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displaced_floridian

How far N in Florida can coconut palms reliably grow?

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displaced_floridian

I know the St. Augustine coco croaked last winter, but how about Daytona? or Tarpon Springs? Did any survive?

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Zeeth

They can die from cold even as far south as Miami. I'd say that Vero, or maybe Melbourne would be the northernmost reliable limit. I can't reliably speak for the east coast though. St. Pete and maybe Clearwater would be the northernmost limit here.

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Eric in Orlando

Barring a 1989-type killing freeze they survive to Cocoa Beach/St. Petersburg. Long long term survival is south of Stuart/Sarasota.

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JASON M

I want them here in Wisconsin so bad :D

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tikitiki

The great thing is they are plentiful around here and grow fast so if you lose them every 5 to 10 years I do not think it is a big deal. You have a great tropical feel for a while and when they get out of scale for the yard they freeze and you replant.

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amazon exotics

After this winter thats a very hard question to answer. I saw dead cocos all the way to Homestead.

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Dave-Vero

In Vero Beach, life and death was erratic. From my house, I can see one damaged-but-recovering coconut, another that looks fine. A block away, a vigorously growing one died. Even at the beach, there's some deaths, while others were nearly unfazed. It seems to help to be on the south side of a fairly tall building.

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RyManUtah

i have seen them downtown st petersburb but nowhere north of there

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palmsOrl

From my observations, I would say that Coconuts are reliable to northern Merritt Island on the east coast and to around Clearwater on the west coast. It's a bit harder to say for inland areas, though probably it is a line from the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee on south, except for favorable lake-related microclimates from about Winter Haven south.

-Michael

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palmsOrl

The attached graphic is how I would describe the long-term range of Cocos nucifera (excluding rare events). The darker blue represents the range and from the lighter blue line south in sheltered microclimates on the south-side of lakes. I wanted to make the graphic show actually in my post, but since the forum change earlier this year it is too much of a pain.

-Michael

post-2050-12796686720207_thumb.jpg

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Xenon

Nice graphic :greenthumb:

:) Jonathan

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MOlivera

I have seen 3 of them them growing wild on the north end of Cape Canaveral National Seashore. The coconuts float north with the current and when the waves and tides are high enough the seeds get washed over the dunes. My friend and i went on a hike down the beach about 12 miles and we saw three small coconut palms growing. I would be interested in finding out if they survived this winter. We threw all the coconuts we found over the dunes, probably in excess of 30 seeds. Some we threw and some we planted. Mike

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edbrown_III

I saw some in Dent Smiths neighborhood (south Daytona Beach) when I visited the place a few years ago-- it is sort ofg a protected 9B 10a---

They were planted since 1989 as it got down to 22F or so there. (in 1989)--- when I was running with the Central Florida Clowns --- Dahme, Bud, Hoop,JFK and a few others lined up a houseboat and we went up the Tomoka River near Astor---- Dahme got the location from Bartrams memoirs and planted about 20 Royals or so. Its been at least a decade ---- I keep planning to rent a boat and find the place and see if there is any survivors. The Tomaka river is pretty protected --- you see wild Acrosticum and ptsilosm ( spelling is bad) its a nice microhabitat between 9b and 10---

A bunch of us went down from Jax right after the freezes in 1990 to see how far coconuts were killed back. There was one we were particularly interested in --- growing in Melbourne --- it had survived --- right on the beach as I remmber --- whether it survived after that I dont know.

Until some on dryves around Daytona a bit--- I guess the Canaveral one is the winner so far!

Best regards

Ed

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edbrown_III

I saw some in Dent Smiths neighborhood (south Daytona Beach) when I visited the place a few years ago-- it is sort ofg a protected 9B 10a---

They were planted since 1989 as it got down to 22F or so there. (in 1989)--- when I was running with the Central Florida Clowns --- Dahme, Bud, Hoop,JFK and a few others lined up a houseboat and we went up the Tomoka River near Astor---- Dahme got the location from Bartrams memoirs and planted about 20 Royals or so. Its been at least a decade ---- I keep planning to rent a boat and find the place and see if there is any survivors. The Tomaka river is pretty protected --- you see wild Acrosticum and ptsilosm ( spelling is bad) its a nice microhabitat between 9b and 10---

A bunch of us went down from Jax right after the freezes in 1990 to see how far coconuts were killed back. There was one we were particularly interested in --- growing in Melbourne --- it had survived --- right on the beach as I remmber --- whether it survived after that I dont know.

