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The Silver Thatch Palm Tall, slender silver thatch palms are especially conspicuous at the eastern end of all three of the Cayman Islands, where they sway in the trade winds high above the low, dry thickets of native trees and shrubs. Bearing the scientific name Coccothrinax proctorii after botanist Dr. George Proctor, the leaves are what give this tree its common name; they're green on the top and silver on the bottom

Up to the early 1960s, the silver thatch palm played an important role in the lives of Caymanians. Unusually tough, the leaves have a variety of uses, from roofing for houses to the weaving of hats, baskets and fans. In earlier years, straw rope made from the thatch palm was highly prized in Cuba and Jamaica for use in shipping, fishing and sugar industries. Exporting rope was Cayman's largest source of revenue.

Last Updated: 2005-10-21