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Palms are one of the best known and most widely planted tree families. Most palm trees grow in the tropical and subtropical areas, most of them grows are a straight, unbranched stem, but sometimes even as a branching stem. They have large evergreen leaves that are either 'fan-leaved' (palmate) or 'feather-leaved' (pinnate) and arranged in a spiral at the top of the trunk. The flowers are generally small and white, and are star-shaped. The sepals and petals usually number three each while the fruit is usually a single seed surrounded by flesh. The familiar coconut is the seed of a large fruit. Some kinds may contain two or more seeds in each fruit. Palms first appear in the fossil record around 80 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period. Some descendants from that period are still to be seen today, such as the nipa palm or mangrove palm.

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