Sunday, September 27, 2009

Herbology expert

Beloved Wife and I spent Eid in Cyprus. We had commissioned a government-approved surveyor to mark out our plot boundaries in accordance with the official Land Registry records. Having met the surveyor on site, noted the lengths of rebar that he had banged into the ground at the corners, and paid the money, we are now in possession of an accurate survey. We have precise co-ordinates of the corners, a contour plan and the whole thing in AutoCAD as well as on paper. This ought to be enough to get an architect started on the planning permission for the Dream Home. But that won’t start in earnest until Beloved Wife and I agree the basic size, shape and orientation of the building.

Unlike defining a plot in town, where measuring off existing buildings and walls easily defines a plot, up in the boonies the surveyor had to measure half of Cyprus in order to ensure that our particular corner or a foreign field was precisely defined. And that, we were told, is why he wanted such a thick wad of banknotes. I was of course shrewd enough to get in writing beforehand that the price quoted was fully inclusive of all taxes, disbursements and those niggling extras that have an unfortunate habit of bunking up the bottom line so that it resembles the GNP of a small country.

The good news is that the plot is unexpectedly larger than we originally anticipated. The original advert said it was around 3300 sq.m; I’d measured the area using existing hedges as seen on Google Earth and discovered a disappointing 2740 sq.m. The survey reveals the actual plot fully includes one of the hedges and extends further south than expected, yielding 3578 sq.m, or 0.884 acres in old money.

I took hundreds of photographs of the land, the views, the existing herbaceous borders and the survey markers.

And this, dear reader, is where you come in: identifying the plants. Essentially, we’d like to retain as much of the mature planting as possible, but if it’s diseased or toxic to goats, it’ll have to go. Hopefully the greenery that remains will be pretty to look at, provide useful windbreaks, and might even produce edible fruit or something that gives a glossy coat.

No.1 and No.2
The first one is easy. It’s probably a carob tree Ceratonia siliqua and might even bear usable fruit. I could get hold of some wild honey and do a John the Baptist impersonation. The second plant appears to be some sort of parasite hanging off the carob. Its fruit is small black berries. No hints in any of our Mediterranean Plants and Gardens books or, so far, from the Interwebs.

That this is an oak of some sort is obvious from the acorns. But which one? There are holly oaks Quercus ilex around, but this one dares to be different. The leaves aren’t wobbly-edged as per the ‘traditional’ oak leaf, so which species is it?

The fruit smells of apple, so I suspect a crab-apple of some sort. But is that indeed the case, and is the fruit edible?

It seems that this one finished flowering a little while back and has perhaps gone to seed. Is it some kind of wild rose? There aren’t a load of thorns on the stems.

I think this may be Cistus ladanifer. But I'd appreciate the opinion of someone who knows more about plants than I. Most of the population, then.

I suspect this one is pistachio Pistacia lentiscus. The small berries are red and green. I guess they’re turning from red to black as they mature. Are these what eventually produce pistachio nuts?

Absolutely no clue at all with this plant.

Nor this one.

I found this page of the University of Reading's website of some use. Again, those who know and understand plants might get better use out of the page.



Keefieboy said...

This sounds like a job for MamaDuck. Will pass the link to her.

the real nick said...

I recommend you ask Neville Longbottom before attempting to eat any of these fruits.

Mita said...

I have no idea but perhaps you could send it to the guys at Dubai Garden Centre - they are quite knowledgeable. I'll send it to my gardening friend too and see what she says. I'll post it on Twitter and Facebook - maybe someone else can help

nzm said...

Grumpy - you might like to ask Dubai Cat for advice. Having been Qatar Cat and then Dubai Cat, she's gone back home and is now Cyprus Cat again. She might have a clue, or at least her relatives and friends might.

Dubai Cat

ooeh - my word verification was "palin" ;.)

Grumpy Goat said...

I'm still working on plant identification. There appears to be no evidence of gillyweed, mandrake or whomping willow; Mr Longbottom's services are probably not required.

Keith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keith said...

No3. is a 'quercus weirdo'!

No4. is a crab apple. I think it's the missing link between the wild apples and the cultivated ones.

I have one just like that, my dad brought a sapling back from somewhere in Greece many years ago, and it's now fully grown.

The apples are edible, but they are very, very sour. My mother used to make 'crab apple jelly' with the fruit.

Sorry, my first comment was a cock-up!

Rose in Dubai said...

I thought no.4 looked more like a quince - either way - very nice jelly!


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