Category: Trees

The Yew Tree

Our beautiful  Yew Tree lit up at night with Christmas lights, photo by PH Morton

The Yew Tree

We have got a lovely yew tree in our front garden which we dress up with lights on Christmas. It is now about 8 feet tall and still growing.

But did you know that the yew tree has a not quite a nice superstition attached to it?!!!

Yew (Taxus baccata) is a characteristic tree of churchyards, where some are estimated to be well over 1,000 years old.:
It is believed that ever since people arrived upon UK  shores, they planted yew trees in acts of sanctification, close to where they eventually hoped to be laid to rest.
And, according to a label on a yew tree at Kew Gardens in 1993:

The Druids regarded yew as sacred and planted it close to their temples. As early Christians often built their churches on these consecrated sites, the association of yew trees with churchyards was perpetuated

Apparently, if you bring in a yew (as part of a bundle of greenery for decoration) inside the house at Christmas, there will be a death in the family before the year out. It is also advised not to take yew inside the house because it is very unlucky!!!

Oh no, our yew tree is so beautiful to be a source of such malevolent superstition.

And all parts of the yew tree are poisonous, the hidden seeds inside the berries are extremely poisonous.

Pomelo (Suha) – Citrus Fruit

Pomelo, photo by Ruben Ortega

Pomelo (Suha) – Citrus Fruit

Pomelo is called suha in Tagalog and dogmon in Ilocano.

It is 3 to 4 times the size of a grapefruit and can be as big as a melon.  In fact pomelo is the largest citrus fruit that it has acquired a scientific name of citrus maxima or citrus grandis.

Pomelo is closely related to the grapefruit, but I actually prefer suha as I find grapefruit can be rather bitter.

The pomelo tree can grow really tall and when it flowers, the little cluster of white blossoms has the most fragrant smell.

Pomelo is rich in vitamin C.  Really juicy and when fully ripen in the tree, it can be very sweet.

But I actually love a pomelo that it still just before it truly ripen.  I love the slight sour taste which a little sprinkle of salt will activate the salivary gland.  Just thinking of this now makes my mouth water. Actually I prefer when the flesh of the pomelo is left to steep in a dish of slightly salty vinegar.  Delicious.

Suha, photo by Ruben Ortega

The juicy flesh here is pink but suha can also be yellowish white.

Coconut, Tree of Life

Coconuts, photo by Reuben Ortega

Coconut tree, photo by PH Morton

Coconut, Tree of Life

In the Philippines, where I grew up, the coconut is very important that it is considered as the tree of life.

The basic reason is that the tree trunks, the whole fruits they bear, the leaves, in essence the whole tree can be of use to us.

Coconut is big business as well. The Philippines is a second major exporter of copra, which is dried coconut meat/flesh, a good source of coconut oil, which can be used for cooking, shampoo, and ingredients to beauty products and use for medicinal purposes..

The leaves are used to bind and wrap specialty foods like tupig, a much love dessert from the Ilocos region, where some of my ancestors lived.

The long spinedly woody part that runs through the fronds can be gathered up together to make a good stick broom called walis tingting in the Philippines.

The trunk of the tree is solid and strong hence it is known to be used in making wooden bridges and huts.  In fact there is a beautiful building in the Philippines called the Coconut Palace, a project of Imelda Marcos.

The ‘water’ from a young or mature coconut fruit is a delicious thirst quencher.

The shell from the fruit can be made into charcoal.

This is my favourite, have fun polishing your floor and get good exercise by using the coconut husk.

These are just a few where you can use the coconut, the tree of life.

But having said that falling coconuts have killed more people that by shark attacks!

For the Filipino legend, click here.

 

Timber for Lumber

Timber, photo by JMorton

Timber for Lumber

The words timber and lumber are often interchanged in their usage.

I have to admit I sometimes forget the difference.  So I used a visual memory by remembering Hollywood films, where the lumberjacks would shout ‘TIMBER’ as a tree which just been cut from the bottom would fall.

Timber is the tree trunk, while a lumber is a long wood material sawn from the timber.

When I think of lumber, it always remind me of the Monty Python I am a Lumberjack ditty.  🙂 🙂 🙂

By the way you can tell the age of a tree by counting the growth rings.