Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reflecting on the Redbuds of Rome

Like any traveler to Rome I was amazed by the ancient ruins, the delightful family owned businesses and delicious food of the city. We were lucky enough to stay in the center of Rome overlooking the Pantheon.

I walked miles enjoying the dilapidated sites. The Tiber River lined with old Sycamore trees. Calling them ancient seems like a joke in Rome, but from the perspective of Central Illinois it is quite appropriate.  There were many protected nooks where I found old trees growing way beyond their average years. Protected from climbing, trimming, and mowing they seemed to be able to outgrow their typical descriptions. Apparently, they hadn't read the books I have. They didn't have the same assumptions, so they were able to grow outside of the given expectation and become much more.

The largest Redbud tree (Cercis siliquastrum) I've ever seen. For size comparison, there are two adults in the same plane of the tree trunk on the left of the photo. The girl is picking flowers in the foreground.

The trees that astounded me constantly in Italy were Redbud (Cercis siliquastrum) trees. Again and again the images of Redbuds that are instantly conjured up in my head come from the first time I learned about the them in my teens. I was introduced the Eastern Redbud then. I couldn't stop hearing my instructor at the time run down the details of the tree, "Redbuds are small trees, growing to about 20 feet high, by 25 feet wide...They are highly susceptible to Botryosphaeria canker, and Verticillium wilt..." with Botryosphaeria being spelled wrong in my notes. Those trees were considered short-lived trees.

A multi-stemmed Redbud tree. This tree has stood the test of time, with apparent climbing, soil compaction, and the occasional resting spot for my husband.

Cercis siliquastrum, in Rome is durable, large, and long-lived. These trees inspired the same reflection you give to so much in the city. Who saw these plants as small seedlings? Did someone nurture it? I'll probably never know the answers to the questions about the trees of Rome, but I'm grateful to have witnessed their existence.

A decorative housing for an elevator, but if you look closely at the top left, a Redbud is
trying its best to take hold. I don't believe it will stand the test of time.

Redbud taking hold (inset from above)

1 comment:

  1. I love when plants refuse to do a literature search. Nice post.


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