Walking away from Palma’s Cathedral on top of old and massive Muralla (the mediaeval city walls) and promenading past the Dalt Murada to the very end, just before you get to the Baluard del Príncep, you will find yourself entering one of Palma’s secret marvels, the Plaça Llorenç Villalonga. The plaza is totally private and residential with no through-traffic, no shops, no bars, nothing but old residential buildings and the back of a splendid church, the Capella de la Casa Mare. The plaza’s position is elevated; peeking over the wall you’ll overlook the beautiful gardens of the Parc de la Mar. Looking out you’ll see the panorama of the Autovia de Llevant, the beauty of the Badia de Palma and the Mediterranean Sea.
What makes the elongated square rather special is the lavish plantation of two dozen large and lushly leaved evergreen trees, the amazing Ombú tree (Phytolacca dioica), also known as Umbo, Umbra tree, Fitolaca or Belhambra. Strictly speaking, the plant is a bush or a shrub, but it can easily reach a height of 20 m and with canopies of a girth of 15 m, offering a profusion of shade. The Ombú shrub/tree is originally a native of South America and can be found mainly in the pampas of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The plant does not need much water considering the scarcity of rainfall in its natural habitat, quite unlike the massive downpour we suffered in Mallorca yesterday. You will notice the massive girth of the base with multiple trunks, its overground roots and the peculiar clusters of pale green berries.
A singular Ombú tree of even greater proportions can be found in Plaça de la Reina, at the bottom of Carrer Conquistador.
The photo (top) was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: October 11th, 2010. The time was 13:09:26. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of ubcbotanicalgarden.org. Thank you very much.