Cupressus sempervirens PLANT PORTRAIT

Cupressus sempervirens, Italian cypress. An evergreen tree with a distinctive upright narrow habit, native to western Asia and south-easter...

Cupressus sempervirens, Italian cypress. An evergreen tree with a distinctive upright narrow habit, native to western Asia and south-eastern Europe, it has small glossy, dull grey cones. It is a classic tree for use in gardens throughout the mediterranean.

When archaeologists examined the tomb of the 18th dynasty boy-king, Tut’ankhamun (who died c. 1340 BC) they found that the outer coffin was made of fragrant, red cypress wood that must have been imported. (It was used for other Egyptian coffins of that period as well.) The Phoenicians introduced the tree to the Mediterranean when they settled in Cyprus. The Island, which actually worshipped the tree, derives its name from the plant.

In both Greek and Roman mythology the cypress was associated with the Underworld. The tree was also assigned to Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

The Greek philosopher, Theophrastus (c.327-c.287) who studied under Aristotle, mentions how the doors of a then recently constructed temple were made from this wood that had been growing at Ephesus (the Italian cypress wood had been felled ‘four generations’ earlier). The ancient Greeks also used it for building ships and houses, as well as for carving statues (as did the Phoenicians and Cretans) – and Dioscorides, the 1st Century Greek physician, mentions its use in medicine for treating dysentery and other ailments. The hard and durable wood was used for the gates of Istanbul, and apparently it was also chosen for the original great doors of St. Peter’s, Rome that are now made of bronze. In the past the leaves and fruit of the Italian cypress were used, in infusion with vinegar, as a black hair dye. Today the timber (which will withstand woodworm) is sought after for works of art.

Classic mediterranean garden trees for focus and height

A glade of lovely cypress trees in a rocky landscape

Related

Plant Information 2011416350554068050

Post a Comment

emo-but-icon

Follow Us

Translate

Popular

Random

Comment

Archive

Connect to us

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *

item