Until some on dryves around Daytona a bit--- I guess the Canaveral one is the winner so far!

Best regards

Ed

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JungleGina

I am in Sarasota about 2-1/2 miles from the Intracoastal Waterway as the crow flies. I had 3 juveniles (just starting to trunk) planted in my yard during this year's freeze. The largest of them bit the dust but the 2 smaller ones that were still getting some protection from their neighbors survived. Although they look pretty ragged right now, I believe they'll recover.

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Natureguy

For what it is worth, I took a class with Dr. Walter Kingsley Taylor at the University of Central Florida years ago. He wrote a great book on Florida's Wildflowers. Anyway, according to him the northern most distribution of tropical plants in the Florida is generally Turtle Mound in New Symrna Beach. On the west coast, however, the northern most distribution of tropical plants is around Sarasota area. I suspect the difference between the two coasts may be a stronger jet stream on the east coast and its warming effect during cold winter fronts. Now, this may not be the same for coconuts, as they are ultra-sensative in my opionion.

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Palmateer

I'd move the west coast long-term reliable a bit north to Anna Maria Island.

Barring a 1989-type killing freeze they survive to Cocoa Beach/St. Petersburg. Long long term survival is south of Stuart/Sarasota.

Edited by Palmateer

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Zeeth

For what it is worth, I took a class with Dr. Walter Kingsley Taylor at the University of Central Florida years ago. He wrote a great book on Florida's Wildflowers. Anyway, according to him the northern most distribution of tropical plants in the Florida is generally Turtle Mound in New Symrna Beach. On the west coast, however, the northern most distribution of tropical plants is around Sarasota area. I suspect the difference between the two coasts may be a stronger jet stream on the east coast and its warming effect during cold winter fronts. Now, this may not be the same for coconuts, as they are ultra-sensative in my opionion.

I don't quite know about that. There are quite a few native tropicals in Bradenton. Want to know where the largest gumbo limbo in the US is? It's in Bradenton (by spread, I think there are taller ones, but this one has a diameter of 60 feet, and it's 40 feet tall). There are definitely coconut survivors from the 1989 freeze in Manatee county, but mostly towards the coast. I'd think that St. Pete may be a little better place to draw the line at. This is along the coast of course.

Inland is a little different though. I saw Washingtonia robusta get burned in inland Manatee county, where there is no water or downtown area to warm things up. This is in stark contrast to undamaged Veitchias towards the coast.

Palmateer: Aren't those Jamaican talls at Kopsick pre 1989? I know there is a 1989 survivor Jamaican tall in Clearwater as well.

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Natureguy

I was waiting for someone to argue this...heheheh In any event, Bradenton isn't far from Sarasota, right? St Pete is surrounded by water and you would think it should be protected. The idea is the general area and the fact that people have been zone pushing for many years. I believe the concept behind that statement from Dr Taylor is that the distribution of tropical plants is disproportional from east coast to the west coast. But he also spent years and years collecting data of wildflowers from almost every county in Florida.

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glbower

One comment on the map. I live in Punta Gorda, located on Charlotte Harbor in Southwest Florida (Lake Okeechobee points right at me). It is full of mature coconuts that have been around for decades. The harbor is very large and offers a lot of temperature protection in the winter to any palm within 3 or 4 miles of it. The solid blue should in my opinion encircle at least the bottom 3/4 of the harbor. I have a hard time believing the east side of Tampa Bay, some 90 miles farther north, is warmer.

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palmsOrl

Here is the map with that little correction. Would anybody else tweak the map in any areas?

-Michael

post-2050-1280079395348_thumb.jpg

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glbower

Way better, Michael. I wasn't expecting an immediate redraft!

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Palmateer

Those tall coconuts at Kopsick were in the city nursery in 1989. Planted in Kopsick around 1990, I believe.

Someone used the term "west coast long-term reliable." I know there have been occasions of just about total kill of coconuts in Pinellas County, like on December 13, 1962. That's why I would instead pick Anna Maria Island as the northern limit.

For what it is worth, I took a class with Dr. Walter Kingsley Taylor at the University of Central Florida years ago. He wrote a great book on Florida's Wildflowers. Anyway, according to him the northern most distribution of tropical plants in the Florida is generally Turtle Mound in New Symrna Beach. On the west coast, however, the northern most distribution of tropical plants is around Sarasota area. I suspect the difference between the two coasts may be a stronger jet stream on the east coast and its warming effect during cold winter fronts. Now, this may not be the same for coconuts, as they are ultra-sensative in my opionion.

I don't quite know about that. There are quite a few native tropicals in Bradenton. Want to know where the largest gumbo limbo in the US is? It's in Bradenton (by spread, I think there are taller ones, but this one has a diameter of 60 feet, and it's 40 feet tall). There are definitely coconut survivors from the 1989 freeze in Manatee county, but mostly towards the coast. I'd think that St. Pete may be a little better place to draw the line at. This is along the coast of course.

Inland is a little different though. I saw Washingtonia robusta get burned in inland Manatee county, where there is no water or downtown area to warm things up. This is in stark contrast to undamaged Veitchias towards the coast.

Palmateer: Aren't those Jamaican talls at Kopsick pre 1989? I know there is a 1989 survivor Jamaican tall in Clearwater as well.

Edited by Palmateer

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palmsOrl

I guess for my map, it applies to roughly 20 year periods between really big freezes. I think 20 years is enough to be considered long-term.

-Michael

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Zeeth

Palmateer: Thanks for the picture! I wasn't sure of the planting date, as I've heard some different years. Very interesting. I haven't been to Kopsick in a while, how are those 2 coconuts? I have 2 seedlings from them, so if the 2 talls at Kopsick ever die (from cold or ganoderma), I would be happy to donate at least 1.

I think if that planting date is the case, Anna Maria may be a better long term location. I know of some 80 foot specimens that I am positive survived 1989. I'd say that the tall types may be hardier to cold, but I would say that if we had another winter like that last one, or cooler even, then those 80 foot ones would probably die.

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sarasota alex

I miss the pre-January 2010 look of Coconuts, Adonidias, Caryotas, etc, in our area. I especially miss the Adonidias. They used to be all over the place. About a third of them died, and many owners have removed those that barely survived. It went from being one of the most common palms in Sarasota to a rare sight of a healthy one wedged between houses. Not the case on the islands though. Much better there.

My Adonidia seedling that germinated in July 2009 in the ground had 3 leaves by January 2010. I covered it with a cardboard box and it survived keeping one of them. Now it has a new leaf and a spear.

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cfkingfish

I think I can help a bit with this. I have done incredible amounts of driving all over the west coast, between Spring Hill and Naples, pretty much every county in West Central and Southwest Florida. I am talking side streets, interstates, along the beach, rivers, etc. Here is some input for those interested. This is post-freeze

You don't see many Cocos in Clearwater, even at the beach. I saw a few near Fort Harrison, but that was about it. They are alive. Heading south along Pinellas, all the west coast beaches actually fared well. I had ice cream in Madiera Beach about 2 months ago, and Cocos there looked pretty good. If you head inland towards Seminole, Largo, Pinellas Park, things get shabby. On the east coast of Pinellas, there are a lot of dead Cocos, some are pulling through, but Tampa Bay lost its "charge" and most of the area saw 28F for quite some time.

If you cross over the Skyway into Manatee, this area (Memphis, Palmetto, Terra Ceia) actually has a great microclimate. Coconuts got hurt but survived. Going over the Manatee River, downtown Bradenton actually looks pretty good, most Cocos are alive. The north wind flies over the river and gets warmed, keeping temps mild.

Getting into Sarasota, downtown has so much heat to it, I have seen blocks that look just like downtown Miami. Most Coconuts lived, and heading south to Venice, Englewood, it was hit or miss. If you head away from the Gulf it was almost assured death. North Port, Port Charlotte were hit bad unless you were right on the water. Once you cross over the Peace River into Punta Gorda, you hit a very nice micro. Downtown PG looks great, again due to the warm air rising up over the Peach River shielding north winds in a sense.

South from PG, you hit Burnt Store, which is really no man's land, and finally get into Cape Coral. Most everything along the coast survived here, but damage and death was sporadic. Certain areas held the cold and it was obvious. Cape Coral was hit or miss, but most Cocos and Adonidias survived. Once you cross the Caloosahatchee River into Fort Myers, again it looked like nothing had taken place. Coastal areas to Naples (San Carlos Park, Estero, Bonita) fared well but out near the interstate stuff had kicked it.

Downtown Naples looks great, but head out to Golden Gate and anything in the open took a beating.

