They arrived in the 19th century brought by emigrants; a plague threatens them

The exotic palm trees of Galicia: the origin of a natural jewel in danger of extinction

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the photos have been accumulating and I have a few pending publication. I start today with this one.

El Castro and the MS Queen Victoria
Vigo: the Moon over the Diamond Bastion of the Castle of El Castro

I took this photo on February 12, 2021, a few minutes after eight o'clock in the evening. The palm trees of the Samil beach promenade were reflected in a very beautiful way on the pool, with a fringe of clouds marking the Cies Islands in the background. Over the years, many people who have visited Galicia will have been surprised by the large number of palm trees in this region. It is a somewhat strange tree for a territory with an oceanic climate. Where does this Galician taste for palm trees come from?

Ángela Precedo explained it two years ago in El Correo Gallego: "It was typical that in the 19th century, the emigrants who had become rich in America and returned to Galicia planted in the gardens of their large estates and mansions the Canarian palm tree. It was a sign that they had conquered the five continents." In 2016, Rafael L. Torre wrote this in Faro de Vigo about Pontevedra at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century: "The plantations made of foreign species offered such surprising results that the idea that this city enjoyed a special microclimate deeply penetrated. This motivated a firm commitment to exotic plants and unique trees in its garden areas."

Unfortunately, these exotic trees are being threatened today by a plague that arrived in Spain from Saudi Arabia in 1993: the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus), a beetle that is destroying thousands of palm trees in Galicia. Many have had to be cut down. Hopefully the others can be saved.

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