Tree Squared: Another Kind of Tree

There are things that are called trees besides those living, breathing plants we have around us. A family tree, for example, is called a “tree” because from one individual, it spreads out in several branches. I have an earring tree! On its branches I hang my many pairs of earrings. This “tree” is rather gnarly and has knots in its branches so the earrings don’t fall off. So for Becky’s challenge TreeSquare, I am featuring my earring tree!

Tree Squared: Astonishing & Amazing

These tree photos were all taken at Chicago Botanic Gardens or Morton Arboretum. I found these trees to be amazing or astonishing, due to their shape or special characteristics. My contribution today for Becky’s July Squares: Trees.

Rose Turtlehead, Figwort family
Amazing number of cones on this tree
Same tree, zoomed out
I see a face in this trunk – do you?
A nice place to sit and contemplate nature
Willow by a lake
The Japanese Garden at Chicago Botanic Gardens (CBG) has several of these interesting trees.
This tree exudes boldness, strength
Another view: Looking up into the intricacy of its branches from below.

Tree Squares: More Trees in Tanzania

For Becky’s July #TreeSquares challenge, I continue featuring trees in Tanzania, with things hanging from their branches.

I don’t know, or don’t remember (if I was told at the time) the name of this tree, but was fascinated by the strange pods or fruits hanging from it.

On the other hand, we saw many acacia trees with these tightly woven birds’ nests hanging from them.

These nests are made by the male weaver. He attracts a mate by having woven the best nest in the neighborhood!

When the weavers’ nests are abandoned, they hang bedraggled from the tree.

Tree Square: Trees For Sale

These “hanging” trees were for sale in a Curitiba mall. Christmas trees, perhaps? I took this photo in mid-November; in Brazil, Christmas is celebrated in the summer, so some of its wintery themes that are copied by Brazilians are rather incongruous, but these little pines will surely thrive in Curitiba’s climate.

Hanging trees – these trees are for sale and ready to plant with their root systems intact.

Head over to Becky’s July #Tree Square challenge and see more trees!

July 9 SquareTree: The Araucaria

A quote that another blogger posted about trees prompted me to create this post as my contribution to the 9th day of Becky’s July Squares, with the topic of trees.

The author of this quote, Jaime Lerner, is a Brazilian who in the early 1970s was the mayor of the city of Curitiba, the capital of Paraná, a state in southern Brazil. Anyone who has been to Curitiba will recognize how appropriate this quote is for his city and his impact as urban planner and mayor. Between my first visit in 1971 and my last, five years ago, the city has not only grown to over 1 million inhabitants but also contains a number of beautiful parks, including several dedicated to ethnic groups in the city, a pedestrian area in downtown, and a comprehensive system of rapid transit buses (BRT), among many other innovations which began during Jaime Lerner’s tenure as mayor.

Rua das Flores, pedestrian street in downtown Curitiba

I hold Curitiba in my heart as my favorite city in Brazil, and one of its attractions that I am particularly fond of is a tree native to southern Brazil, araucaria angustifolia, better known as o pinheiro do Parana’ although it is not actually a pine. It belongs to the conifer family. I had never seen a tree like it before; it is so unique and is found only in southern Brazil and some parts of northern Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. All over Curitiba are these wonderful trees, which I feature in square photos below.

Towering araucaria against a darkening sky

The Wikipedia article about this araucaria species says that it is critically endangered, having lost 97% of its habitat to logging and agriculture.

araucarias in a park

The species is spread via its seeds, called the pinhão, by Parana’s state bird, the azure jay, and other animals.

Historical Portuguese style church in downtown Curitiba, with an araucaria rising up behind another historical building.

The article also says that this tree is dioecious – some are male and some are female. The male produces an oblong cone (the photo below shows how they look when they are dried up). The female’s cones are spherical and quite large, and inside are the pinhão seeds (100-150 per cone), which are about 2 inches long and taste sort of like pine nuts or chestnuts.

The shell of the pinhão is also used to make small crafts.