On Monday 17 April, five million tickets were distributed throughout Spain showing the beauty and peculiarity of this unique specimen

The Imperial Palm has been the protagonist of the ONCE coupon of Monday, 17th April, within the series ‘Embrace your tree’. Five million tickets have carried the image of the specimen located in the palm grove of Elche, specifically in the Huerto de Cura, all over Spain. The presentation of the coupon took place on 13 April, right in front of the famous palm tree. The event was attended by: Estela Medina, director of ONCE in Alicante; Francisco Orts, representative of the family that owns the Huerto del Cura and Carlos González, mayor of Elche.

For his part, Francisco Orts recounted some of the history of the Imperial Palm Tree, and explained how at the end of the 19th century it was already defined and became a candelabrum with eight arms. He also explained that it was named after the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi), to whom the chaplain Castaño dedicated it when she visited the orchard in 1894. The empress was amazed by this curious palm tree, and told the chaplain that its strength reminded her of an empire, hence its name, according to tradition. To this day the palm tree continues to grow and has been cared for by the Orts family for more than 100 years.

The Mayor Carlos González said that this initiative “is a way of giving visibility to the city and projecting one of our main tourist resources and heritage assets such as the Palm Grove”. He also acknowledged the work of the Orts family for their meticulous care of this natural monument and expressed the hope that the prize will be awarded in Elche on 17 April.

Estela Medina also declared that “ONCE has been working for 84 years for the social inclusion of people with disabilities, as well as training, employment and access to culture for this group”. She also thanked “the Orts family for maintaining this natural asset, the solidarity of the citizens and the involvement of the City Council, because ultimately working together is what allows us to move forward”.

Finally, the director of ONCE in Alicante presented the mayor and the Orts family with a framed print of the coupon and thanked the collaboration between both entities.

Half a million euros up for grabs

In March, ONCE launched the new series ‘Embrace your tree’ to coincide with the arrival of spring. With it, the organisation wants to highlight the value of these environmental treasures that can be enjoyed in the 50 provinces and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. It is a Daily Coupon collection that will delight nature lovers and ONCE coupon collectors.

The ONCE Daily Coupon offers a prize of 500,000 euros to the number plus the series, and 49 prizes of 35,000 euros to the five digits of the winning number. In addition: 450 prizes of 250 euros for the first four digits and another 450 prizes for the last four digits; 9,000 prizes of 25 euros for the last three or first three digits; and the same for the first two and last two digits (6 euros), and a 2-euro refund for the first or last digit of the winning number.

ONCE coupons are sold by more than 19,000 ONCE salesmen and saleswomen. They can also be purchased at www.juegosonce.es, and in authorised collaborating establishments.

The history of the Imperial Palm

The Imperial Palm is a rare specimen of date palm that stands out in the palm grove of the Huerto del Cura Garden in Elche. It is named after Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi), to whom it was dedicated by Chaplain Castaño when she visited the orchard in 1894. The empress was amazed by this curious palm tree, and told the chaplain that its strength reminded her of an empire, hence its name, according to tradition.

The Imperial Palm of Elche is a male specimen about 180 years old. One of its seven branches dried up in 2014, but its trunk can still be seen around the main one. Its peculiar characteristics include the large number of offspring (seven) and the symmetry with which they developed; and the size they have acquired after more than 150 years, all feeding on the sap that reaches them from the central parent palm.

The Huerto del Cura Garden was declared a National Artistic Garden in 1943. It has a room where the visitor can see a detailed photographic report: ‘The Ages of the Imperial Palm’. It is a historical journey through this unique palm tree from the middle of the 19th century to the present day.

It has more than 12,000 square metres and almost a thousand palm trees of different species. The history of the Huerto del Cura Garden begins in 1876 when the farmer Andrés Castaño bought a plot of the orchard where he lived. After his death, the property passed into the hands of his son, the chaplain José Castaño Sánchez. At this time people began to know the place as the orchard of the chaplain Castaño, later to be known by its official name.



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