Name: Palm Tree
Scientific name: Phoenix
Flowering period: May - July
The palm tree is a typical tree of the tropical zone. There are about 17 species, different depending on the area where they grow: riverside and lakeside species of the savanna, species of the deserts, the equatorial forest, as well as the Mediterranean. In Greece, the Cretan palm, which belongs to the "Phoenix Theophrasti" species, is native to Greece, popular in depictions of Minoan palaces.
Palm trees are evergreen trees, with a relatively slow growth rate. Dry atmosphere, high temperatures and abundant water for irrigation, are essential for their growth. Their trunk is straight and vertical. On its top grow large compound leaves, with a length of 2 to 5 meters. They bear small yellow flowers and, sometimes, fruits, the dates. Palms can self-propagate from previous years' fallen seeds.
Usage & History:
Palm trees have great decorative value and are used in gardening and landscaping. The fruits of some species are edible. The name is probably attributed to their original transport area, Phoenicia (present-day Lebanon, Israel and Syria), although they are endemic trees of North Africa.
In Minoan and Mycenaean times, the palm tree was associated with the afterlife. It symbolized "evergreen", fertility and fruitfulness. In mythology it is closely associated with Apollo, who was born in the sacred island of Delos, in the shade of a palm tree. The god's sister, Artemis, maintained a grove of palm trees in Aulis. In ancient Greece and Rome the palm branch, like a wreath of laurels, was considered a symbol of victory, the winners of competitions were crowned with it. In Christian tradition, the Jews welcomed Christ upon His entry into Jerusalem, with palm tree branches.