Saturday, 2 October 2010

A South American visitor in Jimena

Prospero thought this tree looked familiar. It was chopped down last year (or earlier) but has fought its way back to life. It fights, twisted and hurt, in the Friday market grounds (llano del barato). It is an ombú, sometimes known as bella sombra (beautiful shade) or zapote, and Phytolacca dioica in Latin. It originates in the pampas of Argentina and Uruguay, and is in fact a bush though it can grow to 10 or 15 metres high. Its roots spread out and are visible, and it makes a wonderful playground for kids (as Prosp remembers well) . There is a wonderful example at its 100-year fullest in a square in Cádiz. It is not as invasive as pampas grass, which comes from the same region and is also present in the village. However, we should remember that Jimena chose to join the anti-invasive species campaign in March this year.

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