As the name implies, Biennials are held every two years. These extremely popular events generally last a week and give attendees a chance to see a wide variety of palms both in cultivated gardens as well as in their native habitats. Palm experts from various parts of the world give entertaining talks during the course of the week that increase each registrant’s knowledge about this fascinating plant family. Some of the most knowledgeable palm people in the world attend these events and always welcome questions from anyone who asks. Last but certainly not least, attendees get a chance to meet other people from every corner of the globe that share their enthusiasm about palms. It is a chance to learn and to socialize. Long lasting friendships are formed and attendees look forward to a chance to renew those friendships and make new ones at each succeeding Biennial. Generally 150 to 200 people make the trip to a biennial.
Biennials are usually held in countries which have affiliate palm societies or at least a group of IPS members who wish to host them. To attend a Biennial, you must be a member of the IPS. Often post and pre-trips are planned to other parts of the same country or another country nearby.
Recent Biennials include Singapore and Sarawak in 2016, South Florida in 2014, Thailand in 2012 and Brazil in 2010. The 2018 Biennial will be held in Columbia.
Biennials have been held for nearly as long as the IPS has existed. The first one was held at Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami, Florida in 1958. Because the Society was founded in Florida, the first events were held there as well. As the IPS grew, and members joined from elsewhere in the United States and then the rest of the world, the biennials began to move back and forth across the country and then to other countries. With members from over 70 countries now, it has become normal to see people from a great many of them in attendance at these events.
Below is a list of all the past Biennials. Those highlighted, when clicked on, will take you to a page that tells more about that particular event. Information is still be added to this section of the website. Check back often and see what has been added. It is a window to our history and will give you an idea of what to expect when you plan on attending a Biennial.
Dominican Republic 2006 - Group photo at the 2006 Biennial in the Dominican Republic at the Casa Bonita Hotel taken by Ryan Gallivan
California 1964 – Members enjoying the plants in the lath house at Balboa Park, San Diego during the 1964 Biennial in California. Photo by W. Aplin
Brazil 2010- Members of the 2010 Biennial in Brazil enjoying the hotel pool after a day’s activities
Costa Rica 2008 - Members of the 2008 Biennial in Costa Rica admiring the native palms found in Braulio Carrillo National Park
Dr. Jerome P. Keuper, left, hosted 2 Biennials in 1970 and 1976 at Florida Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) in Melbourne, Florida. Dent Smith, right, is the Founder of The International Palm Society and was its first President in 1956. They stand at the entrance to the Dent Smith Trail at F.I.T. in 1975.
Hawaii 2004 – Bo-Göran Lundkvist addressing members touring his garden during the 2004 Biennial in Hawaii
Venezuela 1994 – Some of the attendees of the 1994 Biennial in Venezuela taking a break and talking about the palms they saw after hiking up Mt. Avila