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Public invited to take an armchair trip ‘In Search of Palms in Cuba’

Members of the Hawaii Island Palm Society invite the public on a virtual trip “In Search of Palms of Cuba,” a PowerPoint presentation and discussion by Paul Craft, at 7 p.m. Friday, April 18, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in Room UCB-100. UCB is the tallest building adjacent to the upper end of the main Kawili Street parking lot.

Craft, former president of the International Palm Society and coauthor of a great palm reference book, “An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms,” has made numerous trips to Cuba. He will be acting as guide for the IPS pre- and post-biennial trips to Cuba in May with the TREE Institute.

His Hilo presentation will feature palms in their native habitat, from one end of the country to the other, as well as on the “Island of Youth,” the second-largest Cuban island located 60 miles off the south coast of Cuba proper.

“We’ll see many of the 90 taxa of the rare and unique Cuban palms, including Copernicias and Coccothrinax, nearly all of which are endemic to Cuba, as Paul shares his knowledge of the palms, the people and culture of Cuba,” said HIPS President Tim Brian.

“Paul is currently a horticultural consultant with over 35 years of experience in the nursery, landscaping and landscape design industry. Palms have been his passion, having worked with over 1,500 species and traveled extensively to learn about them in their native habitats,” Brian said.

A resident of Palm Beach, Fla., Craft was the founding president of the Palm Beach Palm and Cycad Society and has been a member of the International Palm Society for more than 30 years, serving currently on the board of directors.

If people have copies of “An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms,” Craft will sign them at the meeting. Those interested in purchasing the book can do so by visiting Copies signed by both coauthors, Craft and Scot Zona, are available through Craft’s website,

The 200-member Hawaii Island Palm Society, a chapter of the International Palm Society, is an educational group dedicated to demonstrating to the public the variety of palms that can be grown in the Hawaii landscape and providing information concerning palms and their cultivation. Each year, the group sponsors numerous slide shows and field trips to accomplish these objectives. As a community education project, members continue to plant new species of palms at the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens and maintain the more than 100 species already planted there.


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