Sabina: A noble tree for a noble people

There was a time when the Sabina tree grew as thickly in the forests of Ibiza as the pine. Back then they could reach ten metres in height with a trunk radius of one metre wide. Their rough bark withstands the moods of the weather, the saltiness of the air and any onslaught that comes their way. Strip them down to their muscular and sinuous innards and you find a core as strong as any metal. It could be said that trees hold the history of a land and its people within their trunks. The Sabina’s outward appearance and inner strength is something of a metaphor for the people of Ibiza. The Sabina is a strong and noble tree.

There are two kinds of Sabina that grow on the island, Juniperus oxycedrus and Juniperus phoenicea. It’s the Phoencian Juniper you see used in building and it’s not hard to imagine the ship building Phoenicians taking a great interest in the fine quality wood these trees produce. The Sabina is now a protected species due to that fact that it can take up to 40 years for a full grown tree to mature and it is said that the life span of these virtuous trees can last up to 1000 years. Unfortunately Formentera and Ibiza now only have around eight percent of the trees that once rivalled the pine in population. It will take some time before the proud Sabina rules the islands once again, but with its protected status there is no doubt it will.

Traditionally, the Sabina was prized as a building material. It can be seen throughout the ancient farmhouses of Ibiza in thick beams that hold up roofs and porches – the older the house, the thicker the beams. At Cas Gasi the roof beams are a prime example of this beautiful, aromatic and strong wood. People often comment when they step through the front door about the scent that seems to permeate the whole house in subtle, woody notes. It is the scent of history.