Detail, Pine Cone Held by an Apkallu

Detail, Pine Cone Held by an Apkallu


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Thirteen Things You Never Knew About Pine Cones.

On a recent trip to San Diego, I met two Americans (in their 20s or 30s) who had never heard of Maine, the state where I am living. I tried to explain ("it's the northernmost tip of New England," etc.) and they still had no idea what I was talking about. I can't speak as to why they never heard of one of our fifty states, but I have learned that most Americans in their lifetime never see Maine, and I get it. Remote, off in the quietest corner of our country, unencumbered by a metropolis or major sports team, but once here, you'll understand why it's nicknamed the "Pine Tree State." Hundreds of miles of the tallest pine forests in our country. Step into its woods, and pine cones carpet the forest floors. Where I live, they're nearly as common as rocks. You've probably held them, maybe even decorated a holiday wreath with them, but what are they? And what roles have these strange, scaly pine tree-spawn played in our world? You might be surprised that throughout history, cones have been symbolic of immortality, human enlightenment, and 'the third eye.' Why? After some digging, much light was shed on a secret world of little known cone facts starting with.

1. Pine cones are the official Maine State Flower. When you think of flowers, you think of something colorful, lovely, delicate not a hard, brown, woody, grenade-shaped object with sharp sticky scales. So are pine cones technically flowers? No, actually they are not, which makes them the only official state flower that are not flowers at all (what's up with that, Maine?). Cones are known in the botanical world as gymnosperm (seeds), and date back to prehistoric times - leading us to fact #2.

2. Pine cones were a dinosaur delicacy.

Parasaurolophus grazing in a Cretaceous pine forest (Photo courtesy of Rareresource.com):

Today, pine cones are prized food sources for squirrels, woodpeckers and crossbills, but about sixty million years ago, they were a favorite meal of Parasaurolophus, the famous crest-headed hadrosaur (often referred to as duckbill dinosaurs because their skulls resemble modern ducks). Parasaurolophus had uniquely formed jaws and thousands of rows of teeth perfectly adapted to eat tough, chewy pine cones, which they savored in their Cretaceous marshlands habitat as fossils attest. Parasaurolophus weren't the only ancient beings fixated on pine cones.

3. The Pope, his pine cones, and other examples of pine cone worship.

Images of the Mayan God, Chicomecoatl ("7 Snakes"), depict the deity offering pine cones in one hand and an evergreen tree in the other. Images of Osiris, ancient Egyptian God of the dead, carrying a staff of two intertwining serpents rising up to meet a pine cone date back to 1224 BC. Dionysus, of Greek mythology, carried a staff (a "Thyrsus") topped by a pine cone. Similarly, today, the Pope's sacred papal staffs all feature a pine cone near the top. And just outside of St. Peter's in Vatican City is the "The Court of the Pine Cone" where a huge (three story tall) bronze sculpture of a pine cone ("Pigna") literally holds court.

Cortile della pigna "Court of the Pine Cone" in Vatican City (photo by David Constanti)

4. Want to get pregnant? Place a pine cone under your pillow. This trick seemed to work for ancient Celtic women who believed in pine cones as a symbol of fertility. Celts trying to conceive would place a pine cone under the pillow as a fertility charm. Ancient Romans also associated pine cones with Venus, Goddess of love and fertility.

5. We've all got pine cones in our brains!

Well, sort of. The Pineal Gland, the geographic center of our brain, is named for the pine cone because of its shape. The Pineal governs our body's perception of light, as well as our wake/sleep patterns. It receives the highest amount of blood flow of any organ in our body other than our kidneys. The Pineal Gland is long considered our biological "third eye" and "the epicenter of enlightenment." This may explain why pine cones have been exalted in religious imagery for thousands of years.

6. Pineal Glands aren't the only thing named after pine cones.

In 1600s Old English, the word "apple" was applied to coin terms for many fruits and flora including "earth apple" (a potato), "love apple" (a tomato), "oak apple" (the round nut produced by oak leaves). "Pine apple," was named as such for the tropical fruit's resemblance to pine cones. "Pineapple" is the only one of these Old English terms that stuck.

7. Some pine cones can actually nourish you

That's not to say pine cones are edible, but humans have been consuming them in various ways for a very long time. The most popular method to bring pine cone goodness into your diet, is with pine nuts. Only 20 varieties of pine tree worldwide produce cones with large enough pine nuts for harvesting. The Korean Pine and the Chilgoza Pine of the Himalayas contain Asia's best pine nuts. The Stone Pine produces Europe's (and the world's) most famous pine nuts. Pinyon Pines (which only grow between 6,000 and 9,000 foot altitudes) offer the finest pine nuts in North America, and are largely harvested by Native Americans. Pine nuts are a good source of thamine (B1), Vitamin K and L, magnesium, and protein. And one of the best natural sources period for manganese, phosphorus and zinc. Italians have been using pine nuts ("pignoli") since the Middle Ages as a prime ingredient in pesto, and desserts such as torta della nonna, and pignoli cookies.

8. Coffee, jam and seasoning!

Pine nut coffee (known as Pinon) is a dark roast specialty of the southwestern United States (especially New Mexico). Pine Cone Jam (similar to honey) has long been a staple in Ukraine, Georgia and Russia. Made from the natural syrup of boiled soft, green, young cones, the tasty, aromatic jam is used as a folk remedy for weakened immune systems. Pine cone jam has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, cough, asthma, respiratory diseases, TB, arthritis, and cancers. You can find a recipe for Pine Cone Jam here: http://infohow.net/12414-varene-iz-sosnovyh-shishek.html Cooks worldwide use the immature green tender pinecones to use as edible garnish, season meat, or slip into tea. Some pine needles are edible too. Think about rosemary - very pine needly and similar.

The young tender green pine cones used for jam, seasoning, and tea (photo by Stan Potts Cheftessbakeresse.com)

9. Pine cones, as you know them, are actually only the FEMALE of the species.

The male cones, even at maturity, are smaller, softer, less impressive, and much less distinctive then the iconic female cones. You might not have ever noticed them. The male cones release pollen, which drifts into the air and eventually finds female cones.

Female pine cone at the top of photo. Male pine cones at the bottom. (Photo courtesy of Jeanne Mac)

10. Pine cones are nature's barometer for wildfires and severe winters.

A pine cone on the forest floor is an indication of moisture and wildfire risk. Closed scales on a cone mean damp conditions while open scales mean the forest floor is dry. In autumn, pine trees produce more of the larger cones before a severe winter to ensure seeds will make it through squirrel and bird feeding frenzies.

11. Scandinavia loves pine cones!

Children in Finland and Sweden commonly make traditional toys called "Cone Cows" using sticks for legs, attached into the pine cow scales. In Finland, there is a park with giant pine cone cow sculptures large enough for children to ride on. Sweden has featured cone cows on their postage stamps.

A pair of traditional cone cows (Photo by Timo Viitanen)

12. Not all cones are pine cones.

All members of the pine family (pine, spruce, firs, cedars, larches, hemlocks, yews, etc) have cones, but "pine cones" only come from pine trees. The largest pine cones in the world are from the Coulter Pines of California/Baja California. Known as "widow makers," these giant cones with dagger-like scales can weight up to 11 pounds.

Child holding a jumbo-sized widowmaker cone from a Coulter Pine (Photo by kensint0wn)

13. Pine cones in today's arts.

Pine cones continue to be a fountain of inspiration for writers, artists, musicians worldwide. Native American tribes in Nevada use the outer shell of the pine nut as a bead in decorative jewelry. Artist Floyd Elzinga's pine cone scuptures are made from repurposing old shovels.

Floyd Elzinga's work "Colonization Device" 70"x54" diameter (Photo by Floyd Elzinga)

Also of note, The Pinecone is author Jenny Uglow's biography of 19th Century Cambrian architect Sarah Losh - well reviewed by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/books/review/the-pinecone-by-jenny-uglow.html?_r=0

And you can rock out to pine cones too. Pine Cones are a rock band from Athens, Georgia (home of The B-52s, R.E.M. and many others) whose full length debut album, Sings For You Now, was released in 2015. And they are not to be confused with The Rockin' Pinecones who are a rootsy New Orleans-style Cajun/Zydeco/R&B band that formed in 1988 in Minnesota's Twin Cities. And this is not to be confused with the wonderful Sticky Vikki and The Pinecones (fronted by singer/songwriter Vikki Lee) who will entice fans of Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams with their rockabilly twang.

Sticky Vikki & the Pinecones Why Do I Breathe? live in Grass Valley, California:

Rock on, all you pine cones! I could go on and on, but we'll stop at #13. Now put your computer down, walk outside, and have your own pine cone adventures. See you in the woods!


The Egyptian Staff of Osiris, dating back to approximately 1224 BC, depicts two intertwining serpents rising up to meet at a pinecone. Modern scholars and philosophers have noted the staff’s symbolic parallels to the Indian “Kundalini,” a spiritual energy in the body depicted as coiled serpents rising up from the base of the spine to the Third Eye (Pineal Gland) in the moment of enlightenment. Awakened Kundalini represents the merging and alignment of the Chakras, and is said to be the one and only way to attain the “Divine Wisdom” bringing pure joy, pure knowledge and pure love.

Depictions of Hindu deities are also interwoven with both literal and symbolic representations of serpents and pinecones. In some cases, Hindu gods are carved, sculpted or drawn holding a pinecone in outstretched hand. Shiva, the most prominent god in the Hindu tradition, is consistently depicted with a head, or coiled hair, shaped in marked similarity to a pinecone and interwoven with a serpent or serpents.

In addition to spiritual consciousness and enlightenment, pinecones have also historically been used as symbols of everlasting or eternal life. Ancient Assyrian palace carvings, dating back to 713-716 BC depict four-winged God-like figures purposefully holding aloft pinecones, or in some cases, using a pinecone to pollinate their depiction of the Tree of Life -- a tribute, perhaps, to both the Pinecone’s immortality symbolism and its role as an icon of enlightenment.

In yet another culture’s tribute to the Pinecone as symbolic of spiritual ascension and immortality, a statue of the Mexican god “Chicomecoatl” (“Seven Snakes”) again depicts the deity offering forth pinecones in one hand, and an evergreen tree in the other.


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The Beauty and Symbolism of Pine Cones


#1: An altar of grounding, woodsy, ripe Earth energy.
I have always had a special fondness for pine cones. I collect them whenever I travel. I have them all around my house and use them on my altars, portable and permanent, as representations of Nature. I got to wondering why I am so attracted to pine cones so I started researching the meaning attached to pine cones. This short series is a result of what I found and a tribute to the pine cone.


#2: Providing Beauty of Nature in arts & crafts.
Pine cones are used in a great variety of arts & crafts, including wreaths, holiday decorations, decorating décor, fire starters, bird feeders, and toys. I love walking into craft stores before Christmas because the cinnamon scented bags of cones drives me wild. Wanna make a natural, homemade birdfeeder? Smear peanut butter on a pine cone and hang it in a tree.

If you want to use pine cones in the house, here is a way to do so dry, bug and seed free.
1. Lay cones on foil covering a cookie sheet.
2. Bake for about 45 minutes in an oven at low temperature (about 200 degrees).
3. Let cool.


#3: A vortex of fertile forces dripping with sexuality.
The pine cone is a symbol of sexuality and fertility. The Romans associated the pine cone with Venus, the Goddess of Love. Celts gathered pine cones to use as fertility charms. A woman wanting to conceive would put them under her pillow. Dionysus (Bacchus) held a rod tipped with a pine cone that represented masculine generative forces. I find it ironic that the pine cones we see are symbols of masculine generative forces since it is the feminine version of the tree, called the seed cone. It produces pine seeds when it becomes fertilized. The male cone, called the pollen cone, are found at the ends of the lower branches. Their purpose is to release pollen and once done, they die. Pine pollen is the most potent source of testosterone from plants.


#4: Potential for growth stored in a pretty package.
The pine cone is a symbol of growth. All the parts are there to create a new life but since it has not yet taken root, it is still purely potential. That is why I like to use pines cones as an offering to sacred fire. I blow my prayers into the energy of potential and then let the flames free them into the universe.


#5: Beauty in Nature, Nature in Us.
The pineal gland is a pea-sized gland located between the cerebral hemispheres in the brain. The pineal gland was got its name because it looks like a tiny pine cone. It has several functions but most importantly is known as our spiritual center or intuitive center, called the 3rd eye.

Here is a process you can use to stimulate or activate your pineal gland:

  • With your eyes closed, stare at the tip of your nose, then raise your gaze to the 3rd eye.
  • Visualize the opening and clearing of your pineal gland.
  • Tap your 3rd eye 3 times to inform and seal.

Ways to keep the pineal gland healthy:

  • Avoid fluoride, which is believed to calcify the pineal gland.
  • Avoid meat, which is believed is disruptive to the pineal gland’s abilities.
  • Breathwork is important to activating the pineal gland.
  • Remove all sources of light from a dark room in order for the pineal gland to effectively secrete melatonin.


#6: A symbol for the Eye of Intuition.
Since the pine cone is sensitive to light, it is a symbol for enlightenment. The pine cone as a symbol of spiritual illumination is found in many ancient cultures including Christian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Indonesian, Mexican, and Roman cultures. It also appears in the esoteric traditions of Freemasonry, Gnosticism, and Theosophy. Modern scientists are finding that the pineal gland, the seat of our soul, is also sensitive to light. Retinal proteins have been found in the pineal gland cells, which suggests that photon flashes of light are occurring in the pineal gland. So, lightworkers, gather ye pine cones as a symbol of the soul’s light.


#7: Opening itself to us as a symbol of Spiritual Illumination.
The pine cone is a symbol for the 3rd Eye. The 3rd Eye has been called by various names throughout history, including the “Inner Eye,” “Mind’s Eye,” “Eye of the Soul,” and “Eye of Reason.” The 3rd Eye was portrayed in ancient Egypt as the Eye of Ra. Almost all Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as many humans, wear a bindi between their eyebrows, which is a physical representation of the 3rd Eye. Even the single horn of the unicorn represents the 3rd Eye and was adopted as a symbol of an illumined spiritual nature.

Kundalini, the spiritual energy that sits at the base of the spine, can awaken the 3rd Eye when it rises up to the forehead, where the 6th chakra is. The kundalina energy travels along the left (ida) and right (pingala) energetic pathways, weaving back and forth as it ascends the central pole (sushumna). This is the symbolism of the caduceus, which is the symbol of Western medicine.

To awaken the 3rd Eye, your “sight” must be turned inward. I learned how to see with my 3rd Eye quite by accident. I was attempting to put on a necklace. I kept trying to line up the two ends of the clasp behind my neck with my hands. I was sending the message to my hands to move here and move there. I absolutely had no luck. But then I pictured in my mind the two ends joining, and I connected them immediately. I was turning my sight inward to see the joining of the necklace. It works every time.

When you are able to see with the 3rd Eye, you will feel expanded perceptual abilities, increased sensitivity, increased sense of peace, and a higher consciousness.


#8: The symbolic seed to Everlasting Life.
Pine cones are a symbol of everlasting or eternal life. They are used to pollinate the Tree of Life. Pagans revere objects from Nature that represent eternal life, such as the evergreen tree and its pine cones. The seed of the pine cone gives birth to trees that in turn outlive humans by hundreds or thousands of years. In this way, a pine seed can represent the Fountain of Youth or the Fountain of Forever. The fact that the pine cone also represents spiritual enlightenment lends even more support to an everlasting life, because it is our spirituality, our energy body, our Higher selves that gives each of our souls the gift of eternal life.


#9: The male cone spreads his pollen to perpetuate life.
Since so many honors were paid to the female pine cone, the male cone needed equal acknowledgement. Without him, trees would not be. Our lives on Earth are like the male pine cone. We come, we pollinate the world with our unique gifts, and we are gone again. How are you pollinating the world?


#10: Nature teaches through metaphor.
I very rarely post someone else’s photo but this is one I saw on a Facebook post and it was so relevant to the pine cone series that I had to share it. I will close this series with this: Descartes, a French philosopher, called the pineal gland the “Seat of the Soul”. The pine cone and the pineal gland are powerful symbols of Earth energy, sexuality and fertility, spiritual illumination, and everlasting life. Will you ever look at a pine cone as simply a pine cone now?


