A Phoenix reclinata tree may develop several stems in a clump, some of the older ones leaning out and curving upwards, giving rise to the specific name of reclinata. The stem is slender, becoming 30 cm in diameter.
This tree is smaller than its famous cousin, P. dactylifera, the date palm. P. reclinata is one of the palm trees that has an increased flow of sap to the flowerheads just before the flowering season. This sap is tapped from the flower stalk to make a wine, also obtained in similar fashion from several other palm species.
Palm leaves are used to weave baskets and leaf midribs for making fish kraals in the sand below the high tide line. Then there are, of course, the palm trees that provide oil and coconuts.
Palm trees are not the only celebrated monocotyledons on earth. The monocots include the lilies and orchids, valued for their flowers, while food is obtained from monocotyledon species, such as maize and bananas. And don’t forget the grasses, a huge monocotyledon food source serving grazers and indirectly humans through the provision of meat.
There are 2700 palm species on earth. They are superficially divided according to leaf shape into feather palms (pinnate leaf divisions), fan palms (palmate leaf divisions) and fishtail palms (twice divided leaves) (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Wikipedia).