Chusan palm © Tony Kirkham/RBG Kew

Chusan palm

Chusan palm in Chinese script

Trachycarpus fortunei

The Chusan fan palm has been cultivated in China for thousands of years. It is attractive and also has many practical uses.

The trunk and leafstalk have coarse, dark fibres used to make rope, brooms and cloth. The bark is used to make matting, and the leaves are woven into hats and fans. Almost every part of the palm is used in medicines to treat various ailments, including nose bleeds and high blood pressure. The young flower buds, like bamboo shoots, can be cooked and eaten.

The palm is named after the Zhoushan (once written as Chusan) islands, off the south-east coast of mainland China.

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Mosquito whisk made from the Chusan palm. © Mark Nesbitt/RBGThis ink painting, made in the 1700s, shows a monk seated in the shade of a fan palm.

Left: Mosquito whisk made from the chusan palm.

Right: This ink painting, made in the 1700s, shows a monk seated in the shade of a fan palm.

Top left: Chusan palm © Tony Kirkham/RBG Kew
Bottom left: © Mark Nesbitt/RBG