Tuesday, October 08, 2013

1200 Palm trees affected by fire cleaned

One of the specialised teams of 'palm doctors'       (Photo:
More than 1200 Canary Islands date palm (Phoenix Canariensis) trees which were damaged by last year's devastating fire on La Gomera have been cleaned-up in Valle Gran Rey by local specialists in recent weeks and work is continuing. The Canarian palm can survive fires and often grows even stronger after having been blackened by fire. The work carried out involves climbing up the sooty trunks to the sad-looking crown and the removing the dead fronds with saws and special knives. This is very tough work indeed and it is dangerous not only because of the height to climb but also because of the hard needle-sharp pointed spikes of the fronds' ends. If you're ever passing low-hanging fronds of Canary palms, make sure to avoid them as they can give you very deep and nasty wounds or could easily pierce an eye. The clean-up is part of  fire prevention measures that include the removal of thousands of tons of dead and partially-burnt vegetation as well as other material that could catch fire very easily from all over the island of La Gomera.
La Gomera is home to more than 100.000 Phoenix Canariensis trees,
forming the largest population of the palms in the Canarian archipelago
The following quote is from the Journal of the International Palm Society (Palms):
''The most interesting island of all for palms is La Gomera: thousands of P canariensis live in the most diverse landscapes, from desert to waterfalls, showing every possible aspect that this mighty palm can assume. La palmera is extremely respected by the islanders, los gomeros, because it is still a source of guarapo, palm honey. This tasty product is regularly hand-extracted from incisions made in the apical bud without killing the palm and then sold in the island's markets.(Note: Guarapo is not palm honey but the sweet sap that rises up the trunk at night. This is  boiled down to a syrup which is then called palm honey or miel de palma in Spanish - Willie) One of the most beautiful palmerales of all the seven islands is found in the majestic scenery of Valle Gran Rey: a canyon with 700-m high vertical dry cliffs of volcanic lava, which hang above the very humid terraced floor, intensively cultivated with bananas (Musa 'Dwarf Cavendish'), Arundo donax, and P canariensis. The valley is entirely free of P dactylifera. The only exotic palms are a few washingtonias and Roystonea sp. The entire island is a biosphere reserve and Valle Gran Rey is its pearl...''
 A copse of Phoenix Canariensis. Another beautiful photo by © Alexius Jorgensen


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Somerset Wedding Gal said...

Oh no the palm trees, they're such beautiful things. The Palm doctors look like they are doing some truly sterling work.