29 March 2013

Graft

'Basket Tree' by Axel Erlandson.
Created by grafting 6 sycamore trees.
The apricot tree in my backyard is blooming. It was covered in little white flowers this morning and the honey bees were making enough of a racket that I thought they were a generator.

The apricot was cultivated in ancient times, pits of apricot trees have been found in sites dating from the copper age - 7000 years ago - in Greece. It is thought the trees were cultivated much earlier. Due to this, the place of origin is unknown. The Latin name - Prunus armeniaca - which translates as 'Armenian plum' comes from a common belief that the plant is from that part of Eurasia.

Apricots are related to peaches, cherries, and almonds. Amaretto is traditionally made from the apricot seed, not almonds, since they are sweeter. Just like almonds, the seeds of the apricots contain cyanide. But only about 2.5% and so they are not dangerous.

Fruit cultivation is such a strange process. The grafting of trees to hybridize or continue strong root system is fascinating.

That this is how many trees were cultivated thousands of years ago is even more interesting. The idea that you could take two parts of two different trees, stick them together, and they would continue - even thrive - is a leap of thought that we are not necessarily trained to make. One that few of us could come up with today.

That leap is what leads to progress. Culturally or otherwise. It also informs how one gets from point A to point Z in a poem or a work of art. You must go with the words on the page, choose to follow through, hope they arrive intact at the destination.

For more tree stuff you can check out an interview I did over at Poets Touching Trees.