How Many Palm Trees Can I Count?
On our recent vacation in Florida, I was astounded at how many palm trees were there. Everywhere I looked, there was a palm tree. I have learned that the official Florida state tree is the sabal palm, also known as the palmetto, sabal palmetto and the cabbage palm.
This palm tree is a member of the Arecaceae family and is native to the southeastern United States, Cuba and the Bahamas.
But the palm trees are fascinating and I don’t really know why. I just like them a lot. Some are smooth and almost glossy. Some are hairy or rough, some have smooth bumps in patterns, and some have “shingles” like a roof.
I saw a lot of different forms on these trees, but I thought I would try to research that when I came home. But I really don’t find anything that answers my questions.
Such as the “roofing shingles” that are on a lot of the trees. Some of them have them all the way (or at least most of the way ) up the trunk. One reference I read said that the fronds or branches are cut away from the trunk, so I am assuming that these are what is left.
But some of the trees have such smooth “shingles” which are almost smooth bumps. Is this the weathering away of the shingles or are these cut differently and neatly. Can you help with this mystery ?
Outside and surrounding the courtyard of the home we rented was the saw palmetto ( Serenoa repens ) which was a smaller palm tree growing all contorted and somewhat lateral to the ground. The wooden walkway from our deck to the beach had all of these inter-twined under and around and made a really interesting view. And there were a lot of spiders and lizards or skinks hidden among the fronds and huge trunks.
And the teeth on those small branches holding up the fans can really do some damage. They are rough and sharp.
The Date Palm – Phoenix dactylifera
I noticed some of the palm trees had fruit on the ground around them, small brown fruits so I thought these were date palms. I read some about these date palm trees and it seems to confirm the branches weathering off, gradually getting smoother and smoother. Are the completely smooth trunks the older trees? I am not sure but that is what I am thinking. Ref:
Appearance: It has a single broad, gray trunk covered with ornamental diamond-shaped pattern of leaf scars. Trunk is about 16 inches in diameter. The date palm trunk is vertical, cylindrical and columnar of the same girth all the way up. The trunk is covered for several years with the bases of the old dry fronds, making it rough, but with age the trunk becomes smoother with visible cicatrices of these bases.
These newly planted palm trees – maybe Queen Palms? – have wooden planks supporting them and the branches are still tied up probably for ease in transport. The ties were on all week while we were there, so maybe they are left on for a period of time. I am not sure. But is that good for the tree?
These were some Saw Palmetto which were still very short and straight, but seemed to be fruiting? The fruits were about the size of a grape and were green, then turning dark. The little lizards ate them, leaving behind a seed about the size of a small flat bean.
It was a beautiful week in a wonderful state – Florida. I have so many questions and I would appreciate if you know some answers or can correct me, please do. I want to learn and I want to help teach my grandson about the world around him.
I will write more about our vacation and what we saw and did there. It was a wonderful experience. My grandson walked the boardwalk many times over to the ocean and I want to go there again with him someday. It was great fun!