Today, it is winter.
In the city, much of yesterday’s snow has succumbed to freezing, thawing, cars, bicycles or pedestrians.
Still, especially in gardens and on trees, still snow. And treacherous icy spots on roads.
One of the biggest and oldest trees in the botanical garden is a Taxus baccata L. Its name in English is European yew tree.
The L. behind the Latin name means this is a special tree species. The L. stands for Carolus Linnaeus, the famous eighteenth century Swedish naturalist. Linnaeus designed the scientific names system for living organisms still in use now. But Linnaeus named only a small minority of species known today. The European yew tree is one species of that special minority.
Linnaeus visited this botanical garden in the eighteenth century. Did he see this tree, then a lot smaller, and did it inspire him to give its species a name?
I don’t know the exact age of this specimen, I don’t know whether it already was there in the eighteenth century. But I can certainly see it is old, and much taller than average yew trees.
The big yew tree has many red berries. They attract many birds. Blackbirds. Song thrushes. Ring-necked parakeets (see the female on the two photos).
A collared pigeon.
There is ice on the canal. The ice is still thin. A passing passenger boat breaks it, pushing it aside. No need of an icebreaker for that yet.
The small pond near the source of the brook is frozen. So is the big carp pond, where the brook flows into. The brook itself is not frozen, it streams.
A group of six great cormorants flying overhead.
In the rose garden, two greenfinches.
In the smaller yew trees in the garden of the old university library, not so many birds today.
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