Fjuri indiġeni Maltin 1– Il-Ħannewija

August 16, 2013

logoSocjetà Filarmonika Nicolò Isouard – Festa Santa Marija 2013

Il­-Ħannewija (Achantus mollis)  Bear’s breeches

 Alfred E. Baldacchino

 Il­-ħannewija hija pjanta indiġena fir­-reġjun tal­-Mediterran u tinfirex mill­-Portugal u l­-majjistral tal­-Afrika sal­-Kroazja. Hija pjanta indiġena wkoll fil­-gżejjer Maltin, fejn tħaddar is­-sena kollha u tikber minn sena għall­-oħra minn riżoma, li tixbah għerq taħt l­-art.

L­-isem xjentifiku ta’ din il-­pjanta Acanthus mollis ġej mill-­Grieg u mil-Latin. Acanthus tfisser xewka, minħabba l­-weraq modifikati (sepals) iniggżu li jdawru l-­fjura, filwaqt li mollis ġejja mil­-Latin minħabba l­-weraq lixxi tagħha.

Weraq, fjuri,  u żerriegħa

Il­-ħannewija togħla bejn 30 u­ 80 ċm, saħansitra 180 ċm bit-­tul tal-­fjuri. Hi tifrex madwar metru wiesa’. Il-­weraq jinħassu rotob meta tmisshom, u jikbru mill­-qiegħ tal­-pjanta. Huma ħodor skuri jleqqu, u matul parti mix­-xifer tagħhom sa nofs il-­werqa jkollhom qtugħ qishom swaba’. Il-weraq huma madwar 40 ċm twal b’25 ċm wiesa’ u jikbru fuq għonq twil.

Il­fjuri-tal­ħannewija

Il­-fjuri tal-­ħannewija

Il-­fjuri sbieħ tagħha, li jistgħu jdumu jwarrdu għal madwar ħmistax­-il ġurnata, huma vjola u bojod u jikbru fuq magħseb dritt u twil. Wieħed jista’ jara dawn il-­fjuri minn madwar Marzu sa Ġunju. Ġo fihom hemm erba’ għenuq irġiel li fil-­ponta tagħhom iġorru t­-trab tad­-dakkra, u li jixbhu pniezel żgħar. L-­istess fjuri jġorru l-­ovarji nisa li jagħtu bidu biex isawru ż­-żerriegħa. Il-­fjuri jkunu mdakkra permezz tan-­naħal u tal-­bombli (bumble bees) li huma kbar u b’saħħithom biżżejjed biex jidħlu fil-­fjura sabiex jilħqu l-­għasel fil-­qiegħ tagħha.

Dan il-­bukkett fjuri jikber fuq magħseb tond għoli bejn 30 sa 40 ċm, li jista’ jkollu fuqu sa 120 fjura. Il-­fjuri li fihom 5 ċm, huma f’għamla ta’ tubu, bil­-petali bojod b’vini vjola fir-­roża. Dawn ikunu mdawra bi tliet werqiet, ħodor jew vjola skur, dik tan-­nofs tkun tniggeż aktar mit-­tnejn l-­oħra. Kull waħda minn dawn għandha par xofftejn: ta’ fuq tkun vjola.

Il-­frotta tal-­ħannewija hija ovali forma ta’ bajda, bil-­parti l-­aktar wiesgħa n-­naħa tal­-magħseb. Meta din tinxef tinqasam u tinfetaħ biex iż-­żerriegħa tkun tista’ titferrex. Xi drabi jkunu sparati ‘l barra.

Ambjent naturali

Il-­ħannewija tħobb postijiet kennija b’ħamrija mrammla jew inkella ħamrijia sinjura, u tista’ tikber ukoll f’ħamrija taflija. Tikber f’postijiet xemxija, għalkemm fi klima sħuna tagħżel postijiet kważi dejjem imdella. Pjanti xjuħ lanqas jiddejqu f’ħamrija niexfa jew niedja u jifilħu wkoll għan­-nixfa. Il­-ħannewija tiflaħ temperaturi baxxi sakemm l­-għerq ewlieni jkun magħmul u jikber f’’art li toskula l-­ilma. Imma l­-ħannewija ma tħobbx ħamrija mgħarrqa fl-­ilma u lanqas tħobb tgħaddi x­-xitwa f’’ħamrija dejjem imxarrba. Tinsab tikber kemm fi nħawi dellija kif ukoll taħt siġar ħorfija, jiġifieri, siġar li jinżgħu mill-­weraq fix­-xhur xitwin.

