Thursday, June 28, 2012

Huerto del Cura - Elche, Spain

On the way back from the beach in Alicante we stopped in the town of Elche. It is famous for 2 things. The number of plam trees in the city and the number of shoe factories.

The city of Elche has between 200.000 and 300,000 palm trees from all over the world.

This is a park called the Huerto del Cura. It is a small walled park in the center of the city.

Huerto apparently means small plot of land for growing palms and Cura is an honorific for a pastor or chaplain. The Chaplain, Jose Castano Sanchez owned the park until 1918.

I note that gives Garden of Healing in response to Huerto del Cura.

This is an Imperial Palm in the center of the park. This type of palm is known to sprout new branches from the roots. This one sprouted from a few feet up the trunk so a support mechanism has been built.

This tree is estimated to be about 165 years old.

This is a statue of the King Jaime I who liberated Elche from Arab rule in the 1265.

Someone has a sense of humor (or vandalism depending on your point of view). Click to enlarge and check out his out stretched hand.

I addition to the palms there is quite a selection of cacti. To tell you the truth I found them more interesting than the palms.

This looks to be a baby barrel cactus.

This is an older one.

I have no idea how long it takes for them to get this big.

This is a Agave Ferox.

Some of the cacti get very big.

This one reminded me of an alien creature.

What do you think?

This duck was hanging out in the pond near the cactus area.

Some flowers gracing the place, also.

These things are really tall. I imagine part of that is that they are growing in a protected area and are sheltered somewhat from the wind, etc.

Not sure what this is going to grow up to be but it is pretty small - about 12 inches tall.

I guess those are thorns although they look more like hair.

Here is another perspective on the cacti and some of the palms. Many of the palms are date palms and you can buy dates there.

The brochure says than palms aren't really a tree but rather herbaceous plants that can live for 200 to 300 years. The fibrous trunk allows the tree to bend rather than break in strong winds.

The palm trees in the Elche area are believed to date back to the Phoenician area about 2500 to 3000 years ago. Dates are likely to have been part of the Phoenician diet during long voyages.

I'm not sure what these cactus like plants are in the background.

This is an Yucca Elephantipes. I'm thinking that might be because the bottom of the trunk looks a little like an elephant's foot.

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