from the October 27, 2008 Newsletter
issued from Yokdzenot, Yucatán, MÉXICO
Above you see an eight-ft-tall palm common around here, SABAL YAPA. Sabal species are recognized by North Americans as the palmetto palms so typical of the US Deep South. Here the Maya refer to Sabal yapa as Huano (WAN-oh). Most of the palm's fronds in the picture have been removed because people here use them for thatching roofs.
When identifying palms a point to keep in mind is that the vast majority of palm species fall neatly into one of two broad groups: the fan palms, whose leaf segments radiate from the top of the leaf stem, or petiole, forming a ± circular blade, and; the feather-leaved or pinnate palms, such as the Coconut Palm, whose leaf segments arise from a rachis passing through the center of a long leaf blade, like pinnae arising from the rachis of a feather
Palmettos are regarded as fan palms, even though their blades don't fit the fan-palm pattern exactly.
Above you can see how the Huano's petiole, shooting up from the lower right, continues a bit up through the blade, but grows narrow fast, and soon piddles into a little droop, resulting in the frond being ± circular in outline but with an asymmetrical crease in the middle. Palmetto blades suggest a transition phase between fan palms and feather-leaved palms. Palm blades exhibiting this curious midrib behavior are said to be "costapalmate," and this costapalmateness makes palmettos easy to distinguish from other fan palms in the field. Palmettos are also distinguished from other fan palms by their blade stems, or petioles, NOT bearing spines.
Don't confuse smooth-petioled palmettos in the genus Sabal with saw-toothed-petioled SAW Palmettos of the genus Serenoa, often forming dense, leg-chewing thickets along the US Coastal Plain from South Carolina to Mississippi. Palmettos and Saw Palmettos are two different things.
Huano can grow into a tall, slender-trunked tree, as the following picture showing three Huanos in different stages of development shows::
Embracing about 190 genera and 2000 species, the Palm Family, the Arecaceae, is big and varied. Sixteen species are recognized in the Huano's genus Sabal, and most Sabal species cluster around the Caribbean Sea.
from the February 7, 2010 Newsletter issued from
Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO
|After chopping off each of the frond's stems, or petioles, so they'd be the same
length, the men tied together bunches of them so they could be risen to their working spot
on the roof, by rope, as shown below:
One reason the Huano Palm's fronds are favored over other palm species is that the fronds' petioles extend like a midrib into the fannlike blade. The fronds are affixed to the wooden pole below them by inserting the petiole extension and the leaflets arising from it BELOW the pole, while all the rest of the leaflets go ABOVE the pole. This way the frond hooks onto the pole very securely. You can see how this looks from below below:
You can see what the house looked like after the first hour of thatching below: