The loss of Phoenix canariensis at Marimurtra

In the last two decades, pests have appeared that have no predator. The use of chemical insecticides to combat them affected other pollinating species, such as bees or birds. Marimurtra has been managing FitoZero in the garden for 6 years (no chemical treatment).

When treatments were carried out with chemical products, four treatments were carried out; and with the management with ecological products, the number of treatments must be doubled in order to have a similar effectiveness. Occasionally, there are different circumstances that make it difficult to carry out all the treatments, and when constancy cannot be maintained is when there are these casualties of different specimens. It is for this reason that these two specimens of Phoenix canariensis have been cut down, specifically due to the attack of the weevil beetle, also known as the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus).

However, there are different causes that can lead to the loss of different specimens, such as pests, climate change or the appearance of invasive species, among others.

Before or after the palm tree is removed, the species planted is being replaced. In order to increase diversity and reduce the number of specimens of the same species and to avoid having to combat these new pests that have no predator.

The Phoenix canariensis of Marimurtra

Palms belong to the Arecaceae family, which are monocotyledonous flowering plants. It is also known as the palm family (Palmae).

It is a family native to tropical and subtropical zones, in Europe there is only one native species, the palmetto (Chamaerops humilis), all the other palms in our territory have been introduced by man. In the tropics they occupy all types of biotopes, from rainforest to desert. They generally prefer water-rich but well-drained soils with high temperatures.

Palms are generally arboreal plants (more rarely shrubby or lianoid) but with a completely different organisation to other trees.

1. Palms are monocotyledonous, like grasses. However, palms are actually megaforbs (giant grasses). When the seeds germinate, a single cotyledon emerges, a primitive leaf that is very reminiscent of grass. In the case of the genus Phoenix, it is a single leaf.

2. Monocotyledons are plants that only multiply by seed.

Propagation by cuttings is widely used in tree propagation, but it is difficult to make it work in palms. On the one hand, few palms develop several trunks (Chamaerops humilis, Phoenix dactylifera, Cyrtostachys renta or Nannorhops ritchiana), and on the other hand, palms lack cambium or secondary meristem, without this meristem, there can be no growth.

3. The structure of palms is fibrous, not woody and the trunk is not a true trunk, it does not develop growth rings (pines make 1 ring per year), it is known by the name of stipe.

The stipes only grow in width (secondary growth) until they reach their final thickness, which depends on the species. After that, their diameter is constant from the stem to the terminal leaf cluster. The only part with meristematic tissues, with the capacity for growth, is the upper part of the trunk of palms, what we call “the eye of the palm”. With rare exceptions, the stipe is not branched. If the stipe is injured, it does not recover. Along the stipe are the marks left by the petioles of the falling leaves.