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Mediterranean Cypress

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cypress cypress

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Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), also known as Italian, Tuscan, or Graveyard Cypress, or Pencil Pine is a species of cypress native to the eastern Mediterranean region. It is a medium-sized coniferous evergreen tree to 35 m tall, with a conic crown with level branches and variably loosely hanging branchlets. It is very long-lived, with some trees reported to be over 1,000 years old. The foliage grows in dense sprays, dark green in colour. The leaves are scale-like, 2–5 mm long, and produced on rounded (not flattened) shoots. The seed cones are ovoid or oblong, 25–40 mm long, green at first, maturing brown about 20–24 months after pollination. The male cones are 3–5 mm long, and release pollen in late winter.

The species name sempervirens comes from the Latin for 'evergreen'. Mediterranean Cypress has been widely cultivated as an ornamental tree for millennia away from its native range, mainly throughout the central and western Mediterranean region, and in other areas with similar hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. It can also be grown successfully in areas with cooler, moister summers. The dark green 'exclamation mark' shape of these trees is a highly characteristic signature of Mediterranean town and village landscapes. Formerly, the species was sometimes separated into two varieties, the wild C. sempervirens var. sempervirens (syn. var. Horizontalis), and the fastigiate C. s. var. Pyramidalis.

It is also known for its very durable, scented wood, used most famously for the doors of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, Rome. Cypress used to be used in distilleries as staves to hold mash ferments to make alcohol before the invention of stainless steel. Commonly seen throughout New Mexico, the Mediterranean Cypress is also known as the "drama tree" because of its tendency to bend with even the slightest of breezes. In cosmetics it is used as astringent, firming, antiseborrheic, antidandruff, antiaging and as fragance. In classical antiquity, the cypress was a symbol of mourning and in the modern era it remains the principal cemetery tree in both the Muslim world and Europe.

In the classical tradition, the cypress was associated with death and the underworld because it failed to regenerate when cut back too severely. Cypress was used to fumigate the air during cremations. It was among the plants that were suitable for making wreaths to adorn statues of Pluto, the classical ruler of the underworld.

The poet Ovid, who wrote during the reign of Augustus, records the best-known myth that explains the association of the cypress with grief. The handsome boy Cyparissus, a favorite of Apollo, accidentally killed a beloved tame stag. His grief and remorse were so inconsolable that he asked to weep forever. He was transformed into cupressus sempervirens, with the tree's sap as his tears. In another version of the story, it was the woodland god Silvanus who was the divine companion of Cyparissus and who accidentally killed the stag. When the boy was consumed by grief, Silvanus turned him into a tree, and thereafter carried a branch of cypress as a symbol of mourning. In Greek mythology, the cypress is associated with both Artemis and Cyparissus, a boy beloved by Apollo. Ancient Roman funerary rites used it extensively. Cupressus sempervirens is the principal cemetery tree both in the Western and Muslim worlds. In Modern times cypress is associated with Hecate a Greek chthonic goddess of the magic, cross roads, underworld.

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50 seeds (horizontalis or pyramidalis)

Read 24203 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 16:28
45.00 HRK
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