Palm Tree

The Arecaceae is a family of perennial flowering plants in the monocot order Arecales. Their growth form can be climbers, shrubs, tree-like and stemless plants, all commonly known as palms. Those having a tree-like form are called palm trees.



The great centres of palm distribution are in America and in Asia from India to Japan and south to Australia and the islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans, with Africa and Madagascar as a third but much less important palm region.


Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

3 - 50 feet


Width-Circumference (Avg)

1 - 18 feet


Approximate pH

around 6 - 7


Growth Nutrition of Palm Tree


Palm trees require a steady diet of several nutrients and micronutrients, particularly nitrogen (N), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), and iron (Fe). All are critical to the health of palm trees.


Types of Palm Tree


Fast Growing Palm Trees


Carpentaria Palm: The Carpentaria Palm is a medium-sized palm tree native to Australia. It has a single trunk that can grow to 10-inches in diameter and reach a height of 40 feet.


Foxtail Palm: The Foxtail Palm is an attractive tree that’s self-cleaning and has multiple trunks with rounded fronds. It looks great in any landscape, as long as it’s not too close to the house because it can grow to about 30 feet.


Majesty Palm: The Majesty Palm is another Palm tree that has a wide trunk possibly for storing water. It first came to the United States in 1990 when Florida introduced it as a houseplant. It has attractive fronds that have varying shades of green.


Mexican Fan Palm: Mexican Fan Palms are tall trees that can grow to be 100 feet or more. It gets its name from its dark green fan-shaped leaves that can be 5 feet wide. It has a reddish-brown trunk that’s thin and tapered.


Queen Palm: The Queen Palm is a single trunk tree with glossy leaves. It can grow to 50 feet tall and produces bright orange dates that hang in ornamental clusters.


Fruit-Producing Palm Trees


Acai Palm: People usually grow the Acai Palm for the nutritious berries it produces that are rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids. However, it also has attractive fan-shaped leaves.


Coconut Palm: The Coconut Palm is one of the most popular varieties of palm trees globally, not only for the tasty fruit it produces but also because it’s not picky about the soil it grows in. All this tree requires is plenty of sunshine and lots of water.


Date Palm: The Date Palm is a species of palm tree from Africa famous for its sweet edible dates. Some people believe this is one of the first plants cultivated as many as 5,000 years ago.


Jelly Palm: The Jelly Palm is a shorter palm tree that only grows to about 20 feet tall. It likes well-drained soil and gets its name from the tender fruit that it produces with a strong pineapple flavor.


Saw Palmetto Palm: The Saw Palmetto Palm is used to produce a health food supplement. It may help relieve coughs due to various diseases and relieve chronic pelvic pain, migraines, hair loss, and more.


Cold Tolerant Palm Trees


Bismarck Palm: The Bismarck Palm has striking foliage color and texture. The thick trunk has a rounded head of stiff steel blue fan-shaped fronds that can be 4 feet wide or more.


California Fan Palm: The California Fan Palm is a flowering tree native to the southwestern United States. It can grow to 66 feet tall with a sturdy column and fan-shaped leaves.


Chinese Fan Palm: The Chinese Fan Palm is a cold-resistant tree that can survive temperatures as low as 15º Fahrenheit. It’s a great apartment plant, but can we grow up to 40 feet outside.


Needle Palm: The Needle Palm is renowned because it is one of the hardest palm trees in the world. It’s a small, slow-growing tree with an attractive appearance and dark gray and shaped fronds.


Trithrinax Palm: Trithrinax Palm is a tall and robust palm variety with high cold resistance. It features a cluster of trunks covered with woody spines and attractive palm leaves.


Windmill Palm: The Windmill Palm is an attractive tree with large round fan-shaped fronds that can grow to 75 inches long. This tree can grow to 40 feet tall but can take decades.


Drought Tolerant Palm Trees

Areca Palm: Areca Palm Trees are fast-growing and drought-resistant. It makes the grace house plant or yard ornament and is native to El Salvador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and surrounding regions. It works well in pots, but you need to be careful when transplanting it.


