Oriental Plane

(Platanus orientalis) Some authorities say that this is the "chestnut" of the Bible (for example, Hutchinson & Melville); whether true or not, the tree was held in the greatest esteem in ancient times. Philosophers taught beneath the tree, and so it acquired a reputation as one of the seats of learning (Dyer. 1889). It was too the symbol of genius, and magnificence, and also of charity, in Christian art (Ferguson). It must have been a universe tree, for Durrell records the Corfu legend that on the ten days preceding Good Friday, all the Kallikanzaroi in the underworld are engaged simultaneously upon the task of sawing through the giant plane tree whose trunk is supposed to hold up the world. Every year they almost succeed, except that the cry "Christ has arisen" saves us all by restoring the tree, and driving them up into the real world. It is a protector, too, as Evelyn points out: "Whether for any virtue extraordinary in the shade, or other propitious influence issuing from them, a worthy knight, who stay'd at Isphahan in Persia, when that famous city was infested with a raging pestilence, told me, that since they have planted a greater number of these noble trees about it, the plague has not come nigh their dwellings".

When Greek lovers had to separate for a while, we are told, they used to exchange the halves of a plane leaf. Each half was carefully kept until they met again, and the whole leaf had to be made up (Gubernatis).

Origanum dictamnus > DITTANY

Origanum vulgare > MARJORAM

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