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The streets, parks, plazas, and patios of Quito are dominated by the Quito palm. But these graceful trees are more than just ornamental. The “minicoconuts” that fall from them are much appreciated, especially by the city's children. (W.H. Hodge)


however, is relatively quick growing, taking only 3–4 years to produce its first seeds—lightning fast for a palm.

Little is known about the Quito palm's requirements. It seems to thrive on ample water, but also can be cultivated in dry areas. Its Ecuadorian habitat has a short (1 or 2 month) dry season. Apparently, its deep roots grow straight down, so they usually reach layers with subsoil containing moisture year-round. It is a sun-loving species, but (at least for a palm) shows a high resistance to cold. In its habitat—3,000 m up in the Andes—night temperatures are in the range of 5–10°C. Indeed, it is probable that the plant requires cool nights: in areas where night temperatures are consistently over 13–16°C, it seems to lose its vigor and health.



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