Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre

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It's minus 3 degrees centigrade as I write. The sun has just dropped below the horizon and from my office window I can actually watch thick frost forming on the roof and windscreen of my car. However, winter's icy grip cannot last forever, and as we are already at the end of January, I guess I can put up with the cold for another month. Just a week ago I returned from three weeks in south east Brazil, somewhat different weather-wise with temperatures around 30-35C every day, and blazing sunshine to boot. Brazil is a very palmy country and we saw some fabulous examples: lots of different Syagrus, all four species of Allagoptera, huge Attalea, spiny Bactris, ubiquitous Elaeis, and many more.

Our itinerary took us from Rio north west into the dry interior, primitive but not uncomfortable. The scenery was spectacular with, every so often, huge sugar loaf' mountains rising from the flat plain, sometimes with palms on the very top. Here we found the rare dwarf Butia archeri, which grows only to about 3 or 4 feet even at maturity. The short but thick trunks were blackened as a result of many grass fires, but they seemed not to mind. Here also was Syagrus glaucescens, quite different from the well-known Queen palm, with stiff leaflets, and a maximum height of only about 5 metres. They grow on rocky outcrops, in tiny pockets of soil.

We continued north, heading east then towards the coast, where we turned south. We found the rare' Allagoptera campestris and were congratulating ourselves on finding this small population, only to see nothing else, from horizon to horizon, for the next 30 miles. There must have been countless millions of them, as far as the eye could see, in all directions. It's so rare as to be virtually unknown in cultivation. An important subsequent find was Syagrus macrocarpa, considered by some authors to be at serious risk of extinction. They are beautiful palms with – you've guessed it – big seeds, the size of hen's eggs. Heading down the coast we ended up in Rio, and spent a couple of days as tourists at Copacabana and Ipanema. Visiting the famous and huge statue of Christo Redemptor' (Christ the Redeemer) on a mountaintop over looking the city with outstretched arms, was a long-to-be-remembered bonus. The Brazilians and a relaxed and friendly people, ever willing to help, hospitable to the extreme, with an open and sunny disposition, which certainly suits the climate. An article of the whole trip is planned for a later issue.

This issue, number 40, marks an important anniversary in the history of our Society. We have now been going for 10 years, our first issue having been published in 1991. Oh what changes there have been in the intervening period! The interest in our kind of plants' has been little short of a revolution, and now you can buy Trachycarpus and Chamaerops and Phoenix even at your local flower shop. It's phenomenal! But I guess an even bigger change has been the introduction of the Internet, which most people had never even dreamed about, let along heard of, back in 1991. Now it's so familiar and commonplace we take it totally for granted. Has there ever been a change so dramatic, so widespread that took over the world in such a short space of time? I doubt it.

I'm very pleased with the articles in this milestone issue. There is a great paper about an expedition to Mexico to look for Cycads, very interesting reading indeed. Another article from Peter strong all about Tree Ferns, one about disappearing palms by Carlo Morici, just to mention a few. Something for everybody!

From our next issue (#41) we are changing the style and size of our journal. It will be DOUBLE the size, which will enable us to publish much bigger photographs, still in the high quality that we are used to. But we need your help! It's a bit late for New Year Resolutions but if you haven't yet contributed, please resolve to pen an article or even a letter in the next few weeks. The European Palm Society, now a proud ten years old, is nothing without its members, and their contributions. We need your input and look forward to hearing from you soon. Meantime, enjoy this issue.

Readers Comments:

On 20-2-2001 Paul Wilkes wrote:
Keep up the good work!
I can't claim to have been there at the start, 1993 I joined, but I find my passion for palms and other exotics has never waned, In fact just gets stronger and sronger.
Long may the society prosper, and share there knowledge of these wonderful plants.

 Your comments:    Editorial, Autumn Edition 2000, Issue 40 
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  02-02-23 - 12:39GMT
 What's New?
 New palm book
 Date: 24-05-2004

An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
 New: Issue 48
 Date: 24-05-2004
Chamaerops 48
has been published in the Members Area.
 Archive complete!
 Date: 03-12-2002
All Chamaerops issues can now be found in the archive: More than 350 articles are on-line!
 Issues 13 to 16
 Date: 28-08-2002
Chamaerops mags 13, 14, 15 and 16 have been added to the members area. More than 250 articles are now online!
 42 as free pdf-file
 Date: 05-08-2002
Free Download! Chamaerops No. 42 can be downloaded for free to intruduce the new layout and size to our visitors
 Issues 17 to 20
 Date: 23-07-2002
Chamaerops mags 17, 18, 19 and 20 have been added to the members area. Now 218 articles online!
 Book List
 Date: 28-05-2001
Take a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
 New Book
 Date: 25-01-2001
'Palmen in Mitteleuropa'
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...