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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Carrotwood and Madeira

Reading another book, this one set in California the carrotwood tree was mentioned. Whew... two new tree names in one week! It seems that carrotwood is a serious invasive in Florida, but just a benign ornamental in California. It's a broadleaf evergreen, Cupaniopsis anacardioides, in the Soapberry family. It was a day with several points of interest... One of my on line writing assignments was travel information about the island of Madeira. I am ashamed to say that I wouldn't have been able to even tell you where it was before that. Now I want to go there! It's in the Atlantic, part of Macaronesia, an autonomous state of Portugal. It has mountains, deserts, and ocean beaches. It has a World Heritage Site- the laurisilva, which is the largest remnant in the world of a prehistoric laurel forest with many unique plants and animals. It has miles of hiking trails which were built as paths beside the canal system that brings water down from the mountains. Some are quite tame. Others have cliffside paths and tunnels. There are two nature refuges on the small islands and one of the few remaining colonies of monk seals, several indigenous birds, a bat, and unique land snails. It has one of the highest sea cliffs in the world. The main island is only 13 miles wide, yet the mountains go from sea level to 6107 feet and then back down again! I want to go.
And then there were the sparkling weeds in the morning. The day warmed up to nearly 40 degrees in the afternoon, but it began with frosty sparkles.

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