Alongside actor Robert Carlyle they were the stars of the BBC’s Hamish Macbeth, but Plockton’s famous palm trees are set to disappear.

The iconic tropical-style foliage has become synonymous with the picture postcard Highland village which was made famous around the globe in the whimsical 1990s series about a rural policeman. But now there is growing concern that, after decades of flourishing, the landmark palm trees are dying.

Over the past few months four palm trees, or cabbage trees (cordyline australis) as they should correctly be called, have withered away, and now the worry is that the problem will spread to others.

Community council chairman Charlie MacRae thought his palm tree, one of the most prominent on the waterfront, was the first to rot.

"It wasn’t until people realised that my tree was dying that someone said to me that a couple more in the village were ailing too," he said. "People told me to leave it alone and it would revive, but it never did. Hundreds of people were asking me questions about what was wrong with it. It was the topic of conversation for a long time."

The trees were brought to Plockton during the 1960s by professional gardener Tom Claude who planted them in his own garden and some in the Harbour Street area.

The trees flourish in the fishing village because of the warm Gulf Stream waters and the mild weather conditions.

MacRae said: "Some people come here especially to see the palm trees, so we wouldn’t want to see them die. But no one knows why they have suddenly started dying."

Rob Besent, of Palm Centre in Surrey, said of the Plockton trees: "If they are around 40 years old then I would imagine that they are coming to the end of their life span."