Palmetto Tree vs Palm Tree – What’s the ACTUAL difference?

Hey folks! Welcome back!

I hope you are doing wonders in your gardening field. In this article, we will be discussing a comparison of the Palmetto Tree vs Palm Tree. If you are one of those who may see a problem identifying similar trees and plants, then here we will be discussing a few quick tips to spot the differences and similarities between the Palmetto Tree vs Palm Tree.

Confusion between two trees is very common. Sometimes, the names of these two trees make people confused. The palm and Palmetto tree both belong to the same family but they are very much different from one another. 

Key takeaways:

  • We will differ these two trees based on their characteristics like height, fruits on them, or shape of the leaves, further in this article but till then remember that even though they are members of the Arecaceae family of plants, live in similar habitats, and are sometimes regarded as subgroups, palmetto trees are not palms.
  • They are classified differently by their genus and species, though.

You can observe differences simply by the appearance of the two trees. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started to know more about them.

AttributePalmetto treeWine, oil, roofing, coconut, and date production.
HeightUp to 30 feetUp to 80 feet
Trunk growthHorizontal growthVertical growth
Leaf shapeFan shaped leavesFeather shaped
FlowersUrinary tract medicine, wildlife shelter, fire-resistant plantingFeathery fragrant blooms
FruitsSmall black berriesLarge dates or coconuts
Native rangeSouth Carolina and FloridaTropical regions: Africa, South America, Middle East
UsesWine, oil, roofing, coconut, and date production.Wine, oil, roofing, coconut and date production.

About The Palm Tree

It is important to know about the palm trees before proceeding to know about their differences. The palm tree is one of the trees that belongs to the Arecaceae family.

People called these varieties palms in their home gardens. It tends to have various uses within. Even this variety of trees will be easily found in tropical areas.

About The Palmetto Tree

What about the palmetto tree? It is one of the trees that is native to the South Carolins. this tree is the child of the palm family and used by various people for a long time.

So, growing this variety of trees in your home will suit best to you best. It produces spongy trunks in the tree and the tree is considered one of the drought-resistant trees. People usually tend to grow this variety in the home garden for the shade.

Palmetto Tree vs Palm Tree( What’s the Actual Difference?)

Let’s get started to clear your confusion by comparing both trees based on some points. We are sure that this comparison will help you a lot and will clear your doubts.

Palmetto Tree vs Palm Tree


Firstly, the basic difference that everyone can easily observe is the height of the tree. Compared to other varieties of palm trees, palmetto trees are smaller. A palm tree typically grows to a height of around 75 feet whereas a palmetto typically grows to a height of between 30 and 60 feet.

Both the trees do not produce trunks or main stems in layers. The growth of a palm tree is vertical while in a palmetto tree, the main stem grows underground and horizontally.

Leaves and trunk structure

You can also observe differences in their leaf structures easily. Compared to palms, palmetto leaves are substantially wider. The way that individual leaves come together to produce stems is another distinction.

The leaves have parallel veins having lengths up to 36 inches. In contrast to palmetto leaves, which cluster at the base and spread outward in the shape of a fan, palms feature thin, spiny leaves that grow horizontally from a stalk in the shape of a feather and can exceed more than 36 inches.

If we talk about their trunk, palm trees have long elongated trunks that grow vertically up to an incredible height while in palmetto trees, trunks are much shorter.

Flowers and Fruits

We can see different flowers on these trees. White flowers are observed on the desert, royal, or queen palm trees that are soft to the touch.

Similar to palm trees, the diversity of palmetto blooms varies. Long sticks with yellowish-white flowers are produced by saw palmettos, whereas shorter sticks with just the tip of the leaf are produced by dwarf palmetto. 

Palmetto Tree vs Palm Tree

The major differences between palm and other trees like coconut trees are the fruits they grow, Palm trees are usually a good source of coconut and dates while a palmetto tree produces small berries. This little fruit is frequently consumed by birds and other local creatures.

Growing Habitat

Generally, palm trees are not able to grow in temperate zones under 16°C or less since they grow tall. Heavy rainfall is also bad for their growth. In the tropical zone, these trees flourish in profusion. Unlike palms, palmettoes don’t reach very high heights.

