As a background, a little information about palm trees: There are 25,000 species of palm trees throughout the world, with 11 native to North America. The following are three of the more popular palm trees commonly seen in Southern California:
The first is the California Fan Palm, which is the only palm tree native to western North America. The California Fan Palm grows from 20 to 60 feet in height and has a large trunk, which is 2 to 3 feet in diameter. The fronds are shaped like fans.
The second is the Date Palm, which is originally from North Africa and the Middle East. It grows to heights of 75 feet tall and is well known from the wonderful fruit.
Also seen frequently throughout Southern California is the Queen Palm. The Queen Palm has beautiful, lacy fronds and grows to a height of 25 to 50 feet.
In the mid 1950s my Grandma Cora and Bill came to visit from the Coachella Valley. Whenever they came to visit they brought their three black cocker spaniels, Chief, Junior and Baby; and whatever fruit and vegetable was currently growing in the desert. But on this visit, besides the dogs, fruits and vegetables, my grandparents brought what Grandma Cora called a dwarf fan palm. My Grandma Cora explained that the Dwarf Palm was similar to the California Fan Palm but it would stay smaller.
Bob planted the palm tree in our front yard, and for years the tree stayed a couple of feet tall. The tree was irresistible to every kid in the neighborhood and it soon became a game to run and jump over the tree. My friend Patty and I started the trend. We always jumped over the top of the tree when we passed by it. Soon, other kids began jumping over the tree, and before we knew it the tree became a symbol of our agility.
Eventually, the tree began to grow. Once it grew, it continued to grow and grow and grow. It ended up about 30 feet tall, with a wide trunk, and appeared to be a California Fan Palm instead of the promised Dwarf Fan Palm. It seemed a shame that it was too tall to jump over. But all things must change and just as the tree became too tall for us to jump over, we became too tall to jump over the tree.