Under the Shade of Trees
Creu de sa cometa
Under the Shade of Trees
This walk will take you under the shade of large trees, where you will learn about the predominant diversity of our landscape and the role it plays in an ecosystem, and the history of our territory.
The different landscapes make this a sensory experience, which varies along the way. Thermal sensations change thanks to the shade of the trees; the sounds of the cereal fields moved by the wind, the song of the birds resting on branches of trees. These elements make this itinerary to be enjoyed with all your senses, while you discover the surrounding tree species.
The Hackberry tree (Celtis australis) is a deciduous tree that can reach 25 meters in height. The bark of its trunk is ash-gray and the crown is wide and highly branched. The leaves have an asymmetrical base and are dark green on the front and lighter on the back. It blooms in spring and its flowers are small and inconspicuous, they stem from the axils of the leaves. Its fruits, called hackberries, are edible drupes the size of a pea, which have very little flesh and ripen in autumn. Birds greatly appreciate this fruit and help in the dispersal of its seeds.
This tree is enigmatic in the Balearic Islands, since it used to be planted in the courtyards of the estates or in town squares, as is in the case of Sencelles’s square. In addition, it is a tree appreciated for its wood, widely used for the manufacture of handicrafts, agricultural tools such as pitchforks, cattle collars, crooks, wine barrels, for carts and carriage parts, and much more.
The oak tree (Quercus ilex) is the most characteristic tree of the Mediterranean forests. It does not usually exceed 15 meters, despite the fact that some specimens exceed 20 meters in height. Its evergreen leaves can have different shapes, rounded or elongated, entire or toothed. On the other hand, they all have a dark green color on the front part of the leaf and whitish on the back, being thick and hard. This type of leaf allows holm oaks to survive the summer drought typical of the Mediterranean climate. It blooms in spring and its flowers, grouped in catkins, are small and inconspicuous since they do not need to attract the attention of insects, because the wind is responsible for its pollination. Its fruit is the acorn that in many cases has been used to feed pigs. Its firewood is appreciated for its density, and has been used to make charcoal, furniture, cart wheels at one time, kneaders or mills. The bark, rich in tannins, has also been used to dye and tan leather. Being a slow-growing species, we are often captivated when we come across a majestic specimen like the one at the entrance of the Morelló estate. How many stories must this tree have lived?
Within the municipal term there is a holm oak cataloged as a “singular tree” located at the Camp de Allá estate, about 800 meters in direction Sencelles, starting from the intersection road Palma-Sineu (its owner is Francisco Cano Martínez).
The carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is a characteristic tree of the Mediterranean climate cultivated for its fruit, the carob. This tree can reach 8 meters in height and has a very open crown, with a large diameter, except when we find it wild within the garrigues, where it does not grow to be very large. Its leaves are evergreen and a compound colour of dark green. The inconspicuous flowers form clusters on the older stems. Once pollinated, the carob beans will produce legume-shaped fruits that take a year to mature.
Its fruit is sweet and has been used both for livestock feeding and for human consumption, making it a substitute for cocoa and in the production of syrups and liqueurs. Carob seeds are known as garrofí in Catalan and are used in the chemical industry for the manufacture of paints, medicines and cosmetics. As the size of these seeds is usually regular, it was used as a measure of weight, hence the name “carat”, which comes from the Greek keration and means carob.
The almond tree (Prunus dulcis) is a species cultivated on our islands. It is a tree that does not exceed 5 meters in height and its rough-looking bark peels off in plates over time. The leaves are deciduous, lanceolate in shape and green on both sides. It blooms during the winter before the leaves, which are still developing, and adorn the landscape with snowy-petals. This scenery attracts many of those who are fond of photography and painting.
Of Iranian-Turanian origin, it is cultivated and wild in almost the entire Mediterranean region. In our municipality, the cultivation of the almond tree has been one of the economic resources until a few years ago. Almonds are very present in our gastronomy and used for typical Mallorcan confectionery, such as gató (almond cake) or the elaboration of almond milk. In addition, the wood of this tree has also been used to make furniture and gates for the fields.
The pine tree (Pinus halepensis) is a typical Mediterranean tree and is abundant on our islands. This evergreen tree can reach 20 meters in height and inhabit any place since the terrain and climate of our islands are favorable for it. The light green leaves are called needles and are arranged on the stems in pairs. Its conical fruits, pine cones, can remain on the tree for years, reaching a large number of them at the top.
From this tree its firewood has been used mainly to make agricultural tools and also furniture. Its resin has also been used to obtain turpentine or turpentine essence, which is nothing more than a distillation of its resin.
It is one of the first trees to colonize abandoned crops since it is a heliophilous species, that is to say, high solar exposure favors its growth.
Wild Olive Tree
The wild olive (Olea europaea var. sylvestris) is a wild version of olive trees. This tree inhabits dry and warm places and can form wild olive groves.
Its perennial leaves are lanceolate, grayish green on the front and whitish on the back, they are waterproof and tough. It blooms at the end of spring and its flowers are grouped in bouquets. Its fruit, the acebuchina (olivó in Catalan) is like an olive but with a large pit. The olivó can be prepared and consumed just like olives and also used for the extraction of oil. Birds appreciate this fruit more than humans and feed on them while helping to disperse their seeds.
In general, the dimensions of the leaves and fruits are smaller than those of the olive tree (Olea europaea) and the bearing of the tree and the trunk are simpler. The wood of the wild olive tree, like that of the olive tree, is very hard and is used for the manufacture of agricultural tools, kitchen utensils and for the construction of windmills or waterwheels (sínies) amongst other utilities.
The fig tree (Ficus carica) is a widely cultivated species for its fruit, the figs. This deciduous tree is native to southeastern Europe and Asia Minor but has been cultivated since ancient times in the Mediterranean basin. With tortuous branches and thick roots, it loses its large leaves during the winter. Its flowers are arranged inside a fleshy receptacle, reminiscent of the fruit where pollination is carried out by a tiny wasp called Blastophaga thicknessum.
The fruit is used from the fig tree to be consumed ripe or fresh, but also extracted latex can be used as rennet when making cheese, and curiously to remove warts from the skin. On the other hand, its wood, of low caloric capacity and low density, has practically not been used for combustion.