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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 9:16 PM
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Palm Trees of Canada

Yes, there are palm trees in Canada, but of course they are along the west coast of BC, mostly along the east side of Vancouver Island (Victoria and Nanaimo) the Vancouver area and the sunshine coast north of Vancouver. They are primarily the windmill palm, but there are also Cordylines and two species of banana. I believe in the mildest areas there are a few other varieties that are able to survive as well, but they require more attention than the ones listed above.

Anyways, here is the tour!

We will start in Victoria, which actually by far has the most palms but i only have a few pics of:

This one was taken in early March, Victoria's climate is actually classified as sub Mediterranean due to its ild winters and dry summers.

[img]

These pics were taken in April










Now to Vancouver, which I have many many more pics of!

Here are a bunch at an older apartment complex in the Kits area.









These are the palms that most people see when they come to Vancouver, for they are in English Bay, a popular tourist trap. In fact as i was taking these pictures (these ones are from yesterday) I overheard an American couple from Martha's Vineyard exclaiming that there are palm trees in Canada!









Looks like a jungle! (This one is my favorite of the day)





Have to love Vancouver!



















These next ones are outside of an apartment building near English Bay







This one looks like a scene right out of southern Europe to me



The famous Blenz Palm Tree



The High School across the street



And now on Robson Street










Now here are a few from my neck of the woods, Maple Ridge, a burb of Van














These ones are from Sechelt, a small town on the Snshine Coast, north of Vancouver.














And last but not least, here is a pic of the Arbutus tree, which is native to the south Coast of BC. It is a beautiful tree and is evergreen. It is by far Canada's most exotic native tree.



Al pics are my own!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30634635@N03/

Cheers!
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 9:51 PM
billy corgan billy corgan is offline
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I don’t see how this has anything to do about cities or architecture but windmill palms and banana trees are located in eastern Canada as well. In the past few years’ hardy tropicals are popping up all over the place. In Niagara on the Lake there are a few windmill and needle palms plus monkey puzzle trees (unprotected). Banana trees have been used as perennials in southern Ontario since I was a kid.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 9:57 PM
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Gardening is a big part of urban landscapes That is how it ties in.

But I do know that growing a palm in Ontario obviously takes much more work, and they will be far more stunted / grow slower than that of Vancouver or Victoria. The same as growing a palm in new York takes a lot more work than growing one in Seattle, which has the same climate as Vancouver.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 9:58 PM
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I really dislike the idea of palm trees in Canada. It just seems so unnatural and doesn't go with the landscape/architecture in any way.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 10:10 PM
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Well palm trees are not native to San Franciso either, (same with most of Europe where on can find them, and even areas such as South Africa the majority of the palms are not native) so you must not like them there as well.

So how do palms go with the land scape and architecture there?

Especially given that the biogeoclimate zone of Victoria and San Fran are far more similar than you think. Victoria is in the Douglas Fir, Arbutus, Garry Oak ecosystem with Garry Oak meadows. This is a common ecosystem found throughout Northern, and even central California along the coast. In fact one can even find the prickly pear cactus growing in the driest hillside of southern Vancouver Island. Again, it is classified as sub Mediterranean.

I also fail to see how it does not match the architecture since many of the buildings in these posts are quite similar to those found in California (especially the condos around English Bay, which have actually been used as Miami stand ins for several TV shows) Not to mention several of the buildings in the pictures also have red tiled roofs, very Mediterranean looking IMO.

I think it may simply go against your pre-conceived notion of Canada. I had a friend who came from Japan to Canada to study English and he really did not enjoy staying in Vancouver, because before he came into Canada he had it in his head that all Canadian cities were akin to small rural towns, so to him it was unfitting that Vancouver was a multi-million person city with large office towers and a metro system.

What I like to show in my photo threads is that not everywhere in Canada is the stereotypical "Canadian" image

Here is another photo thread I posted recently about the semi-desert regions in BC just 3 hours east of Vancouver:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=183264

Please take a look at that one as well
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Last edited by Metro-One; Sep 3, 2010 at 10:27 PM.
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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 10:58 PM
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Nice photos. Windmill palms are surprisingly hardy, down to -15C (5F). I love their skinny, hairy trunks. They can't handle the summer heat too well where I'm at.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by destroycreate View Post
I really dislike the idea of palm trees in Canada. It just seems so unnatural and doesn't go with the landscape/architecture in any way.
I don't get this complaint. For the most part, the types of palms occurring in these photos are naturally found in colder climates. Just because some people associate palms with tropical climates doesn't take away the simple fact that this plant species has adapted over the course of time to be sustainable in less than tropical environments. And yet on the west coast of Canada, where the climate actually is quite mild, it's wrong for them to be grown there? Granted the palms aren't original to the area, but I'd be surprised if there are many locations anywhere in the world that *only* have growing plants that are original to their area. I think their use in the landscaping seen in some of these photos is quite nice.

