23 de febrero de 2009

The Generalife, its gardens, its trees, the Citron

Back from a walk in the Albaicin Quarter in my city, Granada. I went inside one of the nice carmen-gardens of the quarter, one of the importat ones, & I have taken some photos: There were Iris as well as Manzano Japones (malus floribunda), but in this garden as well there were almond flowers and a very interesting tree. It is a very small citrus tree, it is not a lemon, not an orange or a lime, it is a Citron (Citrus medica). The tree & the fruit have a very interesting story: 5 years ago the restoration of the Generalife Palace in the Alhambra Complex was already finished. As the palace was open again for visitors, we found that the aspect of the palace had changed very much & instead of a garden at the floor level we had now a garden that was 40 cm deep. The explanation was, the archeological investigations inside the palace had given the fact that from the water channel in the center there were irrigation channels to the sides at that depth, so, the level of the garden must have been underneath that level to get the irrigation. As well, biological analysis provided important information about the plants & the vegetation that had been planted there originally. There had been fruit trees planted, among other, the polen of a very interesting tree was found, a tree that had been very common in the Spanish Peninsula during the muslim medieval times, but that we did not use any more now, in the 21st century. The questioned tree is a Citron (in french Cedrat), cultivated since ancient times, it has a minor importance today, then we don´t consume it at all. We consume the lemon today, which has very similar benefits & is much easier to cultivate. But Citron is, among the citrus spices, one of the old ones, it has the molecular evidence of not being hybrid. As well, Citron is a very delicate tree, it suffers a lot either with heat & cold... very bad in Granada, with our very hard winters & the very, very hard summers. Citron grows today in the Middle East & Far East. Jewish use it during the Feast of the Tabernacles... So, to carry on with the story, the restoration-techicians of the Generalife Palace first tried of course to plant some Citrons inside the Palace after the restoration. They acquired some of them, which grew for certain time in a botanical Garden in Malaga (with milder temperatures) hoping that these trees would grow properly & could be able to be re-planted inside the Generalife Palace after certain time... But the trees never came to the palace, today we have 4 Pomegranate trees, very nice indeed, but not Citrons. Apparently these trees have not grown enough to come to the Generalife Palace. Well I found one today in the garden I visited, it has finished here!! The tree must be meanwhile 5 years old, & it is now only 1-1,5 mts. high (it can grow 3-4 meters). Finally the trees have not adapted to our weather. But I took a nice photo of the fruits. They look like a lemon, but have the form of a pear...

No hay comentarios: