Ten years ago, the City of Venice bought 128 medjool date palm trees for $4,500 apiece. They were planted along Business 41 as a grand welcome to Venice Island. Not only are the palms stately and beautiful, but the medjool species is also more durable than other types of palms, able to withstand a variety of conditions—including the heat, rain and humidity—while not susceptible to diseases and fungi that can fell other trees. Nearly every last one of Venice’s medjool palms has remained healthy to this day.

The Name Game

Its scientific name, Phoenix dactylifera, comes from the Phoenician word for “date palm” and the Greek word for “finger,” referencing the curved, fleshy fruit. “Medjool” is the Arabic name for this type of date.

It’s A Date!

Medjool palms are also known as the “true date palm tree” for producing the fruits (though high humidity here prevents the dates from maturing to edibility).

Putting down roots

Originally from Northern Africa and the Middle East, the trees became popular in the United States for landscaping in the 1990s.

Flex Your Fronds

The branches of the adult trees can hold up to 250 pounds—strong enough to support a grown man.

But mind the spine

Each frond is lined with thorns that can be as long as six inches and are sharp and strong enough to puncture tractor tires. Landscapers take great care when maintaining these trees.

STANDING TALL

The trees grow to a height of between

50 feet and 80 feet.

And stylish, too

Trimming old fronds close to the trunk

reveals a diamond pattern.

—HANNAH WALLACE

                               VENICE MAGAZINE   Winter | spring 2015

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