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Palm Trees

The palm family of trees has approximately 202 genera and 2,600 species. The palms are native to tropical and subtropical climates, and commonly known palms are date, coconut, and areca nut. Known to have existed around 80 million years ago, palms are among the oldest varieties of flowering plants.

The trunks of the palm have been used since ancient times to build catamarans or special boats. Dates are harvested from palms. Palms produce coir ropes, mats, and bags, and palm oil is extracted from palms, along with palm wine.

In the US, different species of palm are native to Florida, California, Hawaii, Southern Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. In fact, South Carolina is popularly known as the Palmetto State after the palms that line the coast.

As with all other things, many species of palm are facing extinction and are under threat from urbanisation, natural disasters, hybridization, and a lack of knowledge amongst common folk. Destruction of natural habitats, forest clearing operations, mining, clearing of mangroves, and dumping of trash are all detrimental to the survival of palms. Like other plants, palms are also prone to destruction by nature and disease.

Ornamental palms are a luxury and can cost from fifty to several hundred dollars.

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