Tag Archives: flora

The “heather on the hill” in Scotland

Balmoral is the Scottish home to the British Royal Family. At certain times of the year the rugged terrain of the region is ablaze with the famous “heather on the hill” that we learned about in Brigadoon. Our photo below was made near Balmoral in mid-September, 2007.

"Heather on the hill" near Balmoral, Scotland. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

“Heather on the hill” near Balmoral, Scotland. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Hoping to grow frankincense in the Arava of Israel

Botanist Dr. Elaine Solowey is already known to us for the successful sprouting of a 2,000 year old date palm. See here.

Matthew Kalman reports that she is now trying her hand at growing frankincense in the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.

“This is the first frankincense tree to set seed in Israel in 1500 years,” Dr Solowey told me as she presented the tiny sapling for its first public photo-call this week. “It was necessary to bring this variety back to the country because the last people growing these trees near the Dead Sea left and the trees left with them.”

Frankincense tree, Salalah, Oman.

Frankincense tree, Salalah, Oman.

In biblical times, frankincense, myrrh  and balm of Gilead were used among the ingredients of the incense used in Solomon’s Temple (1 Chronicles 9:29-30). Solowey and other scientists are examining the medical uses of these products.

Every student of the New Testament remembers the gifts brought by the Magi (wise men) to Jesus.

As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11 NET)

Our photo show frankincense displayed at Avdat, a Nabatean site along the ancient incense route. Frankincense is linked with gold in Isaiah 60:6, and is considered a great value.

Frankincense on the ancient spice route at Avdat, Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Frankincense on the ancient spice route at Avdat, Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

To read all of Kalman’s informative article, see here.

We have written about frankincense and myrrh, with more photos and details, here and here and here.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer

The pods that the pigs were eating

In the parable of the young prodigal and his older brother, Luke says that when the younger brother ran out of money he would gladly have eaten the pods the pigs were eating.

He was longing to eat the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. (Luke 15:16 NET)

BDAG says that the word keration (translated pod) in used in the plural “of the fruits of the carob tree, carob pods.” Louw-Nida states that the word is “a diminutive derivative of keras which means horn. They add,

the pod of the carob tree (which closely resembles a small horn.…Carob pods were commonly used for fattening swine and were employed as an article of food by poor people.

The first photo shows dried pods from the Carob tree.

Carob pods near the Valley of Aijalon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Carob pods near the Valley of Aijalon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Some nutritionists suggest that carob is high in protein content and is a good substitute for chocolate.

The next photo shows dried pods underneath a Carob tree. Having been brought up on a farm, I can easily image the pigs rooting in these pods to get the best one.

Dried carob pods under a tree at Hazor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dried carob pods under a tree at Hazor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The prodigal son came to himself and headed for home. There is a good lesson in this for each of us when we become too attached to the things of this world (1 John 2:15).