March 2020 Newsletter

One of the great joys of all palm lovers is visiting palms in habitat. This is why the International Palm Society Biennial meetings are so memorable. This exhilaration clearly resonates with our mandate of palm and habitat preservation.

The Southern California desert hosts the only palm native to the western United States and one of the largest indigenous palms on the continent. Wash-ingtonia filifera is found in spring-fed desert canyons at low elevations. Perhaps the most legendary plants are seen in the Anza-Borrego De-sert State Park. Here are mar-velous populations of these plants growing in a desert oa-sis. The Palm Canyon hike is a short one and can be done with little difficulty. You gain only 530 feet in elevation over a 3-mile roundtrip through the slot canyon. While there are many interesting things to see if you enjoy the desert, the Washingtonia filifera oasis is the highlight. It is part of a riparian environment which makes Palm Canyon so unique. Even a non-palm lover has to admire the beauty found in the palm oasis.

Photo of desert tophography

The ramble begins with typical desert topography (all photos by Andy Hurwitz)

Palms in Habitat – Washintonia filifera

In 2004, a flash flood went through Palm Canyon with a huge wall of water knocking down and ripping out a large portion of the Washingtonia filifera from the oasis. You can imagine how large that wall of water had to be to rip full grown palms out of the ground and transport them miles down the canyon.

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