The Arecaceae are a botanical family of perennial lianas, shrubs, and trees commonly known as palm trees. (Owing to historical usage, the family is alternatively called Palmae or Palmaceae.) They are flowering plants, the only family in the monocot order Arecales. Roughly 200 genera with around 2600 species are currently known, most of them restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates. Most palms are distinguished by their large, compound, evergreen leaves arranged at the top of an unbranched stem. However, many palms are exceptions, and in fact exhibit an enormous diversity in physical characteristics. As well as being morphologically diverse, palms also inhabit nearly every type of habitat within their range, from rainforests to deserts.
Palms are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families. They have been important to humans throughout much of history. Many common products and foods are derived from palms, and palms are also widely used in landscaping, making them one of the most economically important plants. In many historical cultures, palms were symbols for such ideas as victory, peace, and fertility. For inhabitants of cooler climates today, palms symbolize the tropics and vacations.
Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives; also known as the The Maldives, is a sovereign island country and archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It is located southwest of India and Sri Lanka in the Laccadive Sea. The chain of twenty six atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll to the Addu Atoll. The capital and largest city is Malé, traditionally called the “King’s Island”.
Historically linked with the Indian subcontinent, the Maldives is a Muslim-majority country. From the mid-sixteenth century, it was dominated by colonial powers: Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain. The islands gained independence from the British Empire in 1965, becoming a republic in 1968 and is ruled by a president and authoritarian government. The Maldivian economy is dominated by tourism and fishing. The country is classified as a low-middle income economy.
Encompassing a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 sq mi), the Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries. It is the smallest Asian country in both land area and population. The archipelago is located atop the Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean, which also forms a terrestrial ecoregion together with the Chagos and the Lakshadweep.With an average ground level elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the planet’s lowest country. It is also the country with the lowest natural highest point in the world, at 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in). The government has pledged to make the Maldives a carbon-neutral country by 2019 amid concerns of rising sea levels.
The Maldives is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and it hosted the 17th SAARC summit in 2011. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement.