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Poker Beats, Brags, and Variance Here's where you put your whines and wins.

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Old 04-19-2018, 08:42 PM   #1126
AllJackedUp
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

can we get pics of this palm species? As a socal native, I'm having a hard time imagining a palm that is worth a ton of money.
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Old Yesterday, 10:08 AM   #1127
Truestoryteller
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

I realized that a picture of the elusive palm species really would help tell this story. I never took any pictures in Cuba because I was concerned about big brother finding out when and where they were taken and I only had my phone, they love to track that stuff. The other reason is that it is a very rare palm, talking about it, showing pictures can easily reveal the identity of the poster. I personally don't care about being found on here, but many of my plant clients, including the current one, may not find my actions in this story 100% "becoming of an upstanding citizen" if they knew about my poker life.

With that said, the palm we went looking for and found was Copernicia fallaensis. Most mature specimens have copyright watermarks on them, and the pictures I have are not of the biggest plants. The genus Copernicia is 80% endemic to Cuba, with a few species native to Haiti, DR, and a couple into South America. The most prized of the palms are only found in Cuba in open plains suddenly growing out of nowhere. They take about 30-40 years to mature, and there are only a dozen or so in Florida this size.

The first picture is of a C. fallaensis one month after Hurricane Irma that had been recently transplanted - it is the best picture of the biggest plant I have access to, though I could take a new picture to update it. The second is a picture of a plant in Key West from a local garden, and the third is of C. baileyana, one of the other giants of Cuba. These are from Coral Gables and were planted in 1937. There are books that have photos of these plants in black and white from the 1950's, and my friend is publishing a new book soon, but no high resolution images on the internet that are for open distribution.

To give you an idea of the value of those old palms, a wealthy individual once offered the same garden a million dollar donation about 20 years ago for 6 specimens this size, and they took him up on his offer. This is for the cheaper plant, C. baileyana. The one we went for, C. fallaensis, when I can find it in a smaller size, it goes for $1000/ft of overall height, and when they form trunk that price triples.





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Old Yesterday, 10:37 AM   #1128
AllJackedUp
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

OK, I kind of get it now. (the first does look a little beat up from Irma, but the fronds in the second two are really pretty and interesting).

Do we know why they are rare? Are they not able to compete with other plants? or, was there over-harvesting at some point in the past? or something else?
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Old Yesterday, 11:19 AM   #1129
Truestoryteller
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllJackedUp View Post
OK, I kind of get it now. (the first does look a little beat up from Irma, but the fronds in the second two are really pretty and interesting).

Do we know why they are rare? Are they not able to compete with other plants? or, was there over-harvesting at some point in the past? or something else?
Pretty much everything that causes this plant to be rare can be stemmed from Castro's takeover of Cuba and the subsequent relations with the US. Plant collecting was a very uncommon practice in the early 20th century, and it wasn't like today where you can buy seeds or plants online, or connect with people in native countries. A few of the OG Palm Society members went to Cuba in the 50s and collected just what they needed, and then nothing. The US was really the only Western country that had the climate to grow these plants (mostly just South Florida) and they were blocked off. All of these species were often grown together and when they produced seed eventually, they were mostly hybrids. Eventually Cuba did open up for research purposes, but for collectors, it was much harder - Germans and Dominican collectors went there and eventually were able to get the seed out.

The other problem is that the environment was not a priority in Castro's revolution. Although Cuba's industrial projects weren't as bad as China, they still would clear hundreds of square miles for farms without regard to native plant life. The palms were not protected and were bulldozed, reducing their populations. These are slow growing and hate being disturbed so relocating them can take 18 months of delicate digging. It is believed there were other species of palms that are now extinct, as they were in photos but cannot be found anywhere on the island today.
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Old Yesterday, 10:53 PM   #1130
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Re: The story of "The Home Game" - TL;DR

Great story man! Best thread I've read in years
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