What Are the Balls on My Palm Tree?

Palm trees are elegant, tropical additions to the home landscape. The majority of them are only hardy in United States Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11, but a few exhibit cold tolerances down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the flowering and fruiting that occurs on palm trees is in warmer climates. The appearance of "balls" on your palm tree is evidence that the reproductive cycle is in full swing and the plant is producing fruit. These are a few of the possible fruits your palm is producing.

These little balls are the fruit that resulted from inflorescence maturity on the palm tree.

Guadalupe Palm

Guadalupe palm, also called the fan palm, has large, widely spread fronds. The trees are one of the hardiest taller palm trees and can withstand temperatures to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of palm is ideal for dry, sunny locations with low humidity. It produces small 1-inch-round fruits that are blackish, juicy and sweet. The fruit is gathered in sprays on the ends of the mature inflorescence and make attractive ornamentation as they dangle in the breeze.

Coconut Palm

The coconut palm is a classic representative of Hawaii and other tropical destinations. Coconuts are large fruits with extremely hard exteriors but they have to grow to football size and start as small balls. The palm tree prefers sandy soils and has a high salt tolerance which is why it is often found around beach areas. Most of the fruit is aborted before it matures and falls off the tree when it is no larger than a golf ball.

Date Palms

Date palms produce purple fruits that resemble slightly squashed balls. They grow in clusters and have a seed inside that resembles an olive pit. These are widely harvested and cultivated in parts of California. The fruit may be sunny yellow, purple to blackish purple, green and nearly crimson. Dates are excellent fresh or dried and are an important commercial crop in many other countries. They are one of the oldest preserved fruits and are an interesting addition to any landscape.

Jelly or Pindo Palm

The fruits of this palm are round to slightly oval in shape and yellow to orange colored. They are sweet fruits that grow in bunches or clusters. The tree itself is small and slow-growing, only reaching 15 feet in height. They are very adaptable to, and are often used, in urban settings. Jelly palm fruit is indeed made into jelly as well as eaten fresh or as an ingredient in wine. Clusters ripen all at once, which makes harvesting simple.