Sakemm taqbad, il­-ħannewija tieħu madwar sentejn, iżda mbagħad tissaħħaħ sewwa u togħla. Il-­weraq jitfaċċaw mill-­art u jikbru b’saħħithom madwar xulxin, u minn nofshom jitfaċċaw il­-fjuri.

Storja u kultura

Il­-ħannewija hija pjanta magħrufa biex iżżejjen u tintuża wkoll fil­-ġonna. Hija waħda mill­-ewwel pjanti li ġew ikkultivati. Kienet tintuża ħafna mill­-Griegi u mir­-Rumani li kienu wkoll ikabbruha fil­-ġonna tagħhom. Il­-ħannewija hija mfittxija ħafna minn dawk li jużaw il­-pjanti biex isebbħu l­-art, għalkemm sfortunatament mhux f’Malta. Hija meqjusa wkoll bħala simbolu tal-­immortalità, u minħabba f’hekk tinsab imnaqqxa ukoll fuq lapidi fiċ­-ċimiterji.

Fdalijiet-Rumani-f’Jerash,-il­Ġordan,-juru-l­irjus-tal­kolonni-mnaqqxa-bil­weraq-tal­ħannewija.

Fdalijiet Rumani f’Jerash, il­-Ġordan, juru l-­irjus tal-­kolonni mnaqqxa bil­-weraq tal-ħannewija

Saħansitra  il­-weraq tagħha nebbħu wkoll lid-­disinjaturi li naqqxuha fl-­għamara, f’manuskritti mpinġija, fil-­ġojjellerija, f’xogħol tal­-metal, injam, xogħol tal-­fidda, ċeramika, stokk u disinji fuq il­-ħitan, u anki f’arkitettura klassika. Naraw li l­-werqa tal­-ħannewija hija waħda mid-disinji l-­aktar użati mill­-qedem sal­-aħħar tas-­seklu dsatax, jekk mhux aktar. Tant kellha seher fil-­passat din il-­pjanta li l­-istudjużi tal-­istorja huma tal-­fehma li l-­weraq tagħha kienu l­-qofol tad­-disinn fl­-irjus tal­-kolonni fl-­arkitettura Grec0-Rumana. Skont manuskritti Rumani, disinji tal-­weraq tal-­ħannewija l-­ewwel li ntużaw fl-­arkitettura stil Korintu fuq ir-­ras tal-­kolnonni. Din  kienet ukoll użata bi ftit tibdil fl-­arti Kristjani u f’dik Biżantina. Wieħed jista’ jara din użata b’sengħa kbira f’xi knejjes f’Firenza, fl-­Italja.

Mediċina tradizzjonali

Bħal ħafna pjanti oħra, il­-weraq u I­-għeruq tal­-ħannewija wkoll kienu użati fil-­mediċina tradizzjonali.

Taħlita magħmula mill­-ħannewija kienet tindilek fuq il­-ġogi biex tgħin il­-muskoli u l­-ligamenti jinġibdu jew jintreħew u b’hekk tgħinhom jerġgħu jsibu l­-post naturali tagħhom fil­-ġisem.

Il­-weraq imfarrak tal­-ħannewija kien jintuża bħala ġbara biex itaffi l­-ħruq u l­-partijiet mismuta fil­-ġisem. Kimika karatteristika tagħha kienet ukoll tintuża biex ittaffi nħawi irritati ġewwa l-­kanal tal-­ikel u postijiet sensittivi oħra tal­-ġisem.

Ir­Rumani wkoll kienu jgħallu l-­għeruq biex jagħmlu ġbajjar biex jikkuraw ħruq, għadam imfekkek, gotta u kontra t­-telf tax-­xagħar.

Tant kienet użata bħala mediċina tradizzjonali fil-­passat li f’xi kunventi qodma fl­-Ewropa għadha tinstab tikber fil­ġonna fi rqajja’ tal­-ħxejjex mediċinali.

