Life Life

22/05/2020 - 07:44

The Canary date palms in Hue now have their successors

In late 2018, when seeing the three out of four date palms being moved to the roundabout, I wondered if any of them was female. If not, the date palms in Hue would be extinct.

The four 100-year-old Canary date palms at the Petroleum Company

In some previous articles, we wrote about the four precious and rare date palms in Hue. Those 100-year-old date palms had been originally grown on campus of Thua Thien Hue Petroleum Company where the Vincom building is located now.

With time and concerns of tree lovers, 3 out of 4 date palms were moved to the roundabout in late 2018 with the excitement of many people. People were excited because these old date palms had been moved here and there many times before staying temporarily in the low land of Vy Da for years. People wondered if they would be strong enough to survive after this final move.

Fortunately, with care and attention of people at the Green Park Center, the three Canary date palms at the intersection have taken root and spanned their branches, becoming a beautiful highlight right in the heart of the city. Through newspapers, many people in Hue know they are very precious trees. People feel happy and relaxed looking at them every time they pass the trees. 

The three date palms become a highlight in the center of the city

But this Canary date species is strange. There are males and females; and they just grow well only when they are together (?). Only one of the four trees on campus of the Petroleum Company is female. Of course, only that female palm bears fruit from which we have seeds to make them germinate. 

It is so hard for date palm seeds to germinate. The trees grow very slowly too. That is why for many decades, neither their owners nor tree-growers had thought of multiply them. It was not until recently that the Green Park Center noticed. They asked the Petroleum Company for seeds to spread. 

I have close friends at the company. They told me that it was so complicated to grow this palm species. The germination rate is only 10%. Even if they survive, they would grow up very slowly. 

At the time, I intended to take a picture of the palms, but my friends asked me to wait until the plants would grow up a little bit. Thinking that they wanted to make sure and they knew the saying “Don’t count your chicken before they hatch.” Or maybe they did not want a stranger like me to touch the plants. The palms might be shy and would not grow up. I then soon forgot all about them.

A long time afterwards, during the days of social distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic to comply with the direction of the Prime Minister, I decided to take the opportunity to grasp the camera and tour the city to take some pictures for my documents. 

I did not know what urged me to, but I happened to enter the park on Le Duan St. My intention was to see what the moat around the Imperial City was like after being repaired. Suddenly my eyes caught sight of some young and tender palm trees. I looked more closely at their leaves and trunks. Oh my God, they were Canary date palms. 

Sure they were. Because this botanical garden belonged to the Green Park Center, which had been chosen to be responsible for germinating the date palm species from the Petroleum Company. 

I called my friends at the Green Park Center and knew I was right. There were 12 palms all together; from 20-30 years old. The tallest one was about 1.5m high. Its dead leaves left on it diamond-shaped scales lined up together. They looked so beautiful and typical. Smaller palms were only 20-30cm tall. But all of them had thick and green canopies full of life.

The young date palms in the botanical garden

So the Canary date species in Hue finally had their successors. I was relieved. When seeing the three out of four date palms being moved to the roundabout, I wondered if any of them was female. If not, the date palms in Hue would be extinct. Now that my concern was no more, to me, it was a joy that is big, “green” and “peaceful” amid the COVID pandemic. 

The Canary date palm is native to the Canary Islands in northwestern Africa, belonging to the areca family (Arecaceae.) Its scientific name is Phoenix canariensis Hort. ex Chabaud. The palm has its trunk which can be up to 0.6m in diameter like a column and its height can reach 20 meters. The trunk is covered with large scaly marks caused by dead leaves, diamond-shaped, beautiful and unique.

Story and photos: DIEN THONG