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“Topola” (Cottonwood trees) and “Breza” (birch trees) and Chinese wok

Hu Yun

Key words from Bor:Provided by The Hunter and Miss K (two friends from Bor who guided me during my first visit to Bor)

Collected by Hu Yun


“Topola” (Cottonwood trees)

A towering native, a cottonwood tree soars and spreads, growing more than 30m tall and almost as wide. It’s a cherished shade tree, often planted in parks. In the wild, cottonwood grows along rivers, ponds and other bodies of water. It also thrives in floodplains and dry riverbeds, where infrequent rains transform dry land into waterways.

Historically, cottonwood earned its place as a landscape tree because it grows rapidly, cumulatively up to 1.5m a year. It’s also a favorite for shade, with the large spread helping to cast cooling shade over homes and streets. There’s a cottonwood for nearly any region, with different hardy types in Zones 2 through 9.

(Brandt, Wilhelm; Gürke, M.; Köhler, F. E.; Pabst, G.; Schellenberg, G.; Vogtherr, Max., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen in naturgetreuen Abbildungen mit kurz erläuterndem Texte : Gera-Untermhaus :Fr. Eugen Köhler,[1883-1914].


“Breza” (birch trees)

Birch trees belong to the genus Betula and are classified as part of the Betulaceae family of plants. They are typically small to medium-sized trees and shrubs found in temperate zones in the Northern Hemisphere. Some varieties grow in shrubby clusters. Others are trees that clump with multiple trunks. And others grow as classic single-trunk trees. Most birches are characterized by distinctive bark with papery plates; the appearance of the bark often is the feature that gives the species its common names.

Birches often form even-aged stands on light, well-drained, particularly acidic soils. They are regarded as pioneer species, rapidly colonizing open ground especially in secondary successional sequences following a disturbance or fire. Mycorrhizal fungi, including sheathing (ecto) mycorrhizas, are found in some cases to be beneficial to tree growth. A large number of lepidopteran insects feed on birch foliage.

(Betula pendula Roth, syn. Betula verrucosa Ehrh. Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany. Source:



Chinese wok

Being the first Chinese person to open a Chinese restaurant in Bor, Chef Qiu’s wok is one of his everyday’s essentials.

Image courtesy Chef Qiu, Bor, Serbia

Hu Yun is an artist currently based in Melbourne.
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