Cade Juniper of Arbus

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Juniperus oxycedrus (Cupressaceae)

This specimen of cade juniper is one of its kind since it has actually been transformed into a house; the centuries-old tree is, therefore, definitely worth a visit for anybody travelling around the dunes of Pistis, in Sardinia.

This specimen has a circumference of 7.5 ft, it’s 26.2-ft high and is at least 400 years old. It is also known as “the Poet’s house”.

Around the end of the 1960s, some locals wanted to cut the juniper to get wood but Mr. Efisio Sanna di Guspini, who used to write his poems under the shade of the big tree, and his wife managed to avert such disaster. How did they do it? By “simply” making the huge cade juniper into their own abode! The couple, in fact, intertwined the branches of the tree with rushes to create the roof; other the branches and the trunk served as walls, while some local stones were laid on the floor.
The ingenious couple spent about ten years inside this tree until they were too old and had to leave. Today, this cade juniper is very popular among tourists who usually leave notes with some verses to honour Efisio Sanna.

How to get there:

From Guspini, reach the hamlet of S. Antonio di Santadi (about 25 miles), then turn right near the church and continue for another 2.5 miles to Pistis beach; from there, continue on foot among the dunes, all the way to the “Poet’s house”.

Botanical Card:

Also known as “red juniper”, due to the colour of its berries, the prickly juniper is actually a shrub or a small evergreen tree, belonging to the Cupressaceae family and typical of the Mediterranean scrub.

It is very resistant to droughts, salty winds and poor substrates.
In its spontaneous form, it is commonly found throughout central-southern Italy, while it’s very rare in the Po River Valley. It is a protected species in Lazio and Piedmont.

Its berries are used to prepare digestive liqueurs or to add a spicy flavour to meat dishes.
From the dry distillation of its wood, Cadè oil is obtained: a concoction already appreciated by the ancient Romans to embalm the dead and treat skin ailments.

Juniper wood is very hard and often used in carpentry for furniture, assorted tools and barrels.

Thanks to its very extensive root system, juniper is useful for soil consolidation as well.
According to some popular beliefs, it was a magical plant that kept snakes, diseases and evil spirits away.

Photo source:

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


09036 Guspini - fraz. S. Antonio di Santadi(VS)

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