Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oldest tree in the world

"Methuselah", a bristlecone pine, is the oldest known tree in the world. It is, in fact, the oldest still-living organism documented on earth. (!!)

The tree in the photo above is not Methuselah. U.S. Forest service, in order to protect it's anonymity, will not disclose the exact location of the oldest-tree-in-the-world, but you get a 360 degree view of the "Methuselah Grove" here, which is in the White Mountains of California. So cool! These bristlecone pines seem to live forever.

Methuselah the tree is about 4,839 years old. That's very old. This ancient tree actually sprouted in 2832 BC and grew for about 485 years during the life (should you choose to believe this) of the Biblical Methuselah, who supposedly lived to be 969. Of course...the Biblical character would have been living somewhere in the Middle East, whereas both the oldest and the tallest trees in the world can be found in California, USA.

What a life. Imagine the stories...

(The screen shots below are taken from a Nova News Minute that can be viewed here). This is what Methuselah actually looks like:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

**YOUR TREES** [South Africa]

Many thanks to Millicent for sending me these two gorgeous tree photographs, taken on a ranch near Nylstroom, South Africa.

Do you have a great tree photo that you'd like me to post? Please feel free to send it to me at treesifyouplease {at} gmail {dot} com.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Egon Schiele

Today's featured artist is Egon Schiele, who lived from 1890 to 1918, and then died of the flu (I'm so glad I didn't live back then). He was young and Austrian. The themes of his work were often death and sex, and many of his paintings are twisted and erotic. He did many self-portraits and looking at his work, you might form an image of the quintessential "tortured artist."

Schiele was heavily influenced by his friend, Gustav Klimt - another wonderful, intriguing painter.

I am choosing, of course, to highlight his few minimalist paintings of trees - some of the best tree art I've seen. More of his work can be seen here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gum tree?

I love this tree. It is a Eucalyptus tree. But I am American. My knowledge of Eucalyptus comes from seeing various bunches of dried (and dyed?) Eucalyptus leaves in too-smelly craft stores or in the houses of women who hang a wreath for every season.

But these guys are the real deal. They could probably tell me whether there are actually pink Eucalyptus trees Down Under, and might even be offended to see what Americans are doing with the "Gum tree" leaves. Or am I showing my ignorance? Is this type of Eucalyptus even called a Gum Tree?

From what I can tell, this tree is a Eucalyptus Cinerea, also called an Argyle apple, Silver-leaved Stringybark or Mealy Stringybark. It's so pretty. And less than 50 steps away from my front door.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Figs and Ficus

My dear friends, I apologize for my absence. I've been indisposed as of late, and am just now resurfacing. (It was a much longer recovery than I could have imagined it would be!)

Let me tell you about my latest discovery. Much to my surprise and delight, there is a fig tree, not 50 paces from my front door. I've often passed this tree on the way to the pool, and noticed the strange, bulbous green growths, but had no idea what they could be. An exited neighbor (a couple weeks ago) enlightened me that it was, in fact, a fig tree, and that there was an abundance of nearly ripe figs just about to burst.

Well, then along came my surgery and it took me quite a while to get out of the house to walk even those 50 steps with my camera. But I have recovered. I took a few (unexciting) photos, but I think I missed most of the ripe fruit, though I imagine they were bursting off the trees last week while I was lying on the couch watching the entire Season 1 and 2 of Grey's Anatomy (pathetic, I know).

I have since learned that fig trees are in the ficus genus, which I found interesting because all I really know about ficus trees is that they are finicky, hard to grow, and they drop their leaves when they aren't happy. (This could be a vast generalization based on the case of the sad little indoor ficus that the BF and his siblings killed by confining it to a dark, dreary room and throwing it only a cupful of water every few weeks. Once I found out, it was much too late to save...)

(In his defense, he's done a remarkable job watering the tomato plants as of late).

You'll see that the fig tree is also right next to a cool Eucalyptus tree. More on that tomorrow...