Valle d'Itria

The nature of the Murgia: the Fragno

Text translated by Google translate.

The most characteristic tree of the forests of the Murgia dei Trulli is the fragno, a species of oak that in Italy is admired only in this part of central Puglia.

The fragno , whose scientific name is quercus trojana, is an oak tree found in a vast range of southeastern Europe, precisely throughout northern Greece, southern Yugoslavia and Macedonia. While in Italy the hamlet is only widespread in Puglia, on the southeastern Murgia, also known as Murgia dei Trulli, where having as its center Martina Franca the range includes to the north the countryside of Putignano, that of Gioia del Colle and west and that of Ceglie Messapica in the southeast. The fringe is therefore a trans-Adriatic plant that reminds us of the distant times when Puglia was welded to the other shores of the Adriatic.

In the woods of the Trulli Murgia the fragno is the most widespread oak and coexists at higher altitudes with roverella, quercus pubescens. always on the Murgia is very widespread the leccio, quercus ilex, at lower altitudes though.

The centuries-old specimens of landslides also reach heights of 15 meters, have low and rounded canopy and leaves of medium size and serrated. The canopy is left-footed in autumn to be rusty red and resist until spring gemmation, when they fall pushed by the new leaves. Many fragni, and even roverelle, if they are in arable land exposed to the winds of sunset of the Murgia, are seen bare of leaves in the middle of winter showing another side of their beauty.

The acorns of the fragno are important for the housewives and for those who raise pigs on the Murgia, as very palatable feed. When the acorns emerge, the massifier knows that they will only mature the following year, but by assessing the amount of food he will have after a year and then deciding how many animals to raise. For this reason, and not only, the forests of the fragno have always been a wealth for the agricultural economy of the farms. Very compact the wood that is obtained, with which agricultural tools, household utensils and some cabinets were made. His wood was always widely used in the past centuries to make seafaring boats. The quality of coal that is obtained from it is also valuable. Finally, the wood of fragment is essential to smoke the precious neck that is produced in the Valley of Itria, a gastronomic excellence.

The fragno in the folk tradition of the Trulli Murgia also has therapeutic powers.

There is a ritual that takes place every May 3rd at the Sanctuary of Madonna della Croce in countryside,  of Noci, where mothers carry small children suffering from hernia. After a passage from the Sanctuary they go to the adjacent forest of fragni, where two relatives (compari) of the child cronies take a branch of the fringe engraved a horizontal cut and divide it. So three times they shove the child out of that slit by synchronizing the rite with the three chimes of the Sanctuary bell. A trust to the sacred and the layman who will perhaps heal the child.

Since the fragno is widespread in Greece, who knows if the great oracular oak consecrated to the goddess Dodona in the Epirus was a fragment.

Certainly the frigno is sacred for its beauty, majesty and its vital importance in the ecosystem of the forests of southeastern Murgia.



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