Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve in the Coachella Valley Preserve.

Conserving Native Species and their Habitat in Perpetuity


Today I had an amazing education about palm trees. Probably like me you thought that palm trees looked like this :


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or even with a patterned trunk or a smooth trunk with just a few fronds at the top …well apparently not.


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Fan Palms is the only native palm in California and is found only in areas where water is at or near the surface. Not all oasis have visible water sources, but palm roots rarely reach down more than 8-12 feet. These palms can reach a height of up to 60 feet, with leaves over 6 feet wide. The California fan palm retains the dead fronds (leaves) if not disturbed, forming a skirt or petticoat of dead leaves. Many of the fronds that are seen lying on the ground have been blown off in windstorms. 


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These oasis are here in this area because of the San Andreas Fault which runs through the area and is the water source.


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The dead leaves hang vertically around the trunk and form what is called a skirt or petticoat.


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The palm leaves have very sharp thorns along each edge of the leaf stems. This is the reason that they are trimmed and manicured to preserve peoples safety. Except for places like in this preserve.


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On this trunk you can see where the dead fans have  have been hacked off. To make the trunks even  smoother  they remove the part left on the trunk.


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In the late springtime trees produce small fruits that are eaten by many birds and other animals. This was an important traditional food source for the Cahuilla people as well.


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Fan palm canopies are favourite building sites for oriole nests, and roosting sites for western yellow bats. The skirts provide habitat for owls, (where were they hiding) cactus wrens and other birds.


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Palms living in and around their water source. A true oasis…beautiful !


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The trunk of the palm has bundles of living tissue throughout its diameter, which allows the plant to survive fires.For me this was one amazing adventure. Wandering through the desert sand looking at the plants, rocks and scrubby bushes. Gazing at these amazing palms in various states of growth. Most left natural for people like me to see how they really are, or where they have been trimmed to show what is done for safeties sake.  I have never been to an oasis before, and I have to confess that I believed they were only in the deserts of the Far East. Oh, how wrong I was.

29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Road, thousand Palms, CA. 92276   phone (770) 343-2733


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