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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Manchester's parks get palm trees
Date palm tree
The date palm tree will soon be swaying in Manchester's breeze
Manchester is washing away its image as a rainy city by introducing exotic plants to its public gardens.

Experts say the palm trees, pineapple guava and fig trees could flourish in the city, due to climate change.

The city is also experiencing the "urban heat island effect" which makes city centres a few degrees hotter than outlying areas.

Manchester City Council hopes the rare semi-tropical plants will also attract more exotic wildlife.

If the planting proves successful, the trees will also be introduced into parks outside the city centre.

They include pineapple guava tree, which is native to Brazil, a Chinese Fan Palm, which usually grows in the Himalayas, and Date Palm from China.

In a few years time we might even have the odd city centre humming bird
Councillor Mark Hackett
Manchester City Council

Fig trees are also on order and could also produce edible fruit.

St John's Gardens, Parsonage Gardens (behind House of Fraser) and Sackville Gardens on Canal Street will be first to get the plants.

Cities offer warmer conditions because they are more sheltered and heat is released from the high number of buildings at night.

Councillor Mark Hackett, Manchester's executive member for culture and leisure, said: "Manchester is always looking at ways to improve its natural environment.

"We are keeping pace with changes in the climate and adapting our planting to suit.

"While there are serious implications of climate change we will manage this as best we can and hopefully have some stunning trees and foliage as a result of these changes.

"Who knows, in a few years time we might even have the odd city centre humming bird."

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