I think your shaded area should include most of Bradenton, Sarasota (as far as out near the interstate too), Punta Gorda, and Fort Myers (Which is 12 miles from open water). Right now the shade goes just along the coast. Interior areas such as Moore Haven took a nasty hit, west Clewiston was smashed, 40 foot Royals were 100% burned (even downtown they lost 30 foot Adonidias that had to have been there since the 60s). Once you get out of town you are more directly south of the Lake, and it becomes obvious heading to South Bay, Belle Glade, etc, as most everything survived.

Other areas of interest:

Lehigh Acres - burned pretty bad

Immokalee - burned fairly bad

Arcadia - frozen to the ground!

Anyways, in conclusion, I would shade the west coast out another 5 miles and include the urban areas as well.

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SubTropicRay

There are some survivors here on Tampa's Interbay peninsula after this winter but the 21 year old Jamaican tall (planted January 1990) got wiped out. 1989? No offense guys but who cares about that reference now when it's been eclipsed. The question is, did it survive this winter?! 1989 was three days of cold, 2010 was 12 days and locally had just as many days below freezing with comparable temps. BTW, Bradenton west of I-75, is warmer than Sarasota because of Tampa Bay being due north.

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palmsOrl

Ray, I agree about the new benchmark being this year. There is something to be said though for the depth of the extreme low (s) during a cold event though. Both of my royals and my foxtail survived this past winter and are now growing new crowns. I am certain that these would not have survived 1989 (minimum 22 F) or 1985 (minimum 19 F) even though the durations were much shorter. I think that in general, short, extreme cold snaps kill palms outright more, whereas prolonged, but less extreme cold, like this past winter kill palms from secondary fungal infections. Here in the Orlando area, I lost about 15 palms, none were killed outright, it was all from subsequent fungal/bacterial invasions.

I will make those changes on my coconut map when I get home, thanks for the input.

-Michael

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SubTropicRay

Hi Micheal,

I guess this applies to my area only but Tampa's airport had three consecutive days below freezing in 1989, 29, 24 and 26 F. It was not as cold on this coast in 1989 as it was on the east coast. This year, while not consecutive, within a week Tampa's airport recorded 27, 29 and 25F. For this area, the minimum temperatures are very comparable. You can see where in many ways, with its 12 days of cold air and three frigid days, 2010 may have eclipsed 1989. I don't agree about the sudden cold being more damaging as some semblance of radiant heat is still present in a brief but very cold period. Over the course of 12 days, there is no remaining radiant heat and the benefits of microclimates are diminished. I also believe the prolonged cold has a greater tendency to weaken the palm and make it more susceptible to bacterial and fungal problems.

I also believe this year was that infamous freeze we were expecting sooner than later. We can finally stop hearing things like "we're really gonna get it one of these days" or "we're overdue for a big freeze." It's behind us now so let's see if we can go another 20 years.

Ray

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palmsOrl

Ray,

You are absolutely right, it varies quite a bit from area to area. I believe that this past winter's cold (thanks to the very strong urban heat island of Orlando) was just not quite cold enough to do anything in at my location (lowest low 25). But days and weeks of temperatures 10-25 F below average weakened the palms and made them susceptible to infection. Had this been 1985 (or 1989 for that matter) here on the east side of the state, everything would have been annihilated and I would have saved a bundle on expensive fungicides. :rage:

-Michael

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Eric in Orlando

The 3 big freezes of the 1980's are still the benchmark for me. Any freeze that kills queen palms, citrus, jacaranda, etc. in Orlando is the winner. This past winter damaged things but just zone 10 borderline palms. Even royals were only burnt but growing back. Zone 9 plants weren't bothered at all around here. This freeze was just a new experience for the duration of cold/ and cool. Just like winter 1995/1996 was. That winter there were a couple freezing nights in Dec. then a couple in Jan. topped by a night at 26F in Feb. It was one to experience for cumulative effects. But the 3 from the '80s. in particular 12/89, are still the killers.

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syersj

The 3 big freezes of the 1980's are still the benchmark for me. Any freeze that kills queen palms,

Just how cold did Orlando get. We got down to 16 and 21 on consecutive nights this past winter and most of our queen palms lived. Defoliated, but lived. A few died, but far less than I expected. It warmed up and was sunny during the day, maybe that had something to do with it.

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floridagrower

The 3 big freezes of the 1980's are still the benchmark for me. Any freeze that kills queen palms,

Just how cold did Orlando get. We got down to 16 and 21 on consecutive nights this past winter and most of our queen palms lived. Defoliated, but lived. A few died, but far less than I expected. It warmed up and was sunny during the day, maybe that had something to do with it.