Contents

Early history Edit

The Sinagua people were a pre-Columbian culture that occupied a large area in Arizona [6] between circa 500 and 1425 CE. [7] The Northern Sinagua were living in the pine forests of northern Arizona before moving into the area that is now Flagstaff about 700 CE. [8] The 1064 and 1066 eruptions of Sunset Crater covered the area in ash, which greatly enriched the soil for farming [6] [7] this also caused a population growth in the area, with Ancestral Puebloans and Cohonina people also moving to the Wupatki site near the city. [9] [10]

The Northern Sinagua had various cultural phases, including Sunset Crater, the Rio de Flag (leaving the Picture Canyon site), Angell and Winona, Padre Canyon, Elden Pueblo, Turkey Hill Pueblo, Clear Creek, [7] and Walnut Canyon. [11] The Sinagua peoples left the area by the early 15th century, [12] likely moving north and later becoming the Hopi. The San Francisco Peaks, which overlook Flagstaff, are a sacred site in Hopi culture. [13]

Until western expansion in the 1860s, the Yavapai, specifically the Wi:pukba (Northeastern Yavapai), occupied the land up to the San Francisco Peaks. [14] The Yavapai land in the area saw overlap with the land of the Northern Tonto Apache that stretched across the San Francisco Peaks to the Little Colorado River. [15] [16] [17] Of the Northern Tonto Apache, two tribes lived within the area of present-day Flagstaff: the Oak Creek band and the Mormon Lake band. [18] [19] [20] [21] The Mormon Lake band were centered around Flagstaff and were exclusively hunter-gatherers, traveling around places like the foot of the San Francisco Peaks, at Mount Elden, Lake Mary, Stoneman Lake, and Padre Canyon. [22]

19th century Edit

The area of Flagstaff had a wagon road to California in the 1800s, constructed by Edward Fitzgerald Beale's men. [13] The first white (non-Native) settlement in the area was established by Edward Whipple, who opened a saloon on the wagon road in 1871. [23] The first permanent settlement came in 1876, when Thomas F. McMillan built a cabin just north of the present-day main town. [24] McMillan was a key developer of northern Arizona. [24]

During the 1880s, Flagstaff began to grow, [23] and by 1886, Flagstaff was the largest city on the railroad line between Albuquerque and the west coast of the United States. [25] In 1888, McMillan purchased an unfinished building that sits at the present-day intersection of Leroux Street and Route 66/Santa Fe Avenue, turning it into a bank and hotel known as the Bank Hotel. [24] Coconino County was created in 1891, and Flagstaff was chosen as its county seat over nearby Williams. [23]

In 1894, A. E. Douglass recommended Flagstaff to Percival Lowell as the site for the Lowell Observatory, [26] where it was built on Mars Hill. [27] Flagstaff also became incorporated as a town in 1894. [13] The city grew rapidly, primarily due to its location along the east–west transcontinental railroad line in the United States. [28] : 65–67 In the 1890s, the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company was founded by the Riordan brothers to process timber. Michael and Tim Riordan worked in Flagstaff, and introduced electricity to the town for this purpose. [23] The CO Bar Ranch was opened in about 1886 by the Babbitt brothers for cattle. [29] The Babbitt family would be very influential in northern Arizona for decades. [29] [30] In 1899, the Northern Arizona Normal School was established it was renamed to Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 1966. [25]

On January 1, 1900, John Weatherford opened the Weatherford Hotel in Flagstaff. Weatherford opened the town's first movie theater in 1911 it collapsed under heavy snowfall a few years later, but he soon replaced it with the Orpheum Theater. The Weatherford Hotel and Orpheum Theater are still in use today. [23]

1912–1969 Edit

The state of Arizona was admitted to the Union in 1912. [31] Flagstaff saw its first tourism boom in the early years of the 1900s, becoming known as the City of Seven Wonders, as the "Seven Wonders" of the wider Flagstaff area – listed as the Coconino National Forest, Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, San Francisco Peaks, Sunset Crater, Walnut Canyon, and Wupatki National Monument – were more widely known. [23] [a]

In 1926, Route 66 was completed and ran through Flagstaff the Babbitts and Riordans had staunchly supported it for the town. The railroad, which became the Santa Fe Railroad, had largely controlled Flagstaff until this point. The Santa Fe Railroad opened a new depot in Flagstaff in 1926, to combat Route 66. As part of the celebrations, Front Street was renamed Santa Fe Avenue. [34] The people of Flagstaff collectively funded the Hotel Monte Vista, which opened on January 1, 1927, preparing for the next tourism boom. [34] [35] Flagstaff was then incorporated as a city in 1928, [25] with over 3,000 residents, [34] and in 1929, the city's first motel, the Motel Du Beau, was built at the intersection of Beaver Street and Phoenix Avenue. [28] : 244–245 Flagstaff became a popular tourist stop along Route 66, particularly due to its proximity to the natural wonders. [34] [36] In the last years of the 1920s, tourism took over from traditional industries. [34]

During the Great Depression, Route 66 brought unemployed workers heading to California, known as "auto nomads" in Flagstaff, who became unpopular as they could not afford to buy gas or food, financially damaging the city by taxing its resources and not contributing to the economy. [34] Flagstaff had also been highlighted on the map by Clyde Tombaugh's 1930 discovery of Pluto from the Lowell Observatory. [37] [35] However, the importance of Route 66 to cross-country travel, and thus to Arizona's interests on a national level, did mean that it received a large share of state funding through the Depression, with highway maintenance and unemployment acts providing over $1 million of funding in May 1933. In 1935, many residents had enough disposable income to remodel their homes or build new ones. [34]

In 1955, the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station was established. [37] Through the 1950s the city conducted the Urban Renewal Project, improving housing quality in the Southside neighborhood that was largely populated by people of Spanish, Basque, and Mexican heritage. [38] Flagstaff grew and prospered through the 1960s. [35] During the Apollo program in the 1960s, the Lowell Observatory Clark Telescope was used by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to map the Moon for the lunar expeditions, enabling the mission planners to choose a safe landing site for the lunar modules. [27] [35] [39]

1970s–present Edit

As the baby boomer generation began to start their own families in the 1970s and 1980s, many moved to Flagstaff based on its small-town feel, and the population began to grow again there were not enough jobs to support the many educated individuals moving to the city. [40] The city did not expand its infrastructure downtown despite the growing population, causing problems. Several historic buildings from the 1800s were also destroyed for construction of new ones, or leveled completely. [40] [41] Downtown Flagstaff became an uninviting place, [40] and many businesses started to move out of the area, causing an economic and social decline. [28] : 161–167 [40]

During the 1990s, the city redeveloped. Store owners in downtown supported the Main Street programs of preservation-based revitalization, [40] and in 1992, the city hired a new manager to improve the area: a different mix of shops and restaurants opened up to take advantage of the area's historical appeal. [28] Heritage Square was built as the center of the revitalized downtown, [41] the local Flagstaff Pulliam Airport began running more flights to Phoenix, allowing commuting, and the school district was expanded with a third high school, Sinagua High School. [40]

On October 24, 2001, Flagstaff was recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association as the world's first "International Dark-Sky City". [42] [43]

At the time of Beale's wagon road, the area was known as Antelope Spring, after the spring at the foot of Mars Hill (now called Antelope/Old Town Spring). [13] [23] [44] [45] The name Flagstaff comes from an actual flagstaff made from a stripped pine tree that was erected at the spring, which McMillan was using as his sheep camp, on July 4, 1876. [24]

The common story tells that the flag-raising for which the town was named occurred when a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") was raised to celebrate the United States Centennial. [44] [46] [47] Various other stories have been told of the circumstances. [23] One says that on July 4, 1855, a surveyor for the railroad by the name of Samuel Clark Hudson, accompanied by his team, climbed a tall pine tree and tied a flag, [25] with another saying it was Beale's men who raised the flag in 1859. [13] The town was still known as Antelope Spring in 1871. [23] [13] [44]

After the town took the name Flagstaff, it began to be known as 'Old Town' [b] for a period, and was known by different names when the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad was being built through the area in 1882. [23] [44] It may have been known as Flagstaff Spring for a while, and 'Old Town Spring' after this before simply 'Old Town', a name given after a fire destroyed much of the town, with a new community then raised a few hundred yards away called 'New Town'. [13] Another version of the Old and New Town names says that the railroad depot was moved by half a mile to prevent hill starts, and business owners soon followed it, displacing the commerce of the town to Front Street of 'New Town' while the houses were still in 'Old Town' with the spring when the fire burned down 'Old Town', 'New Town' remained. [48] The name Flagstaff was reinstated in 1884 when a post office was introduced alongside the railroad depot. [13] [23] [44]

The city has different names in local Native languages. In Navajo, it is known as Kinłání Dookʼoʼoosłííd Biyaagi. This name is formed from Kinłání, meaning "many houses" or city, Dookʼoʼoosłííd, the name for the San Francisco Peaks but literally "the summit which never melts", and Biyaagi, indicating 'below' (see translations of "below in a place beneath" on wiktionary): the city below the San Francisco Peaks. The word Kinłání alone may refer to Flagstaff, but also can refer to Durango, Colorado. [49] In Havasupai, Flagstaff is known as Wii Hagnbaj. This is also a name for the San Francisco Peaks, and literally means "snowy mountain". [50]

The geology of the area is in line with that of the Colorado Plateau on which it lies, [57] with the Moenkopi red sandstone abundant in the city also used to build many of the distinctive buildings forming its cityscape. The cityscape of Flagstaff is its historic downtown area centered on Heritage Square, with the historic nature of its restored buildings and local theme iconic to the city and representative of its culture. [58] [28] Flagstaff is one of the United States' sunniest and snowiest cities, with a variable "semi-arid" climate and a monsoon season in summer. [59]

The San Francisco Peaks are a main aspect of Flagstaff's local geography and can be seen from everywhere in the city. Humphreys Peak is the highest point in Arizona at 12,637 feet (3,852 m) from trails up this mountain, the entire State can be seen on a clear day. Several trails around the peaks provide views of the Grand Canyon. While the most popular access point is Arizona Snowbowl (southwest face), the peaks can also be approached from the north and east. [60] [61] The peaks are about 10 miles (16 km) northwest of downtown Flagstaff, with the Snowbowl resort just southwest of Humphreys Peak. [56] The wildlife of the peaks include mule deer, elk, turkey vultures, and black bears, all visible from public trails. [61]

Geology and topography Edit

Flagstaff lies on the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau, and is largely limestone under San Francisco volcanic field. The oldest rock types of the area are part of North America's original crust, Precambrian granite and schist from 1.7 to 1.8 billion years ago. On top of this is Paleozoic sandstone, limestone, shale and siltstone deposited on what was then (544 to 248 million years ago) different surfaces, including a shallow seabed, muddy land, and sandy desert. The rock layers from this period are (bottom to top): Tapeats Sandstone, Bright Angel Shale and Muav Limestone, Martin Formation, Redwall Limestone, Supai Group, Coconino Sandstone, Toroweap Formation, and Kaibab Limestone. The last three of these are still exposed. On top of the Paleozoic rock is Mesozoic Moenkopi Formation, from 248 to 65 million years ago. Other Mesozoic layers formed on top of this, but were eroded away. In the Flagstaff area, layers of rock from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras accumulated up to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) deep, but most of this was eroded. [57] A soft basalt layer covers some of the rock at the surface. [57] [62]

Moenkopi Formation red sandstone is a distinctive feature of Flagstaff, as it was used as a building material from the 1880s because of its fire retardant properties. The source used for quarrying most of this rock was a deposit 1 mile east of the town, which fell under the control of Charles Begg in 1887, who then began selling the stone across the southwest – after he made a successful sale in California that expanded the business, he was replaced in 1888 by a master quarryman. While it was used as building material across the West, some of Flagstaff's most prominent buildings are famous for the stone, including the Bank Hotel, [58] Weatherford Hotel, Babbitt Brothers Building, Coconino County Courthouse, [28] and various NAU buildings, including Old Main. [58]

In the Laramide orogeny, which began about 65–75 million years ago, the Western United States underwent stress in rock formation in the Four Corners region this pushed up the preexisting layers and ultimately formed the Colorado Plateau (and the Rocky Mountains). Around Flagstaff more specifically, this process deformed flat rock layers into folds, and allowed surface rivers to cut deep canyons in the younger rock layers. From about 25 million years ago, more faults were broken again in Flagstaff, and volcanic activity began about 6 million years ago with magma flowing up these faults to create lava flows. Eruptions occurred between 3 million and 1,000 years ago, affecting the Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks. The city's Mount Elden is a lava dome made of dacite, Sunset Crater is the youngest feature of the San Francisco volcanic field and formed in the last 1,000 years by an explosive eruption, while S P Crater was formed between 75,000 and 70,000 years ago by piles of lapilli and volcanic bombs spouting from a lava lake. [57]

In the 1960s, the geology and topography of the Flagstaff area, including formations like Meteor Crater, was seen as similar to environments that would be encountered on the Moon in terms of planetary geology. The Astrogeology Research Program was therefore moved to Flagstaff in 1962, with the program completing in 1963, to train astronauts. [63] [64]

Climate Edit

Flagstaff's climate type on the Köppen climate classification system is variously reported as a warm dry-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb), [65] [66] a Hemiboreal climate (Dsb [66] and Dfb [67] ), and a cold semi-arid climate (BSk). [68] [69] It is consistently described as "semi-arid". [66] [70] Flagstaff's Köppen type is recorded as Dsb in the city center, with areas of BSk, Csb, Csa (hot-summer Mediterranean), Cwa (humid subtropical), and Dsa (humid hot summer) on the outskirts and bordering the city it is mostly Dsb, BSk, and Csb. [71]

Northern Arizona experiences a summer monsoon season from July to September, [72] with Flagstaff's wettest months being July and August, and its driest being June, all in the summer [65] Mediterranean climates have wet season only in the winter. [73] Mediterranean climate categorization does not consider snowfall. [74] Semi-arid climates will receive 10–20 inches (250–510 mm) of annual rainfall, [75] while Flagstaff experiences more. [c]

Flagstaff's hardiness zone is mostly 6a, with some areas 5b, meaning plants withstand temperatures down to −15 °F (−26 °C). [76] It is in the Transition life zone [77] the concept of life zones was first observed in the Flagstaff area. [78] Wind in Flagstaff typically blows southwesterly throughout the year, based on topographical features. [59] The city's climate data is observed from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. [79]

The city receives precipitation every year, with two distinct wet periods in the summer and winter the summer monsoon season accounts for 34% of annual rainfall, with the winter producing 28%. The summer monsoon season, originating from the Mexican monsoon period, is also wetter than winter, with an average 7 inches (180 mm) compared to the winter's 6 inches (150 mm). Before the summer monsoon each year there is a dry period in May and June. Long-term average precipitation is 21.6 inches (550 mm) annually, with much heavier rainfall attributed to El Niño events. Comparatively, La Niña events have caused below-average rainfall. [79]

Since 1996 the city has been experiencing its driest period, known as the Early-21st Century Drought. Richard Hereford of USGS speculates that the effects of the drought, predicted to last until the late 2020s, may be severe because of Flagstaff's growing population and global warming. The summer wet season is more reliable and consistent than other times of year, but due to the high temperatures of the area this rainfall is quickly lost to evaporation. During the Early-21st Century Drought, rainfall has been consistently below average in all but the summer season, with temperature averages for all but the summer (which has remained consistent) also increasing. [79]

Equally, snowfall has been lower during the extended dry period, [79] though the city set a new record for its highest daily snowfall on February 21, 2019, with 35.9 inches (910 mm) [80] [81] and was still ranked as the United States' third-snowiest city in 2020 (based on 2018–19 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data). [82] Flagstaff has consistently been among the snowiest cities in the United States, [83] and snow and winter culture is argued by Michael Weeks to be a large part of Flagstaff's identity. [70] The Arizona Snowbowl is a major attraction, though has had to make artificial snow during warmer seasons, and the city tried to launch a bid to be the host city of the 1960 Winter Olympics. [70] The maximum daily snow cover was 83 inches (210 cm) on December 20, 1967, although the mean maximum for a full winter is only 20 inches (510 mm). However, due to the infrequent and scattered nature of the snowstorms, persistent snowpack into spring is rare. [25] One notable exception occurred during the severe winter of 1915–16, when successive Pacific storms buried the city under over 70 inches (178 cm) of snow, and some residents were snowbound in their homes for several days. [84]

Though one of the least-sunny cities in Arizona, [85] Flagstaff still ranks among the United States' sunniest cities, having sunshine for an average 78% of the year. [59] The city receives much more sunshine than other snowy cities, which are primarily in the north of the country. [86]

Seasonal weather Edit

There are four seasons in Flagstaff, with cool winter temperatures averaging 45 °F (7 °C) and warm summer temperatures averaging 80 °F (27 °C), pleasant compared to the rest of Arizona the average annual snowfall is 97 inches (250 cm). [79] Spring begins in April with pleasant weather. Sometimes, snow reappears in May, but the spring period is typically mild and dry, lasting until early June. The summer is measured between days when freezing temperatures occur, beginning in June – the last freezing temperature generally in early June – and ending in September. Flagstaff's summer will receive a few days of daytime temperatures above 90 °F (32 °C), with cooler nighttime temperatures typically in the region of 40 °F (4 °C). Flagstaff's summers are also notable for the monsoon season in July and August, when thunderstorms occur almost daily. Thunderstorm activity happens mostly during the daytime. [59]

Freezing temperatures (below 32 °F (0 °C)) return towards the end of September, with the mild fall season having daytime temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C). [59] With its many trees, leaves do change color in Flagstaff's fall, with the change starting at the end of September and happening throughout October. [87] Fall lasts only until the snow comes in November, with winter marked between periods of snowfall, typically from November until mid-April at the latest. Temperatures in winter are usually below freezing, going no higher than around 40 °F (4 °C) in the day, even in sunshine. A combination of snow cover and high pressure occurring during winter months will cause the temperature to drop further, once reaching a record low of −30 °F (−34 °C). Flagstaff's winter wet season is caused by Pacific storms and lasts from November through April. [59]

Climate data for Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Arizona (1981–2010 normals, [d] extremes 1898–present) [e]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 66
(19)
71
(22)
73
(23)
80
(27)
89
(32)
96
(36)
97
(36)
93
(34)
91
(33)
85
(29)
74
(23)
68
(20)
97
(36)
Mean maximum °F (°C) 57.6
(14.2)
59.4
(15.2)
65.2
(18.4)
72.7
(22.6)
80.6
(27.0)
88.3
(31.3)
91.0
(32.8)
87.8
(31.0)
82.8
(28.2)
74.9
(23.8)
66.0
(18.9)
58.6
(14.8)
91.3
(32.9)
Average high °F (°C) 42.5
(5.8)
44.8
(7.1)
50.4
(10.2)
58.2
(14.6)
68.1
(20.1)
77.9
(25.5)
81.2
(27.3)
78.4
(25.8)
72.9
(22.7)
62.0
(16.7)
50.5
(10.3)
42.5
(5.8)
60.9
(16.1)
Average low °F (°C) 17.3
(−8.2)
19.3
(−7.1)
23.6
(−4.7)
28.5
(−1.9)
35.0
(1.7)
41.9
(5.5)
50.9
(10.5)
50.1
(10.1)
42.0
(5.6)
31.5
(−0.3)
22.9
(−5.1)
16.8
(−8.4)
31.7
(−0.2)
Mean minimum °F (°C) −2.2
(−19.0)
0.6
(−17.4)
6.6
(−14.1)
17.3
(−8.2)
24.3
(−4.3)
30.4
(−0.9)
41.2
(5.1)
41.6
(5.3)
30.9
(−0.6)
19.8
(−6.8)
7.0
(−13.9)
−2.2
(−19.0)
−7.6
(−22.0)
Record low °F (°C) −30
(−34)
−23
(−31)
−16
(−27)
−2
(−19)
7
(−14)
22
(−6)
32
(0)
24
(−4)
20
(−7)
−2
(−19)
−13
(−25)
−23
(−31)
−30
(−34)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.05
(52)
2.16
(55)
2.12
(54)
1.15
(29)
0.63
(16)
0.36
(9.1)
2.61
(66)
3.11
(79)
2.38
(60)
1.66
(42)
1.76
(45)
1.87
(47)
21.86
(555)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 23.2
(59)
20.9
(53)
20.7
(53)
7.1
(18)
0.7
(1.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
trace 1.5
(3.8)
10.7
(27)
16.9
(43)
101.7
(258)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.6 8.1 8.2 5.8 4.5 2.7 11.6 14.0 7.9 5.5 4.9 7.0 87.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 7.5 6.9 6.6 3.0 0.8 0 0 0 0 0.6 3.0 6.5 34.9
Average relative humidity (%) 61.9 59.5 54.9 46.5 39.4 33.6 51.1 58.1 54.7 52.6 56.9 60.6 52.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 231.7 228.6 286.3 321.0 369.5 371.8 324.2 311.9 298.5 282.8 229.3 219.8 3,475.4
Percent possible sunshine 74 75 77 82 85 86 73 75 80 81 74 72 78
Source: NOAA (relative humidity 1961–1990, sun 1973–1990) [88] [89] [90]

Flora and fauna Edit

Flagstaff is an area "of great ecological variation" due to its diverse habitat life zones. [91] Tree species abound the area, which covers three arboreal life zones: Douglas fir and aspen forest, Ponderosa pine forest, and Pinyon-juniper woodland. [91] It is at the heart of the Coconino National Forest. Within the Transition zone of the forest, including in the city, there are huge stands of ponderosa pine. Other species scattered among this region include Gambel oak, quaking aspen, and Rocky Mountain juniper trees. [92]

The Coconino National Forest and Flagstaff are within the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America. [54] Here, this tree type is formed as a climax forest, with groups of trees containing different ages spread among the forest. Some of the groups are only a few trees, some are acres large other groups are even-aged. The irregularity of the tree groups leaves natural openings in the forest, allowing for other plants to thrive. A grass cover of Arizona fescue grows around the area and shrub exists, but there are few other tree species. As well as the Gambel oak, quaking aspen, and juniper trees, pinyons can be found among the pines. Some of the open forest space contains bunchgrass, and local animal species that roam on this include elk, mule deer, Merriam's Turkey, and Abert's squirrel. [93]

The arboretum in Flagstaff has an extensive regional collection of the Penstemon genus and hosts an annual Penstemon Festival. [94]

Coconino is also home to a variety of bird species, which is further diversified by species from desert climates south of the Mogollon Rim still mixing in the area. The nearby lakes also attract wildlife. Birds that live around or visit Flagstaff include the thick-billed kingbird, only documented in the area since 2016, the red-faced warbler, a Madrean species, and waterfowl including the Eurasian wigeon and American wigeon. [95]

Cityscape Edit

Flagstaff has a diverse cityscape, and exists in distinct areas. Downtown Flagstaff is a "narrow and slender" area between the NAU campus at its south and the Museum of Northern Arizona at the north. [96] Flagstaff is a smaller city, so its downtown is largely local and independent. [97] The city's mall is found in East Flagstaff, as is a Harkins movie theater and a country club and golf course. Residential properties in East Flagstaff are larger and more rural than other parts of the city. North West Flagstaff is directly north of downtown, and is where the Snowbowl and Museum of Northern Arizona are found. West Flagstaff encompasses the area south and west of downtown, including NAU and the Lake Mary neighborhood. It also covers the airport and Fort Tuthill (county park and the Pepsi Amphitheater), being bordered to the south by the urban areas of Kachina Village and Mountainaire. Outside of the city proper, these urban areas have a "mountain-town feel". [98] Flagstaff has an "urban forest park", Buffalo Park, [99] which sits on top of McMillan Mesa and used to be home to a zoo in the 1960s. [100] [101] Buffalo Park/McMillan Mesa bisects the city, separating East Flagstaff from the West and Downtown. [56]

Flagstaff is home to seven National Register of Historic Places historic districts: Southside, [102] Townsite, [103] Fort Tuthill, [104] North End, [105] Northern Arizona Normal School, [106] the Railroad Addition, [107] and USFS Fort Valley Experimental Forest Station, [108] as well as a variety of many other structures and areas. The Lowell Observatory is a National Historic Landmark. [27]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890964
19001,271 31.8%
19101,633 28.5%
19203,186 95.1%
19303,891 22.1%
19405,080 30.6%
19507,663 50.8%
196018,214 137.7%
197026,117 43.4%
198034,743 33.0%
199045,857 32.0%
200052,894 15.3%
201065,870 24.5%
2019 (est.)75,038 [4] 13.9%
U.S. Decennial Census [109]

According to the 2010 census, the population of the city was 65,870. [110] This accounted for a population density of 831.9 people per square mile (321.2/km²), with 26,254 housing units at an average density of 336.5 per square mile (129.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.4% White, 1.9% Black or African American, 11.7% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 7.3% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races 18.4% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race. The city's African American population is considerably lower than the U.S. average (1.9% versus 12.6%), while the Native American population is markedly higher (11.7% vs. 0.9%). This is primarily attributable to the city's proximity to several Native American reservations. Flagstaff's Native American community is chiefly Navajo, and there are about 5,500 people of Navajo ancestry living in the city. [111]

A 1970 study found that while the Native American population of Flagstaff was generally under-counted in censuses, the Native residents found that Flagstaff as a border city with reservations was much more welcoming than similar towns, particularly noting Gallup, New Mexico as one that was worse. The study also documented that while there was a distinctly Native neighborhood in the poorer Southside area of Flagstaff, the housing quality varied greatly, with middle class Native residencies elsewhere in the city. [112]

Though Flagstaff has a low African American population, it had seen large immigration of black people from the Southern United States in the middle of the 20th century during the Great Migration. Though most moved to California, there was a significant number that settled in Flagstaff after hearing that the lumber industry of northern Arizona was some of the best paid work going, and a familiar vocation for those from southern states. [113]

Flagstaff has a well-educated population: as of 2018, over 90% of the population has a high school diploma or higher, and over 45% of the population has a bachelor's degree or higher 100% of the Pacific Islander population in Flagstaff has a higher degree for a total of 30, with the lowest rate per race being 16.21% of the Native American population (at 554). The average earnings for people in Flagstaff is $36,536 p.a., rising to $55,258 for people with a graduate degree, with the low at $22,079 for people without a high school diploma. [114]

Crime Edit

Flagstaff has two police departments: Flagstaff PD and NAU PD. [115] [116] NAU PD employs 30 officers and 25 students, and is responsible for law enforcement on the campus. Flagstaff PD will share information of concern about the neighborhoods surrounding the NAU campus to the NAU PD, and NAU PD may also respond to situations off-campus that involve students NAU PD also investigates the missing person reports of students who are registered as resident on campus. From campus phones, all 911 calls will go to NAU PD. [117]

The rate of crime in Flagstaff is above average, while its violent crime is below average, for the United States. For 2017, the FBI's Uniform Crime Report indicated for Flagstaff a rate of 290 cases of violent crime per 100,000 people and 2,710 cases of property crime per 100,000 population [118] the violent crime rate across the US was 382.9 per 100,000. [119] In 2018, Flagstaff had a rate of 469.44 cases of all crimes per 100,000 people, up 10.69% on the total in 2017 this was below the average for Arizona, but above the average for the US. Until 2017, Flagstaff's crime rate was typically in line with the US average. [120]

The safest neighborhood in Flagstaff is Elden Pueblo, with several downtown areas, NAU and the surrounding neighborhoods, Fort Valley, and Cosnino all in the top ten. [121] In 2017, Flagstaff PD responded to four hostage situations, including in Tuba City, and fifteen explosive device removal calls. There were 3,262 criminal investigations. [122] The Flagstaff narcotics task force headed up 'Operation Nightfall' between 2015 and 2017, aiming to prevent the use of I-40 through the city being used by Mexican drug cartels for trafficking, successfully seizing over 138 kg of cocaine. Within Flagstaff, there were over 100 arrests relating to other narcotics crimes. [122]

NAU operates as a weapon-free and drug-free campus (even medical marijuana), with restrictions on alcohol possession for resident students over 21 within certain private areas of certain residence halls. [117] In 2016, it became a tobacco-free campus. [123] Additionally, alcohol may not be consumed in public on the campus. The overwhelming majority of NAU PD recorded crimes are related to drugs and alcohol, with hundreds of arrests each year and over 1500 disciplinary referrals in 2018. The second-most recorded area of crime on the campus is gender based violence (rape, domestic abuse), with a few dozen cases. There are over 160 blue light phones on the campus each has a large button that connects directly to NAU PD and provides the location of the call to them. [117]

The police in Flagstaff also deal with skunk-related problems, including suspected burglaries that turn out to be skunks. [124] The skunks can be an issue in the city, as they start rabies epidemics among animals every few years. [125]

In its early days, the city's economic base comprised the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, that has largely been replaced by tourism, education, government, and transportation. Some of the larger employers in Flagstaff are Northern Arizona University, the Flagstaff Medical Center, and the Flagstaff Unified School District. Tourism is a large contributor to the economy, as the city receives over 5 million visitors per year. [25]

Scientific and high tech research and development operations are in the city, including Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University, the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station (NOFS) and the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Flagstaff campus. Research is involved in observations of near-Earth phenomena such as asteroids and comets. [126] In 2012 the observatory commissioned its Lowell Discovery Telescope, a 4.3-meter telescope with an instrument cube that can hold five instruments at once. [127] Lowell Observatory and NOFS also are collaborators on the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer, on nearby Anderson Mesa. NOFS is heavily involved with the science of star catalogs and astrometry, or the positions and distances of stars and celestial objects. [126]

There are five industrial parks in the city, situated near I-40 and I-17. Major manufacturers in Flagstaff include W. L. Gore & Associates, widely known as the maker of Gore-Tex Nestlé Purina PetCare, manufacturer of pet food SenesTech, a biotechnology research lab and manufacturer SCA Tissue, a major tissue paper producer and Joy Cone, manufacturer of ice cream cones. [128] [129] Walgreens operated a distribution center in the city until 2014. [25] [130] [131]

Tourism Edit

Flagstaff has a thriving tourism industry, and has since the early 1900s, primarily stemming from its proximity to the Grand Canyon National Park and other natural wonders, giving it the nickname 'City of Seven Wonders'. [23] Other natural wonders and native ruins, Route 66, and its astronomical history also bring tourism from out of state, while people from further south in Arizona visit Flagstaff because of its cooler climate in the summer and its ski resort in the winter. [33] The city has several hotels and restaurants, including its historic hotels. The first hotel of the Ramada Inn chain opened in 1954 at the intersection of Routes 66, 89, and 89A, adjacent to what was then Arizona State College (now NAU). The original building is still intact, operating as a Super 8 motel. [132] Flagstaff is said to attract a lot of the tourism for the entire county as it is the only large population center that can cater to tourists, as well as being the location of information points for the National Park Service (NPS). In 1996, 39% of Coconino County residents were employed in tourism. There are large service sectors, particularly hotels and restaurants, in Flagstaff, with many of these companies having a close connection to NAU's School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, to employ these students. [33]

Tourism to Flagstaff is a well-established industry, but still relies on environmental forces. Nature and weather conditions can damage tourism having a mild but warm summer temperature attracts tourists from many locales, but storms and forest fires in its climate can be a detraction. Flagstaff also experiences very cold winters, and despite a successful ski resort still sees less tourism in this period decreasing snow levels also threaten the winter industry. The pristine condition of the natural sites can also experience degradation due to overuse through tourism, losing its main selling point. The development of Tusayan into the Grand Canyon gateway town also affected Flagstaff's capture of some overnight tourists. [33]

The Grand Canyon, a Wonder of the World, is about 80 miles (130 km) northwest of Flagstaff. [33] The first stagecoach tours to the Grand Canyon from the city began running from the Bank Hotel in 1892. [24] In 2000, about 5 million people visiting the Grand Canyon also visited Flagstaff. As Rick Heffernon wrote, "the world recognizes only one Grand Canyon, and northern Arizona has it". [33] However, he also suggested this can act to the area's detriment, as the Grand Canyon is a world-class marvel and competes with other attractions of the same prestige for visitors, which are all equally impressive Flagstaff itself also competes with its nearby towns for access to the Grand Canyon, several of which have growing themes based on it (like Tusayan and the Grand Canyon Village). [33]

Lowell Observatory celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2019 and continues to be a leading astronomical research center, as well as a popular destination for visitors. More than 100,000 people visited in both 2018 and 2019 in 2019 the observatory opened its new Giovale Open Deck Observatory, an observation plaza with a suite of six advanced telescopes. [133] [134]

Arizona Snowbowl does not publish their revenue or make it public knowledge, which makes it hard to calculate its impact on the Flagstaff economy. [135] The Snowbowl supports approximately 200 full-time jobs and $12.08 million in economic output for the city of Flagstaff. [136]

Heffernon suggested that the perception of tourism from the residents of Flagstaff could affect the industry, [33] something researched in 1990 by NAU's Tim Schroeder. Schroeder saw six main areas of concern from Flagstaff residents: "Standard of Living for Residents Future Use of Parks Quality of Fire Protection Occurrences of Crime Changes in Community Values, Norms and Customs and Population Density". [137] He acknowledged that the focus on fire protection was anomalous, and likely caused by a particularly high concern surrounding recent wildfires at the time the survey had been conducted. The respondents to Schroeder's survey generally found that their "Opportunity for Jobs, Opportunity for Shopping, Quality of Fire Protection, Understanding Different People, Quality of Health Care, Availability of Cultural Arts, and Overall Quality of Life" had improved because of tourism to the area, but that standards in terms of "Traffic and Road Conditions, General Prices for Goods and Services, Future Use of Forests, Noise, Litter, Air Quality, and Occurrences of Crime" had worsened. [137]

Local culture Edit

Flagstaff has its own New Year's Eve tradition in the city, people gather around the Weatherford Hotel as a 70-pound (32 kg), 6-foot (1.8 m) tall, metallic pine cone is dropped from the roof at midnight. The tradition originated in 1999, when Henry Taylor and Sam Green (owners of the hotel), decorated a garbage can with paint, lights, and pine cones, and dropped it from the roof of their building to mark the new millennium. By 2003 the event had become tradition, and the current metallic pine cone was designed and built by Frank Mayorga of Mayorga Welding in the city. [138]

Local museums include the Museum of Northern Arizona, which features displays of the biology, archeology, photography, anthropology, and native art of the Colorado Plateau, and the Arboretum at Flagstaff, a 200-acre (81 ha) arboretum containing 2,500 species of drought-tolerant native plants representative of the high desert region. [139] [140]

A lot of the local culture is also focused on Route 66, which originally ran between Chicago and Los Angeles, greatly increased the accessibility to the area, and enhanced the culture and tourism in Flagstaff. [141] Route 66 remains a historic route, passing through the city between Barstow, California, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. In early September, the city hosts an annual event, Route 66 Days, to highlight its connection to the famous highway. [142]

