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March 22, 2015


Some echo of Philemon & Baucis in the bride and groom tree custom maybe? The custom seems to have no wiki entry but googling indicates that it is a Jewish one.

That is exactly how I feel about those lumpy trees too. They are used ornamentally here in Finland - mostly I try not to look closely at them.

I'm somehow disturbed to discover that the sycamore Mama Cass sung about isn't good old acer pseudoplatanus which I've know since my childhood.

Apologies for the double post, & inadvertent pseudonym.


no problem. I deleted the 4 extras, they didn't seem to add much to the conversation. *g*

Linden -- tilia -- flowers also make a very pleasant herbal tea.

Have I got this right? English -> American:

Sycamore -> Great Maple (with the spiralling seeds)
Plane -> Sycamore
Lime -> Linden

First year music major, we had a drop the needle test (do they do that? how?) with Schubert's Winterreise with Der Lindenbaum.

I haven't listened to that for at least 35 years, so thanks for getting me to pull that up.

Speaking of lime trees, we have the fruit tree in the back yard, but I always find myself disappointed that they don't seem to commercially grow limes here in Kyushu. The area is a big citrus growing area, but limes don't seem to count. They have a fruit called kabosu

but it is a poor substitute for a lime.


British Sycamore is American "Sycamore Maple", a non-native species and not particularly common.

In the US, I've heard "basswood" at least as often as "linden". American Sycamores also used to be known as buttonball trees or buttonwood trees. I don't know if the name just refers to the shape of the fruit -- a tightly-packed balls of seeds, light-weight and buoyant -- or if the wood was once used to make buttons.

Wait. You're telling me that the limeys who staved off scurvy with fruit from the lime tree (citrus) used ropes made from lime trees (linden)?

Too much for me. I think I need a daiquiri right now, rush job, hurry and get me some quicklime.

I believe that the reason London Plane trees thrive in London (which is full of them) as well as other big cities is because of the mottled bark - the trees absorb and then continually shed pollution without being harmed by it.

Note that (Eng) lime / (US) basswood is great raw material for model building, etc - small pieces can be bought in many hobby shops. Back in ye good old pre-Internet days, yours truly was quite puzzled by the 'lime' references in the English craft magazines that made it to US shores

Paul8: English usage "Plane" is generally for the entire genus Platanus and specifically (and more commonly) for the London Plane, which is a hybrid of American Sycamore and Oriental Plane. As Dr S says, English "Sycamore" is American Sycamore, which may not be common now, but was widely planted in Britain for garden shade in the first half of the last century.

LJ- Limes seem quite unsuited to the climate of Kyushu, with its January minimums of 0 C.

From the National Gardening Association "Lemons and limes are more sensitive to cold than other kinds of citrus and shouldn't be allowed to be touched by frost. They actually stop growing when temperatures dip below 50 F."

Thanks Peggy, though we have lemons here (though not in the numbers that they have other citrus) and the area to the south of me, a area called Amakusa, I don't think has ever gone below 0 C.

Though I guess there is a chance that the temp could dip and no one wants to make an investment like that. However, it is getting hotter in Kyushu, and they have started to grow mangoes here in Kumamoto (they've been around a while in Miyazaki) However, the price point with mango is probably easier to deal with start up costs, etc.

Very interesting. Isn't there a plane tree in Africa as well?

Loving the subtly of your photos :)

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