Feb 24, 200603:45 PMThe Life
Desert flora: palm reading
Feb 24, 2006 - 03:45 PMMany types of palm trees grow here in the desert, and some folks can't tell the players without a scorecard. So The Desert Quidnunc is providing the following cheat-sheet as a public service, to help you identify a few of the more common varieties [click thumbnail photos to enlarge]:
Fan Palm: there are 2,500 species of palm trees worldwide, with 11 native to North America. The largest of these, and the only palm tree native to western North America, is the California Fan Palm.
A fan palm's leaves are typically semicircular or paddle shaped. The leaf may or may not be divided into segments, but most leaves do have these divisions. They might even be severely divided, with the space between segments extending deep into the central leaf. Alternatively, they can be nearly complete, without divisions.
This palm is famous for the hula-skirt effect created by its dead leaves.
Date Palm: leaves are featherlike, 10 to 20 feet long. On female plants (like this one), small fragrant white flowers are borne on a branched spadix divided into 25 to 150 strands.
Dates will soon grow in clusters on the spadix.
A single cluster may hold 600 to 1,700 dates.
Date palms can grow up to 100 feet tall and stay in production for more than 60 years.
Cell Palm: leaves are composed of a spiny petiole, a stout midrib, and slender, gray-green or bluish-green pinnae 8 to 16 inches (20-40 centimeters) long, folded in half lengthwise.
Requires no fertilization.
Bears fruit year-round.
Doesn't grow a whit.