Friday, 14 December 2012

Great questions of our Time: Why the ‘Zona del Palmares’?

At times questions present themselves which have the nature of the frivolous and are the subject of a lifetime of enquiry; others that eventually become so obvious, with the inclusion of only single observation and then the peso drops. Yet others are of a technical nature, of  personal taste, invariably agricultural. However, less esoterically and more mundane is the ’Zona del Palmares’.  It’s a question to which I can’t get a satisfactory answer.

We’ve crossed over or run along this belt of palms on five occasions now, due to our convoluted route planning and it’s elliptical sweep. We’ve become well acquainted with the phenomena. It starts with a few scattered, stunted specimens, quickly increasing in height and number. Almost antisocial in their scatter, keeping a safe water garnering distance apart. Cattle graze around them, harvesters cut around them and they’re the only plant that can survive under an apartheid of gums.

That’s the what, I need the why. Yet all the searches answer the first: that it’s ‘a belt of palms that encircles the globe’. Succinct, but not the point.  Is it a combination of geography, climatology and eco-political considerations? The way that they’re left standing unmolested in a crop of cereals, left as the sole survivors after a clear fell of  gums, suggests that they are protected. Or are they an extreme example for the definition of a ’weed’? A plant in the wrong place? Or, are they simply a plant in it’s right place?