Merritt Island, Florida
24.000 x 30.000 inches
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Tropical Trail's End
Painting - Acrylic On Canvas
This is a wooded area on Tropical Trail on Merritt Island. It is near the Indian River. I was enchanted by the light filtering through the trees in the background. I found all the textures to be a fun challenge. Although so many people believe that a palm is a palm, there really is a lot of individuality among them. Not only are there so many varieties but each one seems to have characteristic all their own. I love trees. There was a time that I didn't really think of palms as being trees since they don't really have typical branches. I painted this as I saw them, living and thriving among some live oaks.
The growing heart of the new fronds, also known as the terminal bud gives the tree its "cabbage" name, since this is extracted as a food and tastes like other undifferentiated plant meristem tissue, such as the heart of a cabbage or artichoke. It is one of several palm species that is sometimes used to make heart of palm salad. Heart of palm was commonly eaten by Aboriginal Americans. However, extracting the heart will kill this species of palm, because the terminal bud is the only point from which the palm can grow and without this bud the palm will not be able to replace old leaves and will eventually die.
Sabal palmetto trunks appear in two different conditions, which can be confusing. When leaves die, the leaf bases typically persist for a while, creating a spiky, "basketweave" effect. These remnant leaf bases are called "bootjacks" or "boots", for short. The name stems from the "Y" shape that was reminiscent of devices used to aid individuals in removing boots. Transplanted palms are sometimes deliberately shorn of these bootjacks. Taller specimens are more likely to have lost their bootjacks and appear relatively smooth and columnar. The loss of bootjacks is a natural, if poorly understood, phenomenon as the palm does not create a leaf abscission zone so the loss of the leaf bases results from some other physical or biological process.
February 10th, 2013
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