Blue Hesper Palm: The Blue Hesper Palm is a single trunk variety of palm trees that can grow to about 40 feet tall. It has fan-shaped fawns with sharp spikes that are highly resistant to drought conditions.


Blue Latan Palm: The Blue Latan Palm is an extremely tough tree that flourishes in extreme heat, sun, and dry conditions. However, this tree does not do well below 32º Fahrenheit, so it’s best to grow it in warmer regions.


Canary Island Date Palm: The Canary Island Date Palm is a popular ornamental tree because of the red fruit it produces. It usually grows to about 60 feet but can take a long time to reach that height.


Sylvester Date Palm: The Sylvester Date Palm is one of the most attractive palm tree varieties. It quickly grows to its mature height of around 50 feet tall, and it can be as wide as 25 feet.


Salt Tolerant Palms


Buccaneer Palm: The Buccaneer Palm Tree is a hardy variety that can withstand drought salt and extreme temperature change. Each Buccaneer Palm has a unique appearance with leaves ranging from green to bluish-green or even silver.


Cabbage Palm: The Cabbage Palm is another hardy tree that can grow to 65 feet tall. It has a rounded head but consists of wide fronds with numerous leaflets. It produces a fragrant flower that growers call Cabbage Palmetto.


Old Man Palm: Old Man Palms are a great choice for a small landscape. They also work well when planted in clumps, but they can get quite expensive. It gets its name from its unique trunk with a wool-like covering of fibers that hang down from the tree and resemble an older man’s beard.


Spindle Palm: The Spindle Palm has a single towering trunk that can reach more than 25 feet if it receives full sunlight. It has long fronds that can reach 10 feet long, creating an arching effect that looks pleasing when part of a larger landscape.


Small Palm Trees


European Fan Palm: The European Fan Palm Tree is the only Palm native to Europe. It’s a slow-growing and clumping variety that grows to about 8 to 15 feet tall and spreads to 10 feet wide. This plant is on the Florida-friendly landscaping plant list, and its textured fronds make it stand out from other plants.


Bottle Palm: The Bottle Palm is a true Palm with a swollen trunk. No one is sure why the trunk evolved, but many believe it might store water during a drought. It grows to about 10 feet tall with fronds that can grow to 12 feet.


Lipstick Palm: The Lipstick Palm is native to Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo. Many people call it the Red Palm because of its coloring. It can grow to 52 feet tall, and its coloring puts it in high demand for landscaping projects.


Pindo Palm: The Pindo Palm is one of the more popular varieties of palm trees. It stands about 15 feet tall and has long feather-like leaves that range in color from green to bluish-gray. It produces yellow to orange flowers in late spring, turning into bright orange fruits we call pindo dates.


Pygmy Date Palm: The Pygmy Date Palm is a slow-growing tropical plant that can reach several feet tall and is about 4 feet wide. While most Palms have a plastic appearance, the Pygmy Date palm has soft leaves. It enjoys humid conditions and plenty of space.


Indoor Palms


Bamboo Palm: The Bamboo Palm is a somewhat rare tree that thrives in low light conditions, making it an excellent office plant. It’s also hardy and tough enough to miss a few watering's.


Kentia Palm: The Kentia Palm Tree is another office plant that grows better in indirect sunlight. This palm tree is not particular about its soil, but it likes well-hydrated ground with plenty of fertilizer.


Ponytail Palm: One look at the Ponytail Palm, and you’ll know exactly why it’s called that. It has a wide base with a thin top where the leaves extend. It needs very little care and only requires water every few weeks as long as you place it in sunlight.


Parlor Palm: Parlor Palm makes for a great ornamental addition to dark corners, thanks to high low-light tolerance. It comes from the rainforests of Central America and doesn’t like overwatering.


Broadleaf Lady Palm: The leaves of Lady palm resemble a fan in appearance and look fantastic in stylish ceramic planters. It thrives best in bright, indirect sunlight and moist soil with good drainage.


Sago Palm: Not a true palm, it looks beautiful with its feathery foliage and a pineapple-like trunk. To encourage better growth, fertilizer monthly with a liquid balanced fertilizer.


