The Majestic Palm Tree

Cyprus has many different types of palm tree and far too many to mention here.  In our garden alone there are 3 species of palm 1) The Royal Palm, 2) the Sago Palm and 3) The Fan Palm.  They are all very interesting once you start to learn about them and how each one differs from the other.

  1. Royal Palm

Royal Palms are one of the most splendid species reaching 70 ft in height and can be seen all over Cyprus.   In spring these palm trees grow pods which once grown to their full height they split open and bear their fruit.  The pod sizes vary and can be very heavy ranging from 5 kilograms upwards depending on when they are harvested from the palm tree.


The photographs below show the pods prior to it opening as well as one pictured before it splits open.  These have been removed from the palm tree prior to it opening.  The weight of the pods below were circa 15 kilograms.  So heavy to hold as I found out.  The photograph with my foot in it gives and indication of the size of these pods.


The pods once left to dry turn a beautiful dark colour and can be painted and used as decorative ornaments.


2.  Sago Palm 

(Cycas revoluta)

The Sago Palm is much smaller than the Royal Palm and grows very slowly.


Although a very interesting species of Palm the Sago Palm is extremely poisonous to animals and humans if ingested.  All parts of the plant are toxic; however, the seeds contain the highest level of the toxin cycasin.  Cycasin causes gastrointestinal irritation, and in high enough doses, leads to liver failure so best to avoid eating the nut like fruit on them. 

Yesterday (21st September) I took more photographs of the sago palm to show how it has grown in the last couple of months.


3.  The Fan Palm

Aptly named as the fronds of this palm actually look like a fan that we often use to fan ourselves when the weather is warm.

They too grow pods like the Royal Palm but look entirely different.  They resemble tentacles of an octopus which grow large and when they develop to their full size they open and produce hanging berries which ripen and fall.


For all palms the fronds grow continuously although growth is much slower in the winter.  Of course as fronds grow and sprout from the top of the palm the older fronds below die.  Once dead they are removed and the tree trunk begins to get longer as new growth continues. This of course takes a very long time.

Today 6th July 2017 Phill cut further dead fronds from the fan palm as well as the tentacles I mentioned above.  This should make it easier to see what they are like when they are cut from the tree.  When they grow they are all green and then as they develop they break open with these white flowers – the bees absolutely love them and sometimes it is difficult to get very close to them as there are bees crawling all over them.  The tentacles are very long and grow in excess of 5 foot long.

Keep your eye out for the varying types of palm when you are on holiday even if you go to the west coast of Scotland as Palm trees are known to grow in the west of Scotland thanks to the effects of the Gulf Stream, which transports warm tropical water to the area.


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