Cypress – evergreen tree
Cypresses are evergreen trees and shrubs, that have fragrant, durable wood. There are about 20 different species of cypress. They grow in warm parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Cypresses reach heights of 25 meters or more. Some cypresses have a pyramid shape while others grow into tall columns. The bark is sometimes smooth, but it usually forms plates or strips. The leaves are small and look like scales covering the branches. These trees produce cones that have a woody or leathery covering and are usually round.
The Saharan cypress is covered in reddish-brown bark containing many deep cracks. It can grow to a height of 20 meters and a diameter of 4 meters. The tree’s small cones are yellow or gray-brown. Saharan cypresses can live for more than 1,000 years.
This cypress species is found in Algeria on the Tassili Plateau in the central Sahara Desert. It grows in the bottom of usually dry streambeds or valleys where water sometimes collects.
Over thousands of years, humans have cut down innumerable cypresses for their long-lasting timber which resists rotting and pests. The gates of St. Peter’s in Rome, which stood for 1,100 years, were made of Italian cypresses. Today, the cypress is a symbol of immortality for many people.
This beautiful slender tree is revered in the sacred traditions of Eurasia and considered sacred in India. In China, it is called the “tree of eternity”. For the Chinese, the external severity and beauty of the cypress show its high spirituality. Muslims consider cypress to be a model of morality.
In ancient times, Cyprus was covered with impenetrable forests and cypress was the most common among the local trees. Its wood is rich in resin and has a wonderful smell. In ancient times it was considered priceless, worthy of gods and kings. In caskets and chests made of cypress, the Romans kept the most valuable scrolls. In Ancient Egypt, sarcophagi were made from cypress, and cypress oil was used for embalming mummies.