Christmas is coming,
Everywhere you can see Christmas trees with "snowflakes" and colorful lights,
What exactly is a Christmas tree?
Why do they become symbols of Christmas?
In human history, there are many plants used as Christmas trees, which is also the result of people using local materials. Later, the important task of the Christmas tree fell to a group of plants of Picea and Abies, especially Abies, which came from behind and became the main members of the Christmas tree.
At present, the main Christmas tree species used in Europe include Abies alba, Abies nordmanniana, Abies procera, Picea abies, Picea omorika, and a small amount of Pinus sylvestris. As for North America, Abies balsamea, Abies fraseri, Abies grandis, Abies procera, and Pseudotsuga menziesii are mainly used as materials for Christmas trees.
The reason why members of Abies and Picea become the main force of Christmas trees is that they have done a good job of "fixing hair". The leaves can not only remain green, but also hang on the branches for a long time, which is suitable for long-term decoration, and can even be used in the next year, as long as there is enough storage space.
Nowadays, the planting and commercial sales of Christmas trees have become a big business. Such strong consumer demand has given birth to the Christmas tree farm. Yes, it is a special forest farm dedicated to the production of Christmas trees.
As early as 1998, there were 5000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and about one third of them were farmers who "cut and choose"; In the same year, Americans spent 1.5 billion dollars on the Christmas tree project. Generally speaking, Christmas Tree Farm will select suitable fir and spruce saplings for a long period of cultivation. It takes about 6 years from saplings to logging.
Cutting fir trees as Christmas trees seems to be a less environmentally friendly behavior. In fact, this behavior is more environmentally friendly than the use of plastic Christmas trees. British researchers made a comparative analysis of the carbon emissions generated in the production, transportation and sales of two types of Christmas trees. The results showed that consuming a natural Christmas tree would produce an average of 3.5 kg of carbon dioxide, while consuming a plastic Christmas tree of the same size would produce 48.3 kg of carbon dioxide. Although plastic Christmas trees can be reused, they must be reused at least 12 times to keep the same carbon dioxide as natural Christmas trees. I'm afraid that few families can find the antique Christmas tree in their home after 12 years.
In addition, during the cultivation of Christmas trees, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is used and temporarily fixed in the body. From this perspective, the use of natural Christmas trees is a more environmentally friendly thing.
In addition to the Christmas tree, mistletoe and European holly are the main plants in the Christmas wreath.
According to Western tradition, under the branches of mistletoe, boys can kiss their favorite girls, and girls can't refuse, which adds a bit of romance to mistletoe. However, mistletoe in real life is not romantic. They are typical parasitic plants, usually parasitic on big trees such as apple trees and poplar trees. Mistletoe sticks its roots into the vascular bundles of big trees and lives on the water, minerals and other nutrients provided by big trees. When the flowers bloom and bear fruit, the birds swallow the fruits of their flesh, and the seeds are mixed in the feces and taken to distant places to start a new parasitic.
As for another Christmas plant, European holly has a lot to do. Their red fruits hanging on the branches in the cold winter add a bit of excitement to Christmas. Although it is called holly, the appearance of European holly is different from what we usually call holly (Euonymus japonicus and Euonymus japonicus).
The sharp spines on the edge of the leaves of European holly can make ordinary herbivores retreat. However, European holly is not strict with all animals. For example, their red fruits are prepared for birds. Like cherries, medlar, hawthorn, etc., the wild fruits that these birds like to peck are bright red. After birds eat red fruits, they will naturally help European holly plant seeds.
Christmas plants are born for festivals and are independent of festivals, which is probably the charm of annual plants. When the holidays are over and life is calm again. All life will go on as usual, the sun will shine on the green leaves as usual, and the new year will begin soon.