King and queen palms are widely used in tropical and sub-tropical landscaping but have different appearances and landscape purposes. Queen palms require a great deal more maintenance than king palms.
Native to the tropical regions of Australia, king palms prefer moist, well-drained soil similar to their native habitat. Queen palms are native to the woodlands of Brazil and Argentina but tolerate dry conditions during winter months.
Both trees have smooth, ringed trunks with a gray appearance. The king palm fronds grow from a bright green crown shaft. Queen palms do not have a crown shaft.
King palms produce a spray of pink flowers in mid-summer from a small pod which it will shed. Queen palms produce heavy stalks of ivory colored flowers throughout the summer and fall months. Flowers emerge from a heavy wooden pod which must be pruned off.
Flowers of the king palm give way to small reddish fruits. The queen palm produces copious amounts of yellow-orange fruit. It is advisable to remove the flower stalks before the queen palm produces fruit as the fruit is messy.
King palms form attractive groups when planted together. Queen palms are best used as single plantings or in rows.
Diana Lea is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with more than 20 years of technical writing experience. She is a certified Florida master gardener and writes extensively on gardening topics for various websites.