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Eighty tales of trees from around the world

20th December 2023

Around then World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori. Illustrated by Lucille Clerc.

Eighty tales of trees from around the world

Eighty tales of trees from around the world.

Looking for a present for someone who loves trees and wants to find out a little more about them, their place in the world, the ecosystems in which they thrive and their relationship to human beings?

We were delighted to discover this reference book, which is so much more than just that. Beguiling prose penned by Jonathan Drori, which, combined with exquisite artwork by Lucille Clerc, makes for a very accessible book about trees around the world.

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From the following – randomly chosen – samples, it is evident there is lots to learn and appreciate in this great book:

I had never heard of the Strawberry Tree, which is native to the Western Mediterranean AND the southwest of Ireland (goodness, you couldn’t get two more differing climates). It has little red fruits and – here’s an interesting fact –  Madrid’s coat of arms has a bear reaching for a Madroño fruit (which of course is the strawberry fruit). It is thought that sailors from the Iberian peninsula brought the species with them when they sailed to Ireland, maybe as long ago as 10,000BC. You might eat the fruit but you would probably choose not to!

Check out the Coco-de-Mer which has a long history but only a few specimens now exist, which are confined to two islands – Praslin and Curieuse. A single seed can weight up to 30kg. Who knew!

I guess most of us are aware of the The Yoshino cherry tree and how it is so much part of Japanese culture. One cannot miss the woodcuts depicting it, the photos of ‘sakura’, and it is highlighted on crockery, stamps and kimono, and is utterly synonymous with Japanese culture.

The Wollemi Pine in Australia, thought to be extinct, goes right back to the dinosaur era. In 1994 a specimen was discovered, not far from Sydney. And the Monkey Puzzle Tree, too, finds its origins at a similar time.

So, with just a sample from the 80 stories, one can already learn and appreciate so much about an everyday feature in our lives that we probably take for granted. There is much joy to discover and pleasure to be had in this amble through the arboreal world.  There are at least 60,000 distinct species, so the varieties chosen form a terrific eclectic and oftentimes unfamiliar mix. A delight.

With thanks to Georgina at The Wilbur and Niso Smith foundation for the heads-up on this title.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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Catch the author on Twitter @jondrori and IG @jondroriUK

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