They protect themselves by covering themselves under a long tree. Because of this characteristic, palmettoes grow larger leaves so that more sunshine may hit them. Consequently, one of them is also referred to as the Dwarf Palmetto. Palmettoes don’t often grow in cooler climates, though.


The usage of these two trees helps differentiate between them. We all have heard about palm wine, also known as Toddy. The extract of palms is used extensively to make beverages like it. You may also use palm oil. Palm oil is considered the best product in cosmetics.

These trees can be used in various things like making jewelry, for handcrafts, and in some rituals. On the other hand, palmettos are used to provide various medicinal benefits.

The extract of palmettos is used as a medicine for improving urinary and reproductive health. Many cultures throughout the world utilize palmetto leaves as fuel and feed. Due to their smaller size and short height, they can be grown in house lawns and small gardens which will decorate and enhance the beauty of the environment.

Palmetto Tree vs Palm Tree

Which one should I choose to Grow?

Many people ask this question sometimes, which tree is the best between these two? Well, it is very difficult to answer this because both trees have their pros and cons. The answer is dependent on your needs and requirements.

If you are thinking of planting palm trees then keep the space factor in your mind because they can go up to incredible heights. The palmetto tree refers to the people living in the northern parts because the trees are well-grown in warm climatic conditions. 

We hope that now it will be easy for you to differentiate between these two trees. If you are thinking of planting any tree in your garden, we recommend you grow palmetto instead of a palm tree. The Palmetto tree is easy to maintain and can be grown in small spaces as compared to the palm tree. 

Concluding lines

In this guide, you come to know that The palm and Palmetto tree both belong to the same family but they are very much different from one another. You can observe differences simply by the appearance of the two trees.

We will differ these two trees based on their characteristics like height, fruits on them, or shape of the leaves, further in this article but till then remember that even though they are members of the Arecaceae family of plants, and live in similar habitats, and are sometimes regarded as subgroups, palmetto trees are not palms. I hope this guide will help you. 

Thanks for reading! Happy Gardening!


What is the size of a palmetto tree leaf?

The size of the leaves of every plant differs from each other. In the case of the palmetto tree leaf, it’s the variant that comes under the category of 18 to  36 inches. The leaves of that tree look like a fan.

What are the different types of palm trees?

There are various types of palm trees. Some of them are the Chinese fan palm tree, bottle palm tree and also queen palm tree, and many more. 

Becky Decker

Becky Decker, our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, is a passionate gardener with years of experience in the world of horticulture. With her guidance, aims to be your trusted companion on your gardening journey. Featured In   Becky Decker’s expertise and gardening wisdom have been recognized and featured in various prominent publications, including: Yahoonews  Experience & Background   Becky Decker’s love for gardening has been a lifelong journey. She has honed her skills through countless seasons of planting, nurturing, and harvesting a wide variety of plants, flowers, and vegetables. Her deep-rooted knowledge is complemented by her Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from the University of Green Valley.   Prior to leading, Becky worked as a garden consultant, helping countless individuals turn their outdoor spaces into vibrant, thriving gardens. Her experience spans over a decade, making her a trusted authority in the gardening community.   The Birth of   Inspired by her passion for gardening and her desire to share her expertise with a wider audience, Becky Decker launched in 2021. This platform serves as a hub for gardening enthusiasts of all levels, from beginners to seasoned pros.   At, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive guides, expert advice, and hands-on tips to help you achieve success in your gardening endeavors. Whether you have a small balcony garden or a sprawling backyard paradise, we have the information you need to make your garden flourish.   Our Mission is more than just a gardening website; it’s a community of gardeners who share a common love for nurturing the Earth. Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge and resources to create beautiful, sustainable gardens that bring joy and tranquility to your life.   Join Us on This Green Journey   We invite you to explore and embark on your gardening journey with us. Whether you’re seeking advice on planting techniques, pest control, landscaping ideas, or the latest gardening trends, you’ll find it all right here.   Connect with us, ask questions, and share your gardening stories. Together, we’ll cultivate a thriving community of gardeners and help each other make the world a greener, more beautiful place.   Let’s dig in and grow together at, where gardening dreams bloom!

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