Sycamore Maple

Going beyond the small pinewood that adorns the park adjacent to the villa, the visitor is overwhelmed upon observing a corner of the garden that has been so wisely created, and where they managed to blend the stone ruins with the surrounding vegetation.

Above an artificial grotto decorated with stalagtites in tuff, two well-preserved examples of sycamore maple trees belonging to the Aceraceae family can be seen, their roots digging deep into rocks of the tiny cavern. Their trunks appear cracked and the cortex covering it is pinkish brown.
Both examples have an elongated form and a crown opening upwards like a broad dome producing a thick shadow. The fronds give broad leaves that are up to 10 cm wide, in the form of the palm of a hand, with five, dark-green, upper lobes and grayish-green in the lower ones. When blown by the wind, the rather long stalks of the leaves, make the light foliage move among the branches as in a lively dance.
In autumn, the leaves of many maples become blood red after having turned from yellow to orange. For this reason, in olden times the Greeks and Romans considered it as a foreboding plant.
The yellow-green flowers, joint in bunches at the apex of the branches, appear all together with the leaves in the month of May. They are small and not striking and yet are often visited by pollinator insects.
The fruit is composed of two tiny winged achene joined together (indehiscent), each of which contains only one seed.
According to the family of the species, the position of the wings that enclose the seed changes, so that their colour passes from green to bright red. A broad panorama of the maple series can be admired in the Brianza “villas of delight” and in particular, can be observed when walking along the trails of the Oak Wood close to the towns of the Municipality of Seveso and Meda. The examples of Desio, however, differentiate from those in Seveso in their size and age, besides that of their tree species.
In the past centuries, in the cultural options that led to the planting of maple trees in the garden of the villa, it is probable that the owners who were “botanic-nursery” architects involved in the design of the greens, were influenced by the Nordic legends linked to the maple and that the masters of the homes discussed these stories with friends and acquaintances. A Hungarian fable, for example, narrates that on the land where a princess had been buried by her assassin, a maple tree grew and from which a shepherd took the wood to carve a magic flute. The instrument started to speak and denounced the author of the crime. According to this tradition it was, therefore, for this reason that this wood was used to manufacture musical instruments, since its excellent properties were well known to the great violin makers like Antonio Stradivari, who was the first to use a maple bridge to support the strings of his violins.