And in the past, I've blogged about eucalyptus trees in Los Angeles, and the trees of 1891. So today, I refer you to an excellent article about the history of palm trees in our city, by Dan Nosowitz in Atlas Obscura.
Nosowitz goes into a lot of detail about the palm trees, pointing out that they aren't even trees, really. They don't even have wood.
I've heard before that hundreds of palms were planted in advance of the 1932 Olympics here, and I just verified that on one of the history pages that Nathan Masters does for PBS, called "A Brief History of Palm Trees in Southern California." 25,000 trees planted in 1931! But according to Masters, beautifying the city for Olympics might have been a secondary reason. The program to plant palms back then was part of a larger program to put men to work. A $5 million bond helped pay for 40,000 palms in total.
The PBS story gets the prize for best pictures, though. Go see. The image at right is from the Los Angeles Library, and is not dated. Nor does it note a location.
Garden Collage Magazine also chronicled the arrival of palm trees, back to Mission days, up through the '32 Olympics, and into the present. That's the one to read if you want a quicker overview.
Another palm tree story ran twelve years ago in the LAist and it claimed that 100 years ago, Los Angeles was full of pepper trees. Palm trees replaced them. Are pepper trees native? Because in Palos Verdes, which is still richly populated with pepper trees, folks call them invasive.
Well, I just learned (from another PBS/Nathan Masters piece) that our pepper trees are South American. From Peru, specifically, and they are ornamental. Hmmm ... they smell awfully peppery for ornamental purposes. But that'll be a story for another day.
Finally, a few months ago the Los Angeles Times reported on the mass die-off of our palm trees, with a great graphic that you should really go see: iconic movie scenes with disappearing palm trees. The article lists the pests that endanger and kill our palms.
And many of these pieces interview one Jared Farmer, who wrote the book Trees in Paradise.