That title sounds like a contradiction doesn't it?
There was an article on the BBC today about the floral trade. It seems like "Western Demand" is stripping some Central American areas of certain kinds of Palm Trees to the point that the species has gotten rare and endangered.
It's a perfect example of that old saying 'What is Free, is Worthless'.
These countries have the palms growing in "open areas" and since they are there, they are getting picked clean of leaves. If you pull the leaves off of the palm tree, it dies. Thanks to UK researchers, they realized that they can be harvested in a Sustainable Manner by allowing them to grow to a certain size than only taking two leaves off of the tree. The reason why you want this particular palm is because the shelf life of those palm fronds is much longer than most and can be upwards of 40 days.
Great... slow down, take ownership of the land, and protect the plants. We have all heard of that many times. After all, if you pick the flowers off of your plants, you will not have any fruit. Leave some for the bees and you will have a harvest. It simply makes sense. Good agricultural stewardship of the land. Treat it as a farm and you will do well.
So why was I shocked to see this particular article? Simply put, these plants that are becoming endangered because of our demand and their incompetent and rapacious harvesting are an invasive plant in Florida.
It is a weed tree.
You see here, it is called a Fishtail Palm. I have pulled seedlings out of my pot deep in the back of the yard that I use to start plants. When I take a cutting of something, I stick it in that pot and see what I get. I've gotten quite a few hibiscus, screw palms, coleus and others out of that pot. It sits under my Sea Grape tree, and I have to pull sea grape plants out of that pot because the birds eat the grapes and "spit" the seeds out.
Well, not strictly speaking "Spit" but I do try to keep this blog safe for work even in conservative offices.
Right now, there are two of these endangered invasive palms growing in my pot. When I saw that picture in the article, I thought of this starter pot and realized that yes, yet again, we've gotten it wrong.
Wikipedia Page on the species. We've got a lot of these trees in the neighborhood. In fact this plant looks like the one in my next door neighbor's yard.
I guess instead of pulling that plant for next bulk trash day, I'll stick it in the ground out in the Utility Easement. I may as well, it's not a native, it's an endangered invasive.