Lives of the Trees

Here’s some recommended reading while we endure the cold of winter. ‘Lives of the Trees…An Uncommon History’ by Diana Wells. This book is perfect for “tree huggers” like me……entertaining and not too technical….without going out on a “limb” it’s exactly that…..entertaining. On my radio sh0w we’ll be talking to Diana touching on just a few of the many highlights in the book peppered with a sense of “humus”. For example………..

  • Botanically Bananas aren’t trees but rather giant herbs. Wisemen are generally found under Banana trees….or at least eating them. In the early twentieth century the main comedian was called “the top banana” owing to the rubber bat resembling a banana with which he would playfully hit other comedians.
  • Hazelnuts or Filberts comes from the German Vollbart meaning “full beard”. Jacob in the Bible used Hazel rods to outwit his Father in law.
  • Tree of Heaven used to be used as a street tree until it was found the flowers smell terrible. Father d’ Incarville called the tree frene puant or “stinking ash”.
  • The botanical name for Nutmeg means Myrrh like fragrance but no….the wise men did not bring Nutmeg to the Nativity Stable.
  • Chestnut trees once proud and ubiquitous across the eastern U.S. until wiped out by blight in the early 1900’s were used for food shelter and many daily needs. The French had a phase lits de parlement which meant “talking beds” referring to using chestnut leaves as mattress stuffing and the rustling sound when the sleeper turned over.

I recommend this book to Nature and Tree lovers or those looking for a fun read during the winter months……Diana Wells will join us on the Flowerland Show on Saturday December 12.

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