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by : BTF

As I Wander...

Living in tropical Malaysia, we tend to take the hot humid weather, thundery rainstorms and the spectrum of wild evergreen plants as a given.

Recently, I noticed more exotic plants making its way into landscaped home gardens, recreational parks, frontages of shopping malls and
commercial buildings.

Along kerb sides of residential streets and busy motorways, palms, trees and flowering plants make pleasant and interesting fringes.

This is a record of the various species "as I see it" for I am in awe of palms. Hence, my premise for this blog is that the global garden,
i.e. every physical garden (tended or untended), becomes a part of my, simply said, cyber palm garden. ;-)

Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments.

Thank you for visiting!

ShaShinKi - Malaysia's Online Camera Shop!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Chinese Fan Palm

Botanical Name : Livistonia chinensis

A native of Japan, Taiwan and southern China, this palm is also known as the Fountain Palm due to its weepy look.

Today's trip to Petaling Street in downtown KL saw the usual crowded atmosphere of out-of-town holiday makers, bargain hunters and foreign tourists looking for fake? yes, imitation brand name products at "negotiable" low prices.  Chinatown was what the colonial British called this immigrant enclave in its early days. However, over time, it had developed into a prosperous trading centre, its unique day and night market where cheap designer watches, bags, shoes, T-shirts, CDs, VCDs etc are being snapped up with brisk sales.

gateway to Chinatown

Okay, going there specifically for roast pork lunch was only a guise.  I'd been interested since the city council's refurbishment back in 2007 whereby the inclusion of palm trees, Livistonia chinensis, have added some greenery to the otherwise run down pre-war buildings and stuffy sidewalks. All these happened while I was away including the installation of a new blue polycarbonate roof in 2009 to make shopping more pleasant in the otherwise sweltering heat (or heavy downpours).

Must say I am of two minds about this kind of landscaping. Fencing in the palm is neither kind to the plant nor appreciative of its space requirements. With much commercial interests going on throughout the day and night, these palms are rendered no TLC.  Instead they stuck out like sore thumbs, at intervals, on both sides of the busy street.

Even the roof tiles of the stalls were arranged around the trunk of the palms, giving the impression that the palm grew out of the little green roofs. Everything else was concreted over leaving little space for the rootball. And while traders went about their daily businesses, the columns of palm trunks were practically used as pillars for the display of goods or anchor to tie sheets of canopies (in case it rains!).

reach for the sun
The leaves are costapalmate - part fan, part feather shaped and has short spines along the lower half of the petioles. There is no crown shaft and the palm may reach 25ft high. Luckily, this is a carefree palm and adaptable to varied soil conditions. This palm is easy to grow and bears bunches of small purplish black fruits.

So what's life like for these unpampered palms in such cramped conditions?

Growing up in such restrictive environment certainly has its challenges, reach for the sky (roof!), anyway...

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