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Imagine yourself on a sandy beach. You throw a glance at the beautiful horizon, a breathtaking and priceless view of the vast waters. The wind is blowing, the breeze is incredible. Aah! Then there are the palm trees standing tall in their splendor.
Your tropical paradise would not be complete without the perfect palm tree-lined beaches. Oh my! But have you ever wondered how as salty as the ocean waters are, palm trees still grow by the sandy beaches?
How Can Palm Trees Grow in the Sand by the Salty Ocean Water?
Palm trees exist in different types. Of them all, the coconut palm trees have adapted and fully appreciate their place on the beach. Near the ocean, these palm trees grow to be healthy and evergreen.
Here is their secret. Coconut palm trees have a way of converting the salty water into fresh water. They enjoy the sand soils as they enjoy the sunlight all to themselves without any competition from other trees and plants. Palm trees adapt to become wind tolerant.
As if that were not enough, palm trees even use the sea to distribute their seeds. It all depends on the specific species of the palm trees which are numerous. Some plants are ornamental. They are grown for landscaping.
Different palms are cultivated to produce oil, nuts and dates. Most palm trees thrive in a hot climate. The most spectacular ones you love grow near the ocean. The coconut palm is one of the special ones that have adapted to flourish in the surroundings near the sea.
While most plants consider the ocean hostile, palm trees have made it their permanent home of choice. Plants do not like salty water and the sandy soils are poor for them. But how do coconut palm trees blossom around the beach? How do they complement the serenity of a perfect beach, all adverse factors notwithstanding?
1. Palm Trees are Tolerant of the Salty Waters
A coconut palm tree is a halophyte. A halophyte is a salt-tolerant plant that grows in waters or soils of high levels of salinity. Whereas saltwater kills most plants, coconut palm trees grow in them unperturbed. Palm trees have the ability to convert the heavy salty water into fresh useable water.
It is this unique capability that makes all the difference. Some palm trees will block the salt at their root fibers. Meaning they just absorb the moisture from the water and leave the salt at the roots. Other palm trees will absorb the salty water but create a different path for the salt to be stored in set-apart sections within the plant’s cells. They store the salt without using it.
2. Palm Trees Have a Way of Utilizing the Sandy Soils
It is difficult for plants to survive in the sandy soils. Most of them will do poorly because the sandy soils have an unfavorable structure. Sandy soils have quick water drainage and tend to have low levels of nutrients. It is the inability of sandy soils to hold onto the organic matter that is responsible for the lack of nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium that are paramount for plant growth.
Since palm trees grow in plenty of water near the ocean, most of their needs are met. Their environment provides a steady supply of the nutrients though on lower levels. The nutrients are not on very high demand since the palms have their ecosystem all to themselves. Palm trees can tolerate the high levels of salinity and have access to the endless supply of the necessary moisture.
3. Palm Trees Get to Bask at the Beach Throughout
Do you remember your amazing experience basking at the beach on a sunny day? Well, the palm trees get to do that every single day that the sun is out.
Sunlight is a primary need for every plant. Thanks to photosynthesis! Coconut palm trees have a monopoly business on sunlight going on. With minimal or zero competition, the palm tree leaves work like solar panels.
When other plants fail due to lack of sunlight for photosynthesis, palm trees experience very little competition. More sunlight means they get to process their food and maintain a steady supply. On the beach, palm trees soak up all the sun and do not have to compete for sunlight.
4. Palm Trees Dispense their Seed Through the Sea
It is an amazing adaptation that palm trees have. Mainly a plant is as healthy as its production levels. Like all living things, plants reproduce passing on life to the next generation of their species.
Plants use different methods to distribute their seed such as birds and the wind. However, coconut seeds are too heavy for birds to carry or to be blown by the wind. Palm trees use the ocean to distribute their seeds. No wonder palm trees are always leaning towards the water!
Once a coconut falls on the beach, a tide will eventually pick up the seed carrying it into the water. The seeds float and the current will deposit them on another beach where they will begin growing. Mind-blowing!
5. Palm Trees are Wind Tolerant
Unlike the heavy bushy trees and shrubs, palm trees have a thin structure. It is what makes them do well in a windy environment. It is remarkable adaptability. For the beach, as you know it, is windy. Even while some palm trees grow at peculiar angles, hardly do you see a palm tree fallen by the wind.
When you think of a beach, it would be incomplete without the excellent palm trees that complement its magnificent view. As you sip the coconut water picked from the green coconuts, surely you must wonder what the beach would be like without these integral and productive beauties.
Palm trees can grow in the sand by the salty ocean water because they have adapted to their amazing environment. They can tolerate the salty water, make the sandy soils their thriving residence, and take in as much sunlight. Phenomenal!