Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 19, 2020

Borrego Palm Canyon Palm Oasis is as lush and green as ever

from the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association

After a devastating fire on January 18, 2020, Borrego Palm Canyon, the most popular hiking destination in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is now open to the public once again. The trail has been improved, and takes you near enough to the recovering grove to see and photograph the new growth. It is spectacular!

In January, a fire fully engulfed the main grove. The green crowns and magnificent skirts vaporized!

The damage appeared devastating. To the uninitiated, all the palms in the most impressive grove were dead. But the desert fan palm, Washingtonia filifera, is not like most other California trees. It is a fire survivor.
In fact, an adult fan palm almost never succumbs to flames. Within months after the blaze, an entire new crown, complete with a full complement of green fronds, emerges from the top of the trunk.
The desert fan palm can produce new seeds in less than four months following a burn event. What’s more, the desert fan palm produces two-to-three times more seeds after being burned. This is because other competitors are destroyed by the fire, leaving more water for the palms and increasing fruit production.

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