My Ignorance of Palm Trees

I learned something new on our trip to Pohnpei this last week. Palm trees grow something other than coconuts!

I've noticed before that there are palms around here that look a bit different; some are spinier, some are short and squatty, some are tall with just a few fronds on the top and others are almost all frond and no trunk but I mistakenly assumed that all of them grew coconuts. I never looked that closely I guess.


Here on Kwaj, a lot of them don't have anything growing on them because they keep them trimmed so nothing falls on your head while you are walking under them. (Safety is #1 around here.)

Come to find out there are over 2600 species of palm. They grow anything from coconuts, dates, betelnut, ivory nuts, and there are many uses for other parts of them besides just the fruit. Coir is a coarse water-resistant fiber extracted from the outer shell of coconuts, used in doormats, brushes, mattresses, and ropes. Rattan comes from palms and is used to make furniture. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil. Several species are harvested for heart of palm, a vegetable eaten in salads and palm sap is sometimes fermented to produce palm wine or toddy, an alcoholic beverage common in parts of Africa, India, and the Philippines.

Who knew?

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