Martin Gibbons, c/o The Palm Centre
on this article:
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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
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
On 20-2-2001 Paul
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
22-10-21 - 01:21GMT
|| What's New?
|| New palm book
| Date: 24-05-2004
of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
|| New: Issue 48
| Date: 24-05-2004
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,
have been added to the members area. More than 250 articles are now online!
|| 42 as free pdf-file
| Date: 05-08-2002
Download! Chamaerops No. 42 can be downloaded for free to intruduce the new layout and size to
|| Issues 17 to 20
| Date: 23-07-2002
| Chamaerops mags 17,
have been added to the members area. Now 218 articles online!
|| Book List
| Date: 28-05-2001
a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
|| New Book
| Date: 25-01-2001
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...