Friday 14 November 2014

Spindle Tree

 Mr GBT and I happened upon this gorgeous example of a spindle tree across the road from the Pear Tree in Hook Norton where I danced a couple of weeks ago with Mythago.

 As you can see it was absolutely laden with berries. If I was to have a favourite this would be it....the clashing vibrancy of the pink and zingy orange is a complete joy to behold. The close up below was taken by my parents on their Romanian holiday last month.

To give it its official name Eunoymus Europaeus this is derived from the Greek "eu" meaning good and "onama" meaning name. The tree itself is an hermaphrodite ie the flowers are both male and female and the berries are poisonous to humans. However, the leaves are eaten by a variety of creatures including the Holly Blue butterfly and the magpie, scorched carpet and spindle ermine moth.

In folklore it was believed to be a lucky tree but if it flowered early this could be a portend of plague. It could be used as a purgative and if vinegar was added it was made into a lotion to treat mange in horses and cattle.

Otherwise known as prickwood the wood has been used for spindles for spinning [hence its name], skewers, toothpicks, pegs, knitting needles and pipe stems.


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