Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Palms Up

There's this really fancy palm tree in Santa Barbara and next to a lovely house on Del La Vida Street. Steve and I were puzzled after taking numerous pictures and we finally determined after our "great knowledge in botany" that it belonged to the Palmae Family. It may just be morphed, I don't know, but I'm asking. What is this tree? I can't find it online or in my garden books. It wasn't my idea to take pictures. Steve saw it and told me that there was this freaky tree with a big pole coming right out-of-it. He wanted me to bring the camera the next time we visited my mother when she was up in Santa Barbara Hospital. He really wanted to climb out of the car and take pictures. Steve did it and now his enthusiasm has rubbed-off on me. Mystery tree!

The two distinguishing palm characteristics is that the "fronds" start from a long pole that shoots-up from the tree and the leaves open from the frond. The pole is so straight it looks like a flag pole. The other characteristic is that the bark, is a palm tree. Now, which palm tree is this tree?
It is an evergreen because we first noticed this strange tree the first part of February. It has lots of small leaves that open out from the tall pole. We did see one other just like it. Well, it was just me. I saw one just before the Kimball off-ramp in Ventura. Honestly, we go the freeway and not the back-roads just looking for this tree. Steve and I don't want to own one, we just want to know what this palm tree is exactly... and where's it from?
I love palm Trees. I love the trees on my son's street near the beach. I love the beautiful silhouettes against the ocean's view anytime of the day. Fillmore, our neighboring city, has always had beautiful palms lining their main street, called Central Avenue. Then, for some reason there were pines trees that lined downtown main thoroughfare called Central. Weird, but the pines were removed again and the palms returned. The Northridge Earthquake almost took-out Fillmore and lots and lots of the palms downtown had to be replaced, so they were changed again with a bunch of generic trees. Southern California is the perfect spot for palm trees. A trip south and west to Bardsdale is also lined with beautiful and very tall palms. They are different than the ones near the high school and I always thought those were date trees.
 I remember that as little kids we used to throw rocks up in the trees to see if any dates would fall down. Bad come down. We were at the bottom of the trees and because the trees were planted near Central Avenue, rocks went in the street. I promise, I never hit a car, but I think a rock hit me on the shoulder. That activity should be labeled under "really dumb childhood ideas." If there was an "East Wind Day" my trip home from elementary school, was the long way .... and always included a trip to see if any of the dates had fallen off the tree. Just for those who wonder about how they taste, I remember that I never quit tasting them, either they were yummy, or I was just waiting for them to be ripe. A little like biting into a green plum. Take a bit and throw it on the ground. I never quit trying. I think I ate olives from the olive trees around Fillmore and Santa Paula. Oh yes, they are nasty.
Picture by Alissa Allred Thompson Bardsdale, Fillmore, California
Bardsdale, Fillmore, California
 The Bardsdale palms are those kind of palms that one thinks of, when you ponder Hawaii. Tall, with a pom-pom on top. Every single time we drive there, I want to pull over and pick a little one, they grow all by themselves like acorns grow Oak Trees, here. Actually, I don't need to do that because birds in our neighborhood drop the palm seeds and they spout all over our property. Always, and I can't emphasize this enough, the palms are pulled-out and destroyed. Reason: Rats love them and nest in the trees. Perfect place for rats. The trees for them are high off the ground and away from pest control, owls, cats, and every single predator except maybe another rat that eats babies. Yes, they eat their own. The other pest is "rat-bird" pigeons. Where do you think they nest? Has anyone ever seen a baby pigeon in the wild? There's this somewhat new deterrent to keep, at least, the rats from using the trees at rat habitats. There's this project going on with flaps of metal that go around the middle of the trees. They look like chrome, but it has to be a shiny metal that never corrodes, so the rats don't eventually scratch their way up to the top of the palms.
My Son's Family View of his trees in the Ventura Harbor
Now that I've written all this in my blog, I want a palm tree. I asked Steve and he said, "What about the stinkin'-mite-infested and parasite-ridden pigeons and rats that live in them?"  I said, "Steve?" "Can I have a monkey?"
Photo from Nation Geographic Magazine
And, what is this tree? All yellow and beautiful, but not so long-lasting.
I think there should be a book about all the interesting trees, imported and natural in Santa Paula and Fillmore. I would  love to learn all about them.

Just to make this even more fun. What is this cactus? It was wild at Matililja Canyon Dam.

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