Dark Sky City Edit

Flagstaff takes one of its nicknames from its legislative designation as the world's first International Dark Sky City, a deliberate dark sky preserve area with measures to reduce light pollution. This was one of the world's first coordinated legislative efforts to do so. In the city there has been over fifty years of planning and development, [143] with the support of the ecologically-aware population and community advocates, frequent government support, and the assistance of major observatories in the area – including the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station and Lowell Observatory. [144] [145] [146] [147]

The city's designation as an International Dark Sky City was on October 24, 2001, by the International Dark-Sky Association, after a proposal by the city's own Dark Sky Coalition to start the preserve program. It is seen as a world precedent in dark sky preservation. [148] Before this, it had been nicknamed the "Skylight City" in the 1890s, the same decade that the Lowell Observatory opened. [149] In 1958, it passed Ordinance 400, [143] which outlawed using large or powerful searchlights within city limits. In the 1980s a series of measures were introduced for the city and Coconino County, and the Dark Sky Coalition was founded in 1999 by Chris Luginbuhl and Lance Diskan. Luginbuhl is a former U.S. Naval astronomer, [150] and Diskan had originally moved to Flagstaff from Los Angeles so that his children could grow up able to see stars, saying that "part of being human is looking up at the stars and being awestruck." [149] It was reported in an award-winning article [58] that even though greater restrictions on types of public lighting were introduced in 1989, [151] requiring them all to be low-emission, some public buildings like gas stations hadn't updated by 2002, after the Dark Sky designation. [152]

Flagstaff and the surrounding area is split into four zones, each permitted different levels of light emissions. The highest restrictions are in south and west Flagstaff (near NAU and its observatory), and at the Naval, Braeside, and Lowell Observatories. [58] Photographs detecting emissions taken in 2017 show that Flagstaff's light is 14 times less than another Western city of comparable size, Cheyenne, Wyoming, which Luginbuhl described as "even better than [they] might have expected". [91]

Arts Edit

Flagstaff has an active cultural scene. The city is home to the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, which plays concerts from September through April at Ardrey Auditorium on the NAU campus. [153] The city also attracts folk and contemporary acoustic musicians, and offers several annual music festivals during the summer months, such as the Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music Festival, the Flagstaff Music Festival, and Pickin' in the Pines, a three-day bluegrass and acoustic music festival held at the Pine Mountain Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill Fairgrounds. [154] [155] [156] Popular bands play throughout the year at the Orpheum Theater, and free concerts are held during the summer months at Heritage Square. [157]

Beyond music, Flagstaff has a popular theater scene, featuring several groups. Northern Arizona University's Department of Theatre produces productions for the community as well as the campus. [ citation needed ] The department has won awards, including multiple invitations to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. [ citation needed ] NAU Theatre performs in two facilities: the Clifford E. White Theatre (named for long-time professor Clifford E. White) and the Studio Theatre. Both facilities are housed in the Fine and Performing Arts Building on campus. [ citation needed ] A local community theater company called Theatrikos was founded in 1972 in the basement of the Weatherford Hotel, and today puts on six major productions per year. In 2002, the company moved into a new venue now known as the Doris-Harper White Community Playhouse, a downtown building which was built in 1923 as an Elks Lodge and later became the Flagstaff library. [158] Since 1995, the Flagstaff Light Opera Company has performed a variety of musical theater and light opera productions throughout the year at the Sinagua Middle School auditorium. [159] There are several dance companies in Flagstaff, including Coconino Community College Dance Program, Northern Arizona Preparatory Company and Canyon Movement, which present periodic concerts and collaborate with the Flagstaff Symphony for free concerts during the summer and holiday seasons. [160] [ verification needed ]

A variety of weekend festivals occur throughout the year. The annual Northern Arizona Book Festival, held in the spring, brings together authors to read and display their works. [161] The Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival is held every October, and features a variety of independent films and documentaries focusing on extreme sports, environmental issues, and global topics. The festival is four days long and consists of several sessions of films. The screenings are held at the Orpheum Theater in the historic downtown area. [162] The summer months feature several festivals, including Hopi and Navajo Festivals of Arts and Crafts, [ citation needed ] the Arizona Highland Celtic Festival, [ citation needed ] Pride in the Pines, [163] and the Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival. [164] For more than 20 years Flagstaff has hosted the 10-day Flagstaff Festival of Science in September. It is a family event which features open houses, lectures, informal talks, and hands-on activities at area museums, observatories, other scientific facilities, and the university. In-school programs also are an important part of the festival. The festival begins with the annual Eugene Shoemaker keynote address. Guest speakers have included famous astronauts, arctic explorers, storm chasers, and scientists from many disciplines. [ citation needed ] The Coconino County Fair is held every September at the Fort Tuthill County Fairgrounds, featuring a demolition derby, livestock auction, carnival rides, and other activities. [165]

Sports Edit

Flagstaff has no professional sports of its own, but is home to the college sports teams of Northern Arizona University. It is a popular training destination for a variety of sports, largely due to its altitude and climate.

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Edit

Northern Arizona University sponsors 15 sports at the NCAA Division I level, including a football team that competes at the Division I Football Championship Subdivision level. [166] The NAU football team has a rivalry with the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, known as the Grand Canyon Rivalry, based on the universities residing on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon. [167] All sports are members of the Big Sky Conference with the exception of the Women's Swimming & Diving team, which competes in the Western Athletic Conference. [166] [168] The Men's Cross Country team has featured four straight top ten finishes at the NCAA Division I Cross Country championships. [169] The track and field team has been home to several All-Americans, including NCAA Champion and Olympian Lopez Lomong (and brother Peter Lomong), [170] two-time NCAA Champion David McNeill, [171] and 2012 Olympian Diego Estrada. [172]

Arizona Cardinals Edit

There are no major-league professional sports teams based in Flagstaff. However, from 1988 to 2012 (with the exception of the 2005 season), the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League held their summer training camp at Northern Arizona University. [173] The 2005 training camp relocated to Prescott because of a norovirus outbreak at the university that emerged from a summer wrestling training camp and infected over 100 people. [174] [175] The NAU training camp was named as one of the top five training camps in the NFL by Sports Illustrated, citing the cooler temperature, scenic area, and the possibility for fans to get close to athletes as key points. [176] [177] Players have said that the altitude of Flagstaff was the key benefit, as well as seeing the dedication of fans traveling to the city, but that they did not enjoy living in the NAU dorm rooms. [178]

The Cardinals left Flagstaff in summer 2013, [179] placing NAU at fault after the team was put in the visitors' facilities, though NAU had offered the home facilities when the concern was raised, [174] and moved their training camp to the University of Phoenix's State Farm Stadium in Glendale. At Glendale, they train in a domed stadium rather than outside, [f] which player Bertrand Berry said took away some of the feeling of training camp, saying "there really isn't that need to practice outside when most of the games are inside, but when you talk about building a team and going through adverse situations and bonding together, I think they miss out on a little bit of that". [178] The Cardinals had trained at NAU since the franchise moved to Arizona, with Fox Sports reporting that "some argued they pulled the plug on the team's only Arizona tradition". [174] Bill Bidwill, owner of the Cardinals, was inducted into the Flagstaff Sports Foundation's Hall of Fame in 2009, after bringing the team and resultant tourism boost to the city for over 20 years. [173]

Altitude training destination Edit

Flagstaff is also a popular destination for altitude training. The first elite athletes to start altitude training in the city were those going to the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. [180] A 2009 analysis showed that groups of 35 athletes spent three to eight weeks training in Flagstaff, to positive effect. This was one of the highest number of athletes and longest periods among seventeen sites used in the research. [181] Australian rules football team Collingwood Magpies regularly train at NAU facilities, [182] as does the Olympic-medal-winning Team GB British Swimming team. [183] Another British Olympian, Mo Farah, trains in Flagstaff. [184]

Long-distance runner Andrea Seccafien used to altitude train in Flagstaff but moved to Australia in 2018, [185] [186] saying "We don't go to Flagstaff or St. Moritz anymore which are more populated by runners and the general public. [. ] Flagstaff feels quite metropolitan compared to where we are now" the Canadian Running Magazine noted that the city becomes host to many professional runners in the spring. [186] The popularity among runners is because of the altitude and pleasant climate, making it "for distance runners [. ] a practically unparalleled paradise", known as the "running mecca". [187] Runner Nick Hilton said that "Flagstaff and Boulder, Colorado, are probably the two biggest centers for elite distance runners in the country". [187]

The HYPO2 altitude training center in the city is used by swimmers and runners alike, and is an elite facility that attracts many teams from around the world. [183] [187] [188] HYPO2 was created in 2012, largely with staff from NAU's Center for High Altitude Training, which closed in 2009. As of 2019, over 85 Olympic medalists from 44 countries trained at the facility. [187] In 2016, the city advertised NAU and the HYPO2 with promotions saying "The Road to Rio Runs Through Flagstaff", prominently noting that if Flagstaff (with its training athletes) was a country, it would be in the top 10 of Olympic-medal winning nations since 1996. [180]

Flagstaff has acquired a reputation as a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, and the region's varied terrain, high elevation, and amenable weather attract campers, backpackers, climbers, recreation and elite runners, and mountain bikers from throughout the southwestern United States. There are 679.2 acres (274.9 ha) of city parks in Flagstaff, the largest of which are Thorpe Park and Buffalo Park. Wheeler Park, next to city hall, is the location of summer concerts and other events. [189] The city maintains an extensive network of trails, the Flagstaff Urban Trails System, or "FUTS" includes more than 50 miles of paved and unpaved trails for hiking, running, and cycling. The trail network extends throughout the city and is widely used for both recreation and transportation. [190] There are over 56 miles (90 km) of urban trails in Flagstaff. [187]

The area is a recreational hub for road cycling and mountain biking clubs, organized triathlon events, and annual cross country ski races. Several major river running operators are headquartered in Flagstaff, and the city serves as a base for Grand Canyon and Colorado River expeditions. [191]

Flagstaff's proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, about 75 miles (121 km) north of the city, has made it a popular tourist destination since the mid-19th century. Other nearby outdoor attractions include Walnut Canyon National Monument, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, and Barringer Crater. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell are both about 135 mi (217 km) north along U.S. Route 89. [192]

The city government is organized under a council-manager form of government. [193] The mayor of Flagstaff is Paul Deasy, who was elected in November 2020, and the town council consists of the mayor and six councilmembers: Becky Daggett (vice mayor), Adam Shimoni, Regina Salas, Miranda Sweet, Jim McCarthy and Austin Aslan. [194] On July 2, 2019, the city council named Greg Clifton as city manager among 50 candidates. [195] Regular meetings of the city council are held on the first and third Tuesday of every month. [196]

At the state level, Flagstaff is in the 6th legislative district. In the Arizona State Senate, the 6th is represented by Wendy Rogers (R) of Flagstaff. In the House of Representatives, the 6th is represented by Brenda Barton (R) of Payson and Walter Blackman (R) of Snowflake.

At the federal level, Flagstaff is within Arizona's 1st congressional district, which is the tenth largest congressional district, covering nearly 60,000 sq. miles. The district is represented by Tom O'Halleran (D) of Sedona.

The City of Flagstaff raised its minimum wage above the State minimum wage in 2017. This wage increase was the result of a ballot measure – Proposition 414 – on the November 8, 2016, ballot. [197] The City Council of Flagstaff then passed Title 15 of the City Ordinance, which provided for implementation of the new law. [198] The new minimum wage in Flagstaff on July 1, 2017, was $10.50, fifty cents more than the Arizona state minimum wage. [199] On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage rose to $15.00.

There are 19 public schools, with 11,500 students and 800 faculty and staff, in the Flagstaff Unified School District. In 1997, Mount Elden Middle School was named an A+ School, citing an outstanding school climate, progressive use of technology and zero-tolerance approach to discipline. The 1999 National Science Teacher of the Year, David Thompson, teaches physics at Coconino High School. [201] Three Arizona Teachers of the Year from 2001 through 2003 teach at Flagstaff High School. [202] In 2012, Flagstaff was named America’s first STEM Community. [203]

In addition to the numerous public schools, there are several charter schools operating in the Flagstaff area including Flagstaff Junior Academy, Northland Preparatory Academy (ranked No. 52 in US News ' s America's Top 100 Best High Schools), the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy, Pine Forest Charter School, BASIS Flagstaff (ranked No. 2 in The Washington Post's America's Most Challenging High schools) and the Montessori Schools of Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is home to three institutions of higher education, Northern Arizona University (one of the three public state universities in Arizona) Coconino Community College and Flagstaff College (a very small upper-division college with only one major--sustainability and social justice).

Transportation Edit

Road Edit

The city is connected to Phoenix by Interstate 17 (I-17), and to Los Angeles, Las Vegas (via Route 93), and Albuquerque by Interstate 40 (I-40). Page can be reached via Route 89 from the city, as can Salt Lake City and, ultimately, Canada. The main road through Flagstaff is Route 66/Santa Fe Avenue, which runs parallel to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway line east–west through the city. Downtown Flagstaff and the surrounding neighborhoods are separated from East Flagstaff by Buffalo Park, with the city connected by Route 66 and I-40. Route 66 is connected to the interstates in downtown by Milton Road, running roughly south alongside the NAU campus Milton Road then merges into I-17. Flagstaff is connected to Sedona and Prescott by State Route 89A, which Beulah Boulevard merges into, and to the Grand Canyon by Route 180, which Fort Valley Road merges into just northwest of the city. It is the northern terminus of I-17 and Route 89A, and the southern terminus of Route 89. [56]

Several towns are close to Flagstaff along I-40 and I-17. Approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) south are the small urban areas of Kachina Village (west of I-17) and Mountainaire (east of I-17 2 miles (3.2 km)). [g] About 35 miles (56 km) to the west is Williams, 20 miles (32 km) to the south is Munds Park, and 30 miles (48 km) to the south on Route 89A is Sedona. 15 miles (24 km) to the east of Flagstaff is the town of Winona. [56]

From the city, Amtrak provides connecting Thruway Motorcoach service via Open Road Tours, which has an office inside the rail depot. [204] Local bus service is provided throughout the city by the Mountain Line. Interstate bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines and Flixbus. Groome Transportation provides in-state shuttle service. [205] Bus service to the Hopi Reservation is provided by Hopi Senom Transit, and to Tuba City and the Navajo Nation by Navajo Transit. [206] [207] Flagstaff is served by Navajo Transit Route 11 from Birdsprings to Tuba City. [208]

Rail Edit

The major rail corridor running through Flagstaff is the Southern Transcon, originally built by the Santa Fe Railroad and now owned and operated by the BNSF Railway. Passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak at the downtown Flagstaff station, connecting on east–west routes to Los Angeles and Albuquerque via the Southwest Chief line. [209]

Air Edit

Air travel is available through Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (IATA: FLG, ICAO: KFLG, FAA LID: FLG), just south of the city. The airport is primarily a small, general aviation airport with a single 6,999-foot (2,133 m) runway. The airport finished a major expansion project to add 1,800 feet (550 m) to the north end of the runway and lengthen the taxiway in 2007. The primary purpose of the project was to increase its viability for commercial and regional jets. [210] Service to connecting flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is provided by American Airlines operated by Mesa Airlines. [210] As of January 2020 the airport offers year-round direct flights to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and Denver International Airport, on American Airlines and United Airlines. [211]

Cycle Edit

Flagstaff is fairly bike-friendly there are bike lanes on many major streets, [212] and the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS) includes more than 50 miles of off-street trails that wind throughout the community. [213] In 2006 Flagstaff was designated a Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. [214] About nine percent of trips in Flagstaff are made by bicycle. [212]

Utilities Edit

Electricity generation in Flagstaff is provided by Arizona Public Service, an electric utility subsidiary operated by parent company Pinnacle West. The primary generating station near Flagstaff is the coal-fired, 995-MW Cholla Power Plant, near Holbrook, which uses coal from the McKinley Mine in New Mexico. Near Page is the coal-fired, 750-MW Navajo Power Plant, supplied by an electric railroad that delivers coal from a mine on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in northern Arizona. [215] Flagstaff is also home to Arizona's first commercial solar power generating station, which was built in 1997 and provides 87 kW of electricity. Combined with 16 other solar power locations in Arizona, the system provides over 5 MW of electricity statewide. [216]

Drinking water in Flagstaff is produced from conventional surface water treatment at the Lake Mary Water Treatment Plant, on Upper Lake Mary, as well as from springs at the inner basin of the San Francisco Peaks. Groundwater from several water wells throughout the city and surrounding area provide additional sources of drinking water. [217] Water and wastewater services are provided by the City of Flagstaff.

Natural gas is provided by UniSource Energy Services. CenturyLink QC is the incumbent local exchange carrier. [218] Cable television service is offered by Suddenlink Communications. [219]

Health care Edit

The first hospital in the city was opened in 1936, by Charles Sechrist. [35] The city's primary hospital is the 267-bed Flagstaff Medical Center, on the north side of downtown Flagstaff. The hospital was founded in 1936, and serves as the major regional trauma center for northern Arizona.

