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18 April 2017

The Weight of Trees

April’s got its share of religious holidays (Easter, Passover) and mathematical exercises (taxes). But it’s also the official month of Earth, with a capital E.

April 22 is Earth Day—I do believe that’s something you should acknowledge every waking day, however.

April 28 is Arbor Day. The word “arbor” may be a bit of a snore but its significance is substantial. After all, it is the very time to hug a tree openly and wildly. Trees deserve it and this is their day. They give us oxygen, beauty, shelter, stability, and, the carat measurement. Yes, as in jewelry carats.

Until a fateful encounter in Mallorca, I didn’t realize that the tree Ceratonia silique had a deep connection with my industry. Forty years in the business and bam, I learned that in ye days of old, the seeds from the Carob tree, part of the pea family, were the origin of carats . Carob seeds were used for precision weighing of gold and gemstones, since it was thought that carobseeds had a uniform weight. The modern carat, known as the metric carat, was adopted in 1907 and defined as a weight of 200 m.


AND Holy 17 Carats, people! In 2006, five scientists gathered on the Spanish island in the Balearic Sea to measure the size of the seeds of carob trees, determining whether the carat measurement is a myth or the real deal. Their findings, which reek of coconut sunscreen, are documented in four pages published by The Royal Society. Is that a red wine spill I see on page 3 or pomegranate seed mush? May the carobs bless them for embarking on this VIR (very important research). Curiosity is a trait under used.

This month, spark your curiosity about the tree. What about the one you pass every day? Take a photo, tag me @janetmavec and  #unusualtrees with a weird fact, because, you know, it’s time to put trees on a pedestal.