously constrained by factors such as temperature. These invasions will change the composition of habitats and the functioning of ecosystems on both the macro- and microorganism level (Walther et al. 2009). The formation and potential importance of non-analogue communities as a consequence of the development of non-analogue climates with global warming should be considered in the context of management options (Walther 2010).

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Trachycarpus fortunei
NATIVE RANGE
  • china
  • himalayas
  • myanmar
Informations on Trachycarpus fortunei has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Trachycarpus fortunei in information
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Species notes for this location
Location note
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Impact
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Impact information
Trachycarpus fortune competes with native edge and understory species. T. Fortune can persist for many years in the understory, where leaves cast shade on other seedlings and saplings, competing with native understory species. It may also form dense stands before a thinning process works when it grows up (Ishii & Iwasaki 2008; ARC 2008).
Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
Mechanism
[2] Competition
Outcomes
[2] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [2] Reduction in native biodiversity
[1] Environmental Species - Population
  • [1] other
Management information
The implications of management measures for organisms other than the target species should carefully be considered. In case of Trachycarpus fortunei in New Zealand, removing T. fortunei implies the removal of the provider of a large portion of the diet of the vulnerable native lesser short-tailed bat, Mystacina tuberculata (Peterson et al. 2006).\r\n\r\n

The spread of T. fortunei can be controlled by cutting the frutescence before seeds have ripened, physically removing plants, by digging out small individuals and seedlings and felling larger ones. This can then be followed up with treatment using herbicides. However, from a certain stem height the palm is no longer able to resprout, thus herbicide application is not necessary (G.-R. Walther, pers. comm.). It is recommended that sites be monitored and any seedlings or regrowth be treated (Ishii & Iwasaki 2008; Weedbusters 2010). \r\n

There are implications for management regarding the effects of climatic change, as new areas become suitable for invasion by species that were previously constrained by factors such as temperature. These invasions will change the composition of habitats and the functioning of ecosystems on both the macro- and microorganism level (Walther et al. 2009). The formation and potential importance of non-analogue communities as a consequence of the development of non-analogue climates with global warming should be considered in the context of management options (Walther 2010).

