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MALLORCA INVEST

HANS OLOF SAVASEN

Cyberspace Real Estate @gent

World Wide Real Estate $ervice

If you are looking for a piece of Paradise, this is a great place to start your quest”

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“Best of the Best”

 

TREES ON MALLORCA

 

Mallorca is one of the privileged places on earth as regards trees. And privileged it is all year round, as most of the trees are evergreen, which means a display of Nature during every month of the year. Not only are the varieties of trees on Mallorca a feast for the eyes, they are also important commercially. To mention only a few there are the olive, almond, citrus trees, the carob, pine, palm, water oak and a myriad of fruit and flowering trees.

The "olive trees" originated in the Middle East and pre-date the poetry of Homer. Though the achieved enormous importance with the Greeks and Romans, they are thought to have been introduced into Spain by the Phoenicians. Legends, too, has it that Noah´s Ark received the news of the flood’s subsiding by the return of a dove with an olive leaf in its beak. It was also the symbol of peace and fecundity in ancient Greece, and in Spain on Palm Sunday both olive and palm branches are blessed. Eighty percent of the fruit of the island’s olive trees are used for the manufacturing of furniture and wooden eating utensils, as well as for its most aromatic firewood. Green olives, which have a slightly bitter tang here in Mallorca, are harvested during September and October, while the black ones are simply black by virtue of having been left on the tree till November harvesting. The wispy, delicate grey foliage, not unlike the willow, contrasts sharply with the gnarled, muscular olive tree trunks. Some of Mallorca´s trees are millennial and still producing.

  

In 1962 it was estimated that the "almond trees" covered half the island’s surface, or in numbers, some 6 million. It is justifiably one of the prides of the island, In Mallorca its magnificent blooms begin as early as January and can last through February or even March. It gives off a bittersweet odor, which is at once elusive and nostalgic. At one time the Mallorcan almonds were vitally important commercially on a world-wide scale.

Unfortunately that is not true today, as farm labor has rapidly diminished and also because the newly planted almond trees do not produce its fruits as quickly as some of the other island trees. The sweet almonds are eaten as nuts or used in confectionery, while the oil is a prized ingredient for cosmetics. The wood is also an excellent fuel. But for the winter visitor the sight of the snowy white and pink blossoms is its greatest attraction.

Also for the winter tourist a trip through the Sóller valley, which can be made on a lovely train starting from Plaza Espańa should be considered a must. There the "oranges and lemons" hang like a starry sky of miniature lanterns on the dark, shiny-leafed citrus trees. At one time there was an active shipping trade of the fruit from Sóller harbour to Toulon. The blossom exudes a heavenly fragrance. Apart from its importance as a winter-harvested fruit crop, the blossoms that do not come to fruition are used for cosmetics and perfumes, as well as for soothing herb tea, along with camomile and linden flowers.

The "carop tree" is truly unique. The black leathery bean it produces at the end of summer contains a 50 percent sugar content, which makes it an ideal animal feed. During the Spanish Civil War served as a coffee substitute. Today it is exported to England to supply the needs of the latest rage in health food. It is said that St. John the Baptist fed on it during his wanderings in the desert and thus its other name. St. John´s bread. It also produces a favorite island drink, palo, a liqueur or digestive, whose individual flavour may take some time in acquiring, The wood makes a hardy walking stick for the country roads and hills. Highly important is that it can tolerate the most arid conditions and the hottest of temperatures. It is known to grow out of what appears to be solid rock.

The " Aleppo pine" is natural to the island and grows almost anywhere in Mallorca. In days gone by its wood was used for fuel, resin, a turpentine base nowadays, and ship-building. It has unfortunately fallen victim to the gypsy moth caterpillar, which the government is attempting to keep under control.

There is only one native "palm Tree" in Mallorca, through one should really say it is the only native palm of Europe and can be found only in Spain and Italy. Its leaves were formerly used, after drying, for the weaving of raffia chairs and baskets. But the regal palm we associate with the smarter streets and boulevards of Mallorca comes to us from Africa. It is fast growing and decorative, but its fruit never matures in Mallorca. It is considered something of a status symbol and most often can be seen in the patios of wealthy estates or lining the driveways to handsome country mansions.

Last but not least, is the "water oak" or Hom oak or encina or ever-green oak? By any name its importance is intimately tied to the natural vegetation of the island. Commercially it serves for the pig feed that acorns provide and the tannin from the bark is used for curing hides. setting dyes and for medicinal purposes.

Mention should be made of the plethora of "fruit trees" - figs, peaches, persimmons, pomegranates, apricots, cherries - which supply the island with delicious fruit.

There are also some exquisite "flowering trees" without any obvious commercial value. The most beautiful is perhaps the mimosa which turns January views into clouds of teathery yellow.

One of the loveliest drives for tree-viewing is from Palma to Valldemossa, then to Deyá, and from there to Sóller, returning to Palma via the Sóller mountains. A trip like that can be done by rented car, bus or the before-mentioned train. There are rich visual pickings on this route.

And, it truly is rather comforting to think that the trees
of the "Old Testament" are all amply represented
in the Paradise that is Mallorca.