Palms Revisited

 

Last year on Palm Sunday weekend, I wrote a post about a variety of palms in honor of Palm Sunday.

One of those palms was the triangle palm (Neodypsis decaryi) that I’ve been planting on either side of my driveway. A friend on Maui has several triangles that have grown to be a decent size.

The triangle above recently started sending out some sort of growth. Would you call it a flower?

 

Here is another view. What would you call this?

 

Probably of more interest to people who do not live in Hawai`i is the banana palm (Musa SPP) and the process of growing bananas. Those delicious potassium-filled fruits you buy in the grocery store aren’t nearly as tasty as the ones right off the tree.

Like most fruits, it starts with the flower. As the flower unfolds, tiny little green bananas begin to form.

 

Gradually, fingerling bananas begin to grow and peep out from between the petals of the flower.

 

In late spring, they are beginning to look like real bananas, but still very green.

 

By November, this beautiful bunch is ready to be cut down. Need I tell you they can get incredibly heavy? Sometimes it takes several people to carry the bunch to a shed where they will slowly ripen. If left on the tree to ripen, the bugs get them before we do.

 

Yes, it looks like they are growing “upside down,” but that’s the way they grow on the tree. Think about this the next time you buy a nice “hand” of bananas.

After the bananas are harvested, the old tree is cut down, but several new ones have already started to grow. More bananas will be on the way shortly.

A hui hou!

Palms of Spring

COCONUT PALM
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COCONUT PALM

 

Just a couple weeks ago on March 11, Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota held a celebration in honor of three separate religious holidays falling on the same day. The three holidays were Jewish Purim (celebrating the story of Queen Esther), Hindu Holi (celebrating several Hindu myths and springtime), and Muslim Mawlid al-Nabi (celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad).

Now we have moved into April and there are other religious festivals to celebrate. In the Jewish tradition, this is near the time of Pesach, or what we commonly call Passover. This year, it begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8 and commemorates their Exodus from Egypt out of slavery.

In the Christian tradition, today is Palm Sunday in remembrance of Jesus’ triumphant ride into the city of Jerusalem. The people expected him to liberate them from the oppressive government, so they were excited to see him and spread palm branches on the road before him. It is in honor of that day that this post focuses on palms.

The opening photo is looking up into a tall coconut palm in a friend’s yard over in Na`alehu, loaded with coconuts. I just hoped none would fall on me as I was taking the picture.

The tall palms all over Hawai`i are beautiful, although not native. Here is one in the middle of the Ala Moana Shopping Center on Oahu.

ALA MOANA PALMS
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ALA MOANA PALMS

 

When I visited some of the Hawai`ian sacred sites in Hilo with a group of students last month, I took these pictures of the tall palms scattered around the area.

SACRED SITE IN HILO
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SACRED SITE IN HILO

 

PALMS AT SACRED SITE
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PALMS AT SACRED SITE

 

MORE SACRED SITE PALMS
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MORE SACRED SITE PALMS

 

Then we have the banana palm trees. Here is a small one in a friend’s yard. I have a few but they are still way too small to even think about bearing.

BANANA PALM
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BANANA PALM

 

This little coconut palm in my yard has a long way to go to match the one on top of this post! It has been badly damaged by the wind and sulfur dioxide.

SMALL COCONUT PALM
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SMALL COCONUT PALM

 

I was given this saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) in a large pot by another friend.

SAW PALMETTO
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SAW PALMETTO

 

Since then I have taken it out of the pot and planted it in the ground.

SAW PALMETTO IN GROUND
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SAW PALMETTO IN GROUND

 

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been putting in triangle palms (Neodypsis decaryi) to line my driveway. Here are a couple of photos to show you. Maybe in about five years or so, they’ll be closer to the size I want. This shot was taken before my driveway was put in.

TRIANGLES ALONG DRIVEWAY
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TRIANGLES ALONG DRIVEWAY

 

This shows the cinder dumped onto the driveway, with a friend and his son on the bobcat, ready to grade it down for me.

CLOSER VIEW OF TRIANGLES
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CLOSER VIEW OF TRIANGLES

 

This gift triangle was already about three times as big when I got it as the others I have. Such a prize!

MY LARGEST TRIANGLE
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MY LARGEST TRIANGLE

 

Then I was given four small triangles to put into the ground. One has made it, but the other three are still waiting to be planted. Someday I’ll get around to it – along with all my other projects!

SMALL TRIANGLES READY TO PLANT
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SMALL TRIANGLES READY TO PLANT

 

Perhaps someday, mine will be as big as the one a friend has on Maui. He planted these in 2003.

MAUI TRIANGLE
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MAUI TRIANGLE

 

A post on palms wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the “Sago Palm,” which isn’t even a palm at all! I think people call it a “palm” because of the way the branches look, but it is really a cycad. Perhaps I’ll do a post on that another day. Here is one that belongs to my friend on Maui.

SAGO PALM
“SAGO PALM”

 

If you are interested in knowing more about the various religious holidays I’ve mentioned, check out one of the following websites. I highly recommend this Interfaith calendar that lists all the religious festivals. The Religious Tolerance site is also very informative.

Time to go water my palms!