The world is full of bizarre wonders, from flowers that look utterly alien to otherworldly landscapes and terrifying deep-sea creatures that seem to have sprung straight from your nightmares.
This particular tree might not look quite as monstrous as six-foot-tall blooms or carnivorous plants that are large enough to consume rats, but it’s certainly strange: it grows its fruit directly on its trunk.
Jabuticaba is native to the Minas Gerais and São Paulo states of southeastern Brazil, and starts off looking ordinary enough, save for the salmon-colored leaves it sprouts while it’s still young.
As it matures to fruiting age, the first sign of something unusual are the starry white blooms that appear not on its branches, as you’d expect, but on its trunk.
When uncultivated, it flowers and fruits once or twice a year, but when regularly irrigated it can produce its grape-like, thick-skinned berries year-round.
In Brazil, where it can be eaten immediately, it’s typically served fresh.
Since it starts to ferment within three days of ripening, it has to be preserved into jam, tarts, wine or liqueur to give it a longer shelf life.
Attempts to grow it commercially in North America haven’t been successful, since the climactic conditions aren’t quite right and the trees tend to grow very slowly, making it a treat you should really travel to South America to enjoy properly.
Photo by Thangmar on Wikipedia | Copyright: Public Domain
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More of an out-of-control tree than the lilting flower the name might suggest, the Rose of Hildesheim, otherwise known as the Thousand-Year Rose, is thought to be the oldest living rose on the planet, and it looks to continue to be for the foreseeable future since not even bombs can stop it.
Growing up the side of a columnar portion of Germany’s Hildesheim Cathedral, the now-bushy flower is thought to have been planted in the early 800s when the church itself was founded.
Miraculously, the hearty plant slowly crept up the side of the apse for hundreds of years, and still continues bud and bloom each year, producing pale pink flowers once a year (usually around May).
While the rose bush looks as though it’s big enough to have been growing for a thousand years, the plant has been nearly destroyed a number of times throughout its history.
Most notably the bush was nearly completely razed during the Second World War when Allied bombs annihilated the cathedral.
Every bit of the plant above ground was destroyed, but from the rubble, new branches grew from the root that survived.
Today the the base of the Thousand-Year Rose is protected by a squat iron fence and each of the central roots is named and catalogued to protect one of the oldest pieces of natural beauty one is lucky to find.
The normally parched landscapes of southern and eastern California have been transformed into a colourful oasis in the past week as swathes of wild flowers have burst into life across the region’s deserts.
Unexpected heavy autumn rains and cold winter conditions have caused a rare “super bloom” that last occurred in the El Niño years of 1998 and 2005.
These purple sand verbena and desert sunflowers can be seen around the Amboy Crater in the Mojave Trails national monument off Route 66.
Image Credit: Photograph by Planetpix/Alamy Live News
Pictured: Miniature of a plant and boys standing in the branches of a fruit tree picking fruit and throwing it down to a woman standing below.
Selections from a beautifully illustrated 15th century version of the “Tractatus de Herbis”, a book produced to help apothecaries and physicians from different linguistic backgrounds identify plants they used in their daily medical practise.
No narrative text is present in this version, simply pictures and the names of each plant written in various languages – a technique which revolutionised botanical literature, allowing as it did for easier transcultural exchanges of scientific knowledge.
This particular “Tractaus de Herbis”, thought to date from around about 1440 AD and known as Sloane 4016 (its shelf-mark in the British Library), hails from the Lombardy region in the north of Italy and is a copy of a similar work by a figure called Manfredus, which itself was a version of the late 13th century codex known as Egerton 747. As Minta Colins writes in Medieval Herbals:
The Illustrative Traditions (University of Toronto Press, 2000), as opposed to these early versions, this sumptuously illustrated 15th century copy was most likely created with the wealthy book collector in mind rather than the physician, as “the primary scientific purpose had by then given way to the bibliophile’s interest”.
Some of the delightful highlights of the selection given below include: a demon repelled; a trio of mouse, cat and human corpse; an animal engaging what seems to be a spot of self-castration; an aphrodisiac induced scene; and a man slyly urinating into a pot.
Miniatures of a plant and a fish.
Miniature of a lion, a leopard, a rabbit, and an elephant.