The Death of a Palm Tree

Photo: Les Temps


Late Sunday, April 24, the decaying remains of an iconic Mexico City landmark were hauled away from the spot where it had stood for more than a century.

La Palma, a stately palm tree in the middle of a roundabout on the capital’s elegant Avenida de Paseo de la Reforma, had stood at the site since 1910, according to historical reports.

But because of an uncontrolled plant fungus infection, La Palma began to die this year, withering away, its once-green leaves turn brown and its base shedding its golden bark.

After a solemn ceremony on Sunday, led by Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, La Palma was transferred to the Nezahualcóyotl Nursery, where botanists will try to treat it before replanting it in a new location.

Sheinbaum said that a “citizen consultation” referendum will be held to decide which new tree will replace La Palma at the juncture of Paseo de la Reforma with Rió Rhin and Nice.

In addition to La Palma, another 492 palm trees are also infected with the fungus and will have to be replace with hardier specimens.

In the last year, 1,729 palm trees were pruned and 189 dead palm trees were felled in the capital. In addition, 300 palm trees have been cleaned and strengthened with the application of plant endotherapy.

In Mexico City there are around 3.5 million trees and 15,000 palm trees, of which about 30 percent have some type of pest or disease.

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