The major daily newspaper in Flagstaff is the Arizona Daily Sun. Northern Arizona University's weekly newspaper The Lumberjack also covers Flagstaff news, while the other publications that serve the city include weeklies Flagstaff Live and the Navajo Hopi Observer, and monthlies Mountain Living Magazine and The Noise. [ citation needed ] NAU runs several radio stations including KNAU and KPUB and their translator stations, which provide NPR and PRI news coverage, as well as classical music. [220]

Flagstaff is included in the Phoenix Designated market area (DMA), the 13th largest in the U.S. [221] Over-the-air television service is provided mostly by low-powered repeaters of the Phoenix stations. [222] There is one local broadcast television station serving the city, KFPH-13 (TeleFutura). [223] In reality television, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition built a home just outside Flagstaff for slain soldier Lori Piestewa's two children and parents in 2005. [224] In December 2007, talk show hostess Ellen DeGeneres selected Flagstaff as the winner of her show's "Wish You Were Here" contest. [225]

Film production Edit

In the early 20th century, the city was considered as a site for the film The Squaw Man by Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille, but was abandoned in favor of Hollywood. [226] During the 1940s and 1950s, over 100 Westerns were filmed in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. The Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff hosted many film stars during this era, including Jane Russell, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, John Wayne, and Bing Crosby. A scene from the movie Casablanca was filmed in one of the rooms of the hotel. [227]

Several films then used Flagstaff's Route 66 in scenes: the 1969 film Easy Rider were filmed on Milton Road and Route 66 as well as near Sunset Crater a moment in the film National Lampoon's Vacation was filmed at a truck stop gas station near Little America Hotel in 1983 a small scene in Midnight Run was filmed in Flagstaff at the train depot, and the city was referenced in the film several of the running scenes in Forrest Gump were filmed in and around the area, including a memorable scene in which Forrest is seen jogging in downtown Flagstaff and gives inspiration to a bumper sticker designer parts of 2007 Academy Award winner Little Miss Sunshine were filmed at the junction of I-40 and I-17 in Flagstaff and Terminal Velocity was partially filmed in the city. [228] Grizzly Peak Films also filmed Sasquatch Mountain, a feature-length film for the Science Fiction Channel about a Yeti, in Flagstaff and Williams. [224]

Notable people born in or associated with Flagstaff include the politician Bruce Babbitt, [229] actor Ted Danson, [230] and writer Diana Gabaldon. [231]


Contents

In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church, and the Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian, and Methodist calendars, Advent commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (always falling between 27 November and 3 December), and ends on Christmas Eve on 24 December. [10] [11] [12]

In the Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite of the Catholic Church, Advent begins on the sixth Sunday before Christmas, the Sunday after St. Martin's Day ( 11 November ). [13]

It is not known when the period of preparation for Christmas that is now called Advent began – it was certainly in existence from about 480 – and the novelty introduced by the Council of Tours of 567 was to order monks to fast every day in the month of December until Christmas. [14] It is "impossible to claim with confidence a credible explanation of the origin of Advent". [15]

Associated with Advent as a time of penitence was a period of fasting, known also as the Nativity Fast or the Fast of December. [16]

According to Saint Gregory of Tours the celebration of Advent began in the fifth century when the Bishop Perpetuus directed that starting with the St. Martin's Day on 11 November until Christmas, one fasts three times per week this is why Advent was sometimes also named "Lent of St. Martin". This practice remained limited to the diocese of Tours until the sixth century. [17]

But the Macon council held in 581 adopted the practice in Tours and soon all France observed three days of fasting a week from the feast of Saint Martin until Christmas. The most devout worshipers in some countries exceeded the requirements adopted by the Council of Macon, and fasted every day of Advent. The homilies of Gregory the Great in the late sixth century showed four weeks to the liturgical season of Advent, but without the observance of a fast. [18] However, under Charlemagne in the ninth century, writings claim that the fast was still widely observed.

In the thirteenth century, the fast of Advent was not commonly practised although, according to Durand of Mende, fasting was still generally observed. As quoted in the bull of canonisation of St. Louis, the zeal with which he observed this fast was no longer a custom observed by Christians of great piety. It was then limited to the period from the feast of Saint Andrew until Christmas Day, since the solemnity of this apostle was more universal than that of St. Martin. When Pope Urban V ascended the papal seat in 1362, he simply forced people in his court to abstinence but there was no question of fasting. It was then customary in Rome to observe five weeks of Advent before Christmas. This is particularly discussed in the Sacramentary of St. Gregory. Ambrosian or Milan Liturgies have six. [ citation needed ] The Greeks show no more real consistency Advent was an optional fast that some begin on 15 November, while others begin on 6 December or only a few days before Christmas. [19]

The liturgy of Advent remained unchanged until the Second Vatican Council introduced minor changes, differentiating the spirit of Lent from that of Advent, emphasising Advent as a season of hope for Christ's coming now as a promise of his Second Coming. [20]

The theme of readings and teachings during Advent is often the preparation for the Second Coming and the Last Judgement. The first clear references in the Western Church to Advent occur in the Gelasian Sacramentary, which provides Advent Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for the five Sundays preceding Christmas and for the corresponding Wednesdays and Fridays. [21] While the Sunday readings relate to the first coming of Jesus Christ as saviour as well as to his Second Coming as judge, traditions vary in the relative importance of penitence and expectation during the weeks in Advent.

Liturgical colours Edit

Since approximately the 13th century, the usual liturgical colour in Western Christianity for Advent has been violet Pope Innocent III declared black to be the proper colour for Advent, though Durandus of Saint-Pourçain claims violet has preference over black. [22] The violet or purple colour is often used for antependia, the vestments of the clergy, and often also the tabernacle. On the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, rose may be used instead, referencing the rose used on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. [23] A rose coloured candle in Western Christianity is referenced as a sign of joy (Gaudete) lit on the third Sunday of Advent. [24]

In some denominations, blue, a colour representing hope, is an alternative liturgical colour for Advent, a custom traced to the usage of the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) and the medieval Sarum Rite in England. In addition, the colour blue is also used in the Mozarabic Rite, which dates from the 8th century. This colour is often referred to as "Sarum blue".

The Lutheran Book of Worship lists blue as the preferred colour for Advent while the Methodist Book of Worship and the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship identify purple or blue as appropriate for Advent. There has been an increasing trend in Protestant churches to supplant purple with blue during Advent as it is a hopeful season of preparation that anticipates both Bethlehem and the consummation of history in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. [25]

Proponents of this new liturgical trend argue that purple is traditionally associated with solemnity and somberness, which is fitting to the repentant character of Lent. The Roman Catholic Church retains the traditional violet. [26] Blue is not generally used in Latin Catholicism, [27] and where it does regionally, it has nothing to do with Advent specifically, but with veneration of the Blessed Virgin. [28] However, on some occasions that are heavily associated with Advent, such as the Rorate Mass (but not on Sundays), white is used. [29]


During the Nativity Fast, red is used by Eastern Christianity, although gold is an alternative colour. [30]

Music Edit

Many churches also hold special musical events, such as Nine Lessons and Carols and singing of Handel's Messiah oratorio. Also, the Advent Prose, an antiphonal plainsong, may be sung. The "Late Advent Weekdays", 17–24 December , mark the singing of the Great Advent 'O antiphons'. [31] These are the daily antiphons for the Magnificat at Vespers, or Evening Prayer (in the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches) and Evensong in Anglican churches, and mark the forthcoming birth of the Messiah. They form the basis for each verse of the popular Advent hymn, "O come, O come, Emmanuel". German songs for Advent include "Es kommt ein Schiff, geladen" from the 15th century and "O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf", published in 1622. Johann Sebastian Bach composed several cantatas for Advent in Weimar, from Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61, to Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147a, but only one more in Leipzig where he worked for the longest time, because there Advent was a silent time which allowed cantata music only on the first of the four Sundays.

During Advent, the Gloria of the Mass is omitted, so that the return of the angels' song at Christmas has an effect of novelty. [32] Mass compositions written especially for Lent, such as Michael Haydn's Missa tempore Quadragesimae, in D minor for choir and organ, have no Gloria and so are appropriate for use in Advent.

Fasting Edit

Bishop Perpetuus of Tours, who died in 490, ordered fasting three days a week from the day after Saint Martin's Day ( 11 November ). In the 6th century, local councils enjoined fasting on all days except Saturdays and Sundays from Saint Martin's Day to Epiphany (the feast of baptism), a period of 56 days, but of 40 days fasting, like the fast of Lent. It was therefore called Quadragesima Sancti Martini (Saint Martin's Lent). [13] This period of fasting was later shortened and called "Advent" by the Church. [33]

In the Anglican and Lutheran churches this fasting rule was later relaxed. The Roman Catholic Church later abolished the precept of fasting (at an unknown date at the latest in 1917), later, but kept Advent as a season of penitence. In addition to fasting, dancing and similar festivities were forbidden in these traditions. On Rose Sunday, relaxation of the fast was permitted. Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches still hold the tradition of fasting for 40 days before Christmas.

Local rites Edit

In England, especially in the northern counties, there was a custom (now extinct) for poor women to carry around the "Advent images", two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. A halfpenny coin was expected from every one to whom these were exhibited and bad luck was thought to menace the household not visited by the doll-bearers before Christmas Eve at the latest. [34]

In Normandy, farmers employed children under twelve to run through the fields and orchards armed with torches, setting fire to bundles of straw, and thus it was believed driving out such vermin as were likely to damage the crops. [35]

In Italy, among other Advent celebrations is the entry into Rome in the last days of Advent of the Calabrian pifferari, or bagpipe players, who play before the shrines of Mary, the mother of Jesus: in Italian tradition, the shepherds played these pipes when they came to the manger at Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus. [36]

In recent times the most common observance of Advent outside church circles has been the keeping of an advent calendar or advent candle, with one door being opened in the calendar, or one section of the candle being burned, on each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve. In many countries, the first day of Advent often heralds the start of the Christmas season, with many people opting to erect their Christmas trees and Christmas decorations on or immediately before Advent Sunday. [7]

Since 2011, an Advent labyrinth consisting of 2500 tealights has been formed for the third Saturday of Advent in Frankfurt-Bornheim. [37] [38]

The keeping of an Advent wreath is a common practice in homes or churches. [39] The concept of the Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the 16th Century. [40] However, it was not until three centuries later that the modern Advent wreath took shape. [41] The modern Advent wreath, with its candles representing the Sundays of Advent, originated from an 1839 initiative by Johann Hinrich Wichern, a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor. In view of the impatience of the children he taught as they awaited Christmas, he made a ring of wood, with nineteen small red tapers and four large white candles. Every morning a small candle was lit, and every Sunday a large candle. Custom has retained only the large candles. [42]

The wreath crown is traditionally made of fir tree branches knotted with a red ribbon and decorated with pine cones, holly, laurel, and sometimes mistletoe. It is also an ancient symbol signifying several things first of all, the crown symbolises victory, in addition to its round form evoking the sun and its return each year. The number four represents the four Sundays of Advent, and the green twigs are a sign of life and hope. The fir tree is a symbol of strength and laurel a symbol of victory over sin and suffering. The latter two, with the holly, do not lose their leaves, and thus represent the eternity of God. The flames of candles are the representation of the Christmas light approaching and bringing hope and peace, as well as the symbol of the struggle against darkness. For Christians, this crown is also the symbol of Christ the King, the holly recalling the crown of thorns resting on the head of Christ.

The Advent wreath is adorned with candles, usually three violet or purple and one pink, the pink candle being lit on the Third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday after the opening word, Gaudete, meaning "Rejoice", of the entrance antiphon at Mass. Some add a fifth candle (white), known as the Christ Candle, in the middle of the wreath, to be lit on Christmas Eve or Day. [43]

The candles symbolise, in one interpretation, the great stages of salvation before the coming of the Messiah the first is the symbol of the forgiveness granted to Adam and Eve, the second is the symbol of the faith of Abraham and of the patriarchs who believe in the gift of the Promised Land, the third is the symbol of the joy of David whose lineage does not stop and also testifies to his covenant with God, and the fourth and last candle is the symbol of the teaching of the prophets who announce a reign of justice and peace. Or they symbolise the four stages of human history creation, the Incarnation, the redemption of sins, and the Last Judgment. [44]

In Orthodox churches there are sometimes wreaths with six candles, in line with the six-week duration of the Nativity Fast/Advent.

In Sweden, white candles, symbol of festivity and purity, are used in celebrating Saint Lucy's Day, 13 December, which always falls within Advent.

In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, the readings of Mass on the Sundays of Advent have distinct themes: [43]

  1. On the First Sunday (Advent Sunday), they look forward to the Second Coming of Christ.
  2. On the Second Sunday, the Gospel reading recalls the preaching of John the Baptist, who came to "prepare the way of the Lord" the other readings have associated themes.
  3. On the Third Sunday (Gaudete Sunday), the Gospel reading is again about John the Baptist, the other readings about the joy associated with the coming of the Saviour.
  4. On the Fourth Sunday, the Gospel reading is about the events involving Mary and Joseph that led directly to the birth of Jesus, while the other readings are related to these.
  1. The readings for the first Sunday in Advent relate to the Old Testament patriarchs who were Christ's ancestors, so some call the first Advent candle that of hope.
  2. The readings for the second Sunday concern Christ's birth in a manger and other prophecies, so the candle may be called that of Bethlehem, the way, or of the prophets.
  3. The third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday after the first word of the introit (Philippians 4:4), is celebrated with rose-coloured vestments similar to Laetare Sunday at the middle point of Lent. The readings relate to John the Baptist, and the rose candle may be called that of joy or of the shepherds. In the Episcopal Church USA, the collect "Stir up" (the first words of the collect) may be read during this week, although before the 1979 revision of the Book of Common Prayer it was sometimes read in the first Sunday of Advent. Even earlier, 'Stir-up Sunday' was once jocularly associated with the stirring of the Christmas mincemeat, begun before Advent. The phrase "stir up" occurs at the start of the collect for the last Sunday before Advent in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. [47]
  4. The readings for the fourth Sunday relate to the annunciation of Christ's birth, so the candle may be known as the Angel's candle. The Magnificat or Song of Mary may be featured.
  5. Where an Advent wreath includes a fifth candle, it is known as the Christ candle and is lit during the Christmas Eve service.

Other variations of the themes celebrated on each of the four Sundays include:


Contents

Although "tree" is a term of common parlance, there is no universally recognised precise definition of what a tree is, either botanically or in common language. [2] In its broadest sense, a tree is any plant with the general form of an elongated stem, or trunk, which supports the photosynthetic leaves or branches at some distance above the ground. [3] Trees are also typically defined by height, [4] with smaller plants from 0.5 to 10 m (1.6 to 32.8 ft) being called shrubs, [5] so the minimum height of a tree is only loosely defined. [4] Large herbaceous plants such as papaya and bananas are trees in this broad sense. [2] [6]

A commonly applied narrower definition is that a tree has a woody trunk formed by secondary growth, meaning that the trunk thickens each year by growing outwards, in addition to the primary upwards growth from the growing tip. [4] [7] Under such a definition, herbaceous plants such as palms, bananas and papayas are not considered trees regardless of their height, growth form or stem girth. Certain monocots may be considered trees under a slightly looser definition [8] while the Joshua tree, bamboos and palms do not have secondary growth and never produce true wood with growth rings, [9] [10] they may produce "pseudo-wood" by lignifying cells formed by primary growth. [11] Tree species in the genus Dracaena, despite also being monocots, do have secondary growth caused by meristem in their trunk, but it is different from the thickening meristem found in dicotyledonous trees. [12]

Aside from structural definitions, trees are commonly defined by use for instance, as those plants which yield lumber. [13]

The tree growth habit is an evolutionary adaptation found in different groups of plants: by growing taller, trees are able to compete better for sunlight. [14] Trees tend to be tall and long-lived, [15] some reaching several thousand years old. [16] Several trees are among the oldest organisms now living. [17] Trees have modified structures such as thicker stems composed of specialised cells that add structural strength and durability, allowing them to grow taller than many other plants and to spread out their foliage. They differ from shrubs, which have a similar growth form, by usually growing larger and having a single main stem [5] but there is no consistent distinction between a tree and a shrub, [18] made more confusing by the fact that trees may be reduced in size under harsher environmental conditions such as on mountains and subarctic areas. The tree form has evolved separately in unrelated classes of plants in response to similar environmental challenges, making it a classic example of parallel evolution. With an estimated 60,000-100,000 species, the number of trees worldwide might total twenty-five per cent of all living plant species. [19] [20] The greatest number of these grow in tropical regions and many of these areas have not yet been fully surveyed by botanists, making tree diversity and ranges poorly known. [21]

The majority of tree species are angiosperms. There are about 1000 species of gymnosperm trees, [22] including conifers, cycads, ginkgophytes and gnetales they produce seeds which are not enclosed in fruits, but in open structures such as pine cones, and many have tough waxy leaves, such as pine needles. [23] Most angiosperm trees are eudicots, the "true dicotyledons", so named because the seeds contain two cotyledons or seed leaves. There are also some trees among the old lineages of flowering plants called basal angiosperms or paleodicots these include Amborella, Magnolia, nutmeg and avocado, [24] while trees such as bamboo, palms and bananas are monocots.

