Image of Syagrus romanzoffiana in Argentina - by Pablo D. Flores and courtesy wikipedia commons.
EVERYONE has a pet hate, and right now mine is the ugly old cocos palm. One of this species, Syagrus romanzoffiana, sent its roots from a neighbouring property to suck nutrients from a garden bed where yours truly, in mid-winter frenzy, has been digging.
During the removal of the roots to allow a crop of veges this spring, the gardener has suffered bomb attacks from cocos seed, which fruit bats have chewed at night, leaving the tree with an amoury to drop on any grounded assailant.
Invasive roots, squealing fruit bats, mushy fruit drops and the tattiness of difficult-to-remove dead fronds are not the full cocos horror story: Across the domestic patch, two S. romanzoffiana shade the house's solar panels.
WATCH for a public notice forming a Cocos Haters Collective. Gillard and Abbott ought to announce their cocos palms policies because the species is undoubtedly 'on the nose'.
The ABC show Gardening Australia must have prompted cheers in lounge rooms around the nation in 2007 when it announced the cocos palm was "now ... regarded as a weed of national significance".
The register of Weeds of National Significance (WONS) is like a rogues' gallery of nasty pests. However, a check on the Federal Government's Weeds in Australia website this week found no mention of S. romanzoffiana among 21 WONS-rated plants.
S. romanzoffiana also failed to get the thumbs down among Redland Council's declared plant pests.
OBVIOUSLY, not everyone feels as strongly as me. It was pleasing, however, to find in the Tree Services section another cocos hater.
Josh Bell, who with dad Chris operates The Tree Musketeers (employing casual workers to make up the trio), gets much pleasure from cutting down a cocos.
He says the full list of problems aside, they're just unsightly. One would expect someone with a company name like the above to have a sense of humour but Josh says the cocos joke is on him.
About 30 of them create an avenue on the family property; his job is to climb high, prune off the dead fronds and try to make ugly palms look good.
JOSH recently worked off some rising tension by removing Washington palms from a Birkdale address. He says that species, also known as the Chinese fan palm, is another pest, with nasty spikes, so the job was "not much fun".
For the record, www.dpi.qld.gov.au says the undesirable impact of the cocos is its spread into riparian areas and dry eucalypt forests, not any of those cited here.
Thanks for joining me today in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.