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Washingtonia: The palms

Palm trees have long fascinated Europeans from temperate climes, conjuring up images of distant and exotic places. In the 19th century, the building of the first large conservatories was largely motivated by the desire to grow palms in our cooler climates.

Palm trees, of which you will find many different specimens in this house, are very unusual plants. In most trees with which we’re familiar, the trunks become thicker as the trees get older – but not palm trees! Their pillar-like trunks stay the same width throughout their lives. The trunks of palm trees reach their maximum diameter while the plants are still young, which is why it may take years before young palms start growing upward.

Palm trees have other unique features. With very few exceptions, their trunks do not branch, and their fronds, which can reach a huge size, form a tuft at the tip of the trunk. When a new leaf develops, it stands upright like a sword in the middle of the tuft before developing into a fan-like or pinnate shape.

Audio file download
Washingtonia: The palms (MP3, 463 KB)

Audio production and copyright: Soundgarden Audioguidance GmbH
Text: Günter Gerlach, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg

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