Polylactide palygorskite (fibrous clay) composites were prepared by solvent casting method. Both pristine and organically modified palygorskite were used for composite preparation. The detailed crystallization behavior, morphology, and thermal properties of neat polylactide and the corresponding composites were investigated by using differential scanning calorimetry, polarized optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and wide angle X-ray diffraction techniques. The results showed that the crystallization and thermal characteristics of neat PLA were influenced significantly by the presence of palygorskite nanoparticles. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40414.