Monday, August 09, 2010

Spiny Palm

A spiny palm tree growing in the Arboretum at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. I snapped this picture because I really liked the texture of the fibrous wrappings around the base of the fronds and the effect of those huge, herbivore-repelling spines. It would be really fascinating to know what purpose, if any, those fibrous wrappings play and why they rise so much higher on this palm than others that I have seen. Perhaps they provide shelter for a symbiotic resident such as a bird or rodent that then eats and spreads the seeds necessary for the plant's survival. Perhaps they serve to funnel water down to the plant's roots (now there's a science experiment!). If I find a docent next time I'm there, I'll ask!

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