Washingtonia is a genus of two species of fan-leaved (palmate) palms native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.
Both species are fast-growing, with spiny leaf petioles. They are tall, to 100 feet (33 m) or more. They do best in full sun, though they will also tolerate shade. They are too large and sun-loving to make good houseplants. However, a notable exception was an indoor atrium planting in a New York City office complex, which thrived for years, until they were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"Washies" will take a wide range of soils, and are generally unfussy about soil acidity.
They are among the most widely planted palms in the world, particularly in desert and Mediterranean climate areas.
Washingtonias have both sexes on one plant, and produce seeds the size and shape of black peppercorns. Seeds are also edible to a wide range of species, including people, coyotes, and many birds.
They grow naturally in desert oases, with spectacular examples near Palm Springs, California, U.S.A.
Etymology: The genus name honors first U.S. president George Washington.