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A Journey Into Paradise

The Palm Trees of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula

15 January, 2014

Some of the world’s most beautiful palm trees can be found growing wild on Mexico’s gorgeous Yucatan Peninsula. Reaching anywhere from just a few feet, to more than one hundred feet tall, the palm tree is though to be one of the world’s most versatile trees and boasts origins that date all the way back to prehistoric times.

With more than 1,500 varieties in existence, palms provide us with food, oil that is used in soap, cosmetics and margarine, shelter, decorative mats and Vitamin B,to name only a few of the many things that palm trees can provide. Some of the more common types of palm tree found around the Mexican Caribbean include the Chit Palm, the Coconut Palm, the Queen Palm and the Royal Palm.

The Chit Palm tree, also known as the Thatch Palm, can be found throughout the forests of the entire Caribbean region and is characterized by the width of their leaves – known as fronds – which make an excellent building material for thatch-roofed huts or lean-tos. The attractive, dark green glossy fronds have drooping leaf tips and the trees are generally at least several feet tall at maturity.

The Coconut Palm is rare among its peers in that it actually makes up its very own genus, with more than 80 known named varieties resulting from many years of cultivation. The Coconut Palm has its origins in southeast Asia and today they are one of the best-known varieties of palm tree in the entire world. An international symbol of the tropics, mature trees can reach upwards of 100 feet. They have a characteristic slender trunk that is ringed with the signs of growth and often leans slightly to one side or the other. It bears large coconuts that turn yellow or green during the early stages of ripening, then become dry and brown when fully ripe.

Royal Palms can reach up to 80 feet in height and boast massive fronds that span upwards of 15 feet in length, but has a small fruit that is typically less than one inch in diameter. Look for a beautiful light gray trunk and bright glossy crown shaft to properly identify this beauty, which is often used as decoration to line the streets and shopping plazas of the Mexican Caribbean's most stunning destinations.

Also popular for decorative and landscaping purposes, the Queen Palm has flowing, glossy green fronds and regularly reaches heights upwards of 60 feet. Graceful and full of whimsy,Queen Palms can appear to be dancing in the breeze and they bear a tiny yellow fruit several times throughout the year.

Topics: Yucatan