10 Moree Road, Black River, Townsville, QLD 4818, Australia
There are about 2600 species of palm trees, most of them living in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates.
Palms are one of the best known and most widely planted tree families. They have held an important role for humans throughout much of history. Many common products and foods come from palms. They are often used in parks and gardens that are in areas that do not have heavy frosts.
In the past palms were symbols of victory, peace, and fertility. Today palms are a popular symbol for the tropics and for vacations.
Over two-thirds of palms live in tropical forests, where some species grow tall enough to form part of the canopy and other shorter palms form part of the understory. Some kinds form pure stands in areas with poor drainage or regular flooding. Other palms live on tropical mountains above 1000 meters, Palms may also live in grasslands and scrublands, usually where there is water, and in desert oases. A few palms are adapted to extremely basic lime soils, while others are similarly adapted to very acidic soils.
Like many other plants, some palms are in danger of dying out because of human activity. The greatest dangers are from increasingly large cities, mining, and turning forests into farmland. The harvesting of the heart of a palm for food also poses a threat, because it comes from the inner core of the tree, and harvesting it kills the tree. The use of rattan palms in furniture has caused a big fall in the number of rattan palms, as they are collected from the wild instead of being farmed. The sale of wild seeds to growers and collectors is another threat.
At least a hundred kinds are in danger, and nine kinds are said to have recently died out.