Tree Tuesday

The Tree of Life in Bahrain, Alawadhi 3000, Wikipedia.org

In a remote part of the Arabian desert in Bahrain sits a lone Ghaf tree (Prosopis cinerariathat has mysteriously survived for over 400 years. It’s known as The Sharajat-al-Hayat or The Tree of Life.

Lacking any visible source of water, the 32-foot mesquite tree has baffled visitors and scientists alike for its entire life as it has continued to grow. Although the mesquite tree is known for holding a great deal of water in its massive root system, there is still no source of water in sight. Even arid vegetation needs water to survive, which makes Bahrain’s Tree of Life even more mysterious.

The mystery of the tree’s survival has led to a lot of speculation.

Without a rational explanation for the tree’s biological success, many have turned to mythology and religion for answers. Some assert that Enki, an ancient god of water in Babylonian and Sumerian mythology, protects the tree. Others still believe the site is the historical location of the Garden of Eden.

Whatever the source of life is for this tree it has inspired millions of people and attracts upwards of 50,000 visitors a year from around the world.

 

Via Atlas Obscura

Tree Tuesday

The spring arrival of cherry blossom season is cause for celebration across Japan. There are published charts that track the progress of the blossoms from south to north and every region has festivals to bring people outside to enjoy the splendid views. I’ll never get to Japan to see the spectacle in person, but thanks to the internet I can still see the splendid views and live a bit vicariously. I’ve gathered a few of my favourite photos of cherry blossoms in Japan for you to see as well. Enjoy.  [Read more…]

Tree Tuesday

Desert trees need tricks up their sleeves to survive the hot, arid conditions and the Bottle Trees of Namibia and Angola (Pachypodium lealii) manage this with bulbous trunks that retain water.

Those trunks don’t just contain water, though. They have another trick up their sleeves to help them keep their water.

It’s also full of poison. This is not the kind of thing you want to find in your water bottles, but it does help the Bottle Tree actually keep its water. Which was their plan all along. That’s why it’s a Bottle Tree and not just a bottle. The poison is so effective that hunters in the region used to smear the sap on their arrows, just to add that extra ‘oomph’. And yet no-one calls it a Poison Dart Tree!

It all works rather well for the Bottle Tree, and they can grow to some 8 metres (26 ft) in height. Although sometimes they only reach about 1 metre (3 ft) tall. If you want to survive in a desert, you need to be willing to give a little. Or a lot. Like 7 metres (23 ft) of your potential height.

The trees are also covered in long, sharp prickles because poison alone might not keep their precious water supply safe.

However tall a Bottle Tree grows, it’ll be almost entirely branchless until the very top. The leaves grow on slender branches and are jealously defended from herbivores by sharp spines. Around May to November the leaves will all drop off as the Bottle Tree diverts all its effort into growing surprisingly extravagant flowers.

Those thorns are magnificent and you’ve got to love a tree that’s so determined and deadly.

 

From Real Monstrosities, which is a pretty interesting site full of weird and wonderful things.

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 17

It’s time to bid farewell to the island of Harakka and I’d like to thank Ice Swimmer for sharing this special place with all of us. It’s been a wonderful adventure and I’m going to miss these quiet walks filled with colour and beauty.

Chapter 17 – Sea, Sky and Farewell

This is the final part of the story of my autumnal visits to Harakka. We start with an interlude with the theme Sea and Sky.

Two Masts ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

This picture is from the western rocks.

Essential for Life©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Water is life and so are the sun and the air.

Into the Fog ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The ship to Stockholm is going into the fog.

Autumnal ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Saturday was a more autumnal day than Sunday.

After the interlude it is time to say goodbye to Harakka.

Strait ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A view south to the strait between Särkkä and Harakka.

Call ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The semaphore is up, calling the boat to mainland. Goodbye, Harakka.

This was the story of the island Harakka in October 2018.

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 16

Thanks again Ice Swimmer for all the time and work you put into this series. 

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 16

It’s time to put away your worries for a while and take a walk with Ice Swimmer. Today we’re going up.

Chapter 16 – Top and Around

Odd Spruce Revisited ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The spruce is odd because it has an even number of crowns. The deciduous trees behind the spruce are hiding the wetland.

[Read more…]

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 15

It’s time to join Ice Swimmer on his walk around Harakka.

Chapter 15 – East

Emerging from the Wetland ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The bird watching shelter we visited earlier is on the right. Sunday was definitely brighter than Saturday. Across the water are the island Särkkä and Suomenlinna Sea Fortress.

[Read more…]

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 14

We’re back on Harakka with Ice Swimmer, but we’re not on the top of the island as predicted in the previous post, Chapter 13 – Interlude III, Mystery Path. That chapter was mistakenly published out of order by this administrator. We’ll get to the top of the island on March 4/19 in Chapter 16 – Top and Around. My apologies to Ice Swimmer.

Chapter 14 – Wetland

Wetland ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

There is a valley near the southeastern shore. In the valley, there are wetlands.

[Read more…]

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 12

Ice Swimmer has more rocks to show us and they are full of colour and pattern. Let’s go….

Chapter 12 – Southwestern Rocks on Sunday, II

Details. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

This part of the rocks comes with stripey details.

Detailed Details. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Here is a more detailed look on the details.

Decidous and Evergreen. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Many of the broad-leaved trees were exhibiting their deciduousness while, the pines show their evergreenness all through the seasons.

Grain. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The pattern is like figured woodgrain.

The Border. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Humans are not welcome on the other side. Gulls and geese will keep watch in spring and summer. The dinosaurs were absent in October, but no human was seen trespassing.

In the next installment, we will have walked the path towards east (to the left of the last picture) and we’ll see something completely different.

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 11

Up and Down Mt. Lofty

Lofty has sent in a few photos from his daily bike ride up and down Mt. Lofty.

The final four pictures of Mt Lofty. The first two are of the summit with its own little wooly cap on the morning the cool weather arrived, lastly two predawn shots over a local vineyard. I circle around the mountain on my bicycle from the south west via the east side and then up the northern ridge, then after a rest at the summit descend down the south ridge at a rapid pace.

©Lofty, all rights reserved

[Read more…]

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 10

Ice Swimmer’s here and today he has rocks to show us. Be still my heart…..

Chapter 10 – Southwestern Rocks on Sunday, I

Shaped by Ice Age. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved 

The rounded forms of the rocks come from the Ice Age. The bottom of the glacier was full of rocks embedded into the ice that was quite flexible under the huge pressure, grinding the rocks into rounded shapes. [Read more…]