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Duck Key in the Florida Keys

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys


 

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Community: Trees and Duck Key

 

Geiger Trees and Duck Key

The Geiger or cordia tree is a wonderful salt- and wind-resistant tree with a fascinating Florida Keys' history. A great many Geiger trees can be found on isalnds of Duck Key. A pair of Geiger trees may also be found bracketing the entrance walk of the resort's tennis office and a number of Geiger trees have been planted along Duck Key Drive.

On the residential islands a large established Geiger tree grows on the property of Bruce and Michelle Franck at 214 West Seaview Drive. The Geiger tree population on Duck Key increased with the recent planting of two trees by Tom and Graham Davis at their home at 1104 Indies Drive South. for all to view and enjoy.

Known also as the geranium tree because it has striking bright orange flowers that bloom intermittently throughout the year, the Geiger tree is easily identified because it has rough heart-shaped leaves that feel like sandpaper.

The Keys' history associated with the cordia tree begins back in the early 1830s when the tree took on the additional name of Geiger tree. Named after Captain John H. Geiger, a skilled pilot and wrecker who built a home in 1830 on Whitehead Street in Key West, the name "Geiger tree" is apparently of local Keys' origin and likely inspired by a John James Audubon engraving which immortalized Captain Geiger's beautiful flowering cordia tree with white-crowned pigeons sitting in a branch.

Audubon's journal records his visits to Indian Key, Sandy Key, the Tortugas, and Key West in 1832 while working on his famous book, The Birds of America. In his journal he wrote and documented his use of the Captain's trees, "I have placed a pair of these Pigeons on a low flowering tree which is rather scarce on the Keys... The Rough-leaved Cordia . . . ." According to Audubon only two cordia trees existed in Key West in 1832. "Both trees were on private property, and grew in a yard opposite to that of Dr. Strobel. . ." who assisted Audubon during his visit. Historians using Key West records have been able to document that Strobel's neighbor was Captain Geiger.

Duck key cormorant

Canary Island Date Palms

 A universal symbol of the tropics is the palm tree. Duck Key, an island with many popular and exotic palms, is consequently an island of great tropical beauty. Yearly the swaying palms beckon resident snowbirds to return and bask in the warmth and pleasure of this island paradise.

One of the many palms to complement the beautiful landscaping and home designs on Duck Key is the Carnary Island date palm. Date palms are prized for their unique architecture and the intricate texture and form of their leaves and stems. A hardy and beautiful plant, this stately species benefits from the island's abundant sun and well-drained soil, yet is able to endure Duck Key's dry climate and ocean winds.

Canary Island date palms can be seen throughout the grounds of Hawk's Cay and nineteen impressive date palms can be viewed standing guard on Plantation Island. Traveling the roads connecting the island bridges, one can see why Linnaeus, the 16th century botanist who developed a system for classifying animals and plants, called this family of plants "Principes," the prince of the plant kingdom. From the corner of Schooner Drive and along West Seaview Drive, the Canary Island date palms on Duck Key are easily recognizable by their massive trunks and distinctive leaf-scar pattern. The trunks, wider near the crown than at the base, appear to have a pineapple shape, which has led them to be referred to as pineapple palms. Small ferns can be seen growing between old leaf stems and fibers of the date palms.

The flower stalks of the Canary Island date palm are bright orange and bear three-quarter- inch egg-shaped fruits. The yellow-red colored fruit grows in clusters and is edible, but it is not considered a delicacy.

 To look their best, Canary Island date palms require annual pruning to remove old growth. Pictured on the right is an attractive and happy date palm thanks to a recent grooming courtesy of Doris and Jim Bicknell of West Seaview Drive.  

 More Detailed Information 

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW for information on the Duck Key community, its architecture,Venetian style bridges, trees, and efforts at beautification

 
DUCK KEY COMMUNITY

 

ARCHITECTURE

VENETIAN BRIDGES

BEAUTIFICATION

ISLAND TREES
Geiger and Canary Island date Palm

POINCIANA TREES

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Duck Key, Florida 33050
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