L.A. palms

Oh-So L.A.

Tall and thin, like supermodels with endless legs. Their slender trunks and beachy heads line streets and have become a symbol of Southern California –– iconic and oh-so L.A. 

We’re talking palm trees, thousands and thousands of them. And they didn’t happen by accident. Inventing the tropical dream was part of a plan to entice visitors to the southland. Before the palms were actually a part of the landscape, they were even painted onto L.A. postcards to add a tropical and luxurious feel to the destination. 

In 1931, over 400,000 palms (Mexican Fan Palms or Washingtonia robusta to be exact) were planted along beaches and boulevards. Due to their long lifespans, some of those palms are still around, the oldest in Los Angeles dating back to the 1800s. 

Looking at L.A. today, palms seem at home as much as convertibles, movie stars and the Hollywood sign. But the truth is this: they’re just visitors and not native to Southern California at all. Curiously, they don’t provide shade, most don’t have fruit, and they don’t really even belong. But of course, they do. And we love them for it. 

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