Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Why Phoenix, Arizona has palm trees


It's hard for me to imagine the city that I love without palm trees. And unlike Los Angeles, which is slowly losing theirs, with no plans to replace them, Phoenix gets more of them every year.

The species of palm in the picture at the top of this post is a date palm. Date palms were widely planted in Phoenix to produce dates. In fact, if you go over 44th Street and Camelback, you can see some trees that go back to the 1920s, which are still producing dates. I don't care for the taste of dates, but I understand that they make a great date shake.

But most of the palm trees planted in Phoenix weren't planted for dates, they were planted for beauty, the same way that flowers are planted. Speaking for myself, I love the look and feel of palm trees. Even on a very hot day, watching them gently sway makes me feel cooler, as if I were in the islands.

I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and saw my first palm tree growing out of the ground outside when I was 19. I exited the freeway (I-17) on Cactus Road (I loved the sound of that name!), and pulled over and parked next to a palm tree, got out of my car, and touched it. I remember that vividly.

Date palm at the Bartlett Ranch (Sahuaro Ranch) in 1899, Glendale, Arizona.

I live nearby the Sahuaro Ranch, which was originally called the Bartlett Ranch, and some of the palm trees from the turn of the century are still there. Some of them were planted for dates, and some were planted just for beauty. There are also rose gardens there.

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