Welcome to the Virtual Palm Encyclopedia!
For those of you that have been here before, expect to see some nice additions to this site. For you newcomers, I hope you enjoy your first visit. Please don't hesitate to e-mail me your comments, criticisms, and suggestions of improvement. And if you are interested in contributing, please let me know. I look forward to serving PACSOF and the entire palm community.

I have always held a fascination for palms, although I did not become what some—including my wife—would call a palm ‘fanatic’ until we bought our house in Miami about two years ago. Since that time we have removed every dicot from the front yard—which really only consisted of three bottle brush trees—and replaced them with palm beds. We have also planted a variety of palms in the back and side yards, bringing the total to about 50 species—and counting—and probably 60-70 individuals/clumps. I have been an avid palm seed collector during this two-year period, collecting and germinating another 150 species. I even went so far as to start putting pots on my roof because I was running out of room in the side yard; at one time I had over 300 black pots on my garage roof, each with one to several dozen palm seeds/seedlings. Needless to say, yes I am a fanatic. But palms are just so cool!

I have been in school most of my life, including numerous years in graduate school—studying fish of all things. During this time I have come to the realization that ‘fanatics’ usually are just people excited about what they do and anxious to learn more. Because of this, I look at my ‘fanaticism’ with palms simply as a learning experience—an education of sorts—in which the plants are the teachers and I the student. I am lucky enough to live only about twenty minutes from one of the most spectacular gardens in the world, Fairchild Tropical Garden. I visit as often as I can and each time I learn something about palms that I didn't know before.

Since my interest in palms has recently flourished and since my interest in the Internet has also grown, I have spent a considerable amount of time surfing the web for information on palms. For the most part, I have been somewhat disappointed. Don't get me wrong, there are several really nice and informative palm sites out there; however, I was looking for a site that was comprehensive and that I could go to on a regular basis as part of my learning experience. Not finding one that 'fit the bill', I started the Virtual Palm Encyclopedia in March of 1998.

In June, 1998, I became involved in a new organization--it was so new, in fact, that it was not yet even formed--called the Palm & Cycad Societies of Florida (PACSOF). I had much interest and optimism for this organization, so much so that I decided to donate the Virtual Palm Encyclopedia to PACSOF as their official website.

I must admit, the idea for the Virtual Palm Encyclopedia was not mine; the initial idea was suggested to me by a friend who raises parrots. He knew that I really liked palms and one day he e-mailed me the URL for the Online Book of Parrots (Psittaciformes) website and suggested that I do something similar for palms. At the time, neither he nor I had any idea of the magnitude of the ‘seed’ that he had planted in my head!

I would like to take this opportunity to officially welcome you to the Virtual Palm Encyclopedia. As with the majority of new sites, this one is continuously being upgraded and enlarged, so you might like to check back often. Please feel free to e-mail me at webmaster@plantapalm.com with your comments and criticisms. Your scrutiny can only make this site better!

Thank you for stopping in. I sincerely hope you enjoy your stay. More importantly, I hope you learn something!

Kindest regards,
Jody L. Haynes
December 1998

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