Palm of Plenty
Walking Saturday morning from the Rancho to downtown Riverside, I came upon a stand of a half-dozen Mexican blue palms that were heavily laden with fruit. Native to Baja California, Mexico, their proper name is brahea armata. Sporting 4- to 10-foot-long bunches of vividly colored ovals, the stocky trees caused me to stop in my tracks and I was happy I’d decided to bring my camera along. Their bluish-green, fan-shaped foliage provided a gorgeously neutral contrast for the brilliantly-hued fruit. But this was not the end of the palm show …
These creamy cascades of blossoms were also amazingly beautiful. At 8- to 10-feet in length, their long, curving stems jutted from the tree’s center in attractive arcs. Unlike some date palms, the Mexican blue palm’s flowers are not either male or female; this palm is hermaphroditic.
I love these trees because they’re so short, and their fruit and flower stems are so long. I’ve often been attracted to palms with colorful bunches of dates hanging, but not been able to reach them easily. I want one of the fruit bunches and think I’ll return and cut one down. (The trees are in the parkway, not on anyone’s property, and will just fall to the ground anyway.) It’ll look great stretched across the length of a burled wood credenza in the living room, and no one will have to pick it off the sidewalk … right, officer?