Trachycarpus fortunei has been cultivated in China and Japan for thousands of years, for its coarse but very strong leaf sheath fiber, used for making rope, sacks, and other coarse cloth where great strength is important. The 15-20 bright green, circular fronds of the palm spiral out from the top of the tree’s trunk forming a symmetrical crown. The fronds are approximately 3 feet in diameter and are held on the ends of saw-toothed petioles. Each frond consists of about 30 deeply divided leaf segments which are sometimes yellow at the pointed tips. They vibrate in the wind and look as if they are spinning. This makes the plant look like a palm tree windmill. The palm’s single trunk is gray-brown and hairy. It will often be narrower at the base than the top. As the tree matures, the mat of hairy-looking fibers will fall off leaving the trunk smooth.
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