Tnissil

Il­-ħannewija tista’ titnissel miż­-żerriegħa hekk kif din tkun saret. Din tnibbet wara xi tlieta jew erba’ ġimgħat u meta n-­nibbieta tkun kbira biżżejjed biex tintrefa’, għandha titħawwel waħda waħda f’qasira. Wara madwar sentejn tista’ titħawwel fl­-art tard fir-­rebbiegħa jew kmieni fis-­sajf. Tista’ wkoll titnissel billi jittieħdu biċċiet mir-­riżoma. Dawn il­-biċċiet għandhom jittieħdu tard fil­-ħarifa jew kmieni fix­-xitwa u wara ftit gimgħat li jitpoġġew fuq il­-ħamrija jidhru l­weraq.

Użu fil­-ġonna

Barra minn pajjiżna il­-ħannewija tintuża ħafna fil­-ġonna u anki fit-tisbiħ ta’ artijiet pubbliċi. Dan jista’ ukoll jibda’ jsir f’pajjiżna u filwaqt li ssebbaħ fejn titħawwel, tgħin ukoll biex tqajjem kuxjenza aktar b’saħħitha favur l­-apprezzament tal-­wirt naturali Malti, kif ukoll tgħin biex ma jinħlewx riżorsi u hekk dawn ikunu jistgħu jintużaw aħjar.

Barra minn Malta, il-­ħannewija, iżżejjen il-­ġonna-pubbliċi bil-­weraq kbar u l-­fjuri sbieħ tagħha.

Barra minn Malta, il-­ħannewija, iżżejjen il-­ġonna pubbliċi bil­-weraq kbar u l-­fjuri sbieħ tagħha.

Fil-­madwar tal­-Mosta il­-ħannewija tista’ titkabbar, fost oħrajn, quddiem iċ­-ċentru ċiviku ħdejn il­-knisja, u anki ngħidu aħna, fil-­gżejjer tat-traffiku mdaqqsa li hemm kif wieħed ikun dieħel jew kif ikun ħiereg mill­-Mosta, u anki matul Vjal l­Indipendenza.

aebaldacchino@gmail.com

 

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Funds down the drain

May 7, 2013


times

Tuesday,  May 7, 2013

Funds down the drain

Alfred E. Baldacchino

A few days ago we visited Seville. The old part, which was once dominated by the Moors, reminded us of Mdina with its defensive walls and gates. We admired the general city’s landscaping amidst the historical and ecological environment, all contributing to the social, ecological and economical fabric.

Fortifications,-Citrus-Trees-and-Bear's-Breeches-safe-from-Malta-Governemnt-Landscapiong-Advisers

Fortifications, Citrus Trees and Bear’s Breeches – safe from Maltese  landscapers and advisors

Walking through the old part along the winding streets, the small squares, alleys and  quarters, we could not help but admire the number of city birds, such as goldfinch, serin, blackbird, sparrow, collared dove, and the odd robin. These avian visitors are attracted to the intertwining trees, which also attracted both locals and tourists, sitting on the shaded benches beneath, undetered and unafraid of any potential bird droppings.

Citrus-trees,-myrtle-box-hedges-and

Myrtle box hedges and Citrus trees with benches in their shade adorn open spaces for the families

In shady corners of the old historical city grew the Bear’s Breeches (ħannewija), while Ivy (liedna) grew lusciously hugging the surrounding walls of open spaces and also those of the fortification walls. The small patches of soil in the squares and open spaces were lined with box hedges of Myrtle (riħan) and Pomegranate (rummien). The smaller open spaces were also graced by other trees amongst which were Judas and Citrus trees. All these flora are Mediterranean indigenous species, found growing also in the Maltese Islands.

Bear's-Breeches-and-Ivy-adorning-Seville's-public-gardens

Bear’s Breeches and Ivy adorn Seville’s public gardens

Outside the fortified city walls, on a larger scale we could admire lines of citrus trees growing in open spaces and also close to the façade of houses and fortifications.  A replica of the landscaping within the old city could also be appreciated on a larger scale outside the city. There was NO lavish spread of turf which would have jarred with the environment, and would have heavily used the rare resource of water.

Citrus-trees-and-Ivy-gracing-old-fortifications-in-Seville-old-quarters.

Citrus trees and Ivy gracing old fortifications in Seville old quarters.

