Palm trees in Florida withstood the wrath of Hurricane Ian well.

Long rows of royal palm trees on either side of McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. Almost all trees survived Hurricane Ian. Saul Martinez for NPR Caption toggle Caption Saul Martinez for NPR Royal Palm trees line either side of McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. Almost all trees survived Hurricane Ian. Sol Martinez of NPR Fort Myers, Florida. — As Ian did in southwest Florida, when you turn on the TV when a hurricane hits the shore, the image the camera should see is a palm tree swaying in the raging wind. Essential footage should be a visual proof of nature’s wrath. And it is. But palm trees in the face of hurricanes are just as much a symbol of resilience to life, especially in the city of palm trees, Fort Myers. I finally counted them. Ian is the 20th hurricane I’ve dealt with on NPR. big blow or aftermath. The first was the monster Hugo who looked me in the eye in Charleston, South Carolina in 1989. I sat in a sweltering hotel room, exhausted, talking to the news desk, and staring out the trembling window several times. Iconic palm trees, stalks that give strength to strong winds, and leaves fluttering behind your back like the hair of a troubled girl. But palm trees are rarely broken! Artist Megan Kissinger poses for a photo at her home in Fort Myers. Saul Martinez hide of NPR Caption toggle caption Saul Martinez of NPR “The palm tree gets a lot of wind like all other trees, but it can bend and it can bend,” says wildlife artist and native Florida native Megan Kissinger. He lives in Fort Myers and paints palm trees. “And I think Florida people have lived here long enough and have gone through Category 5 a few times, which is pretty terrifying. But the next morning I woke up and counted all the family members and they were all gone. Okay, let’s go clean up.” Resilience – humans and trees. If that happens, the elegant bayside city of Fort Myers will now be known as a direct hit from Category 4 Ian. But it is also an appropriate place for a hymn to the palm tree. A wild parrot is sitting on a palm tree by McGregor Boulevard. Saul Martinez for NPR Caption toggle Caption Saul Martinez for NPR A wild parrot is sitting in a palm tree by McGregor Boulevard. NPR’s Saul Martinez “The Fort Myers nickname is the City of Palms,” says Karen Maxwell, who met at the back door of the Edison-Ford Winter Estates. She works there as a gardener and teaches a popular class called Palm Reading. The lush grounds include the stately winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, as well as laboratories, botanical gardens, museums and garden shops. This property backs the Caloosaatchee River. There is also palmetum. “Think of an arboretum,” says Maxwell, “but that’s where the palm trees are.” “Foxtail palms, bottle palms, pirate palms, thatched palms…” she continued as she pruned the young trees in front of her. “Christmas palms, pembana palms, beach palms, macaws, black palms. And all well done.” The Florida state tree is the bowl palm tree. However, the most famous species in the town is the king palm tree. Maxwell is next to a royal stout, which must be 6 feet in circumference. Horticultural expert Karen Maxwell leans against a royal palm tree. “What makes this tree so good in hurricanes is that it doesn’t break when bent almost 40 to 50 degrees.” Saul Martinez for NPR Caption Toggle Caption Saul Martinez for NPR horticultural expert Karen Maxwell leans against a royal palm tree. “What makes this tree so good in hurricanes is that it doesn’t break when bent almost 40 to 50 degrees.” NPR’s Saul Martinez “This is our palm tree. If you come this far, you’ll think you’re knocking on a solid cement post,” she says, pounding the trunk. “What makes this tree great for hurricanes is that it doesn’t break when bent almost 40 to 50 degrees. It doesn’t have branches. It’s not hard.” Palm trees are monocotyledons and are closer to the grass family than broad-leaved trees. It grows from above. The inside is not hard and there are no tree rings. A collection of thousands of vascular straws that transport nutrients and water from the ground to the crown. There are more than 2,500 species of palm trees, and they occur mainly in the vast, warm areas between the Tropics and the Tropics. They like good storms. Left: Ponytail palms at artist Megan Kissinger’s home in Fort Myers. Upper right: The stem of the bowl palm (cabbage) is visible. Bottom right: You can see the trunk of a screw palm tree in Kissinger’s house. Saul Martinez for NPR Caption Toggle Caption Saul Martinez for NPR “They are all suitable for wind, many of them are suitable for flooding, and most of them are also suitable for salt,” says Maxwell. Simply put, thousands of years of natural selection have perfectly adapted palm trees to events like Hurricane Ian. “They have the tools to survive.” Maxwell said with a grateful smile. After a hurricane, the land is often littered with brown palm leaves. That’s tough for cities, but good for trees. The wind cut off the dead leaves. Living green leaves are tough, aerodynamic and almost unbreakable. That way it will grow back. Amidst the piles of dead leaves, Phil Buck sits on the trunk of a giant royal who has fallen in the storm. He is a board-certified master arborist responsible for the arboreal division at Naples-based Crawford Landscaping. He overlooks McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers, famous for its rows of royal palm trees. Horticultural expert Phil Buck stands next to a royal palm tree in Fort Myers. “As you can see, they were pretty beaten up,” Buck says. “But they are still standing.” NPR’s Saul Martinez hide caption toggle caption NPR’s horticultural expert Phil Buck’s Saul Martinez stands next to a royal palm tree in Fort Myers. “As you can see, they were pretty beaten up,” Buck says. “But they are still standing.” NPR’s Saul Martinez “As you can see, they’ve been pretty beaten up,” says Buck. “But they are still standing.” McGregor Boulevard borders some 1,800 royal palm trees, some over 75 feet tall. For this reason, Fort Myers is called the City of Palms. “Some of these trees on McGregor can live more than 100 years, although we don’t know the exact date,” says Buck. “And we have never had a storm as severe as Hurricane Ian. But obviously they are still here. They are still alive and kicking.” British statesman and philosopher of science Francis Bacon made an observation that fits the palm tree’s exceptional adaptability. The bottom of a palm tree uprooted by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers. It’s one of the few palm trees that fall down in a storm. Saul Martinez for NPR caption toggle caption Saul Martinez for NPR Palm tree floor uprooted by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers. It’s one of the few palm trees that fall down in a storm. NPR’s Saul Martinez
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