Planting Palm Tree


Best Time to Plant Palm Trees


Mature palm trees with well-developed trunks can be dug and transplanted from the field. Young palms cannot. The roots of young palm trees are not sufficiently developed, so they are typically planted from container-grown stock. Perfect Plants delivers their windmill palm trees (a variety of fan palms) in one and three-gallon containers – perfect for planting out in the home landscape.


The best time to plant any new tree is in the spring, but trees delivered in containers can be planted any time of year. Still, we recommend setting out your new palm tree in spring or early summer so the warming weather will get it growing right away.


In any case, plant your new palm tree as soon as possible after it arrives. Until then, be sure to keep it in the shade in bright indirect light and keep the root system moist (but not standing in water). Just before planting, however, you should thoroughly soak the root mass in a bucket of water.


How to Grow Palm Trees From Seed


For most palms, air layering, cuttings, and division are typically not effective for propagating new trees. Usually, the best way to start a palm tree is from seed, which can be obtained through either a seed catalog or from a flowering tree.


Your first step will be to sprout the seed, which you can do by placing it in a container at least 4 inches deep with a thin layer of soil. Place the container in a warm, humid location while you wait for it to sprout—depending on the varietal, it can take two months or more for the seed to sprout.


Once the seed has sprouted, move the palm somewhere with abundant light and continue allowing it to grow. Feed the palm with a weak liquid fertilizer a few months into its growth period. Once the palm has grown several sets of leaves, you can transplant it into a larger container.


Palm Tree Plant Care


Palm trees like natural light. Dig a hole twice as wide and a few inches deeper than the root ball. Some experts advocate putting a six inch layer of sand in the bottom of the hole.


Add a handful of slow release palm fertilizer to the center of the hole and work it into the bottom and sides. Remove the root ball from its container and carefully straighten out or cut back any badly coiled roots. Try to minimize potting soil loss around the roots which are delicate and fragile.


Place the top of the root ball in the hole and fill the hole with a mixture of one-half native soil and one-half rotted manure or compost. Water as you backfill, and ensure there are no air pockets. Be sure the palm trunk is no deeper than it was in the original container and that there is nothing exposing the roots!


When the planting hole is filled, build up a berm around the outside of the trunk to retain water over the root zone. Water thoroughly. Apply a six-inch layer of organic mulch over the root zone and beyond for a few feet. Mulch will help protect cold hardy palms during the winter months. Water the tree again. Leaves will turn brown without enough water while the roots establish.


Palms prefer well draining soil to prevent root rot. Poorly drained soils will hold water and cause the trees root ball to get mushy. If planting in a container, make sure it has drainage holes.


Keep your newly planted palm tree well watered (daily unless it rains) for at least a couple months. After 3-4 months you can apply a slow release fertilizer formulated specifically for palms. This plant food is good for any variety of palm and should only be applied during the active growing season.


Care for Palm Trees Indoors


Light


One of the reasons palm plants are such common houseplants is that they can easily adapt to low-light conditions. Most palms are tolerant of (or prefer) shade and may fail to thrive if they receive too much direct sunlight. Low-light palm species prefer bright indirect light but also can tolerate less light, especially during the winter months.


Soil


The best soil for palm plants is a loose, porous mixture, like a combination of peat moss, leaf mold, and shredded bark. You can buy a cactus or palm soil mixture specifically made for growing palm plants—otherwise, they will grow just fine in a general-purpose commercial potting soil. If you're someone who tends to forget to water your plants, mix some peat moss or vermiculite into the general-purpose potting soil to help retain moisture.


Water


Good drainage is essential for healthy palm plants. Just because palms live in warm (sometimes tropical) regions does not mean they enjoy being waterlogged. In fact, many palms grow best in slightly sandy soils with ample drainage. Never let a palm's root ball sit in water and allow the plant's soil to dry out in-between waterings. You can also choose to plant your palm in a vessel made from terracotta or clay to help wick excess moisture from the soil.


Temperature and Humidity


Few palms will thrive in truly cold temperatures, and some, like the coconut palm, cannot tolerate any cold at all. Cold-hardy palms include the parlor palm and kentia palm, which explains why these are among the most popular indoor palms. As a general rule of thumb, palms prefer temperatures no lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


Fertilizer


Feed your palm regularly during its growing season. If possible, choose a palm fertilizer, which contains all the required micronutrients for a healthy palm, as well as extra potassium and manganese. Potassium deficiency is especially common in palms and can result in yellowing or brownish fronds. If you notice your palm turning, it may be time to increase your feedings.


