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Friday, February 20, 2009

My Lifelong Fascination With The Palm Tree

As a kid growing up in British Columbia,I always had a great desire to go and visit an area where the palm trees grow,as this would mean a tropical setting also.Other than the potted variety,I had to wait until I was in my early 20's to witness my first one.
And that was in the south of France on the Mediterranean coast.This was while stationed at the air force base in Marville France, back in the early 60's.We took our first summer camping vacation into the area near the Spanish border and low and behold I was in paradise as palm trees lined the streets everywhere.
After those 4 years in Europe,I would not see another palm tree for over 30 years, and this time in the 1990's I found them again in my own Province of B.C. in a little demonstration park just north of Naniamo's downtown.Small, but nevertheless palm trees, growing outside,and they were transplant varietys from the Middle East.
Now with 10 years of snowbirding under my belt,I have seen several of the 11 species native to North America.The date palm with its cluster of dates under a paper bag shield...The California fan palm seen below,and Ive even experienced the near miss of walking under a coconut palm and hearing a great thud several feet behind me.And believe me,Ive seen what a Coco (as the Mexicans call them) can do to a trailer roof,never mind someones head.
Above and below is the California Fan Palm,the only one native to western North America,(not to be confused with the date palm.)They are also called the Desert Palm and can be found in the desert oasis.Note how each year the old dead leaves drop down to form a grass skirt.Some call it the petty coat palm.
This covering makes a great protected area for many birds and small animals.

And nowadays I don't have to travel very far to see the palm trees, as a hardy variety called the Windmill palm is found growing all over the lower mainland of B.C. including Vancouver Island.Below is one growing in Victoria's inner harbour.

And below,Vancouver's west end beach area.

Oak Bay on Vancouver Island.

And 2 more pics of Vancouver's west end.In the center of the last pic is a banana tree surrounded by palms.There are many of these banana trees growing in back yards in the lower mainland of B.C.(sans banana's of course)

The Windmill Palm is a very hardy variety that will withstand temperature zones that go down to -5c.

So ends my little saga of the palm tree.
Now today is moving day again as we will travel up through the Joshua Tree N.P. covering another 50 miles or so,seeing what there is to see,then will pick out a campground in the northern edge to spend the weekend.
Just as a side note......On Wednesday we had the same sunny day and the same temperature they did back home in the Fraser Valley.....Must be time to go home.


  1. That's cool wandering willy. I enjoy that you love palm trees so much. I started growing windmill palm trees and i got seeds from an online store. They are small seedlings but the reason why i started growing them was because I saw them in Ontario and I couldn't believe palm trees were able to live during the snow season, which is pretty much all year : ). If you want to find out more info on the site that i got the windmill palm seeds and they also have the windmill palm tree just go to , here is the link. WIndmill Palm Info . Also, let us know and keep up with this blog, me and a bunch of friends look forward to hearing about your willy adventures!!!