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finally produce fruit. Trees of this variety were first sent to England in 1819, to Mr. Robert Barclay, of Bury Hill; and several others were sent to the London Horticultural Society, in 1821, by Dr. Hosack, of New York.
Soil, Situation, Propagation, f.c. The domestic cultivated plum prefers a free, loamy soil, somewhat calcareous, and a little inclined to clay, and a situation open, and exposed to the sun, but sheltered from the blasts of northern winds. It is almost invariably propagated by grafting or budding, and is generally performed on stocks of the most free-growing varieties; or, when the plants are intended for dwarfs, on the Mirabelle plum. The stocks may either be raised from seeds, or by layers. The former should be gathered when the fruit is dead ripe, mixed with sand, and turned over two or three times in the course of the winter, and being sown in March, or as soon as the ground is sufficiently open, they will come up in the May or June following. In Britain, or any other country having a humid climate, plants of this species may be very expeditiously obtained, by pegging down the shoots of the preceding year, which have risen from the stools, and covered with soil to the depth of an inch, or an inch and a half. The entire shoot being thus covered, and kept moist, each bud will produce a vertical shoot, a foot or more in length, according to the soil and the season; and each of the shoots, when separated from the stool, in the autumn following, just before the falling of the leaves, will be found to have an abundance of roots. The branches which were laid down to produce these shoots should be cut off close to the stool. This method is practised in many of the European nurseries, where stocks are raised in immense quantities, to supply the general demand of the trade. Numerous as are the cultivated fruit-bearing varieties of the common plum," says Mr. Loudon," it is clear that they might be increased ad infinitum; and it is also highly probable, that numerous varieties, with fruits totally different from those of the original species, might be procured by cultivating the North American species, P. maritima, and P. pubescens ; if, indeed, these are anything more than varieties of P. domestica. There are two forms, which every description of tree seems capable of sporting into, which are yet wanting in the genus Prunus, as at present limited; the one is with branches pendent, and the other with branches erect and fastigiate. There can be no doubt but that an endless number of hybrids, varying in their leaves, blossoms, and fruit, might be produced by fecundating the blossoms of the plum with the pollen of the almond, the peach, the apricot, and the cherry; and, though some may be disposed to assign little value to these kinds of productions, yet it must not be forgotten that almost all the cultivated plants of most value to man, have been produced by some kind of artificial process. Experiments of this kind, therefore, ought never to be discouraged. What culture has done we know; but what it may yet accomplish is concealed in the womb of time.”
As in the peach-tree, the most proper time for pruning the plum, as well as for most kinds of stone-fruits, is in autumn, just as the leaves are falling, when the sap is in a downward motion, and when a more perfect cicatrization of the wound will take place, than if pruned in the winter or spring.
Insects. In America, the Prunus domestica is preyed upon by various insects or their larvæ, among which are those of the Ægeria exitiosa, that bore into its trunk or roots, in a similar manner as they do into the peach-tree; and the slugworm or slimy caterpillar, (Blennocampa cerasi, Harris,) which rests on the upper surface of the leaves of the plum, as well as upon those of the cherry and the pear, eating away their substance, and leaving only the veins and the skin beneath untouched.* But by far the most injurious insect which attacks the plum, is the Curculio nenuphar, (Rhynchænus Conotrachelus Nenuphar, Harris,) to which allusion is made under the head of "Insects,” in our article on the peach-tree. Dr. Harris describes the perfect insect as a little, rough, dark-brown, or blackish beetle, looking like a dried bud, when it is shaken from the tree, which resemblance is increased by its habit of drawing up its legs, and bending its snout close to the lower side of its body, and remaining for a time without motion, and seemingly lifeless. In stinging the fruit, before laying its eggs, it uses its short, curved snout, which is armed at the tip with a pair of very small nippers; and by means of this weapon, it makes, in the tender skin of the young plum or apple, a crescent-shaped incision, similar to what would be formed by indenting the fruit with the finger nail. Very rarely is there more than one incision made in the same fruit; and in the wound, the weevil lays only a single egg. The insect hatched from this egg is a little whitish grub, destitute of feet, and very much like a maggot in appearance, except that it has a distinct, rounded, light-brown head. It appears from some observations made by Dr. Harris and others, that the large, black, warty tumours found on the small branches of plum and cherry-trees, are infested not only by these insects, but also by another kind of grub, provided with legs, and occasionally by the larvæ of the Ægeria exitiosa, or peach-tree borer. When the grubs of the plum-weevil are fully grown, which occurs at various periods from May to September, they usually fall with the punctured fruit, and go into the earth, where they are changed into chrysalides of a white colour, having the legs and wings free, and capable of motion; and finally they leave the ground in the form of a little beetle, exactly like those above described, which takes place in Massachusetts from the early part of March till towards the middle of June, according to the nature of the season and the exposure of the situation.* Among the various remedies recommended for checking the ravages of these insects, are the paving of the ground directly beneath the trees with bricks, or other materials, so as to prevent the worms from entering the earth, to transform; the pouring of boiling-hot water around the trees, towards the end of August, in order to scald the insects to death; and the shaking or jarring of the trees every evening and morning, during the time that the beetles are occupied in depositing their eggs. When thus disturbed, they contract their legs, and fall; and as they do not immediately attempt to crawl or fly away, they may readily be caught on a mat or sheet, spread under the tree, and then be crushed or burned to death. In addition to the method last described, Dr. Harris recommends that all the fallen wormy plums should be immediately gathered, and, after they are boiled or steamed, to kill the enclosed grubs, they should be given as food to swine. The diseased excrescences, he says, should be cut out, and burned, every year, before the last of June.
