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Country diary: Sleeping Beauty knew a thing or two about spindle's tempting lipstick berries

06.12.2017
Příroda
Wenlock Edge, Shropshire This shrub and its toxic fruit have a minor but magical part in ancient woodlandShocking pink in a winter hedge, as if blown from some forever summer place, it is a colour out of season. And yet the spindle berries are perfectly at home in wood margins and hedges on the limestone of Wenlock Edge. It seems the spindle tree - which can grow six metres (20ft) tall but is usually a shrub - has a minor but magical part in ancient woodland and here associates with ash, field maple and dogwood. It has waxy, serrated-edge leaves, greeny-white four-petalled flowers and these extraordinary lipstick berries, each a four- or five-valved pod holding orange fruits that ripen in November-December.Spindle is a square peg in a round hole, or vice-versa: its green stems begin round, develop a corky bark to become four-cornered, then turn rounder with age. It is named after the stick used to spin and wind thread from wool. In the psycho-mytho-panto of Sleeping Beauty, the goddess is deceived, pricks her finger on the spindle of human ambition, and sleeps until she is woken up by the god of rebirth. It is a winter story. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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