Monday, August 30, 2010
Fabulous tropical palms
What makes south Florida unique in the United States is the amazing assortment of palms we are able to grow here due to our unique climate. At Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Miami, they have collected over 700 species from all over the tropics that grow here as well.
There are about 10 or so native palms from Florida. Our state palm tree is the Sable palmetto, or cabbage palm. In order for officials to pick a state tree, it had to be able to grow throughout the various temperature growing zones. North Florida is practical Georgia, so the climate is much cooler. Here in the south we can grow cold sensitive palms that would freeze there.
In certain cultures, palms are dominant as a food source, housing, fiber, oil and many other uses. Here we see the fronds utilized for the roofs of tiki huts. Street vendors sell ice cold coconuts on street corners with sipping straws for cool summer refreshment.