We also encountered some dead palm trees, devastated by the introduced Red Palm Weevil. Contrary to the local approach of cutting down dead palm trees 30 cm off the ground, the Seville palm trees were only decapitated and left for the ivy to climb up to the top, forming a living green column of natural habitat.  Besides, others which were attacked and lost their fronds were treated and could be seen to be shooting anew. We could not help but compare the planning and management of the Seville Government to that of the Maltese Government with regards to the control of the Red Palm Weevil and the protection of the Palm Trees.

A-dead-palm-tree-trunk-springing-to-live-with-ivy

A trunk of a dead palm tree springing to live covered with ivy

Along the Seville roads, busily frequented by buses and coaches we could see how the trees on the pavements were pruned.  These caused no problem to the buses and double deckers stopping beneath, and were managed and sculptured as if they were candle trees or candelabras. So different from the ones in Malta pruned as lollipops or hat stands. Visibly the qualifications required for those pruning trees were more than just knowing how to switch on and wield a chain saw.

driving-through-tree-tops-in-a-double-decker---no-problem

Driving through tree tops in a double-decker —                       no problem

During the past ten years more than €75 million were made available from public funds for ‘landscaping’ in Malta. Unfortunately, because of the lack of social and ecological considerations, most of these went down the drain. And, where there was an established healthy landscaped area on the lines of Seville planning and environmental management, such as the Mdina ditch, this was completely destroyed and eliminated.

a-lesson-in-pruning---with-love-for-trees-from-Seville

A lesson in urban tree pruning — with love for trees from Seville

A few weeks ago there was a change of political guard in Malta, landscaping now featuring in the portfolio of the Minister responsible for Infrastructure and Transport, as opposed to Agriculture under the previous administration.  Hopefully, the new political acumen will demand that social and ecological aspects are given due considerations and importance, at least on the same standing as commercial aspects, so that the previous waste of resources mainly for commercial purposes, and short sightedness will be a thing of the past.

professional-pruning-andlandcaping---NOT-in-Malta

Professional pruning and landcaping one can never see in Malta

NO,-NO,-NO,-NO-this-is-not-Seville.-It-is-the-professional-expert-pruning-and-lanscaping-in-Malta-approved-by-government

NO, NO, NO. This is not Seville. It is the ‘professional’ ‘expert pruning’ and ‘landscaping’ in Malta!

While roaming the Parque de Maria Luisa at Plaza de España, lined with Ivy creeping on boundary walls sheltering Bear’s Breeches, and lined with Myrtle and Pomegranate box hedges around flower beds, we came across a very old tree with a three meter circumference trunk. From a distance we could read a word deeply engraved on its trunk – MALTA – reddish­-brown in colour visibly showing on the light coloured bark.  It was so embarrassing for us to associate with such ‘blissful ignorance’. Unfortunately, this is the result of the exposure and imprinting by the mis­management and lack of appreciation of trees in Malta, something which public funds though substantially available have not yet managed to correct during the last decade.

Maltese-blissful-ignorance-in-Seville

Maltese ‘blissful ignorance’ in Seville. I really felt  the pain of a hanged dog after it was given a bad name.  

Landscaping utilising local indigenous flora, can contribute socially, ecologically and also economically.  These can all work hand in hand. We have so much to learn! The protection and appreciation of trees needs good planning and environmental management, so different from the present blinkered commercial interests.  Such planning and environmental management is a requisite to good governance.

How-to-prune-trees-without-a-chainshaw

Olé, olé Seville trees professionally  pruned  without a chainshaw

I-can-almost-hear-a-Maltese-Minister-shouting

I could almost hear a Maltese politician  screaming his head off  to get the bloody trees removed  as adviced by some local historian and architect, so that they can see the stone-works. Then a commemorative plaque would eventually be erected to commemorate such destruction.  This thought brought scary visionary pictures of  what a Maltese bull can do in a Seville china-shop!      

 SEE ALSO

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/the-garden-at-…ly-inaugurate

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/lets-hide-our-face-in-shame-following-further-news-on-trees-1/?preview=true&preview_id=1479&preview_nonce=0d8c5a776d

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/lets-hide-our-face-in-shame-following-more-information-on-trees-2/?preview=true&preview_id=1520&preview_nonce=64ba89ee2d

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1266&action=edit

aebaldacchino@gmail.com

alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com