Woody Plants of Pompeii

Woody Plants of Pompeii
The volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. preserved the town of Pompeii. The scientific methods used in the study of garden archaeology has enabled archaeologists to identify the plant species that were grown in Pompeii and the surrounding countryside. Some of the useful plants that have been identified thus far include the following.

The European blackberry fruit has many uses. It is eaten fresh, and made into jams, juice, and wine. In addition, it has been used to add color to wines as well. The leaves have been used in home remedies and serve as a tea.

Various kinds of roses were grown in the landscapes of Pompeii. In addition to their exquisite beauty and scent, the flowers have various uses. In the area, two species of roses were grown along with several varieties. The two species were the apothecary rose or French rose and the cabbage rose.

The apothecary rose was useful indeed. The rose petals were preserved in syrup or crystallized. The dried petals were added to various drinks, including teas, as well as to honey and baked goods.

The cabbage rose is widely used as a cut flower. It petals were preserved in syrup. The buds were made into jams and pickles. The petals were added to honey, wine, teas, and vinegar.

The orchards and landscapes in Pompeii featured various kinds of fruit trees. These included apples, peaches, sour cherries, and eight varieties of pears. In addition, a number of almond varieties were cultivated as well.

Regarding figs, these must have been a great favorite for there were five varieties being grown in the area.

The strawberry tree is a gorgeous and useful tree. This shrub or small tree yields edible fruits. These show up in preserves, and are made into wine and other alcoholic drinks.

Bark of the strawberry tree has been used for medicinal purposes. The fruits, bark, and berries are used in tanning.

One of the most common trees in Pompeii happened to be the olive for olive oil was a major crop. The olives also served as food. The pomace yields a second type of oil used for various purposes, and also provides a gum as well.

The carob or St. John’s bread tree yields edible fruits. These were also made into alcohol and fed to cattle and horses. The seeds were roasted and made into drinks. In addition, the fruits have various medicinal uses and are the source of a molasses.

Wood from the carob tree has various uses. This also provides a gum.

Grapes were a major crop in the town of Pompeii. This along with olive were two of the main food plants being grown at the time.

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