“…not indigenous to the area, but quite at home…”
One cannot journey across the landscape of the Dominican Republic without developing an awareness of the widespread presence of palm trees.
The Dominican Republic, famous for its amazing beaches lined with palm trees gently swaying in the breeze, there are more than 50 types of palm trees in this country but not all of them are indigenous.
On January 9 in 1878, the Spanish brig Providencia was en route from Spain to Cuba, but would never arrive at this destination. Although the weather was clear that day, the ship wrecked off the shores of Florida. Its cargo, 20.000 coconuts harvested on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, was scattered along the coast.
The settlers of Florida knew an opportunity when they saw one and planted some of the stranded coconuts around their homes, in this way has started the extension of coconut palm trees in this area.
Nowadays there are three main types of palm trees in the country, Coconut Palm, the Royal Palm tree and the Silver Tatch Palm.
This trees are also the most useful, so they are not just simply beautiful but also used in the local craft.
For example, the Coconut Palm is probably one of the most versatile and used trees on the island but also the other types can be used for some of this things.
The milk, oil and flesh from ripe coconuts are used for nutrition and cooking, its shell for fuel when making fire. The husk from the shell also makes a great raw material for making ropes, which are said to be stronger than those made from hemp.
The water from green coconut is sweet, thirst quenching and has all the minerals needed for rehydration purposes. The coconut flowers have many medicinal uses and are used as an ingredient in many traditional medicines, especially in medicines meant for new mothers. The palm’s leaves and bark are used by locals to create rainproof roofing.
Apart from providing shade, food, fuel, housing and medicinal materials, these trees also offer shorelines protection from erosion as its long roots will weave their way through the ground.
The esteem with which the stately native Royal Palm is regarded by Dominicans is revealed in the fact that it is used in the national emblem featured on the Dominican flag. The fronds of the Royal Palm appear on the coat of arms of the nation as well as on Dominican coins and stamps.
So this beautiful palm trees won’t be useful for you just for a bit of shadow that you will need under the warm sun of the Caribbean but you can enjoy drinking coconut water on the beach or buying some coconut oil to get more tanned and have a beautiful and healthy skin at the end of your vacation!