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Country diary: apples and mistletoe, yin and yang

Brockhampton, Herefordshire Orchards in autumn are places where magic finds a space to express itselfBright red apples look delicious and, as in fairytales, potentially dangerous. The "bush" of mistletoe growing from the apple bough, poisonous yet sacred to ancient druids, we were told, looks mysterious. Apples and mistletoe, the yin and yang of fruiting trees and their parasites, opposing forces in the same place, create old orchards. The Welsh Marches lost 90% of their traditional orchards during the 20th century, making the surviving clusters of fruit trees and the odd wonky apple, pear or damson the ecological and cultural treasures of today.At Brockhampton, a moated, half-timbered manor house that made its money in the middle ages out of fruit, salt and timber, the orchards are not just relics of the past. Their trees harbour the noble chafer, an emerald metallic beetle whose grubs hollow out the tree trunks, and the mistletoe weevil (Ixapion variegatum), a beautiful brown snout beetle first discovered here in 2000 and completely dependent on the mistletoe that is itself entirely sustained by the tree. These are just two members of a unique community that has travelled through time and whose presence here is practically miraculous. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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