I agree that 30 years worth if data should be included.

Eric,

I have never understood why people say queens died and sagos defoliated. 19 degrees here would do neither. Queens have to be already on deaths door or get a fungus from wet to die. Sagos defoliated? I've heard this too. That doesn't happen even here. Do people just mean outside in the country of metro orlando? If not in the rural area or very low pockets I find this impossible.

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SubTropicRay

In 1989, I don't recall seeing any dead queens in Tampa Bay but then again the lowest low during that event was "only" 24F. The 1983 and 1985 freezes were more severe on this coast and only 14 months apart to boot. I don't remember how things fared then because plants were the farthest thing from my mind.

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Eric in Orlando

The first two devastating freezes, 12/83 and 1/85 it was in the low 20sF a couple nights during each freeze. Then the Christmas 1989 freeze hit and it dropped to 19-20F for tow nights. The first night was Christmas Eve and a hard rain came through early in the afternoon as the front passed. The temperature dropped so fast it was below freezing before evening and the rain hadn't dried off so there was lots of ice. I remember well, I was working in a garden center and we had small ponds with a thin layer of ice on them before it was dark. And went I went to leave to go home I couldn't open my car door as it was a sheet of ice. All three of these freezes had been preceded by warm temperatures in 70s and 80s the week before.

The first two killed a lot of tender and semi hardy plants but severely injured others. The 89 freeze was the cleanup and wiped the rest out. Besides most Syagrus romanzoffiana, almost all Phoenix roebelenii, P. rupicola were killed. Phoenix reclinata and Rhapis excelsa were mostly killed back to the roots but resprouted. Hybrid P. reclinata showed varying amounts of damage as did X Butiagrus.Some Acoelorrhape wrightii were killed to the rooots, others just had foliage burn. Cycas revoluta was burned, Cycas rumphii (circinalis) were killed to the ground. Dioon spinulosum was killed but D. edule was mostly undamaged. All zone 10 palms were killed outright; royals, coconuts, Archontophoenix, Adonidia, Ptychosperma elegans and Hyophorbe. . Most Dypsis lutescens were killed, some grew back from the roots. Same with Caryota mitis. Even hardy palms showed some burn, things like Phoenix canariensis, Livistona chinensis and L. australis. Almost all citrus was wiped out or severely damaged. In the outlying areas where the groves were was even colder, mid to upper teens, and the groves were just destroyed. Other tropicals such as Ficus,Floss Silk Trees, Jacaranda,Seagrape,Pandanus, Traveler's Trees, Norfolk Island Pines, White Bird of Paradise,selloum mangos, avocados, were either killed outright or froze back to the roots. Even hardy landscape plants like Viburnum odoratissimum and Southern Indica Azalea hybrids were damaged. This was mostly secondary damage that showed up weeks or months later. They were still actively growing and the bark split. Later either because the cambium was damaged or pathogens moved in, branches declined. Same thing happed to some camphor trees.

But those are the only 3 times I have seen queen palms even damaged, let alone killed here. I've lived here since 1979. I don't even ever remember hearing about queen palms being severely injured or killed in other record freezes such as in 1956-57, 1962, or 1977. So for me, this past winter sucked but in no way compared to those in the 1980s. I never want to experience those again.

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Eric in Orlando

and a visual reminder of the 12/89 freeze and how bad it was. I've posted these 3 photos before but here they are again;

from left to right; Syagrus romanzoffiana( killed), Dypsis decaryi (killed), X Butiagus nabonnandii (undamaged, behind it is the trunk of a Syagrus schizophylla which was killed, Koelreuteria elegans ssp. formosana (Golden Rain Tree, suffered minor tip damage, Cycas revoluta (defoliated but came back)

freeze1.jpg

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Eric in Orlando

left to right....

Cycas revoluta (defoliated, came back), Zamia furfuracea (defoliated, came back), Roystonea regia (killed) and in the back is a small clump of Accoelorrhphe wrightii which had minor burn. and on the far right edge is Livistona chinensis showing minor burn on the leaf tips.

freeze3.jpg

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Eric in Orlando

left to right...

2 Dioon edule (no damage), Cycas revoluta (severely burnt), Cycas rumphii (Queen Sagos, trunks were killed back to the roots, they have since regrown to this size), in the foreground are juvenile Sabal minor. In the far left upper corner you can barely make out some dried pinnate foliage, that was a Colvillea racemosa that was killed.

freeze2.jpg

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