Are palms trees? Or maybe large, woody herbs?

July 16, 2016 10:00 AM

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In a past Miami Herald article, I called a young palm a sapling. A reader asked why I used the term sapling for a young palm. The term sapling is used only for “trees” and from what he’d read, palms are not trees. This brought up a very interesting question: Are palms trees? It all depends on how you define a tree, and none of these definitions gives a clear-cut answer.

The most common definition of a tree is a large, woody plant with a single main stem or trunk. Some palms easily fall in this category, while others do not. Most solitary, erect palms would be considered trees under this definition — royal palms, for example. However, erect, clumping palms, such as ...

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