Wood gives structural strength to the trunk of most types of tree this supports the plant as it grows larger. The vascular system of trees allows water, nutrients and other chemicals to be distributed around the plant, and without it trees would not be able to grow as large as they do. Trees, as relatively tall plants, need to draw water up the stem through the xylem from the roots by the suction produced as water evaporates from the leaves. If insufficient water is available the leaves will die. [25] The three main parts of trees include the root, stem, and leaves they are integral parts of the vascular system which interconnects all the living cells. In trees and other plants that develop wood, the vascular cambium allows the expansion of vascular tissue that produces woody growth. Because this growth ruptures the epidermis of the stem, woody plants also have a cork cambium that develops among the phloem. The cork cambium gives rise to thickened cork cells to protect the surface of the plant and reduce water loss. Both the production of wood and the production of cork are forms of secondary growth. [26]

Trees are either evergreen, having foliage that persists and remains green throughout the year, [27] or deciduous, shedding their leaves at the end of the growing season and then having a dormant period without foliage. [28] Most conifers are evergreens, but larches (Larix and Pseudolarix) are deciduous, dropping their needles each autumn, and some species of cypress (Glyptostrobus, Metasequoia and Taxodium) shed small leafy shoots annually in a process known as cladoptosis. [5] The crown is the spreading top of a tree including the branches and leaves, [29] while the uppermost layer in a forest, formed by the crowns of the trees, is known as the canopy. [30] A sapling is a young tree. [31]

Many tall palms are herbaceous [32] monocots these do not undergo secondary growth and never produce wood. [9] [10] In many tall palms, the terminal bud on the main stem is the only one to develop, so they have unbranched trunks with large spirally arranged leaves. Some of the tree ferns, order Cyatheales, have tall straight trunks, growing up to 20 metres (66 ft), but these are composed not of wood but of rhizomes which grow vertically and are covered by numerous adventitious roots. [33]

The number of trees in the world, according to a 2015 estimate, is 3.04 trillion, of which 1.39 trillion (46%) are in the tropics or sub-tropics, 0.61 trillion (20%) in the temperate zones, and 0.74 trillion (24%) in the coniferous boreal forests. The estimate is about eight times higher than previous estimates, and is based on tree densities measured on over 400,000 plots. It remains subject to a wide margin of error, not least because the samples are mainly from Europe and North America. The estimate suggests that about 15 billion trees are cut down annually and about 5 billion are planted. In the 12,000 years since the start of human agriculture, the number of trees worldwide has decreased by 46%. [1] [34] [35] [36]

In suitable environments, such as the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, or the mixed podocarp and broadleaf forest of Ulva Island, New Zealand, forest is the more-or-less stable climatic climax community at the end of a plant succession, where open areas such as grassland are colonised by taller plants, which in turn give way to trees that eventually form a forest canopy. [37] [38]

In cool temperate regions, conifers often predominate a widely distributed climax community in the far north of the northern hemisphere is moist taiga or northern coniferous forest (also called boreal forest). [39] [40] Taiga is the world's largest land biome, forming 29% of the world's forest cover. [41] The long cold winter of the far north is unsuitable for plant growth and trees must grow rapidly in the short summer season when the temperature rises and the days are long. Light is very limited under their dense cover and there may be little plant life on the forest floor, although fungi may abound. [42] Similar woodland is found on mountains where the altitude causes the average temperature to be lower thus reducing the length of the growing season. [43]

Where rainfall is relatively evenly spread across the seasons in temperate regions, temperate broadleaf and mixed forest typified by species like oak, beech, birch and maple is found. [44] Temperate forest is also found in the southern hemisphere, as for example in the Eastern Australia temperate forest, characterised by Eucalyptus forest and open acacia woodland. [45]

In tropical regions with a monsoon or monsoon-like climate, where a drier part of the year alternates with a wet period as in the Amazon rainforest, different species of broad-leaved trees dominate the forest, some of them being deciduous. [46] In tropical regions with a drier savanna climate and insufficient rainfall to support dense forests, the canopy is not closed, and plenty of sunshine reaches the ground which is covered with grass and scrub. Acacia and baobab are well adapted to living in such areas. [47]

Roots

The roots of a tree serve to anchor it to the ground and gather water and nutrients to transfer to all parts of the tree. They are also used for reproduction, defence, survival, energy storage and many other purposes. The radicle or embryonic root is the first part of a seedling to emerge from the seed during the process of germination. This develops into a taproot which goes straight downwards. Within a few weeks lateral roots branch out of the side of this and grow horizontally through the upper layers of the soil. In most trees, the taproot eventually withers away and the wide-spreading laterals remain. Near the tip of the finer roots are single cell root hairs. These are in immediate contact with the soil particles and can absorb water and nutrients such as potassium in solution. The roots require oxygen to respire and only a few species such as mangroves and the pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens) can live in permanently waterlogged soil. [48]

In the soil, the roots encounter the hyphae of fungi. Many of these are known as mycorrhiza and form a mutualistic relationship with the tree roots. Some are specific to a single tree species, which will not flourish in the absence of its mycorrhizal associate. Others are generalists and associate with many species. The tree acquires minerals such as phosphorus from the fungus, while the fungus obtains the carbohydrate products of photosynthesis from the tree. [49] The hyphae of the fungus can link different trees and a network is formed, transferring nutrients and signals from one place to another. [50] The fungus promotes growth of the roots and helps protect the trees against predators and pathogens. It can also limit damage done to a tree by pollution as the fungus accumulate heavy metals within its tissues. [51] Fossil evidence shows that roots have been associated with mycorrhizal fungi since the early Paleozoic, four hundred million years ago, when the first vascular plants colonised dry land. [52]

Some trees such as Alder (Alnus species) have a symbiotic relationship with Frankia species, a filamentous bacterium that can fix nitrogen from the air, converting it into ammonia. They have actinorhizal root nodules on their roots in which the bacteria live. This process enables the tree to live in low nitrogen habitats where they would otherwise be unable to thrive. [53] The plant hormones called cytokinins initiate root nodule formation, in a process closely related to mycorrhizal association. [54]

It has been demonstrated that some trees are interconnected through their root system, forming a colony. The interconnections are made by the inosculation process, a kind of natural grafting or welding of vegetal tissues. The tests to demonstrate this networking are performed by injecting chemicals, sometimes radioactive, into a tree, and then checking for its presence in neighbouring trees. [55]

The roots are, generally, an underground part of the tree, but some tree species have evolved roots that are aerial. The common purposes for aerial roots may be of two kinds, to contribute to the mechanical stability of the tree, and to obtain oxygen from air. An instance of mechanical stability enhancement is the red mangrove that develops prop roots that loop out of the trunk and branches and descend vertically into the mud. [56] A similar structure is developed by the Indian banyan. [57] Many large trees have buttress roots which flare out from the lower part of the trunk. These brace the tree rather like angle brackets and provide stability, reducing sway in high winds. They are particularly prevalent in tropical rainforests where the soil is poor and the roots are close to the surface. [58]

Some tree species have developed root extensions that pop out of soil, in order to get oxygen, when it is not available in the soil because of excess water. These root extensions are called pneumatophores, and are present, among others, in black mangrove and pond cypress. [56]

Trunk

The main purpose of the trunk is to raise the leaves above the ground, enabling the tree to overtop other plants and outcompete them for light. [59] It also transports water and nutrients from the roots to the aerial parts of the tree, and distributes the food produced by the leaves to all other parts, including the roots. [60]

In the case of angiosperms and gymnosperms, the outermost layer of the trunk is the bark, mostly composed of dead cells of phellem (cork). [61] It provides a thick, waterproof covering to the living inner tissue. It protects the trunk against the elements, disease, animal attack and fire. It is perforated by a large number of fine breathing pores called lenticels, through which oxygen diffuses. Bark is continually replaced by a living layer of cells called the cork cambium or phellogen. [61] The London plane (Platanus × acerifolia) periodically sheds its bark in large flakes. Similarly, the bark of the silver birch (Betula pendula) peels off in strips. As the tree's girth expands, newer layers of bark are larger in circumference, and the older layers develop fissures in many species. In some trees such as the pine (Pinus species) the bark exudes sticky resin which deters attackers whereas in rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) it is a milky latex that oozes out. The quinine bark tree (Cinchona officinalis) contains bitter substances to make the bark unpalatable. [60] Large tree-like plants with lignified trunks in the Pteridophyta, Arecales, Cycadophyta and Poales such as the tree ferns, palms, cycads and bamboos have different structures and outer coverings. [62]

Although the bark functions as a protective barrier, it is itself attacked by boring insects such as beetles. These lay their eggs in crevices and the larvae chew their way through the cellulose tissues leaving a gallery of tunnels. This may allow fungal spores to gain admittance and attack the tree. Dutch elm disease is caused by a fungus (Ophiostoma species) carried from one elm tree to another by various beetles. The tree reacts to the growth of the fungus by blocking off the xylem tissue carrying sap upwards and the branch above, and eventually the whole tree, is deprived of nourishment and dies. In Britain in the 1990s, 25 million elm trees were killed by this disease. [63]

The innermost layer of bark is known as the phloem and this is involved in the transport of the sap containing the sugars made by photosynthesis to other parts of the tree. It is a soft spongy layer of living cells, some of which are arranged end to end to form tubes. These are supported by parenchyma cells which provide padding and include fibres for strengthening the tissue. [64] Inside the phloem is a layer of undifferentiated cells one cell thick called the vascular cambium layer. The cells are continually dividing, creating phloem cells on the outside and wood cells known as xylem on the inside. [65]

The newly created xylem is the sapwood. It is composed of water-conducting cells and associated cells which are often living, and is usually pale in colour. It transports water and minerals from the roots to the upper parts of the tree. The oldest, inner part of the sapwood is progressively converted into heartwood as new sapwood is formed at the cambium. The conductive cells of the heartwood are blocked in some species. Heartwood is usually darker in colour than the sapwood. It is the dense central core of the trunk giving it rigidity. Three quarters of the dry mass of the xylem is cellulose, a polysaccharide, and most of the remainder is lignin, a complex polymer. A transverse section through a tree trunk or a horizontal core will show concentric circles or lighter or darker wood – tree rings. [66] These rings are the annual growth rings [67] [68] There may also be rays running at right angles to growth rings. These are vascular rays which are thin sheets of living tissue permeating the wood. [66] Many older trees may become hollow but may still stand upright for many years. [69]

Buds and growth

Trees do not usually grow continuously throughout the year but mostly have spurts of active expansion followed by periods of rest. This pattern of growth is related to climatic conditions growth normally ceases when conditions are either too cold or too dry. In readiness for the inactive period, trees form buds to protect the meristem, the zone of active growth. Before the period of dormancy, the last few leaves produced at the tip of a twig form scales. These are thick, small and closely wrapped and enclose the growing point in a waterproof sheath. Inside this bud there is a rudimentary stalk and neatly folded miniature leaves, ready to expand when the next growing season arrives. Buds also form in the axils of the leaves ready to produce new side shoots. A few trees, such as the eucalyptus, have "naked buds" with no protective scales and some conifers, such as the Lawson's cypress, have no buds but instead have little pockets of meristem concealed among the scale-like leaves. [70]

When growing conditions improve, such as the arrival of warmer weather and the longer days associated with spring in temperate regions, growth starts again. The expanding shoot pushes its way out, shedding the scales in the process. These leave behind scars on the surface of the twig. The whole year's growth may take place in just a few weeks. The new stem is unlignified at first and may be green and downy. The Arecaceae (palms) have their leaves spirally arranged on an unbranched trunk. [70] In some tree species in temperate climates, a second spurt of growth, a Lammas growth may occur which is believed to be a strategy to compensate for loss of early foliage to insect predators. [71]

Primary growth is the elongation of the stems and roots. Secondary growth consists of a progressive thickening and strengthening of the tissues as the outer layer of the epidermis is converted into bark and the cambium layer creates new phloem and xylem cells. The bark is inelastic. [72] Eventually the growth of a tree slows down and stops and it gets no taller. If damage occurs the tree may in time become hollow. [73]

Leaves

Leaves are structures specialised for photosynthesis and are arranged on the tree in such a way as to maximise their exposure to light without shading each other. [74] They are an important investment by the tree and may be thorny or contain phytoliths, lignins, tannins or poisons to discourage herbivory. Trees have evolved leaves in a wide range of shapes and sizes, in response to environmental pressures including climate and predation. They can be broad or needle-like, simple or compound, lobed or entire, smooth or hairy, delicate or tough, deciduous or evergreen. The needles of coniferous trees are compact but are structurally similar to those of broad-leaved trees. They are adapted for life in environments where resources are low or water is scarce. Frozen ground may limit water availability and conifers are often found in colder places at higher altitudes and higher latitudes than broad leaved trees. In conifers such as fir trees, the branches hang down at an angle to the trunk, enabling them to shed snow. In contrast, broad leaved trees in temperate regions deal with winter weather by shedding their leaves. When the days get shorter and the temperature begins to decrease, the leaves no longer make new chlorophyll and the red and yellow pigments already present in the blades become apparent. [74] Synthesis in the leaf of a plant hormone called auxin also ceases. This causes the cells at the junction of the petiole and the twig to weaken until the joint breaks and the leaf floats to the ground. In tropical and subtropical regions, many trees keep their leaves all year round. Individual leaves may fall intermittently and be replaced by new growth but most leaves remain intact for some time. Other tropical species and those in arid regions may shed all their leaves annually, such as at the start of the dry season. [75] Many deciduous trees flower before the new leaves emerge. [76] A few trees do not have true leaves but instead have structures with similar external appearance such as Phylloclades – modified stem structures [77] – as seen in the genus Phyllocladus. [78]

Reproduction

Trees can be pollinated either by wind or by animals, mostly insects. Many angiosperm trees are insect pollinated. Wind pollination may take advantage of increased wind speeds high above the ground. [79] Trees use a variety of methods of seed dispersal. Some rely on wind, with winged or plumed seeds. Others rely on animals, for example with edible fruits. Others again eject their seeds (ballistic dispersal), or use gravity so that seeds fall and sometimes roll. [80]

Seeds

Seeds are the primary way that trees reproduce and their seeds vary greatly in size and shape. Some of the largest seeds come from trees, but the largest tree, Sequoiadendron giganteum, produces one of the smallest tree seeds. [81] The great diversity in tree fruits and seeds reflects the many different ways that tree species have evolved to disperse their offspring.

