Belize’s Tropical Christmas Palm- A Summer Bloomer
Today’s Belize Photo of the Day is the Christmas Palm Tree which is scientifically known as Veitchia merrillii.
This tropical palm originated from the Philippines and has a polished grayish stem that becomes slightly swollen at the base with rings of old leaf scars rising up to the crown shaft where its flowering stalks are located.
During summer, its light green uni-sexual flowers flourish into creamy white blossoms until winter months. At this point, the flowers fall and are followed by green oval fruits that resemble large plums which turn bright red as they ripen. These decorative fruits hang like clusters looking like Christmas ornaments, giving the plant its common name, the Christmas Palm Tree. The fruits become a feast for the human eye as well as for the communal bird, such as the Collared Aracari.
The Veitchia merrillii is not considered a winter plant as it cannot withstand temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and grows best in warmer regions like Belize where it is abundantly found in neighboring backyards.
If you are interested in learning about the plants of Belize, check out this link http://www.chaacreek.com/tours-activities/onsite/medicine/
Photo taken by Naturalist Guide: Meshack Eliah