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How to Determine If I Have an Areca or Kentia Indoor Palm Tree

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How to Determine If I Have an Areca or Kentia Indoor Palm Tree

How to Determine If I Have an Areca or Kentia Indoor Palm Tree. Areca palm trees, Dypsis lutescens or Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, grow to a mature height of about 20 feet while kentia palm trees, Howea forsteriana, commonly grow to 30 feet tall. Of course, most indoor palm trees are nowhere near their mature height, so this information cannot be...

Areca palm trees, Dypsis lutescens or Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, grow to a mature height of about 20 feet while kentia palm trees, Howea forsteriana, commonly grow to 30 feet tall. Of course, most indoor palm trees are nowhere near their mature height, so this information cannot be used to determine whether a palm tree is an areca or a kentia. They are very different looking palm trees, though, and once you know the differences it will be quite easy to determine which species you have.
Things You'll Need
Areca or kentia indoor palm tree
Tape measure or ruler
Measure the width and length of the leaflets not the leaves. Individual leaves on both types of palms are thought to be branches by most houseplant owners. They are actually very long leaves with many narrow leaflets. The length of the leaf will vary depending on its age and that of the palm, but the leaflets grow to a certain length and stop. Measure the longest leaflets toward the base of the leaf. Areca leaflets are 1 1/2 to 2 feet long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Kentia palm leaflets are 2 1/2 feet long and 2 inches wide.
Look at the general appearance of the plant. The areca palm tree has a very fine-textured look, with leaves held upright in a more vertical position. The leaflets are arranged along the leaf stems in a "V." The kentia palm tree has a more coarse appearance. The leaves tend to hang down in a weeping fashion, and the leaflets hang down from the leaf stem.
Check the color of the leaves top and bottom. The leaves of kentia palm trees have dark green tops with light green underneath. Areca palm tree leaves are a rich medium green on both sides.
Look at the stems, trunk or trunks at the base of the palm tree. The kentia palm is a single-trunk tree and the areca palm tree grows in clusters, with many smaller stems. Since greenhouses commonly plant multiple palm trees in a single container, the number of trunks or stems on the palm tree may not be easily discernible. Kentia palms and areca palms, however, have very different stem or trunk colors. Areca palm trees, also commonly called the golden cane palm, have bright golden stems. Young indoor kentia palm trees have green trunks.

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