The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

The Disappearing Fruit Trees of Crimea

Five entries in the master list of Crimean trees do not appear in the garden registers of 1793. What is this "master list" you ask? 


Karl Gablits composed the list and published it as part of his Physical Description of Tavrida Province in 1785. The list of fruit-bearing trees (he composed a separate list of decorative trees) contains twenty-one entries. Sixteen appear in the garden registers of 1793 and therefore in the Glorious Glossary of (Fruit) Trees.

So which trees disappeared?

#1: The Apricot (абрикос; Prunus Armeniaca)
Gablits describes the apricot as likewise ubiquitous, especially around Staryi Krym and Sudak.
#2: The Pomegranate (гранат; Punica granatus)
Gablits admits that this one is more particular, growing only in the coastal gardens of the south, though they grow wild in the forests as well. The pomegranate is known for its medicinal properties. Any good apothecary would be pleased to get his hands on some.
#3: The Red Currant (красная смородина; Ribes rubrum)
These are found only at Bahcesaray, though they grow there in large numbers.
#4: The Cornelian Cherry (кизил; Cornus mascula)
Gablits claims it is absolutely everywhere: in every garden, in every forest, on every mountain.
#5: The Hackberry (каркас; Celtis orientalis)
Gablits tell us it thrives from Balaklava to Yalta and is happiest on stony southern ground. The berries have medicinal properties.

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