* See Harris' Report, p. 384.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the Prunus domestica is hard, close, compact, beautifully veined, and susceptible of a fine polish. When dry, it weighs from forty to fifty pounds to a cubic foot, according to the age and growth of the tree. Its texture is silky, and when washed with lime-water, its colour is heightened, and may be preserved by the application of varnish or wax. Unfortunately for this tree, its wood is sometimes rotten at the heart. In France and Germany, it is much sought after by turners, cabinet-makers, and the manufacturers of musical instruments. The leaves are sometimes given to cattle for forage. The use of the fruit in domestic economy for dessert, and for making tarts and puddings, is well known. In France, plums are principally used dry or preserved, and enter extensively into commerce. The kinds usually employed for preserving, are the Brignole, the prune d'Ast, the Perdrigon blanc, the prune d'Agen, and the Ste. Catherine. In warm countries, plums or prunes are dried on hurdles by solar heat; but in cold climates, artificial heat is employed; the fruit being exposed to the heat of an oven, and to that of the sun, on alternate days. Table prunes are prepared from the larger kinds of plums, as the green Gage, and Ste. Catherine; those employed in medicine from the Ste. Julienne. The former have a very sweet and agreeable taste; and the latter are somewhat austere. Fresh, ripe plums, taken in moderate quantities, are regarded as 'nutritive and wholesome; but in large quantities, they readily disorder the bowels; and when immature, they still more easily excité ill effects. The medicinal prunes are employed as an agreeable, mild laxative for children, and are given during convalescence from febrile and inflammatory disorders in adults.
* See Harris' Report, pp. 66, 67, 68, 351, 352.
Engravings. Audubon, Birds of America, i., pl. liii; and the figures below.
HE Prunus chic
asa is a thorny
to six feet in height, indigenous to Arkansas, western Louisiana, and Texas, and naturalized east of the Mississippi as far north as Virginią. According to Michaux, it was brought to the Atlantic southern states, and cultivated by the Chicasaw Indians; and hence it is commonly called the Chicasaw plum. It was introduced into Britain in 1806, and plants of it are growing in many of the European collections. The flowers, which put forth in April and May, are succeeded by a yellow, or yellowishred fruit, nearly destitute of bloom, of a roundish form, half of an inch or more in diameter, having a thin skin, a tender pulp, and usually of an agreeable flavour; but, like all the species of the genus, it varies in its quality, sometimes being quite astringent and sour.
Variety. There is at least one variety of this species, the P. c. nemoralis, which may readily be distinguished by its tomentose or pubescent pedicels and leaves, and is conjectured by some, to be the original stock of the naturalized or cultivated tree. The species and variety may be propagated from seeds, by grafting, or inoculation, in a similar manner as the domestic cultivated plum.
A tree of this kind is standing in the garden of Rev. E. M. Johnson, of Brooklyn, in New York, which has attained a height of about twenty feet, with a trunk ten inches in diameter. It is perfectly hardy, and matures fruit every year
Derirations. The generic name, Cerasus, is so called from the ancient town of that name, in Asia, whence the cultivated cherry was first brought to Rome, by Lucullus. Most of the other names appear to be derived from the Latin one. Generic Characters. Drupe globose, or with a hollow at its base; nut sub-globose, even, its covering
fleshy, juicy, and with a surface glabrous, and not covered with a gray bloom. Young leaves folded flatwise. Flowers upon pedicels, either in groups resembling umbels, and produced before the leaves, or in racemes terminal to the shools, protruded along with them.-Loudon, Arboretum.
HE trees and shrubs of this genus are mostly deciduous, with
smooth, serrated leaves, and white flowers. There is much confusion among botanists, in all the species, more particularly as regards those which are natives of North America. The common garden cherries, and all their varieties cultivated for their fruit, according
to Linnæus, and nearly all the writers up to the time of De Candolle, have been referred to the Prunus avium and the Prunus cerasus, both of which, in the opinion of Mr. Loudon, are only varied forms of one species; the former being the mérisier of the French, and corresponding with the small, wild, black, English cherry (Cerasus sylvestris); and the latter, the French cerisier, and corresponding with the common red, sour cherry of the English (Cerasus vulgaris.) To these two species, De Candolle, in the "Flore Française," has added two others, the Cerasus juliana, which he considers as including the guigniers; and the Cerasus duracina, under which he includes the bigarreaus, or hard cherries. But as this arrangement did not appear sufficiently distinct to Mr. Loudon, he thought proper to adopt in his “Arboretum,” that of the author of the article “Cerasus," in the “Nouveau Du Hamel," as much more simple and satisfactory, referring all the cultivated varieties of the garden cherry to the same species as Linnæus, substituting for Prunus avium, Cerasus sylvestris ; and for Prunus cerasus, Cerasus vulgaris. Among the Asiatic trees of this genus particularly deserving of cultivation for ornament or for their timber, are the Yung-To, or Chinese double cherry, (Cerasus serrulata,) distinguished for its double, white flowers, slightly tinged with red; the Chinese false cherry-tree, (Cerasus pseudo-cerasus,) noted for its early flowers and easy propagation; the Puddum cherry-tree, (Cerasus puddum,) a native of Nepal, growing to a height of twenty or thirty feet, and celebrated for its rose-coloured flowers, edible fruit, and for the useful properties of its wood; also the goat-killing bird cherry, (Cerasus capricida,) native of Nepal, a handsome, showy, evergreen tree, which would probably retain its verdure in many parts of the union; and the true bird cherry-tree, (Cerasus padus,) also found in several countries in Europe, as well as the Mahaleb or perfumed cherry, and is much admired for the beauty of its