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Arbor Day

"The oak tree:
not interested
in cherry blossoms."

~ The Oak Tree, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

The Crann Bethadh, the Celtic Tree of Life, symbolises the interconnectedness of life through the branching of trees. Arbor Day is celebrated worldwide on various dates, and many spring celebrations are held in the April/May timeframe marked by the planting of trees. Since ancient days, trees have been used to represent life, growth, wisdom, prosperity and more in legends, poetry, literature, and religion. Hazel, rowan, elder, hawthorn, yew, ash, and the oak were some of the most revered and sacred of the trees to the ancient Celts, and the oak particularly was worshipped and associated with the god of thunder or lightning! For centuries, oak has been prized for its hardness and strength and is preferred for use in barrels for aging brandy, Irish whiskey, Scotch whisky and Bourbon whiskey! Today, the oak tree serves as the national tree of the United States, England, Wales, Denmark, Germany, and others, and hosts a variety of wildlife including squirrels, chipmunks, and birds! This tartan was inspired by the Canadian Bur Oak, with a mixture of fall colours of yellow, browns, and the occasional green leaf. 🐿️ 🌰 🌳🍃

Today, many countries celebrate arbor day, usually in the spring. The customary observance is to plant a tree. On the first Arbor Day in the United States, April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted.

There are approximately 600 extant species of oaks in the world.  North America contains the largest number of oak species, with approximately 90 occurring in the United States, while Mexico has 160 species of which 109 are endemic. The second greatest center of oak diversity is China, which contains approximately 100 species.  The live oaks are distinguished for being evergreen, but are not actually a distinct group and instead are dispersed across the genus.   

Oak wood great strength and hardness, resistance to insect and fungal attack, and attractive grain  made it much used for planking on high status Viking longships in the 9th and 10th centuries. 

In addition to the United States, many other countries have also designated the oak as their national tree including Bulgaria, Cyprus (GoldenOak), England, Estonia, France, Germany, Moldova, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Wales.

By designer, Carol A.L. Martin, she notes: "Reminiscent of the mighty oak trees I grew up with in Southern Ontario. Believe it or not, there are oak trees in Northern Alberta where I now live. Only one variety will survive our winters - Bur Oak. This time of year, the leaves are predominantly yellow, with only the odd green one, which gave me this idea."

To learn more about famous oak trees in the world, click the spreading branches!

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