The most common understory in the forest here is the saw palmetto, Serenoa repens. Although it’s a palm, it doesn’t usually grow upward to form a real tree; instead, the trunk grows horizontally along the ground and the fronds grow upward out of it.
Its name comes from the serrated, or saw-toothed, edges of its petioles.
There is one place along one of our trails where the palmettos are getting a little… ambitious. Their normally sprawling trunks are starting to grow upward toward the canopy, rising from the ground at odd angles.
Why? My best guess is that they’re growing in an especially shady area and are going the extra mile to increase their share of sunlight. They’re still not quite what I would call trees, but they’re getting there.
The big topic of conversation in these parts has for the past couple months been the fact that Twentieth Century Fox is filming scenes for X-Men: First Class right here on Jekyll Island. Apparently, after what has seemed like endless preparation, they actually did some shooting today – the huge construction cranes that had been at their site had mysteriously vanished this morning, and when we tried to take some kids to the north end beach via bus this afternoon we discovered that the section of the beach front road near the set was closed off.
Here’s what the set looked like when a coworker and I walked up the beach to investigate last weekend.
That’s the one photo I managed to snap before the security guard noticed me and told me no pictures. (Hey, I’m officially a paparazzo!) Apparently the movie involves a plane crash at some point. What’s interesting – and what makes this post at least tangentially relevant to this blog’s theme – is those palm trees visible behind the chunks of airplane. Those are not our native cabbage palms. Every single one of those was brought in by the production company when they constructed the set, and they seem to be tropical species that would normally be found significantly south of here. I wonder where this scene is actually supposed to be set, and where they got all those palms, and what on earth they’re going to do with them after they finish. Also, temperatures here the last couple nights have definitely dipped to around freezing – if these tropical plants are damaged by the cold, will it hold up filming while they come up with something to replace them?
Just some food for thought. The movie comes out in June and stars James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon and January Jones, none of whom I’ve actually spotted, though clearly they must be lurking here on the island somewhere. Fox, you’re welcome for the free publicity.