The Arecaceae are a family of monocot plants consisting of approximately 210 genera and 3,000 species.It is difficult to cite more precise numbers because of scientific corrections in the systemic classification, as well as the addition of newly found unknown as yet species.The genera and species differ from one another primarily through external morphological signs including the buildup of the flowers and fruits.
Morphologically, palm trees differ in terms of the construction of their stems and leaves.The stems of the different species are quite varied in form.There are known the following main types: solitary – monpodial, complex,creeping and underground stems.The leaves grow on top of the stem arranged in a spiral.They are either palmately ('fan-leaved') or pinnately ('feather-leaved')and are divided in the following parts: lamina, petiole and leaf base.Flowers are branched panicles or spikes.They can be either uni- or bisexual. Pollination is carried out by insects or the wind. Fruit is either drupe or berry-shaped.
Palm vegetation evolved more than 150 million years ago, when the present day continents started shaping up from a joint piece of land.As a result from the division of continents, the different genera and species of palms underwent different development and adaptation to the environment.Today palms are spread in the subtropical and tropical regions of the Earth.