Photo by Thangmar on Wikipedia | Copyright: Public Domain
Contributor: Josh (Admin)
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.
Four remarkable images from the 19th-century Austrian botanist Anton Kerner von Marilaun’s Pflanzenleben, one of his most important works.
Some 20 years after its initial publication in German in 1887 the work was brought to the English speaking world in a translation by F. W. Oliver under the title The Natural History of Plants their Forms, Growth, Reproduction, and Distribution.
The images here come, via Wikimedia Commons, from Kurt Stüber’s wonderful collection of historical botanical illustrations housed at his BioLib site, definitely worth an explore.
Trees have been around for about 370 million years, and as you can from these incredible pictures, there’s a good reason why they’ve survived for so long.
Whether they’re growing in the middle of gale-force winds, on the tops of rocky platforms, inside concrete tunnels, or even growing out of each other, trees know how to survive in places that few living organisms can, which explains why the planet is host to around 3 trillion adult trees that cover an estimated 30% of the earth’s land.
Considering that plants produce the vast majority of the oxygen that we breathe, we should all think ourselves very fortunate that trees are as resilient as they are.
We wouldn’t even be here if they weren’t. Thanks guys! (h/t: twistedsifter)