Violencia intrafamiliar, oratoria

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The Red Palm Weevil

A serious threat to the Portuguese landscape

(Artículo en formato original original con fotos en )


In May 2008, Manuel Rodrigues of the Parks and Landscaping division in Silves, spent half a day showing the author the damage caused in that concelho by the “Gorgulho Vermelho” or Red Palm weevil. This article is the result of research undertaken since that experience. Almost nothing has been done to warn the public of a serious threat and how to tackle it, past and present official policies must change radically and much needs to be learnt about controlling the insect sustainably.


From Porto on the northern coast to the
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On its journey, the weevil has attacked coconut palms in India and ravaged date groves across the Gulf and parts of North Africa before spreading to much of the remaining Mediterranean.

As well as the common Agave and sugarcane, over 30 palm species including both of Europe’s two native palms are known victims. But the insect is particularly fond of date palms and, for reasons which remain a mystery, it is especially drawn to males of the Canary Island Date. According to a knowledgeable Spanish source, about 80% of trees lost to the weevil there are Canary males.

Official incompetence.

This is bad news for Portugal. Although it has no harvestable crop (apart from a little ‘honey’ tapping in its habitat), this handsome tree is the most visible and significant palm in the local landscape and it has been extensively planted, especially in the Algarve, in parks, hotels, villa developments and private gardens as a beckoning suggestion that the tropics aren’t so far away. Much of Portugal will look very different without its most common palms and there is every indication we will lose these exotics as well as true dates and Washingtonias in addition to other more unusual members of the family if serious, national and community-wide measures are not taken.

Brussels’ reaction has been too little, too late. The Commission adopted “emergency measures”

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