This is a Chinese Windmill Palm or the Chusan Palm (another name). Scientific name: Trachycarpus excelsa or Shuro in Japanese. Various parts of the tree and the fibres of this tree have been used since ancient times in Japan for making scrubbing brushes and brooms – hence the pun.
Originally a native of Southern Kyushu but is now only found in gardens, mainly in warmer areas and often found in gardens, especially in Kansai (Kyoto Osaka area). Distinguished from the Tojuro from China as it has long leaflets bent over, much as the fingers on a hand, or the prongs of a bamboo rake, bent over.
Reference: Japanese Plants: Know them & Use Them by Betty Richards & Anne Kaneko
Posted on: May 21 2006