Pruning Palm Trees


The temptation to trim fronds is hard to resist, but many species of palms draw nutrients from old fronds long after they have begun to yellow or brown. It's a very common mistake to over-prune palm trees, which can weaken the overall plant and rob it of valuable nutrients. In general, remove only fully browned leaves and never cut your palm down to just one or two new fronds.


Potting and Repotting Palm Trees


Only repot a palm when it is completely pot bound. Palms often have shallow root systems and do not appreciate being disturbed frequently. Many of the most common palm trees grown indoors want to become trees, and you can slow down growth by keeping them slightly pot-bound. If you don't repot your palm every year, it will grow at a more manageable rate.


Pests, Insects and Diseases


Indoor palms trees are often prone to potassium deficiency, signaled when the oldest leaves begin to die back, beginning with the tips. A controlled-release potassium supplement is the best treatment. But if the tips of all leaves turn brown, it is often due to excessive fertilizing.


Like other houseplants, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects can be a problem, especially if your palm trees are kept close to other houseplants that may be infected. Keep an eye out for telltale signs of infestation and treat the plant promptly using insecticidal soap or horticultural oil such as neem oil.


Insects


Cabbage Palm Caterpillar

Cabbage palm caterpillars, found throughout Florida, target the cabbage palmetto almost exclusively. They rarely kill palm trees but the insects do destroy the trees' blossoms. They are a nuisance to humans as well because they often enter homes looking for suitable places to pupate. Control by insecticides is possible under certain circumstance if carefully managed.


Giant Palm Borer


The borer is a large and quite ugly beetle whose larvae have a taste for the wood of the Washingtonia and Phoenix varieties. Borer grubs can live inside a palm trunk for up to nine years before exiting as beetles through quarter-sized holes.


Palm Budworm


The budworm is beetle whose larvae feed on the flowers of a range of fan palms. The caterpillars are about an inch long and a pinky-green in colour.


Palmetto Weevil


The Palmetto Weevil can be found throughout Florida, as far west as southern Texas and as far north as South Carolina. It is North America's largest weevil. This pest has a taste primarily for the Cabbage Palm (sabal palmetto) although it will infest Saw Palmettos (serrenoa repens) and, occasionally, Canary Island Date Palms (phoenix canariensis), Washington Palms (washingtonia), Royal Palms (roystonea), and some coconut palms.


Royal Palm Bug


The Royal Palm Bug is an unusual insect. It feeds on only one plant, the royal palm, and the female lays one egg a day during the spring, a little like a chicken. The bugs rarely kill the host tree but the damage they do can be unsightly and they are difficult to control given the height of mature royal palms. These insects are the only North American members of the Thaumastocoridae family.


Thrips


North America's thrips make up an extremely large family of insects. Of the plant feeders alone, there are 264 species. And some of these species have a taste for palm trees, feeding on flowers and leaves by puncturing the surfaces to suck out sap. Thrips are not lethal to palms but the feeding of the adults can discolor and wilt leaves. In addition, in intensive infestations their unsightly black droppings can become noticeable on leaf surfaces.


Diseases


Bud Rot

Bud rot is caused by a fungus which causes the heart fronds of a palm tree to wilt and die. Tree death can occur soon afterward. California and Mexican palms are the most vulnerable.


Fusarium Wilt


Fusarium wilt is another palm tree fungus. Signs of wilt are fronds wilting, losing their green luster and, finally, dying. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure and the diseased tree may have to be removed.


Ganoderma Butt Rot


Ganoderma butt rot is a relatively new and lethal disease of Florida palm trees. It is caused by a fungus, Ganoderma zonatum, which invades the base or butt of palm trees up to a height of three to four feet above the ground. The disease was first discovered in Florida in 1994 and in only a few years it has spread to infect palms throughout the state. At this time, it cannot be said with certainty that there are any palm trees resistant to ganoderma butt rot.


