Today is Day 83 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.
I made a lot of noise as I walked down a tree-lined street today. The trees had dropped what looked like peppercorns – and there were thousands of them on the sidewalk. I was enjoying the sound of the snap, crackle, and pop of the seeds beneath my feet. Occasionally the little, hard berries acted like rollers and I slipped and slid across them.
I saw a woman (about 60-ish) sweeping the tiny berries from her sidewalk into the street. I said, “Hello,” and mentioned that I enjoyed the crunchy sound the berries made. She said, “These are very messy trees, but the colors of the leaves during the fall are so beautiful, it’s worth cleaning up the mess.”
I asked if she knew the name of the tree and she said it was a Chinese Pistache. She added, “They are planted in front of every home for the next two blocks. There are male and female trees. Only the female trees produce berries, so the male trees aren’t messy at all.” She pointed out a male tree two doors away. Turning back to the female tree in front of her home she repeated, “The colorful autumn leaves make the mess worthwhile.”
I asked if the berries were edible. “The birds eat them,” she replied. I thanked her for the information and continued on my way.
When I got home I discovered some interesting history and facts about the Chinese Pistache tree at PlantAnswers.com, including this: “Growing a Pistache is a kind of a historical and religious experience. The name comes from Persian “pistah” which is the name of the nut-bearing pistachio tree. There is no poison associated with ANY PART of the Pistache tree (how many other trees can you say that about?). In fact, most Pistache species produce resins which have been used by man since 50 A.D. The Bible is full of references to the Pistache…The terebinth tree mentioned in the Bible—the tree that provided shade to nomadic wanderers–is a Pistache.”
I am amazed at how much I learn on my “Papa Walks.”