Bibliography
44 references found for Trachycarpus fortunei

Management information
Berger, Silje and Gian-Reto Walther, 2006. Distribution of evergreen broad-leaved woody species in Insubria in relation to bedrock and precipitation. Bot. Helv. 116 (2006): 65�77
Berger, Silje; Soehlke, Gunnar; Walther, Gian-Reto; Pott, Richard, 2007. Bioclimatic limits and range shifts of cold-hardy evergreen broad-leaved species at their northern distributional limit in Europe. Phytocoenologia. 37(3-4). DEC 21 2007. 523-539.
Grund K., Conederab M., Schr�der H., Walther G.R. 2005. The role of fire in the invasion process of evergreen broad-leaved species. Basic and Applied Ecology 6: 47-56.
Ishii, Hiroaki T.; Iwasaki, Ayako, 2008. Ecological restoration of a fragmented urban shrine forest in southeastern Hyogo Prefecture, Japan: Initial effects of the removal of invasive Trachycarpus fortunei. Urban Ecosystems. 11(3). SEP 2008. 309-316.
Komuro T., Koike F. 2005. Colonisation by woody plants in fragmented habitats of a suburban landscape. Ecological Applications 15: 662�673.
Meyerson, Laura A. and Harold A. Mooney, 2007. Invasive alien species in an era of globalization. Front Ecol Environ 2007; 5(4): 199�208
Summary: Available from: http://nrs.uri.edu/labs/invasive/PdfReprints/Meyerson&Mooney2007_FrontEcolEnviron.pdf [Accessed 22 July 2010]
Parker, Nick, 1994. Northern Limit of Palms in North America: Trachycarpus in Canada. Principes, 3B(2), 1994, pp. 105-I0B
Summary: Available from: http://www.palms.org/principes/1994/vol38n2p105-108.pdf [Accessed 22 July 2010]
Walther, Gian-Reto, 2009. Two steps forward, one step back�. Functional Ecology 2009, 23, 1029�1030
Walther, Gian-Reto & Silje Berger, 2003. Palms (and other Evergreen Broad-leaved Species) Conquer the North. 14 Atlas of Biodiversity Chapter 3
Summary: Available from: http://www.alarmproject.net.ufz.de/rat/data/Reference/RAO/Glenn%20Marion/90/03%20-%20Walther2.pdf [Accessed 22 July 2010]
Walther, G.-R., Gritti, E.S., Berger, S., Hickler, T., Tang, Z. & Sykes, M.T., 2007. Palms tracking climate change. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 16, 801�809.
Walther, G.-R., Post, E., Convey, P., Menzel, A., Parmesan, C., Beebee, T.J.C., Fromentin, J.-M., Hoegh-Guldberg, O. & Bairlein, F., 2002. Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature, 416, 389�395.
Walther G.R., Roques A., Hulme P.E., Sykes M.T., Py�ek P., K�hn I., Zobel M., Bacher S., Botta-Duk�t Z., Bugmann H., Cz�cz B., Dauber J., Hickler T., Jaro��k V., Kenis M., Klotz S., Minchin D., Moora M., Nentwig W., Ott J., Panov V.E, Reineking B., Robinet C., Semenchenko V., Solarz W., Thuiller W., Vil� M., Vohland K., Settele J. 2009. Alien species in a warmer world: risks and opportunities. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 24: 686-693.
Weedbusters 2010. Trachycarpus fortunei.
Summary: Available from: http://weedbusters.co.nz/weed_info/detail.asp?WeedID=170 [Accessed 12 July 2010]
General information
Acar C., Acar H., Eroglu E. 2007. Evaluation of ornamental plant resources to urban biodiversity and cultural changing: A case study of residential landscapes in Trabzon city (Turkey). Building and Environment 42: 218-229.
Armengol J., Moretti A., Perrone G., Vicent A., Bengoechea J.A., Garc�a-Jim�nez J. 2005. Identification, incidence and characterization of Fusarium proliferatum on ornamental palms in Spain. European Journal of Plant Pathology 112: 123-131 .
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) 2010. Quarantine Proclamation 1998 - Volume 2.
Summary: Available from: http://www.frli.gov.au/comlaw/Legislation/LegislativeInstrumentCompilation1.nsf/0/9E27693D0A98CA39CA2576E2000352F0/$file/Quarantine1998_Vol2.pdf [Accessed 12 July 2010]
B�cking W. 2003. Are there threshold numbers for protected forests? Journal of Environmental Management 67: 37-45 .
Berger, Silje; S�hlke, Gunnar; Walther, Gian-Reto; Pott, Richard, 2007. Bioclimatic limits and range shifts of cold-hardy evergreen broad-leaved species at their northern distributional limit in Europe. Phytocoenologia, Volume 37, Numbers 3-4, December 2007 , pp. 523-539(17)
Caramyshev A.V., Firsova Y.N., Slastya E.A., Tagaev A.A., Potapenko N.V., Lobakova E.S., Pletjushkina O.Y., Sakharo I.Y. 2006. Purification and characterization of windmill palm tree (Trachycarpus fortunei) peroxidase. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54: 9888�9894.
Catalogue of Life 2010. 2010 Annual Checklist: Species Details - Trachycarpus fortunei
Summary: Available from: http://www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/2010/details/species/id/7248816 [Accessed 12 July 2010]
Essig F.B., Dong Y.F. 1987. The many uses of Trachycarpus fortunei (Arecaceae) in China. Economic Botany 41 : 411-417.
Francko, D. 2003. Palms won�t grow here and other myths. Timber Press: Portland.
Gibbons, M. 2003. A pocket guide to palms. Salamander Books Ltd: London.
Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW) 2007. Trachycarpus fortunei (Arecaceae).
Summary: Available from: http://www.hear.org/gcw/species/trachycarpus_fortunei/ [Accessed 12 July 2010]
Gwin 1975. Environmental impact of lethal yellowing of palms in Florida.
Khurram & Miyamoto 2005. Seedling growth, leaf injury and ion uptake response of cold-resistant palm species to salinity
Li X., Yin X., Xia B., Li W., Li Y. 2006. Effects of bird seed dispersal on diversity of the invaded plants in several hedge types. Acta Ecologica Sinica 26: 1657-1666.
Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF) 2009. Summary of Plant Quarantine Regulations Louisiana.
Summary: Available from: http://www.ldaf.louisiana.gov/portal/Portals/0/AES/Horticulture/Quarantine_programs/Quarantine%20Summary%20Louisiana%202009.pdf [Accessed 12 July 2010]
Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) 2010. Nevada Quarantine against Important Plant Diseases.
Summary: Available from: http://agri.state.nv.us/PLANT_PlantPathology_DiseaseQuar.htm [Accessed 12 July 2010]
Niinemets U., Pe�uelas J. 2008. Gardening and urban landscaping: significant players in global change. Trends in Plant Science 13: 60-65.
Peterson, P.G., Robertson, A.W., Lloyd, B. & McQueen, S. 2006.Non-native pollen found in short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata) guano from the central North Island. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 30(2): 267-272
Py�ek P., S�dlo J., Mand�k B., Jaro��k V. 2003. Czech alien flora and the historical pattern of its formation: what came first to Central Europe? Oecologia 135: 122-130.
Randall R.P. 2007. The introduced flora of Australia and its weed status. CRC for Australian Weed Management. Department of Agriculture and Food.
Summary: Available from: http://biosecurity.wa.gov.au/objtwr/imported_assets/content/hort/intro_flora_australia.pdf [Accessed 12 July 2010]
Schnitzler A., Haleb B.W., Esther M. Alsum E.M. 2007. Examining native and exotic species diversity in European riparian forests. Biological Conservation 138: 146-156.
South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) 2010. Waterwise Palms.
Summary: Available from: https://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/ww3_waterwise_palms.pdf [Accessed 12 July 2010]
Taylor J.E., Hyde K.D., Jones E.B.G. 2000. The biogeographical distribution of microfungi associated with three palm species from tropical and temperate habitats. Journal of Biogeography 27: 297-310.
USDA-ARS 2010. Trachycarpus fortunei. National Genetic Resources Program.
Summary: Available from: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/tax_search.pl [Accessed 12 July 2010]
Van der Veken S., Hermy M., Vellend M., Knapen A., Verheyen K. 2007. Garden plants get a head start on climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6: 212�216.
Walther G.R. 2003. Are there indigenous palms in Switzerland? Botanica Helvetica 113: 159-180.
Walther, G.-R. 2010. Community and ecosystem responses to recent climate change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 365:2019-2024.
Walther G.R., Berger S. 2007. Palms (and other evergreen broad-leaved species) conquer the north.
Contact
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Trachycarpus fortunei
hemp palm, Chinese fan palm, windmill palm, Chinese windmill palm, palma de jardín , hochstämmige Hanfpalme, palmier de Chine, chusan palm, palmeira-moinho-de-vento-da-China
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Recommended citation
(2021). Trachycarpus fortunei. IUCN Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT).