They are the sultry, swaying backdrop to countless films, posters and music videos, an effective way to announce: this is Los Angeles.
Palm trees greet you outside the LAX airport, they line Hollywood Boulevard, stand guard over the Pacific and crisscross neighbourhoods poor and rich, a botanical army of stems and fronds which symbolise the world’s entertainment capital.
Apparently not for much longer. LA’s palm trees are dying. And most won’t be replaced.
A beetle known as the South American palm weevil and a fungus called Fusarium are killing palm trees across southern California. Others are dying of old age. “It’ll change the overall aesthetic because palm trees are so distinctive. It’s the look and feel of Los Angeles,” said Carol Bornstein, director of the nature gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.