Lethal Yellowing


Lethal yellowing is a disease first noticed in the Caribbean region of North America about 100 years ago. However, it was not until the 1950s and a devastating outbreak in Jamaica and the Florida Keys that the economic consequences of lethal yellowing were recognized and intensive research begun.


Benefits of Palm Tree


Environmental benefits of palm trees:


Palm trees can be found in most parts of the world, from the colder climates of the Northern Hemisphere to tropical regions. These are very beneficial to humans as it serves various purposes such as shelter and food all while providing benefits to the environment.


However, planting a palm tree also has its risks which might pose a danger to those who plant them improperly, prevent other plants from growing, and can cost a lot of money to maintain.


Palm trees provide numerous benefits both to humans and the environment. They serve as a source of shelter, food source, construction material, clothes or bags made from stem or roots, and many more while also providing benefits that help the environment – especially in warm climates.


But planting a palm tree in your own garden does not come without risks because they might pose a danger to those who plant them improperly, prevent other plants and flowers from growing, and can cost a lot of money to maintain.


What makes it ideal for planting in colder climates is that most of them only need sunlight and water to survive – two things deemed important by gardeners. Some also need warmth, but the majority of palm trees can adapt to colder climates without too much trouble.


Palm trees require little maintenance and are cheap to maintain. However, this does not mean that planting one will not require any effort at all since it is still important to take care of your palm tree by providing it soil that is loose, water at a regular interval, and sunlight for energy.


Benefits of Palm Tree Leaves


Palm trees are the world’s most common tropical plant. They can be found in all tropical and subtropical regions, where they grow to form shady “cloud forests” that protect wildlife and enhance the local environment.


They are also used for many other purposes, including construction material, food, beverage ingredients, and oil. Palm leaves have long been used for their many benefits to health, beauty, and the environment.


Palm leaves are rich in nutrients. They contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. The latter mineral is particularly important because without it blood cannot carry oxygen properly around the body, causing cell damage that can lead to anemia, fatigue, poor immune function, and a host of other health problems.


Palm leaves also contain several essential vitamins that are necessary for healthy cell function and metabolism. These include thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacinamide, folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.


In addition to these vital vitamins, palm leaves also contain significant amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, making it less likely that you will catch a cold or other infection that can damage your health.


Palm leaves are rich in fiber and protein. Fiber is important for healthy digestion and preventing constipation. Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle mass and healthy skin, hair, nails, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, eyesight, hearing, and more. It also plays a role in regulating one’s blood sugar levels.


Palm leaves are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is an essential fat for human health that promotes cardiovascular health and brain function. In addition, omega-3 boosts heart health by reducing the risk of autoimmune disease and preventing high blood pressure.


Palm leaves are a natural energy booster. They contain no carbohydrates or sugars to cause a sudden rise in your blood sugar levels, making them an ideal beverage to have before exercising. Natural palm tree juice is full of electrolytes that are essential for healthy energy production.


Palm leaves are used to make highly nutritious food and beverages. Raw juice, tea, coffee, fruit preserves, vinegar syrup, oil, pesto sauce, insulation materials, and many other products can be made from palm tree leaves. Eating this plant also has an alkalizing effect on the blood that can help prevent various chronic diseases, especially those influenced by an acidic blood pH.


Palm leaves are a natural diuretic and can be used as a powerful herbal remedy to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney stones. In some cultures, the sap from the leaves is also used as an effective anti-itching agent for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.


Palm tree leaves improve the soil in which they grow. The most common species of palm trees used for landscaping have a symbiotic relationship with certain types of bugs that live under their leaves’ folds, where it’s cool and moist.


These insects eat decomposing plant matter such as fallen leaves or dead insects on the ground. In return, they fertilize the soil and protect the palm tree from harmful microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria.


Palm leaves can be made into valuable construction material. They are lightweight yet strong enough to create durable roofs that stand up in even the most extreme tropical storms.


Health benefits of palm tree leaves:


Palm trees provide many benefits especially to the people in the regions where they grow. The most common type of palm tree is the coconut, which can produce food (coconut water and fruit) as well as oil (used for cooking).


