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Palm Leaves

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All About Palm Leaves

Palm leaves are a well known sight that usually brings thoughts of warm, sunny vacations and tropical beaches. They are deep in history and tradition, standing a symbol of success and even victory. Palm leaves are mentioned in the Bible and are seen in artwork from ancient Egypt, Rome, and elsewhere. They are used as added foliage in centerpieces and flower arrangements when the decorator is reaching for a tropical feel. They are coarse and durable enough to be used to weave baskets and tapestries. There is a variety of palm trees, so there are many different kinds of palm leaves as well. They differ in appearance, but share a number of common features.

Description of the Palm

Obviously, palm leaves come from palm trees, which grow in humid, warm climates. Different kinds of palm trees grow in different areas, so certain palm leaves are associated with different areas. Palm leaves may differ in length, width, shade, and texture. The palm tree is a member of a family of about 2600 flowering plants, although those plants that bloom are generally smaller shrubs; the tall palm trees to not product a flower. Palm trees do produce fruit, which also varies with the species. These fruits include coconuts, acai berries, saw palmetto berries, and dates. This is why these particular fruits are associated with the tropics.

Uses for Palm Leaves

In tropical areas, the palm trees are plentiful, and therefore, people living in these climates have developed many uses for the plants and their leaves. The fruits from palm trees are staples in the diets of people living in the tropics. Coconuts are used for their milk and their meat. Hollowed coconut shells are also used in crafts. Some palm trees, like the oil palm, produce palm oil, which is used in cooking, just like olive oil or canola oil. The tough, durable palm leaves are used to wrap meats for cooking, and they can also be dried to use in making whicker and woven items. Because of their texture and strength and because they are so easy to find in these tropical areas, they can be used for many different purposes.

Growing Palm

If you live in a cold climate and wish to grow a palm tree or plant, you will have to do so indoors. They cannot thrive in a climate that is not warm all year round. Of course, if you are growing a palm plant in your home, it must be a smaller variety, as some palm trees grow to be quite tall. They generally thrive in warm, wet areas. They can be grown in dryer climates if they are avidly watered. They grow well in all kinds of soil; you can find varieties that thrive in acidic soil, while others respond well to soils with high lime content. They are not fast growing plants; the monster palm takes years to mature. If you are thinking of planting a seed or seedling, you will have to have lots of patience.