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Dendro-series: Tree of the month –Christmas Tree

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well, unfortunately, we live in Singapore so we can’t really benefit from the Christmas season. For example, the beautiful snowflakes that rain down from the sky or the cold temperatures that make us just want to cuddle with our furry friends or warm blankets! The enticing Christmas cookies make our jaws drop and our mouths full of saliva. Not forgetting the beautiful Christmas tree that is filled with loads of ornaments and Christmas lights! I mean, it’s the highlight of such festivity. Huge Christmas trees are being placed on the street sides, and even in town, catching the eyes of both locals and foreigners!

Urgh, what a mood. On the other hand, in the tropical climate, we can only afford the rainy wet season at a later period. Reason being that the earth hits the Northeast monsoon, where it consists of higher precipitation compared to the other part of the year. Well, fret not, You can still find your Christmas trees being sold at your local plant nurseries. They will always tend to ship during early December so that customers will have their time to pick and choose the “right” Christmas tree.

Can a Christmas tree grow in the tropical climate or more specifically, in Singapore? Well, it depends on the species of the trees! Christmas trees usually fall under the Conifer group, such as Fir trees, Spruce trees, Pine trees, Cedar trees and Cypress trees. Most of the customers would prefer to buy Fir trees as it suits well in both temperament and tropical climate, which makes it everyone’s go-to Christmas tree.

Noble fir tree, A.K.A Abies procera

Tree description

A. procera is a huge evergreen tree with a narrow conic crown that grows up to 70 m tall and 2 m in trunk diameter, seldom reaching 90 m tall and 2.7 m in diameter. On young trees, the bark is smooth and gray with resin blisters, while on older trees, the bark is red-brown, rough, and fissured. The needle-like leaves are 1–3.5 cm long, glaucous blue-green on top and bottom with prominent stromal bands and a blunt to notched tip. They are spirally placed on the shoot, but slightly twisted S-shaped to be upcurved above the shoot. The purple scales are nearly totally hidden by the long exerted yellow-green bract scales on the erect, 11–22 cm long cones, which ripen brown and disintegrate in the fall to release the winged seeds.

Uses of trees

Aside from ornamental purposes, Abies procera wood is known to be used for general structural purposes such as for construction, building a house, etc. It is also known to be used for manufacturing papers. Though Abies procera doesn't really have any health benefits for us humans, it does act as a shade tree in a park. An ideal location to have a picnic is under these trees!

History of Christmas tree

Modern Christmas trees originated during the Renaissance in early modern Germany.

It is sometimes linked to Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther, who is supposed to have first affixed lighted candles to an evergreen tree in the 16th century. The earliest known solidly dated representation of a Christmas tree can be seen on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Turckheim, Alsace, which bears the date 1576. Well, that is a mystery for you guys to venture to!

So there you have it! Now you know a thing or two about Christmas and the beautiful Christmas tree and its origin! You can definitely keep a lookout whenever you go out to buy your Christmas tree and just look at how beautiful the leaves are and how structured the tree crown is! Sometimes, the magic happens when you are observant

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