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In the city of Elche, in Spain, there is a large grove of palm trees that’s the only one of its kind in Europe, and one of the largest palm groves in the world. Elche has more palm trees than people. According to some estimates, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 trees here distributed across hundreds of orchards. 

Palm trees have existed in Elche for some 2,500 years. The first specimens were probably planted in the 5th century BC by Carthaginians who settled in south-east Spain. But the formal landscape of palm groves with elaborate irrigation systems that exist today was first laid out by the Muslims towards the end of the tenth century AD, when much of the Iberian peninsula was Arab.

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The Palm Grove of Elche, Spain. Photo credit: Karsten Wentink/Flickr

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