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Fan palm Any palm tree having fan-shaped or radiate leaves; as the Chamaerops humilis of Southern Europe; the species of Sabal and Thrinax in the West Indies, Florida, etc.; and especially the great talipot tree (Corypha umbraculifera) of Ceylon and Malaya. The leaves of the latter are often eighteen feet long and fourteen wide, and are used for umbrellas, tents, and roofs. When cut up, they are used for books and manuscripts.