Urban Fold

A Call to 'Retire the Myth' of the Palm Tree in Los Angeles

Victoria Dailey has some strong words for the palm tree in its various forms around Los Angeles in a long read for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
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A well-crafted paragraph provides entre to Dailey's argument: "Lately, as I have been scanning the local horizon, the pervasive palms have begun to make me feel queasy. In fact, they now irritate me. I long to see a vista uninterrupted by the skinny, merciless palms — they mock the very idea of shade, and in a region with abundant sunshine, their presence is exasperating. Like alien invaders, reckless colonizers, and 'escaped exotics,' as invasive plant species are known, palms have driven out more modest species, claiming, as autocrats do, the exclusive right to reign supreme — they alone signify the arboreal realm of Los Angeles despite their inability to provide shade, their over-reliance on water and their environmental incongruity."

The essay revolves around concepts of piety and perversity—highly recommended reading for landscape architects, historians, and fans of Los Angeles.

Full Story: Piety and Perversity: The Palms of Los Angeles

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