The Nutmeg Tree Essay

1165 words - 5 pages

Many countries on this planet have a national flower, some have a national tree, and others even have a ‘national animal.’ Yes, all of these are true about my home, my gem, my sweet paradise – Grenada. However, how many nations have a plant, that the country is nicknamed after it – not much. So powerful is that plant, my home is nicknamed after it – the isle of spice. That tree is the nutmeg tree. If I were to explain to you the importance of that tree, I may spend eternity. Therefore, over the next couple chapters, I will attempt to discuss, some of its ecological, cultural and personal connections.
“The nutmeg tree is evergreen, with oblong egg-shaped leaves and small, bell-like light ...view middle of the document...

Climbing those trees was the highlight of my childhood. In time when we knew little about computers and absolutely nothing about video games, the nutmeg tree became not only mine but that of the other kids in the neighborhood’s best friend. Though I could not have done it and probably never will, some of my friends displayed their acrobatic abilities like Bruce Lee would do in a film. Some of them even leap from one tree to another. I remember as a kid growing up in rural Grenada, where agriculture was our main source of income. Every Saturday morning, I will have to be awake by six. The first words I will hear was not good morning or how are you but rather it was time to get up we have to go to the mountain. Yes, I have to admit, it was like a pain in the butt. However, it was fun. I cannot imagine what my weekends would be like without the aroma of the nutmeg. To my grandma, it was therapeutic. In the days following the death of my grand dad, smelling the sweet scent of the nutmeg was all she needed to make her day. To her, the nutmeg had some mystical healing properties. Speaking with some of the villagers, they will tell you that just the look of a bearing nutmeg tree is therapeutic. The beauty, the wonder, the nutmeg, the mace, everything about it is just heavenly.
The Myristica fragrans both a sexually and asexually reproducing plant – though the latter is as of late – was first introduced to Grenada by Hon. Frank Gurney in 1846. (The Nutmeg Story, 1967). He planted the first tree on the Belvidere estate in St. Johns. Researchers believe that the main form of natural reproduction which is sexually is often carried out by insects such as the moth and the beetle. Another belief is that the trees are pollinated via the wind. (Hetzer, 2007). This is more or less a mutualistic relationship, the insects have a place to live temporarily while in search for food and the trees are pollinated.
On September 7th, 2004, a category 4 hurricane Ivan swept the spice isle destroying 85% of the nutmeg crop. This showed how vulnerable the plant is to severe weather.
Prior to 2004, agriculture was the main source of revenue for the government. As a matter of fact, in 1950, one third of Grenada’s produce was in surplus of global demand. (The Nutmeg Story, 1967). Fast forward...

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