Chinar spreading shade
In ancient times, botanists called the plane tree “eastern maple” because the leaves of the plane tree look like maple leaves. In the Crimea and Ukraine, plane trees are called sycamore, like maple. But if you put the leaves of a plane tree and maple side by side, then you will see that the width of the maple leaves is 5-6 cm, and the plane tree is 25 cm. The plane tree is much older than maple, it can be called a contemporary of dinosaurs. At the time of flowering, the differences between these trees are immediately visible. Maple flowers are small, have a green cup and a corolla of five petals. Plane tree inflorescences are pale yellow male flowers (stamens) and female flowers reddish with purple stains (pistils). After the plane tree fades, tiny green fruits in the shape of nuts, which form spherical fruits ripening year round, ripen in place of each female flower. And only in February-March, ripe fruits crumble into tiny velvety nuts of a rusty red color and are carried by the wind over long distances.
The plane tree differs from maple in its huge size and longevity. One of the largest trees on the planet, the plane tree forms a crown up to 40 meters in diameter. In ancient times there were plane trees, under the canopy of each of which up to 100 horsemen could take refuge. In hot countries plane trees are very appreciated, because they give a saving shadow and coolness. No wonder broad-leaved sycamores are called the "shady tree." The oldest and largest plane tree grows in Turkey in the Buyukder Valley. The height of the plane tree is 50 m, the diameter of the trunk is 13.4 m, the circumference of the trunk is 42 m, the age of this plane tree is more than 2300 years. One of the types of plane trees - the eastern plane tree grows in the East from the Mediterranean to the Himalayan mountains. This plane tree was planted in antiquity over ditches, springs and wells, over altars, temples and shrines, protecting them from the scorching rays of the sun.
In Turkish and Persian, the eastern plane tree is called the plane tree. Powerful plane trees in the East were given names, legends were written about them. Slender plane trees were sung by eastern poets. In the south of Europe, various love beliefs were associated with plane trees. In the East, they have long been planted along the streets, in parks, gardens, at mosques and caravanserais. The majestic plane trees of the beautiful gardens of Shiraz were described in the 17th century by the French jeweler Chardin, who lived in Iran for 10 years. Chinar gardens were broken in Kashmir by the descendants of Timur, and Timur himself built a “plane tree garden” in the vicinity of Samarkand, buried in the greenery of the Bag-i-Chinar country palace. In Islamic countries, the image of a plane tree can be found on mosaics of mosques, on beautiful Iranian miniatures. At the time of the Timurids, in the Samarkand wall landscape painting there were images of a plane tree, made with blue paint on a white background in combination with gilding. In the Caucasus, from ancient times, a plane tree was considered a sacred tree.
© Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
The plane trees were also revered among the Zoroastrian fire-worshipers of Azerbaijan. Now in this country there are more than a thousand plane-livers-centenarians. In Greek mythology, the plane tree was also considered a sacred tree. The plane tree was the tree of the goddess Helena - the oldest deity of fertility and vegetation. The plane tree left its mark in the history of Christianity. The peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean have revered this tree since ancient times. It is spoken of in the Book of Genesis, in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel. On the Greek island of Kefalonia, in the monastery founded by the holy Rev. Gerasim (1508-1579), two sacred plane trees grow. Above one of the wells next to the monastery you will see two plane trees planted by St. Gerasimus. “Cinar spreading shadows” delight and amaze with their beauty humanity for millennia.