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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Canary Islands Date Palm

Canary Islands Date Palm in the El Palmar Valley

Phoenix Canariensis is one of the most grown and appreciated ornamental trees of the world. Its native habitat, the Canary Islands, is renowned for its richness in climatic diversity and its endemic flora.

The wild populations suffered a dramatic decrease during the early centuries of the Spanish colonization of the islands, which started at the end of the 15th century. Today the Phoenix canariensis is sparsely and un-evenly distributed on all the seven islands.

A description of the island of Tenerife of the 16th century said: " . . . the northern side of the island is completely covered by enchanting forests of palms and dragon trees." Now, here in the El Palmar Valley and at other places in and near Teno are among the few places you will still see these majestic trees growing in the wild in Tenerife.

Phoenix canariensis in the Wild

Only the female palms produce the fruits. The fruits are not edible and look like small dates, up to 1.5 inches long (3.5 cm). They are not poisonous, but are very astringent.

Canary Islands Date Palm

Canary Islands Date Palm Abroad

Several species of palm thrive in the Bay Area's Mediterranean climate. One of them, the Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis), graces the Embarcadero in San Francisco.

"The most regal, large-scale (palm) tree," the Canary Island date palm was brought to California from the Canary Islands by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century, said Damon Hull, sales and operations manager at Jurassic Palms in Albany. Junipero Serra planted them at each of the missions he established.

Some of the oldest Canary Island date palms in the state can be found at the historic Presidio in San Francisco. The Claremont Hotel in Oakland also has numerous Canary Island date palms.

San Francisco Chronicle - Palms up!

Massive and imposing, the Canary Island date palm is the center of attention wherever it is planted, growing up to 60' tall. In areas of high rainfall, like Florida, these palms are often seen with ferns growing from among the old leaf stems.

Floridata - Phoenix canariensis

PACSOA (Palm & Cycad Societies of Australia) show
some Phoenix canariensis with the famous backdrop of Sydney Harbour Bridge

All events are liable to change beyond our control.

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