Western branches out with tropical flora

Adela Talbot // Western News

Is this the University of Florida? Has global warming gone to the extreme? You may think so, upon spotting one of the dozen or so banana palm trees that have sprouted up around campus. Well, they didn’t just sprout up, said Western lead horticulturist Matt Robinson, seen here planting one of the trees near Alumni Hall. The trees were ordered in November 2013 for a May 2014 planting. By September, the roughly six-foot trees were dug up, potted and sent to a greenhouse for wintering. They returned a couple weeks ago and have since been planted around campus. Robinson said palm trees are definitely a rare sight in Ontario. “By using unique large tropical plants and large growing annuals as focal points in Western’s annual displays,” Robinson explained, “it really sets us apart from what everyone else is doing.” Unfortunately, the palms will be too big to be saved again for next summer – cost and time would be prohibitive – and will be removed mid to late September for composting.