Thursday, June 14, 2012

Palm Trees

Did you know that our palm trees blossom in the summer?
See these weird long prongs that stick out from this palm tree?  They look like plain green sticks but slowly they split open into a plethora of white blossoms sending the bees into a frenzy.
This tree has one full branch of blossoms and the ones at the far right are just starting to open.
It's hard to see in this photo, but every tree all the way down the line has branches of blossoms.  It's quite fascinating to watch them bloom.
I wanted to learn more about the blossoms and what if any fruit would emerge but when I turned to wikipedia, there were hundreds of different varieties of palms so I didn't know where to begin.  In frustration, I sent off an email to ask Jim Dawson.  Wow!  That man is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to landscaping!  That same morning, he sent back this very informative paragraph:
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"Sue - the name of the palm that is used as a street tree is Washingtonia robusta. The common name is Mexican Fan Palm. Robusta is the most common one we have here. There are a few palms in the resort that vary slightly from robusta towards a different species of fan palm called Washingtonia filifera - common name - California Fan Palm. The way to tell the two apart is by the caliper of the trunk. The California Fan Palms have much thicker caliper in the trunk and don't grow nearly as tall as the Robusta. You can also tell the difference by looking at the spines that grow along the mid - vein of the frond. The Filifera has very few to almost no spines on the mid-veins. The flowering - which is what you are seeing now, is becoming heavier each year as they become older. The Bees are woking hark to pollinate the flowers. Of course this is where you get the different hybrids between the Robustas and the Filiferas because the Bees are traveling between the two varieities of palm. We try to get the Palms trimmed in July and August before the fruit sets and produces thousands of little black seeds which resemble a Caper in size and color. If the seeds fall on the ground and work their way down into the gravel, they can be viable for many, many years. If there is water in the area, the seeds will swell and germinate producing a seedling that resembles a blade of grass. If you look closely throughout the Resort, you will see the seedlings coming up in quite a few locations. Don't let them get established because they are hard to pull out. Talk to you later. Dawson"
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Thank you, Jim, for so promptly and completely answering my questions.  I'm hoping we can talk Jim into doing some seminars this coming season regarding the different kinds of plants and landscaping issues found within the resort.  Put it on your "to do" list when you all return so we stuff the suggestion box requesting Jim's presentation. 

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