For a tree seedling to grow into an adult tree it needs light. If seeds only fell straight to the ground, competition among the concentrated saplings and the shade of the parent would likely prevent it from flourishing. Many seeds such as birch are small and have papery wings to aid dispersal by the wind. Ash trees and maples have larger seeds with blade shaped wings which spiral down to the ground when released. The kapok tree has cottony threads to catch the breeze. [82]

The seeds of conifers, the largest group of gymnosperms, are enclosed in a cone and most species have seeds that are light and papery that can be blown considerable distances once free from the cone. [83] Sometimes the seed remains in the cone for years waiting for a trigger event to liberate it. Fire stimulates release and germination of seeds of the jack pine, and also enriches the forest floor with wood ash and removes competing vegetation. [84] Similarly, a number of angiosperms including Acacia cyclops and Acacia mangium have seeds that germinate better after exposure to high temperatures. [85]

The flame tree Delonix regia does not rely on fire but shoots its seeds through the air when the two sides of its long pods crack apart explosively on drying. [82] The miniature cone-like catkins of alder trees produce seeds that contain small droplets of oil that help disperse the seeds on the surface of water. Mangroves often grow in water and some species have propagules, which are buoyant fruits with seeds that start germinating before becoming detached from the parent tree. [86] [87] These float on the water and may become lodged on emerging mudbanks and successfully take root. [82]

Other seeds, such as apple pips and plum stones, have fleshy receptacles and smaller fruits like hawthorns have seeds enclosed in edible tissue animals including mammals and birds eat the fruits and either discard the seeds, or swallow them so they pass through the gut to be deposited in the animal's droppings well away from the parent tree. The germination of some seeds is improved when they are processed in this way. [88] Nuts may be gathered by animals such as squirrels that cache any not immediately consumed. [89] Many of these caches are never revisited, the nut-casing softens with rain and frost, and the seed germinates in the spring. [90] Pine cones may similarly be hoarded by red squirrels, and grizzly bears may help to disperse the seed by raiding squirrel caches. [91]

The single extant species of Ginkgophyta (Ginkgo biloba) has fleshy seeds produced at the ends of short branches on female trees, [92] and Gnetum, a tropical and subtropical group of gymnosperms produce seeds at the tip of a shoot axis. [93]

The earliest trees were tree ferns, horsetails and lycophytes, which grew in forests in the Carboniferous period. The first tree may have been Wattieza, fossils of which have been found in New York State in 2007 dating back to the Middle Devonian (about 385 million years ago). Prior to this discovery, Archaeopteris was the earliest known tree. [94] Both of these reproduced by spores rather than seeds and are considered to be links between ferns and the gymnosperms which evolved in the Triassic period. The gymnosperms include conifers, cycads, gnetales and ginkgos and these may have appeared as a result of a whole genome duplication event which took place about 319 million years ago. [95] Ginkgophyta was once a widespread diverse group [96] of which the only survivor is the maidenhair tree Ginkgo biloba. This is considered to be a living fossil because it is virtually unchanged from the fossilised specimens found in Triassic deposits. [97]

During the Mesozoic (245 to 66 million years ago) the conifers flourished and became adapted to live in all the major terrestrial habitats. Subsequently, the tree forms of flowering plants evolved during the Cretaceous period. These began to displace the conifers during the Tertiary era (66 to 2 million years ago) when forests covered the globe. [98] When the climate cooled 1.5 million years ago and the first of four ice ages occurred, the forests retreated as the ice advanced. In the interglacials, trees recolonised the land that had been covered by ice, only to be driven back again in the next ice age. [98]

Trees are an important part of the terrestrial ecosystem, [99] providing essential habitats including many kinds of forest for communities of organisms. Epiphytic plants such as ferns, some mosses, liverworts, orchids and some species of parasitic plants (e.g., mistletoe) hang from branches [100] these along with arboreal lichens, algae, and fungi provide micro-habitats for themselves and for other organisms, including animals. Leaves, flowers and fruits are seasonally available. On the ground underneath trees there is shade, and often there is undergrowth, leaf litter, and decaying wood that provide other habitat. [101] [102] Trees stabilise the soil, prevent rapid run-off of rain water, help prevent desertification, have a role in climate control and help in the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem balance. [103]

Many species of tree support their own specialised invertebrates. In their natural habitats, 284 different species of insect have been found on the English oak (Quercus robur) [104] and 306 species of invertebrate on the Tasmanian oak (Eucalyptus obliqua). [105] Non-native tree species provide a less biodiverse community, for example in the United Kingdom the sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), which originates from southern Europe, has few associated invertebrate species, though its bark supports a wide range of lichens, bryophytes and other epiphytes. [106]

In ecosystems such as mangrove swamps, trees play a role in developing the habitat, since the roots of the mangrove trees reduce the speed of flow of tidal currents and trap water-borne sediment, reducing the water depth and creating suitable conditions for further mangrove colonisation. Thus mangrove swamps tend to extend seawards in suitable locations. [107] Mangrove swamps also provide an effective buffer against the more damaging effects of cyclones and tsunamis. [108]

Silviculture is the practice of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health, and quality of forests, which are areas that have a high density of trees. Cultivated trees are planted and tended by humans, usually because they provide food (fruits or nuts), ornamental beauty, or some type of wood product that benefits people. An area of land planted with fruit or nut trees is an orchard. [109] A small wooded area, usually with no undergrowth, is called a grove [110] and a small wood or thicket of trees and bushes is called a coppice or copse. [111] A large area of land covered with trees and undergrowth is called woodland or forest. [112] An area of woodland composed primarily of trees established by planting or artificial seeding is known as a plantation. [113]

Trees are the source of many of the world's best known fleshy fruits. Apples, pears, plums, cherries and citrus are all grown commercially in temperate climates and a wide range of edible fruits are found in the tropics. Other commercially important fruit include dates, figs and olives. Palm oil is obtained from the fruits of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). The fruits of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) are used to make cocoa and chocolate and the berries of coffee trees, Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora, are processed to extract the coffee beans. In many rural areas of the world, fruit is gathered from forest trees for consumption. [114] Many trees bear edible nuts which can loosely be described as being large, oily kernels found inside a hard shell. These include coconuts (Cocos nucifera), Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa), pecans (Carya illinoinensis), hazel nuts (Corylus), almonds (Prunus dulcis), walnuts (Juglans regia), pistachios (Pistacia vera) and many others. They are high in nutritive value and contain high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fibre. [115] A variety of nut oils are extracted by pressing for culinary use some such as walnut, pistachio and hazelnut oils are prized for their distinctive flavours, but they tend to spoil quickly. [116]

In temperate climates there is a sudden movement of sap at the end of the winter as trees prepare to burst into growth. In North America, the sap of the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is most often used in the production of a sweet liquid, maple syrup. About 90% of the sap is water, the remaining 10% being a mixture of various sugars and certain minerals. The sap is harvested by drilling holes in the trunks of the trees and collecting the liquid that flows out of the inserted spigots. It is piped to a sugarhouse where it is heated to concentrate it and improve its flavour. Similarly in northern Europe the spring rise in the sap of the silver birch (Betula pendula) is tapped and collected, either to be drunk fresh or fermented into an alcoholic drink. In Alaska, the sap of the sweet birch (Betula lenta) is made into a syrup with a sugar content of 67%. Sweet birch sap is more dilute than maple sap a hundred litres are required to make one litre of birch syrup. [117]

Various parts of trees are used as spices. These include cinnamon, made from the bark of the cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and allspice, the dried small fruits of the pimento tree (Pimenta dioica). Nutmeg is a seed found in the fleshy fruit of the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans) and cloves are the unopened flower buds of the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum). [118]

Many trees have flowers rich in nectar which are attractive to bees. The production of forest honey is an important industry in rural areas of the developing world where it is undertaken by small-scale beekeepers using traditional methods. [119] The flowers of the elder (Sambucus) are used to make elderflower cordial and petals of the plum (Prunus spp.) can be candied. [120] Sassafras oil is a flavouring obtained from distilling bark from the roots of the sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum).

The leaves of trees are widely gathered as fodder for livestock and some can be eaten by humans but they tend to be high in tannins which makes them bitter. Leaves of the curry tree (Murraya koenigii) are eaten, those of kaffir lime (Citrus × hystrix) (in Thai food) [121] and Ailanthus (in Korean dishes such as bugak) and those of the European bay tree (Laurus nobilis) and the California bay tree (Umbellularia californica) are used for flavouring food. [118] Camellia sinensis, the source of tea, is a small tree but seldom reaches its full height, being heavily pruned to make picking the leaves easier. [122]

Wood smoke can be used to preserve food. In the hot smoking process the food is exposed to smoke and heat in a controlled environment. The food is ready to eat when the process is complete, having been tenderised and flavoured by the smoke it has absorbed. In the cold process, the temperature is not allowed to rise above 100 °F (38 °C). The flavour of the food is enhanced but raw food requires further cooking. If it is to be preserved, meat should be cured before cold smoking. [123]

Wood has traditionally been used for fuel, especially in rural areas. In less developed nations it may be the only fuel available and collecting firewood is often a time-consuming task as it becomes necessary to travel further and further afield in the search for fuel. [124] It is often burned inefficiently on an open fire. In more developed countries other fuels are available and burning wood is a choice rather than a necessity. Modern wood-burning stoves are very fuel efficient and new products such as wood pellets are available to burn. [125]

Charcoal can be made by slow pyrolysis of wood by heating it in the absence of air in a kiln. The carefully stacked branches, often oak, are burned with a very limited amount of air. The process of converting them into charcoal takes about fifteen hours. Charcoal is used as a fuel in barbecues and by blacksmiths and has many industrial and other uses. [126]

Timber

Timber, "trees that are grown in order to produce wood" [127] is cut into lumber (sawn wood) for use in construction. Wood has been an important, easily available material for construction since humans started building shelters. Engineered wood products are available which bind the particles, fibres or veneers of wood together with adhesives to form composite materials. Plastics have taken over from wood for some traditional uses. [128]

Wood is used in the construction of buildings, bridges, trackways, piles, poles for power lines, masts for boats, pit props, railway sleepers, fencing, hurdles, shuttering for concrete, pipes, scaffolding and pallets. In housebuilding it is used in joinery, for making joists, roof trusses, roofing shingles, thatching, staircases, doors, window frames, floor boards, parquet flooring, panelling and cladding. [129]

Wood is used to construct carts, farm implements, boats, dugout canoes and in shipbuilding. It is used for making furniture, tool handles, boxes, ladders, musical instruments, bows, weapons, matches, clothes pegs, brooms, shoes, baskets, turnery, carving, toys, pencils, rollers, cogs, wooden screws, barrels, coffins, skittles, veneers, artificial limbs, oars, skis, wooden spoons, sports equipment and wooden balls. [129]

Wood is pulped for paper and used in the manufacture of cardboard and made into engineered wood products for use in construction such as fibreboard, hardboard, chipboard and plywood. [129] The wood of conifers is known as softwood while that of broad-leaved trees is hardwood. [130]

Besides inspiring artists down the centuries, trees have been used to create art. Living trees have been used in bonsai and in tree shaping, and both living and dead specimens have been sculpted into sometimes fantastic shapes. [131]

Bonsai

Bonsai ( 盆栽 , lit. "Tray planting") [132] is the practice of hòn non bộ originated in China and spread to Japan more than a thousand years ago, there are similar practices in other cultures like the living miniature landscapes of Vietnam hòn non bộ. The word bonsai is often used in English as an umbrella term for all miniature trees in containers or pots. [133]

The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation (for the viewer) and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity (for the grower). [134] Bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container, beginning with a cutting, seedling, or small tree of a species suitable for bonsai development. Bonsai can be created from nearly any perennial woody-stemmed tree or shrub species [135] that produces true branches and can be cultivated to remain small through pot confinement with crown and root pruning. Some species are popular as bonsai material because they have characteristics, such as small leaves or needles, that make them appropriate for the compact visual scope of bonsai and a miniature deciduous forest can even be created using such species as Japanese maple, Japanese zelkova or hornbeam. [136]

Tree shaping

Tree shaping is the practice of changing living trees and other woody plants into man made shapes for art and useful structures. There are a few different methods [137] of shaping a tree. There is a gradual method and there is an instant method. The gradual method slowly guides the growing tip along predetermined pathways over time whereas the instant method bends and weaves saplings 2 to 3 m (6.6 to 9.8 ft) long into a shape that becomes more rigid as they thicken up. [138] Most artists use grafting of living trunks, branches, and roots, for art or functional structures and there are plans to grow "living houses" with the branches of trees knitting together to give a solid, weatherproof exterior combined with an interior application of straw and clay to provide a stucco-like inner surface. [138]

Tree shaping has been practised for at least several hundred years, the oldest known examples being the living root bridges built and maintained by the Khasi people of Meghalaya, India using the roots of the rubber tree (Ficus elastica). [139] [140]

Cork is produced from the thick bark of the cork oak (Quercus suber). It is harvested from the living trees about once every ten years in an environmentally sustainable industry. [141] More than half the world's cork comes from Portugal and is largely used to make stoppers for wine bottles. [142] Other uses include floor tiles, bulletin boards, balls, footwear, cigarette tips, packaging, insulation and joints in woodwind instruments. [142]

The bark of other varieties of oak has traditionally been used in Europe for the tanning of hides though bark from other species of tree has been used elsewhere. The active ingredient, tannin, is extracted and after various preliminary treatments, the skins are immersed in a series of vats containing solutions in increasing concentrations. The tannin causes the hide to become supple, less affected by water and more resistant to bacterial attack. [143]

At least 120 drugs come from plant sources, many of them from the bark of trees. [144] Quinine originates from the cinchona tree (Cinchona) and was for a long time the remedy of choice for the treatment of malaria. [145] Aspirin was synthesised to replace the sodium salicylate derived from the bark of willow trees (Salix) which had unpleasant side effects. [146] The anti-cancer drug Paclitaxel is derived from taxol, a substance found in the bark of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia). [147] Other tree based drugs come from the paw-paw (Carica papaya), the cassia (Cassia spp.), the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao), the tree of life (Camptotheca acuminata) and the downy birch (Betula pubescens). [144]

The papery bark of the white birch tree (Betula papyrifera) was used extensively by Native Americans. Wigwams were covered by it and canoes were constructed from it. Other uses included food containers, hunting and fishing equipment, musical instruments, toys and sledges. [148] Nowadays, bark chips, a by-product of the timber industry, are used as a mulch and as a growing medium for epiphytic plants that need a soil-free compost. [149]

Ornamental trees

Trees create a visual impact in the same way as do other landscape features and give a sense of maturity and permanence to park and garden. They are grown for the beauty of their forms, their foliage, flowers, fruit and bark and their siting is of major importance in creating a landscape. They can be grouped informally, often surrounded by plantings of bulbs, laid out in stately avenues or used as specimen trees. As living things, their appearance changes with the season and from year to year. [150]

Trees are often planted in town environments where they are known as street trees or amenity trees. They can provide shade and cooling through evapotranspiration, absorb greenhouse gases and pollutants, intercept rainfall, and reduce the risk of flooding. Scientific studies show that street trees help cities be more sustainable, and improve the physical and mental wellbeing of the citizens. [151] It has been shown that they are beneficial to humans in creating a sense of well-being and reducing stress. Many towns have initiated tree-planting programmes. [152] In London for example, there is an initiative to plant 20,000 new street trees and to have an increase in tree cover of 5% by 2025, equivalent to one tree for every resident. [153]

Other uses

Latex is a sticky defensive secretion that protects plants against herbivores. Many trees produce it when injured but the main source of the latex used to make natural rubber is the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Originally used to create bouncy balls and for the waterproofing of cloth, natural rubber is now mainly used in tyres for which synthetic materials have proved less durable. [154] The latex exuded by the balatá tree (Manilkara bidentata) is used to make golf balls and is similar to gutta-percha, made from the latex of the "getah perca" tree Palaquium. This is also used as an insulator, particularly of undersea cables, and in dentistry, walking sticks and gun butts. It has now largely been replaced by synthetic materials. [155]

Resin is another plant exudate that may have a defensive purpose. It is a viscous liquid composed mainly of volatile terpenes and is produced mostly by coniferous trees. It is used in varnishes, for making small castings and in ten-pin bowling balls. When heated, the terpenes are driven off and the remaining product is called "rosin" and is used by stringed instrumentalists on their bows. Some resins contain essential oils and are used in incense and aromatherapy. Fossilised resin is known as amber and was mostly formed in the Cretaceous (145 to 66 million years ago) or more recently. The resin that oozed out of trees sometimes trapped insects or spiders and these are still visible in the interior of the amber. [156]

The camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora) produces an essential oil [118] and the eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) is the main source of eucalyptus oil which is used in medicine, as a fragrance and in industry. [157]

Individual trees

Dead trees pose a safety risk, especially during high winds and severe storms, and removing dead trees involves a financial burden, whereas the presence of healthy trees can clean the air, increase property values, and reduce the temperature of the built environment and thereby reduce building cooling costs. During times of drought, trees can fall into water stress, which may cause a tree to become more susceptible to disease and insect problems, and ultimately may lead to a tree's death. Irrigating trees during dry periods can reduce the risk of water stress and death. [158]

Conservation

About a third of all tree species, some twenty thousand, are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Of those, over eight thousand are globally threatened, including at least 1400 which are classed as "critically endangered". [159]

Trees have been venerated since time immemorial. To the ancient Celts, certain trees, especially the oak, ash and thorn, held special significance [160] as providing fuel, building materials, ornamental objects and weaponry. Other cultures have similarly revered trees, often linking the lives and fortunes of individuals to them or using them as oracles. In Greek mythology, dryads were believed to be shy nymphs who inhabited trees.

The Oubangui people of west Africa plant a tree when a child is born. As the tree flourishes, so does the child but if the tree fails to thrive, the health of the child is considered at risk. When it flowers it is time for marriage. Gifts are left at the tree periodically and when the individual dies, their spirit is believed to live on in the tree. [161]

Trees have their roots in the ground and their trunk and branches extended towards the sky. This concept is found in many of the world's religions as a tree which links the underworld and the earth and holds up the heavens. In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is a central cosmic tree whose roots and branches extend to various worlds. Various creatures live on it. [162] In India, Kalpavriksha is a wish-fulfilling tree, one of the nine jewels that emerged from the primitive ocean. Icons are placed beneath it to be worshipped, tree nymphs inhabit the branches and it grants favours to the devout who tie threads round the trunk. [163] Democracy started in North America when the Great Peacemaker formed the Iroquois Confederacy, inspiring the warriors of the original five American nations to bury their weapons under the Tree of Peace, an eastern white pine (Pinus strobus). [164] In the creation story in the Bible, the tree of life and the knowledge of good and evil was planted by God in the Garden of Eden. [165]

Sacred groves exist in China, India, Africa and elsewhere. They are places where the deities live and where all the living things are either sacred or are companions of the gods. Folklore lays down the supernatural penalties that will result if desecration takes place for example by the felling of trees. Because of their protected status, sacred groves may be the only relicts of ancient forest and have a biodiversity much greater than the surrounding area. [166] Some Ancient Indian tree deities, such as Puliyidaivalaiyamman, the Tamil deity of the tamarind tree, or Kadambariyamman, associated with the kadamba tree were seen as manifestations of a goddess who offers her blessings by giving fruits in abundance. [167]

Trees have a theoretical maximum height of 130 m (430 ft), [168] but the tallest known specimen on earth is believed to be a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) at Redwood National Park, California. It has been named Hyperion and is 115.85 m (380.1 ft) tall. [169] In 2006, it was reported to be 379.1 ft (115.5 m) tall. [170] The tallest known broad-leaved tree is a mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) growing in Tasmania with a height of 99.8 m (327 ft). [171]

The largest tree by volume is believed to be a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) known as the General Sherman Tree in the Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California. Only the trunk is used in the calculation and the volume is estimated to be 1,487 m 3 (52,500 cu ft). [172]

The oldest living tree with a verified age is also in California. It is a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) growing in the White Mountains. It has been dated by drilling a core sample and counting the annual rings. It is estimated to currently be 5,075 years old. [a] [173]

A little farther south, at Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico, is the tree with the broadest trunk. It is a Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) known as Árbol del Tule and its diameter at breast height is 11.62 m (38.1 ft) giving it a girth of 36.2 m (119 ft). The tree's trunk is far from round and the exact dimensions may be misleading as the circumference includes much empty space between the large buttress roots. [174]


King Esarhaddon

In the second quarter of the first millennium B.C., the “word qunnabu (qunapy, qunubu, qunbu) begins to turn up as for a source of oil, fiber and medicine “ (Barber 1989). In our own time, numerous scholars have come to acknowledge qunubu as an early reference to cannabis. “It is said that the Assyrians used hemp as incense in the seventh and eight century before Christ and called it 'Qunubu'” (Schultes & Hoffman 1979).

