Palm Trees? | Two Chums

by Two Chums on June 25, 2024

Palm Trees Two Chums

Palm trees are not native to Los Angeles.

There are an estimated 75,000 palm trees in Los Angeles, all of which have one thing in common:  they are not native there. Despite being an L.A. icon on par with the Hollywood sign and Dodger Stadium, the tropical tree is no more a native Angeleno than, well, the Dodgers. Not unlike the Hollywood sign, palms were originally a marketing technique for developers hoping to attract newcomers to the area in the late 19th century.

They got the idea from the French Riviera — another area palms aren’t actually native to — where like-minded developers had successfully used them just a few decades before to cultivate an image of glitz and glamour.

In addition to being beautiful, palms are surprisingly easy to uproot and transport from their native tropical and subtropical environments in the Middle East, Mexico, and elsewhere, so tens of thousands of them were planted all across the California city that had once been desert scrubland.

It seems fitting that one of Los Angeles’ most enduring symbols was essentially a branding strategy chosen for its aesthetic appeal, doubly so because palm trees’ association with the city was (and is) further cemented by their ubiquity in the many films shot there. After all, most of the directors, actors, and studio executives who made Hollywood what it is today weren’t originally from the City of Angels either.

So, there you have it. Much like the movie industry whose main home is Los Angeles, California, palm trees were brought in to create an illusion.


Jackie and Robin

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