Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis) as ornamental plants: The first thirty years of the horticultural trade

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Abstract

Initially propagated and marketed by Belgiannurseries during the second half of the 19th century,the Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis) hasfound widespread use as an ornamental planting inpublic and private spaces in all temperate and subtropicalzones of the globe. This paper traces the early periodof the commercialisation of this species in Europeanhorticultural trade outlining its early marketing by theBelgian horticultural firms based in Ghent, followedby German and French competition sourcing seedsdirectly from the Canary Islands. The nurseries engagedin a wilful obfuscation of the nature of the plant bygenerating a plethora of horticultural synonyms. Bythe late 19th century the plant was being exhibited inbotanic gardens worldwide and propagated by nurseriesin Europe, North America and Australia producingquantities of plants sufficient to service the growing needfor street trees and garden ornamentals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-102
Number of pages24
JournalHuntia: a journal of botanical history
Volume17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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