Further, the pioneering research of etymologist Sula Benet led to the claim that “The ritual use of hemp as well as the name, cannabis. originated in the Ancient Near East” (Benet 1975). Benet's research is in agreement with that of the earlier German researcher Immanuel Low, who also regarded the ancient Near East as the location from where the modern name cannabis was derived. (Low 1925 reprinted 1967) This ancient Assyrian name qu-nu-bu, is the phonetic equivalent of the ancient Hebrew name for hemp, q'aneh-bosm and the strong connections between the two can be seen in the similar ways both Mesopotamian and Hebrew worshipers utilized the plant.


In a letter written in 680 B.C. to the mother of the aforementioned king Esarhaddon, reference is made to qu-nu-bu, that give clear indications as to what substance was burning in the king's incense tent. In response to Esarhaddon's mother's question as to “What is used in the sacred rites”, a high priest named Neralsharrani responded that “the main items. for the rites are fine oil, water, honey, odorous plants (and) hemp [qunubu]”. As was mentioned, the symbol behind kind Esarhaddon, which also appears in numerous other depictions, has “in modern literature on the subject. [,been] often described as the tree of life. but unfortunately no texts are known which describe in more detail the contents of these pictures” (Ringgren 1973). Scholarly suggestions thus far for the botanical identity of the Tree of Life motif have been that it is a completely mythical tree that it is a stylized palm tree and that it depicts a combination between the pine and lotus.

Like wise, not one single item from all of the existing ancient pictorial inscriptions has ever been suggested as an illustration of the ancient qunubu, which by all accounts played a very important role in both life and worship in the ancient Near East. Moreover, the use of cannabis is particularly tied to the rights, which are what the aforementioned inscriptions represent. This study proposes that the unidentified symbol of the sacred plant, and the undepicted plant for the word qunubu, are in fact a word and picture that describe the same thing---Cannabis, which was grown and revered as the Tree of Life in the ancient Near East

In the second quarter of the first millennium B.C., the “word qunnabu (qunapy, qunubu, qunbu) begins to turn up as for a source of oil, fiber and medicine “ (Barber 1989). In our own time, numerous scholars have come to acknowledge qunubu as an early reference to cannabis. “It is said that the Assyrians used hemp as incense in the seventh and eight century before Christ and called it 'Qunubu'” (Schultes & Hoffman 1979).

Further, the pioneering research of etymologist Sula Benet led to the claim that “The ritual use of hemp as well as the name, cannabis. originated in the Ancient Near East” (Benet 1975). Benet's research is in agreement with that of the earlier German researcher Immanuel Low, who also regarded the ancient Near East as the location from where the modern name cannabis was derived. (Low 1925 reprinted 1967) This ancient Assyrian name qu-nu-bu, is the phonetic equivalent of the ancient Hebrew name for hemp, q'aneh-bosm and the strong connections between the two can be seen in the similar ways both Mesopotamian and Hebrew worshipers utilized the plant.


In a letter written in 680 B.C. to the mother of the aforementioned king Esarhaddon, reference is made to qu-nu-bu, that give clear indications as to what substance was burning in the king's incense tent. In response to Esarhaddon's mother's question as to “What is used in the sacred rites”, a high priest named Neralsharrani responded that “the main items. for the rites are fine oil, water, honey, odorous plants (and) hemp [qunubu]”. As was mentioned, the symbol behind kind Esarhaddon, which also appears in numerous other depictions, has “in modern literature on the subject. [,been] often described as the tree of life. but unfortunately no texts are known which describe in more detail the contents of these pictures” (Ringgren 1973). Scholarly suggestions thus far for the botanical identity of the Tree of Life motif have been that it is a completely mythical tree that it is a stylized palm tree and that it depicts a combination between the pine and lotus.

Like wise, not one single item from all of the existing ancient pictorial inscriptions has ever been suggested as an illustration of the ancient qunubu, which by all accounts played a very important role in both life and worship in the ancient Near East. Moreover, the use of cannabis is particularly tied to the rights, which are what the aforementioned inscriptions represent. This study proposes that the unidentified symbol of the sacred plant, and the undepicted plant for the word qunubu, are in fact a word and picture that describe the same thing---Cannabis, which was grown and revered as the Tree of Life in the ancient Near East

The reason that this connection has not been noted before may be due to the fact that in the Ancient Near East matters involving religious and technical methods were considered closely guarded secrets. Professor H.W.F. Saggs noted that texts dealing with such matters ended with instructions such as “Let the initiate show the initiate the non-initiate shall not see it. It belongs to the tabooed things of the great gods”. Such holy knowledge was generally not written down but rather passed along verbally or was “written in a manner which was deliberately obscure. ” (Saggs 1969). The image of the Tree of Life and its divine association with the king, as well as the use of cannabis as a holy incense and entheogen both fall into such a category.

Amongst the first to connect the sacred and unnamed tree in Assyrian art with the mythical Tree of Life, was Sir A.H. Layard, who described and commented on the symbol over a century and a half ago. “I recognized in it the holy tree, or tree of life, so universally adored at the remotest period in the East, and which was preserved in the religious systems of the Persians to the final overthrow of their Empire. The flowers were formed by seven petals” (Layard 1856). The “seven petals”, referred to by Layard, can be seen to be more likely stylized depictions of seven distinct spears of the cannabis leaves. Likewise, the pine cone-like objects held by the figures often surrounding the plant, represent the pinecone like buds of the sacred qunubu.

Behind the sacred tree and Esarhaddon in fig. 1, sits the Bull of Creation, while below are the early tools of ancient agriculture perhaps indicating an intimate connection between the three symbols, Carl Sagan has speculated that early man may have begun the agricultural age by first planting hemp. Sagan used the pygmies from south west Africa to demonstrate his hypothesis, as the pygmies had been basically hunters an gatherers until they began planting hemp, which they used for religious purposes. (Sagan 1977)

As the oldest known piece of woven fiber was made from hemp, along with the fact that the agricultural history of cannabis, extends far-back beyond recorded history, one could speculate with Dr, Sagan that cannabis was indeed the first crop of ancient man. Cannabis hybridizing, whether for narcotic or fiber purposes, is certainly known to predate recorded history. Indeed, with its useful fiber , nutritious seeds, and fragrant incense it could have easily been conceived of as a Tree of Life in the ancient world. In line with this view, are the words of the feminist Biblical scholar Tikva Frymer-Kenshky, which would seem to indicate an intimate connection between weaving and the forbidden tree, possibly hinting at a candidate offering both entheogenic and fibrous properties.

The coming of knowledge is stated very simply: “the eyes of both of them were opened and they perceived that they were naked”, a category they had not perceived in their childlike innocence, but, in addition, they are now able to sew themselves loincloths out of the available big leaves. Somehow the knowledge, has come with the eating of the fruit of the knowledge of all things. (Frymer-kenshky 1992).


Considering this fibrous and entheogenic connection of the forbidden tree, it is also of interest to note the ponderings of William Emboden: “The earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia brewed intoxicating beer of barley more than 5000 years ago is it not much to assume that even earlier cultures experienced euphoria, accidentally or deliberately, through inhalation of the resinous smoke of cannabis while clothed in the coarse fibers of its stem” (Emboden 1972). As Harvard University Professor of ethnobotany, Richard Evans Schultes has commented: “Early man experimented with all plant materials that he could chew and could not have avoided discovering the properties of cannabis (marijuana), for in his quest for seeds and oil, he certainly ate the sticky tops of the plant. Upon eating hemp, the euphoric, ecstatic and hallucinatory aspects may have introduced man to the otherworldly plane from which emerged religious beliefs, perhaps even the concept of deity. The plant became accepted as a special gift of the gods, a sacred medium for communion with the spiritual world and as such it as remained in some cultures to the present.” We can be sure that such effects were attributed to the plant by its ancient Near Eastern partakers, just as they have been by partakers of the plant the world over.

Engravings from the time of Assurbanipal, another ancient Assyrian king associated with cannabis, also depict the sacred tree shown in the basalt of his father, King Esarhaddon. Professor Widengren postulates that every temple had a holy grove, or garden with a Tree of Life that was taken care of by the king, who functioned as a 'master-gardener'. By watering and caring for the Tree of Life, the king gained power over life (Widengren 1951. As a scribe of the Assyrian king Assurbanipal recorded in 650 B.C.: “We were dead dogs, but our lord the king gave us life by placing the herb of life beneith our noses,” (Ringgren 1973). This last points to an incense, and by its name, the “her of life”, we can easily visualize it as the plant depicted in the ancient stone engravings. Interestingly, we find that Assurbanipal's ancient cuneiform library contained recies for hashish incense which “are generally regarded as copies of much older texts” and this archeological evidence “serves to project the origins of hashish back to the earliest beginnings of history.”. (Walton 1972)

pp. 12-15 Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible by Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen (2001)The reason that this connection has not been noted before may be due to the fact that in the Ancient Near East matters involving religious and technical methods were considered closely guarded secrets. Professor H.W.F. Saggs noted that texts dealing with such matters ended with instructions such as “Let the initiate show the initiate the non-initiate shall not see it. It belongs to the tabooed things of the great gods”. Such holy knowledge was generally not written down but rather passed along verbally or was “written in a manner which was deliberately obscure. ” (Saggs 1969). The image of the Tree of Life and its divine association with the king, as well as the use of cannabis as a holy incense and entheogen both fall into such a category.

Amongst the first to connect the sacred and unnamed tree in Assyrian art with the mythical Tree of Life, was Sir A.H. Layard, who described and commented on the symbol over a century and a half ago. “I recognized in it the holy tree, or tree of life, so universally adored at the remotest period in the East, and which was preserved in the religious systems of the Persians to the final overthrow of their Empire. The flowers were formed by seven petals” (Layard 1856). The “seven petals”, referred to by Layard, can be seen to be more likely stylized depictions of seven distinct spears of the cannabis leaves. Likewise, the pine cone-like objects held by the figures often surrounding the plant, represent the pinecone like buds of the sacred qunubu.

Behind the sacred tree and Esarhaddon in fig. 1, sits the Bull of Creation, while below are the early tools of ancient agriculture perhaps indicating an intimate connection between the three symbols, Carl Sagan has speculated that early man may have begun the agricultural age by first planting hemp. Sagan used the pygmies from south west Africa to demonstrate his hypothesis, as the pygmies had been basically hunters and gatherers until they began planting hemp, which they used for religious purposes. (Sagan 1977)

As the oldest known piece of woven fiber was made from hemp, along with the fact that the agricultural history of cannabis, extends far-back beyond recorded history, one could speculate with Dr, Sagan that cannabis was indeed the first crop of ancient man. Cannabis hybridizing, whether for narcotic or fiber purposes, is certainly known to predate recorded history. Indeed, with its useful fiber , nutritious seeds, and fragrant incense it could have easily been conceived of as a Tree of Life in the ancient world. In line with this view, are the words of the feminist Biblical scholar Tikva Frymer-Kenshky, which would seem to indicate an intimate connection between weaving and the forbidden tree, possibly hinting at a candidate offering both entheogenic and fibrous properties.

The coming of knowledge is stated very simply: “the eyes of both of them were opened and they perceived that they were naked”, a category they had not perceived in their childlike innocence, but, in addition, they are now able to sew themselves loincloths out of the available big leaves. Somehow the knowledge, has come with the eating of the fruit of the knowledge of all things. (Frymer-kenshky 1992).


Considering this fibrous and entheogenic connection of the forbidden tree, it is also of interest to note the ponderings of William Emboden: “The earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia brewed intoxicating beer of barley more than 5000 years ago is it not much to assume that even earlier cultures experienced euphoria, accidentally or deliberately, through inhalation of the resinous smoke of cannabis while clothed in the coarse fibers of its stem” (Emboden 1972). As Harvard University Professor of ethnobotany, Richard Evans Schultes has commented: “Early man experimented with all plant materials that he could chew and could not have avoided discovering the properties of cannabis (marijuana), for in his quest for seeds and oil, he certainly ate the sticky tops of the plant. Upon eating hemp, the euphoric, ecstatic and hallucinatory aspects may have introduced man to the otherworldly plane from which emerged religious beliefs, perhaps even the concept of deity. The plant became accepted as a special gift of the gods, a sacred medium for communion with the spiritual world and as such it as remained in some cultures to the present.” We can be sure that such effects were attributed to the plant by its ancient Near Eastern partakers, just as they have been by partakers of the plant the world over.

Engravings from the time of Assurbanipal, another ancient Assyrian king associated with cannabis, also depict the sacred tree shown in the basalt of his father, King Esarhaddon. Professor Widengren postulates that every temple had a holy grove, or garden with a Tree of Life that was taken care of by the king, who functioned as a 'master-gardener'. By watering and caring for the Tree of Life, the king gained power over life (Widengren 1951. As a scribe of the Assyrian king Assurbanipal recorded in 650 B.C.: “We were dead dogs, but our lord the king gave us life by placing the herb of life beneath our noses,” (Ringgren 1973). This last points to an incense, and by its name, the “her of life”, we can easily visualize it as the plant depicted in the ancient stone engravings. Interestingly, we find that Assurbanipal's ancient cuneiform library contained recipes for hashish incense which “are generally regarded as copies of much older texts” and this archaeological evidence “serves to project the origins of hashish back to the earliest beginnings of history.”. (Walton 1972)

pp. 12-15 Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible by Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen (2001)


So this spider walks into a pine cone.

On a sunny day in late May 2008, I went on a spider collecting field trip to Swauk Prairie outside of Cle Elum, Washington, with Laurel Ramseyer, a friend and field volunteer. The weather forecast called for "breezy." We'd have called it downright windy!

It was difficult to collect spiders with the wind blowing away anything loose and exposed. I did manage to sift nine spider species from hawthorn leaf litter, but only swept six species from the rippling sea of grass. Laurel had similar troubles.

Then Laurel saw a spider run into a large fallen pine cone (probably to get out of the wind), so she picked up the pine cone and started to whack it inside her net in an attempt to collect the spider. It worked! We were in a Ponderosa pine woodland with a lot of pine cones so she continued whacking more cones and eventually added three good species to that site's spider list.

Euryopis formosa spider in pine cone, July 10, 2011, Thunder Lake, Yakima County, Washington.

This small beginning led to a major obsession for Laurel and she began using this method at other sites. To date she has whacked nearly 7,000 pine cones inside a heavy-duty net held against her leg, looking for the pine cone spider fauna that she, in a sense, discovered. Laurel (with a little help from me) collected 1,060 spiders from 4,600 eastern Washington pine cones between 2008 and 2013. I identified the spiders and added them to the Burke's collection.

Euryopis formosa spider on pine cone scale, June 4, 2011, Teanaway Campground, Kittitas County, Washington.

Laurel sorting a pine cone beat sample, May 18, 2011, Moloy Road on Wenas Creek, Yakima County, Washington.

Pine cone with spider web, June 22, 2011, Thirteenmile Creek, Ferry County, Washington.

As it turns out, no spider species were previously recorded as collected from pine cones. Discovering a new spider species is relatively common, but discovering a whole new spider habitat—that's really something! Some spiders evidently live in pine cones long-term, while others just use them to molt, lay eggs and rest when not out hunting. Or they wander in at random like that first one Laurel saw back at Swauk Prairie.

The spider we most commonly found in Washington pine cones was Euryopis formosa, a beautiful creature with a dark heart shape inside a bright silver patch on the abdomen. Sampling pine cones more than quadrupled the number of E. formosa specimens in the Burke spider collection—it was found at 47% of sampling sites!

This was the first study to describe the spider fauna of fallen pine cones and now there are 89 species recorded in our published paper, including two species never found in Washington state before. Spiders are everywhere—even in pine cones!


Watch the video: Dreaming of Pierced Ears and Pine Cones