OK, OK, OK, I admit it, I read a lot of Judith Krantz romance novels as a teenager. Most of which were set in L.A. And in one of them, the protangonist refers to palm trees as “those goony looking things”. They are, if you think about it, especially since they’re not even native to Los Angeles. The city had a massive surge of palm tree plantings in the 20s and 30s – especially right before the 1932 Olympics, according to Los Angeles A to Z. And the Times wrote a great article on the history of our imported foliage back in 2004.
But L.A Curbed reports this morning that now, it’s official: the palm trees will be phased out. MSNBC hinted at it a month ago, but CBS2 reports today that the city council will replace the palms with native species. I like this, because to me, the palm trees are part of the L.A. image that’s perceived by most of the world, of a city with no center and no history. Fighting against that image is what blew my mind the first year I lived here, when I found out how much of the city there was that I’d never heard of. Maybe bringing in more native foliage could be a bit of a symbol for reclaimin more of the city’s history, and presenting a new image to the rest of the world – beyond streets lined with mock-Spanish style houses and seventy-odd year old palm trees.
What do you all think of this? Are the palm trees a real symbol of Los Angeles? Is it a shame to lose them? Or would it be better if, over the next decade or two, palm trees disappeared to be replaced with more “real” plants for L.A.?