(The banana palms seem a little more odd, but if people are willing to put in the work to have them there, I say more power to them... I'm all for increasing greenery within cities.)
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 11:06 PM
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nice collection of pics of the palms
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 11:08 PM
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And it's not like these palm trees will have cocunuts any time soon.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 11:15 PM
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These are not tropical palm trees guys, don't hyperventilate
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 11:17 PM
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Actually these are the fruit of the Windmill palm:



The reproductive parts of the windmill palm are not as tolerant to the cold as its other organs, so in many regions one can grow the palm these berry reproductive portions will not survive. The south coast of BC is warm enough that most specimens can retain their reproductive organs and bear fruit.

But yes, I do not expect any coconut palm trees here anytime soon, hehe.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by destroycreate View Post
I really dislike the idea of palm trees in Canada. It just seems so unnatural and doesn't go with the landscape/architecture in any way.
Have you seen the landscape of most of Southern BC? Identical to Southern/Central California pretty much
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Old Posted Sep 4, 2010, 12:35 AM
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Nice pictures. It is still strange for me to see palm trees in Canada, even though they can grow there.

What is that more lush, more tropical-looking palm called? Is it a banana palm? We have some of those here in Delaware (another place where palm trees look out of place) in people's yards, but I never knew what type they were.
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Old Posted Sep 4, 2010, 1:05 AM
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Yep, those are banana trees, here you simply stick them in the ground and they grow back every year (they die back usually in November, or December in southern BC, depending on where you are, when the temperature drops below -2 C (28 F) for the first time). So all growth there is one years worth of growth. But here their roots don't freeze.

Last year, during our really hot summer, some people actually had a few bearing fruit (of course really small), such as my neighbors down the street. Our long frost free season helps them a lot.

There are two types that can grow here though, the first is the pure green one (the most common) and it is the most hardy, and that is likely the one you see in Delaware. The other is the one with the mixed green / purple leaves you can see in a couple of my pics, they are less frost hardy but still do fine here.

Obviously all of the exotics here are outside year round (many of my pics shown are taken in early March and early April for example).

Many of the windmill palms shown have grown much larger over the past 10 years (when i first started taking an interest in them) A few of them, as shown in a couple pics, are approaching 30 feet tall.
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Old Posted Sep 4, 2010, 1:49 AM
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Thnks for clearing that up for me.

One thing that I forgot to add is that that arbutus tree looks great. It looks like something I would expect to see in Australia.
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Old Posted Sep 4, 2010, 6:02 AM
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I love this thread. The cactus in your Ashcroft BC thread by the way is an opuntia fragilis. I have taken a couple of trips to Central Oregon to find native cacti. There are fragilis there as well as a barrel cactus, and the landscape is a lot like the BC deserts, though I think a bit drier. And as for the palms, they are becoming more and more common on the Oregon Coast and in the Willamette Valley. By the way, I'd be very interested to see any pictures of the cacti that grow in the Vancouver area if you have any...
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Old Posted Sep 4, 2010, 6:38 AM
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Banana trees and palm trees...now you're just rubbing it in
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Old Posted Sep 4, 2010, 3:33 PM
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Nice photos! I don't think those palms look out of place at all.
Banana trees used as perennials are quite common here in northern Illinois also. They look nice when mixed with elephant ears and yucca. Rent-A-Palms are also popular here in the Quad Cities and many yards plus the streets of downtown Rock Island can have a tropical look all summer.
These royal palms are pretty short as they rent trees that are much taller but this is the only photo I have. They usually hide the planters much better also so they look more natural but places to do that are limited in downtown.

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Old Posted Sep 4, 2010, 5:19 PM
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They look just like Mediterranean Fan Palms to me.

Most people don't know that prior to the 1920's most of Calif. was palm tree free. They were imported to give LA a more exotic look. Same goes for most of Southern AZ.
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Old Posted Sep 5, 2010, 2:42 AM
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What we are seeing is Trachycarpus fortunei, the Chinese Fan Palm. It is well adapted to cool summer climates.
There are one or two other species of Trachycarpus with similar hardiness including Trachycarpus takil. I believe a few other palms are being experimented with in BC. I am not surprised that people are trialing Trachycarpus in the Niagara region but we will see if it is long lived there.

The Needle Palm from the SE USA is widely believed to be the hardiest of all palms followed by Sabal minor but are not as well adapted to the cool west coast climate. Both of these palms can be grown as shrubs quite far north on the east coast.

By the way, Washingtonia filifera and Washingtonia robusta are native to parts of Southern California and they are the familiar and widely grown fan palms grown there.

As far as bananas are concerned, the hardiest species are Musa basjoo and Musa sikkamensis. Both of these can be grown in Ottawa and Montreal with proper siting and mulching. The purple leafed Ensete maurelii and striped leafed bananas are not hardy in Ontario. Another banana, Musella lasiocarpa is supposed to be quite hardy, but failed trials locally. I am sure it will grow in BC.

I am always thrilled to see 'sub-tropicals' successfully integrated into the landscape in temperate climates. Great photos!

Last edited by lrt's friend; Sep 5, 2010 at 3:12 AM.
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