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by Anna Guglielmo, Pietro Pavone and Cristina Salmeri

 Jubaea chilensis (Mall.) Baill. (Photo E. Imbellone)

Palms, defined by Linnaeus "Principes plantarum" on account of their imposing habit and thick leaf crown, are one of the largest monocotyledonous Angiosperm families in that they include about 2,500 species, grouped in 215 genera. They can also be called Arecaceae, according to a convention of scientific nomenclature whereby family names are to be taken from the most representative genus (in this case the genus Areca).