South Florida Palm Society


The South Florida Palm Society is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate information about and encourage interest in palms and the use of these plants.  The South Florida Palm Society uses its funds to help support local botanical gardens, individual scientific research expeditions or projects, conservation and planting projects and educational efforts.

Upcoming Activities

April 1, 2019, Elvis Cruz will present A Trip To Falla, the story of an expedition to the natural habitat of Cuba’s prized and much-coveted palm, Copernicia fallaensis. 7:00 pm, Corbin building, more details to come. As part of the fun, every SFPS member attending will get one free raffle ticket.  If we get 75 members attending, we will raffle off a 3 gallon Copernicia fallaensis!  This is a highly prized and beautiful palm, the largest of the Copernicias, as you’ll see and hear that evening. Huge thanks to Ellis Brown and Redland Nursery for donating the Copernicia fallaensis!

Coming soon: A Spring Garden Tour is being planned. Stay tuned.

**** Low Membership Rates for New Members under 40: The SFPS is offering memberships for $1.00 per year for anyone under the age of 40 years old! Signup is in person at an SFPS event, such as a meeting, holiday party or garden tour, with proof of age.

General meetings are held on the first Monday of every even month: February, April, June, August and October. Meetings begin at 7:00 pm at Fairchild Botanic Tropical Garden. Details including the invited guest speaker are announced by email prior to the meeting. The meetings are open to the public. See Events tab for more details.

Another Educational Tour of Morningside Park Palmetum

Last year, SFPS adopted the Morningside Park Palmetum in an effort to restore it to its original glory (see Project page). The Palmetum is once again thriving. SFPS's president, Elvis Cruz led a tour of the Palmetum for the students at Morningside K-8 Academy, a nearby public school, in March 2019. We're obviously starting early in increasing awareness and knowledge of palms. Perhaps there are a few young botanists in the group!


A Palm Blast from the Past

From a 1942 Miami newspaper article, "This botanist's (Dr. Dugand) biggest thrill, on his first visit to this part of the United States, was the sight, amazing to him of as many as 300 kinds of palms all growing together in the open ground at Col. Montgomery palmetum (at Fairchild Garden)." This article about a distinguished Colombian botanist visit to Florida and him amazement at Fairchild Garden's palm collections is timely and remarkable, considering the recent International Palm Society biennial in Colombia.

David Fairchild promoted international goodwill and cooperation among scientists through his travels, which continues under the present leadership at Fairchild. The article mentions the prominent palm collections we are lucky to still have today including The Kampong, Montgomery and Fairchild. See Link.


Page has been updated with photos from the Morningside Palmetum Restoration 2018 activities, Fall tour at Miami-Dade College, North Campus and the holiday party.


In 2018 SFPS has recently supported two projects: (1) Relocating of several very tall palms to the Kiem Foundation Preserve (2) Restoration of the Palmetum at Morningside Park in Miami. Volunteers with SFPS helped in the planting, mulching and installing an irrigation a drip irrigation system. Also, volunteers labelled all the palms. Once completed, volunteers provided tours of the Palmetum to students from local schools. In 2017, SFPS assisted in the planting of native palms on Virginia Key.


New memberships are being accepted with Paypal and all major credit cards. Please note there is no need to login to Paypal. Just click the second option to pay with a major credit card.Renewals and donations may also be paid by Paypal and all major credit cards. A receipt will be sent by email.


We have selected the very best advice available and have posted these articles under the LINKS page. Accepting suggestions for additional links.



Feb 4, 2019 Lord Howe Island off the east coast of Australia is home to unique endemic fauna and flora. Dr. Laz Prieguez gave us an appreciation of this as he toured the island and climbed one of its mountains with a group lead by an expert botanist. This is the home of Kentia palms (Howea forsteriana and belmoreana).

Lord Howe Island

December 3, 2018 Holiday Party. A great holiday party was enjoyed by all. The party included a fantastic buffet, with some really outstanding dishes contributed by members and guests. Those board members whose terms were expiring were re-elected. A very successful silent auction was held. Then came the highlight of the night, the plant auction, with enthusiastic bidding for some of the hard to find palms. Many thanks to the various growers listed below who generously donated palms to the auction including a rare Attalea palm, dwarf betel nut palm, Licuala peltata var. sumawongii, Copernicia (various species), fairly good size sealing wax palms and Phoenicophorium borsigianum. There was something for everyone as approximately 70 donated palms found new homes. See link for more images: 2018 Holiday Party

Thanks to:

Nature’s tapestry
Plant Creations
St Germain
Redland Nursery
Botanics Wholesale
Action Theory
Searle Brothers
Scott Cohen
Montgomery Botanical Garden


November 3, 2018: Fall Garden Tour of the North Campus of Miami Dade College. SFPS members visited the palmetum on the Society's Fall Tour. Our host was Steve Ritter, a former Miami-Dade County IFAS agent who since 2004 has been a full professor of biology at the North Campus of Miami-Dade College. Some 10 years ago he was instrumental in creating a 4.4-acre palmetum on the west side of the campus. It is a component of, and opened simultaneously with, the college's science complex. For most of our members in attendance, it was their initial exposure to the garden. Several aspects of the collection make it remarkable. First, the substrate is sand, in stark contrast to the limestone that most SFPS members have to deal with in their yards in the southern half of the county. Second, the palms get tough love - they are neither mulched nor fertilized, and they haven't been irrigated in a year! Yet most are thriving. One in particular was a remarkably green Livistona with a crown of dozens of fronds. M-DC's palm collection provides convincing proof that not every species requires white-glove treatment to excel in the climatic and soil conditions of southern Florida.

Professor Steve Ritter leading the tour of the palmetum at Miami-Dade College, North Campus. For more photos of the visit, see the following link: Palmetum Tour

October 1, 2018: Palms of The Kampong The Kampong is located in Coconut Grove and is open to the public. See the following link: The Kampong . Craig Morrell, director of The Kampong, went far beyond just talking about palms, but all the information was of interest to our palm loving members. He spoke on the recovery process following a hurricane. The three essential elements for successful recovery are (1) Avoid sunburn and further damage by providing shade and water (2) Keep the plant healthy, and in particular preventing fungal diseases using fungicides and (3) Applying sufficient and appropriate fertilizer. The advantages of magnesium sulfate and potassium nitrate were discussed. Proper plant care extends to all plants. Craig gave great horticultural advice for our palm growers.

August 6, 2018 Presentation: Andes Mountain High. SFPS member, Elvis Cruz presented a slideshow on the International Palm Society's Biennial Conference in Colombia from May 26 to June 2, 2018. We saw the tallest palm tree in the world, Ceroxylon quindiuense and enjoyed hearing about the various adventures, fun and frivolity had during the journey, including a potentially fatal incident. This eight-day journey took intrepid palm enthusiasts through Colombia's Quindio Region with stops in Armenia, Tochecito and the Cocora Valley.


The photo above was taken at the IPS Conference in Colombia. Andrew Street and Saul Hoyos with specimen of Ceroxylon quindiuense. Saul is the Colombian palm expert who discovered Sabinaria magnifica.