Palm Oxylon
Rio Negro, Argentina

Oxylon as a suffix means "fossil of". The characterizing feature of palm, in cross sectional specimens, is the relatively dense pattern of vascular bundles that are irregularly arranged within a matrix (parenchyma) devoid of other structures. This is in contrast to the structure of broad-leaf and needle bearing trees that have "growth rings" produced as concentrically arranged cambria seasonally gives rise to xylem or true wood that grows centrally. Without true wood cells to serve as water reservoirs, palm trees are susceptible to drought. For this reason they need rain and the finding of fossil palm in an area is circumstantial evidence that the area was most likely moist and tropical in the past.
Copyright © 2003 Giraud Foster & Norman Barker