ARTIST OF THE WEEK: KARA MARIE RILEY

March 23, 2016

To us, palm trees signify beachy paradise — and inspired by their transportive beauty, we teamed up with Australia-based plant enthusiast Kara Marie Riley for a photo diary focused on all things palm.



It’s no wonder we’re captivated by palm branches: they’re a historical symbol of victory, triumph and peace, with a lineage starting in the Near East and Mediterranean. Truly, read up on the humble palm if you’re looking to have a little backstory to add to the palm branches you have on display at home.



For this story, we collaborated with Australian photographer Kara Riley for a closer look at what makes the palm so special. Kara’s work focuses on the artful side of nature, with a background in drawing, painting, and collage work that turned into a love for analog photos (this series was all shot on film with her trusty fallback Minolta camera).

She explains, “These images were all shot in Sydney on my regular walks around town and in my neighborhood, [as well as in] the Royal Botanic Gardens, which is my happy place, where I go to forget I’m in the city and instead just be surrounded by hundreds of beautiful local and exotic plants from around the world.”



“I am fascinated by the ways different plants grow and develop, they are truly alive and intelligent. Nature is truly my biggest muse, an abundant source of inspiration, a way to become carried away and calmed down all at once.”



Facts about palm trees:

1. There are over 2,500 species of palm trees.
2. Palm trees produce many food staples, including coconuts, dates, and acai fruit.
3. The tallest palm tree on measure is 197 feet tall.
4. As many species of palm as there are, over 100 are endangered
5. All palms can be divided into two major groups: those with palmate (fan-shaped) leaves, and those with pinnate (feather-shaped leaves).
6. Palm trees go far back in ancient history! Fossil palms have been found dating back 100 million years.
7. The fruit of the coco-de-mer coconut palm is the biggest seed in the world at over 60cm across.
8. 2780 species of tropical trees and shrubs make up the palm tree group.