NATIVE PALMS OF FLORIDA
The palm family is composed of many varieties and individual species.
The name is derived from the resemblance of the fan-shaped leaves of one
division of this large family to the palm of the human hand, although, the most
conspicuous palms are of two classes: those with broad, flat, fan-shaped leaves
and those with long, feathery plumes or fronds.
The palm was an object of veneration among the ancients. Biblical
students will recall that palm leaves were used by the multitude in welcoming
Christ upon His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The religious significance of
the palm leaf goes back much further into antiquity, however, and derives its
religious use as a symbol of pagan gods. The palm retains its religious
significance down to the present day and is now used in Easter observances
throughout the Christian nations. Palms of the Old World are related to those
native to America. Although there are more than 1,200 species scattered
throughout the tropical and semi-tropical regions of the world.
The principal palm trees have long, single stems, or trunks, without
forks or limbs, with a crown of leaves growing directly out of the trunk at the
top of the tree. As the plants of the palm family spread gradually into
temperate zones bordering their tropical habitat, they become smaller.
Frequently the same species will be found as a tree in the tropics.