Talking Trees

A Blog by John Halkett

Tag: Peru

‘Powder of the Devil’ … the revolutionary cure for malaria

Cinchona Tree

Now the national tree of Peru and Ecuador, Cinchona changed the course of world history. There are more than 20 species of this impressive 25 metre tree with large, shiny, conspicuously veined leaves and deliciously fragrant, white to lilac-pink flowers that grow in small clusters, generally pollinated by butterflies and hummingbirds. But the tree’s real claim to fame is the effectiveness of its bark for treating malaria.

In the early seventeenth century, when Spanish colonists and Jesuit missionaries

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Jungle trees and Pope Francis

Fig (Ficus spp.) tree in front of a Catholic church.

Recently been working in Peru where there is much excitement about the upcoming visit by Pope Francis in this almost universally Catholic country. Also of course Peru is famed as Amazon jungle country. Peru is the fourth largest tropical forest country on the planet. Half of Peru’s land base is classified as forest, the vast majority of which is in the Amazon basin. Its Amazon forests are one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. Deforestation in Peru has traditionally been very low

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