Tag Archives: trees

Male and Female

We are surrounded here by large holm oak trees, quercus ilex. A large evergreen oak native to the Mediterranean, growing up to 21-28m, it takes its name ‘holm’ from an ancient name for ‘holly’ thanks to its spiky leaves. The wood is hard and tough and is used for construction, as well as for firewood and charcoal production. In Andalucía, the trees are tightly protected. A licence to fell or prune a holm oak is required from the local council and only after inspection. The acorns are edible [toasted or ground into flour] and the trees are also used in truffle orchards.

Curiously, the holm oak is a monecious plant; having both male and female flowers. A single tree has both the male and female reproductive systems and so possess some flowers that are female and others that are male. Male flowers are greenish-white cylindrical aments or catkins, pendulous and short-stalked with six stamens. Female flowers are borne on erect spikes, with a white hairy stem bearing six to seven flowers.

 

‘Guide to Trees of Britain and Europe’ [UK: Hamlyn]

5 to remember
la encina – the holm oak
estamos rodeados de – we are surrounded by
el sistema reproductivo – the reproductive system
un amento – a catkin
un tallo peludo blanco – a white hairy stem

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Holm oak: male and female on one tree in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2gC via @Spanish_Valley

Through the year: the walnut tree

For a year I have taken photographs of the big walnut tree closest to the house, watching its transition through the seasons. Each month brings something different, something to enjoy about the way nature reminds us life is cyclical. Heat, rain, sun, frost, drought, hail, wind, whatever is thrown at this tree it follows its seasonal progress. And I find that reassuring.

January-March
Bare limbs, yellow and green shadows, silvered bark, smashed walnuts trodden underfoot…

April -May
New life, green leaves, baby walnuts, blue sky, a flash of orange pomegranate flowers…

June-July
Dappled shade, woodpeckers drumming, walnuts fattening…

August-September
Summer’s end, autumn heralded, green leaves powdered with August dust, walnut shells hardening…

October-December
Leaves yellowing, drying and falling, walnuts gathered, shells broken underfoot. The annual cycle begins again.

‘Guide to Trees of Britain and Europe’ [UK: Hamlyn]

5 to remember
proclamar – to herald/proclaim/announce
moteado – dappled/mottled/speckled
en polvo con – powdered with
anual – annual
el ciclo – the cycle

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Through the year: the big walnut #tree #Spain http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2cK via @Spanish_Valley

Fifty Shades of Green #19

Juxtaposition: new spring growth and old tree trunk. April 14, 2010

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
New spring growth & old tree trunk #Juxtaposition in the #secretvalley in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2aS

Fifty Shades of Gold #37

A golden acorn, underfoot. February 11, 2015

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A golden acorn, underfoot #countryside in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2b8

Caqui, on and off the tree

The calix is the most distinctive part of the caqui/persimmon/sharon fruit, staying attached to the fruit after harvesting and remaining on the ground after the rest of the fruit has been eaten or decayed. In botanical terms, the fruit is actually a berry [as is the tomato] and has a high glucose content. Some fruits are more astringent than others, containing a high level of tannins, but it is these fruits, unpalatable when under-ripe, which are the sweetest when fully-ripe. If you can lift the calix away easily, the fruit is ready for eating. If you want to speed up the ripening process, try wrapping the fruit in paper and putting in the sun for several days.

5 to remember
el calix – the calix
adjunto/a – attached
más distintivo/a – most distinctive
un alto contenido de glucosa – a high glucose content
astringente – astringent

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Caqui, on & off the tree: persimmon #trees in the #secretvalley in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1R3

Fifty Shades of Gold #36

Yellow lichen on walnut tree. March 10, 2014

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Yellow lichen on walnut tree in the #secretvalley in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2aW

Leaves and sun

An April day, spring sunshine and the green of new leaves: it is like no other green. I struggle to name it, except that it is made of fresh growth. Leaves appear green because of the chlorophyll they contain, chlorophyll is the part of the leaf that uses carbon dioxide, sunlight and water to produce sugar.

A leaf with plenty of chlorophyll masks other pigment colors. Chlorophyll, an essential component of photosynthesis, is a green pigment found in the chloroplasts of plants. Leaves often show as a vivid green when they are close to other leaves, because the light people see bounces off the green leaves before it reaches the eyes. Chlorophyll utilizes mostly red and blue light energy, while the green energy passes through or bounces off the leaves and reaches a person’s eyes so leaves appear green.

As autumn ends, plants and trees produce less chlorophyll because light regulates the production of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has a constant decomposition rate so the green colour of leaves begins to fade when chlorophyll starts to decompose.

5 to remember
el dióxido de carbono – the carbon dioxide
la clorofila – the chlorophyll
un pigmento – a pigment
para utilizer – to utilize
la descomposición – the decomposition

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
What makes leaves, green? #trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1TS