Palm trees symbolize warm weather and an identifying feature of the Florida skyline. Several types of palm trees line the beaches, roads, and parks of our beautiful sunshine state. Many of these palm trees are tall and elegant, swaying back and forth in the breeze, while others are small and fit perfectly on the landscapes of our homes and businesses. If you have always lived here in Pensacola, you probably no longer even notice their tranquil beauty. If you are a snowbird or moved here from a northern state, perhaps you have grown accustomed to their abundance. Still, we bet you didn’t know these ten fun facts about these majestic trees, and if you follow along, we are sure you will be surprised to learn that not only have palm trees been around for ages, but sometimes they can be deadly! Read on.
Fact One: Some Pensacola Palm Trees Can Become Giants
A few palms can touch the sky! Well, not really, but there are species of palms that can grow up to heights of 70 feet or more. The Quindio wax palm is the tallest variety and can grow up to 200 feet high. Mexican fan palms reach 100 feet while the Date palm grows rapidly up to 80 feet high.
Fact Two: There Are Over 2500 Species of Palms
There are over 2500 species of palm trees around the globe. Coming from the Arecaceae plant family, palm trees are found in tropical rainforests and arid regions throughout the world. In fact, one species known as the needle palm is so hardy, it grows in Alaska!
Fact Three: Palm Trees Play an Important Part in History and Religion
Palm trees have been around for over 5,000 years and have long since been a symbol of religion. Over 5,000 years ago, palm trees were used as a food source in Mesopotamia. They were also used to construct tools and create shelter from the hot sun. Romans used branches of palm trees as a symbol of victory. The palm tree has long been a symbol in Christianity, with Christians carrying palms as a symbolic ritual commemorating Jesus’s triumph into Jerusalem. According to the bible, people cut branches from palm trees and laid them across the path Jesus walked and waved them in the air.
Fact Four: Not All Palms Produce Coconuts
Many palm trees in Pensacola and throughout the world produce delicious fruit such as coconuts, acai berries, and dates. Other types of palms, such as sago, are poisonous to humans and animals. Before eating their fruit, be sure you know your palms or ask an arborist.
Fact Five: Some Palm Trees Can Live More Than a Century
There is a good chance your favorite palm tree may outlive you. Some species of palms can live for more than a century. There is also evidence that palms could be the oldest living tree. Scientists say this is because their cells are not replaced with new cells as in the case of other trees.
Fact Six: Palm Trees Do Not Have Tree Rings
This leads us to fun fact number six. While you can tell the age of most trees by counting the rings from the center-most outer ring, this is not possible on our beloved palm. The rings that you count on most trees are called cambium and are produced as secondary tissue. Palm trees do not produce cambium. Instead, if you look at a cross-section of a palm tree trunk, you will find circular vessels throughout. These vascular tissues are called xylem and phloem, and they help the tree thicken up its trunk until it reaches its maximum diameter. This process stops once the trunk has reached its full size. Through this biological process, palm trunks are able to remain sturdy and narrow while also able to support the tremendous weight of the tree’s fronds and fruit.
Fact Seven: You Can Grow Palms in Containers
Want to grow a palm tree on your Pensacola patio? Never fear! You can grow palm trees in containers. Many palms make great patio decor. A few species, including the Pygmy date palm, dwarf palmetto, European fan palm, and sago palm, can be grown in pots and containers. All of these species are slow-growing and can better tolerate drought. You will want to move them to larger containers as they grow and use well-draining soil with lots of organic material. Trim off dying lower fronds when they turn yellow and water when the top one to two inches of soil is dry.
Fact Eight: Most Palms Could Use a Good Washing
Our Pensacola Palm trees enjoy a quick drink of water as much as the next tree, but when it comes to these tropical dwellers, spraying the entire palm helps knock off dust, insects, scale, and mites, as well as mealybugs that like to hide out in its long stems. Giving it a good washing also helps to provide the palm with much-needed humidity.
Fact Nine: Palm Trees Can Be Dangerous
The foliage of a palm tree or the fan-shaped leaves is called fronds. There are four different types of fronds, including the entire feather, fishtail, and fan fronds. But what is not widely known about these fascinating large, divided leaves is that they can be deadly. Fronds that slide down a tree can be heavy and often suffocate workers pinned to the tree. If the fronds force the worker’s head and chin to their chest, suffocation can occur.
Never try and trim palm trees on your own. Always hire a company with experience and the proper equipment for trimming and cutting palm trees. Armed with this knowledge, I believe newfound respect is in order for tree trimmers.
Fact Ten: Palms Are Endangered
Believe it or not, approximately 100 palm species are on the endangered species list. This is because palm plants produce palm oil, a valuable resource used worldwide by companies for a variety of uses, including cooking. Some palms, like the Hyophorbe amaricaulis, are in grave danger through deforestation, unsustainable farming, and logging. In fact, there is only one palm of this particular species left in the world. Thankfully it is housed in a protective botanical garden. And as we continue to learn more about the use of palm oil and how to cultivate it safely, fortunately, nonprofits throughout the world have been working to help sustain the palm’s vital future.
Protect Your Pensacola Beloved Palms With Lawn Master’s Comprehensive Plant Health Care Program
When it comes to your trees and plants’ health, they need the attention and care only a professional lawn care company can provide. Lawn Master offers a four-step comprehensive, year-round plant health care program with timely services designed for the specific plants found here in Pensacola. Our plant health care program was designed to promote the healthy growth of all your trees and shrubs, including those beloved majestic palms, and protect them from the threat of insects, disease, heat and drought stress, and too much rainwater.
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