These are also very useful for construction purposes because their trunks can be used to build houses or even boats. Their leaves, stems, and roots can be used to make clothes or even bags while their sap can also be made into wine.


Palm trees are also very good for the environment because they serve as windbreaks protecting people from storms and strong winds. They help prevent soil erosion by preventing water from getting into the ground.


Palm trees also provide shade which is good for the environment as it helps keep the temperature of the ground at a stable level, prevents weeds from growing, and provides habitat for various kinds of wildlife.


Palm trees are very beneficial to humans but they can also help other plant life thrive since they usually grow under their leaves. They provide shelter to other plants as well as food from their flowers.


Palm trees are very useful to humans as they provide a lot of benefits. They can grow in both cold and hot climates, not requiring any special care, serve various purposes such as shelter and food, be used for making other products such as brooms or ropes, and provide benefits to the environment as well. However, they also have a disadvantage because they can pose a danger to those who don’t plant them properly and making it harder for other plants and flowers to grow.


What makes palm trees ideal for planting in colder climates is that most of them only need sunlight and water to survive – two things deemed important by gardeners. Some also need warmth, but the majority of palm trees can adapt to colder climates without too much trouble.


The cost of planting a palm tree is low compared to other types of trees since they are usually small and not very big. However, this does not mean that planting one will not require any effort at all. It is still important to take care of your palm tree by providing it soil that is loose, water at a regular interval, and sunlight for energy.


Palm trees can provide many benefits to those who live in warmer climates – especially those that are deprived of shade due to the sun’s intense rays. The most common types of palm trees are coconut palms because they produce food and oil.


Other kinds of palm trees also provide benefits such as fruit, sap that can be used to make wine, shelter for wildlife, construction materials like wood or leaves, clothes or bags made from the stems, and many more.


However, planting a palm tree in your own garden does not come without risks because these might pose a danger to those who plant them improperly, prevent other plants and flowers from growing, and can cost a lot of money to maintain.


Uses


Palm Oil


Palm Oil is a widely-used edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees, and its versatile uses make it often referred to as a ‘miracle ingredient’ for so many products. Accounting for one-third of global plant oil production, you can find palm oil in just about anything, from pizza dough to washing detergent. It’s also a major player in beauty products including palm kernel oil for body lotions, or bleached palm oil for soap.


One major beneficial use of the oil, however, is its frequent use as a base for mixing medicine such as cough syrups. It has also been associated with high vitamin A, lowering the body’s cholesterol and reducing the likelihood of major illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.


Beverages


One example would be Palm wine, also known as palm toddy" or "toddy’. This is a sweet and milky alcoholic beverage produced from the fermentation of sap of different palm species, including Palmyra, date palms, and coconut palms. Using a knife or machete, an incision is made between the tree’s kernels, allowing for the sap to ooze out. Fermentation begins soon after the sap begins flowing, and within just 1-2 hours, the alcohol content can reach up to 4%. Just one of the many amazing, and interesting palm tree uses.


Not only is it a tasty and popular beverage choice in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, it also poses major health benefits, from increased eye health with thanks to the Vitamin C content, and the prevention of cancer cells with the presence of riboflavin (B2).


Construction & Crafts


Palm trees are regularly used as constructive building material for house walls, rafters and roofing. The fibrous wood is pulled apart and woven together to produce thatch for roof coverings, and logs for bridges. The fiber can also be woven to make carpet and wall coverings, as well as practical household items such as brooms, baskets and even furniture.


Wax


Some of the best wax available for scented candles come from palms. This is because palm wax is an all-natural, renewable and environmentally-friendly resource that offers more choice for candle makers who are looking to market more sustainable products. Not only that, it makes for excellent results.


Due to its natural climates, palm wax resists melting in hot weather, has a high contraction, and takes colors easily. Best of all, it holds and emits fragrances well for up to 50% longer, compared to candles made of paraffin wax.


Leaves


Forget the oil, the wood and fruit; palm leaves (or palm fronds) have a diverse range of uses alone, from roof thatch, garden fencing and weaving to fuel and nutritional feed for livestock.


The decaying leaves, wood from the stems and fiber can also be put to one side to be used as mulch.




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