The Iconic Tree gracing the centre-side of the Leila Playa swimming pool, has stood sentinel from the opening days of the Club, and each year a new set of branches appear at the top, seemingly ever reaching upwards.
The tree has finally been identified by Senor Curro Zambrana a Biologist working at Dona Lola, and gives guided tours of the gardens (besides his other duties) discussing and identifying the plants.
The Tree is an “Araucaria Excelsa”, or also called “Araucaria Heterophylla”, and is a member of the Pine Tree family.
The common Spanish name for “our” tree is “Pino de Norfolk”, and was discovered by Captain Cook in A.D.1774, near Australia. Captain James Cook (1728-1779) Navigatar, born in Marton, North Yorkshire. He spent several years as a seaman in North Sea vessels, then joined the English Navy in 1755, became Master in 1759. He surveyed the area around the St. Lawrence River near Quebec, then in the “Endeavour” carried the “Royal Society” expedition to Tahiti to observe the transit of the planet Venus across the sun (1768-71).
He circumnavigated New Zealand and charted parts of Australia. In his second voyage he sailed round Antarctica (1772-5) and discovered several Pacific island groups, and The Norfolk Island off the East Coast of Australia. The island was used from 1788 to 1814 as a Penal Colony, and much later the “Norfolk Island” was settled in 1856 by some of the descendants of the mutineers from “The Bounty” to ease overcrowding on Pitcairn Island.
Thus “our tree” has a fabulous ancestry retained in its Spanish name “Pino (pine) de Norfolk”.
The tree grew naturally on the island of Norfolk, and Captain James Cook realized its value for the use as Sailing Ships masts, and I can but assume, that with the help of members of the Royal Society, “pine-cones” or seeds were collected and brought back to Europe and seemingly to Spain, for cultivation.
I for one will raise my sailors Tricorn Hat to “our tree”, for the history that surrounds it, and wish it many more years of elegant growth.
As a final connection, when you study “Pino de Norfolk”, note the formation of the branch ends which seem as bunches of fingers on outstretched arms, so like a Restaurant Waiter issuing forth from the kitchens, with outstretched arms of plated meals and so I believe it has been nicknamed “The Waiter Tree”.
I’ll let you think of the possible connection with Curro Zambrana and of our Staff and our Tree