Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wattieza, First Among Trees

Today is National Arbor Day (officially celebrated on the last Friday of April) and to commemorate this event the Book Trout would like to relate the saga of the lovely palm tree pictured here. It has just been identified in the latest issue of Nature as Wattieza, a Devonian Era palm-like tree, that scientists have identified as the first true tree to populate the Earth. It lived 380 million years ago in nearby Schoharie County and grew up to 26 feet tall. State Museum of New York scientists dug out sections of the trunk and then a twelve-foot-long fossilized piece of the crown from a quarry excavation while the quarry construction clock ticked, and we are glad they did.

While we wait for a poet to compose an ode to this forest giant, here's an Arab proverb from the tree quotes section of Gardeners Digest to ruminate on this Arbor Day.
It is good to know the truth, but it is better to speak of palm trees.

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