Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Amelanchier canadensis,

THE CANADIAN AMELANCHIER.

Synonymes.

Mespilus canadensis,

LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum.
Mespilus arborea,

Michaux, North American Sylva.
Amelanchier c. botryapium,

TORREY AND GRAY, Flora of North America.

DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
Amelanchier botryapium,

HOOKER, Flora Boreali-Americana.

Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum.
Grand Amelanchier, Amelanchier de

Choisy, Alizier de Choisy, Alizier FRANCE.

à grappes,
Traubenbirne,

GERMANY.
Amelanchier di Canada,

ITALY.
Canadian Medlar, Snowy Mespilus, Britain.

Snowy-blossomed Amelanchier,
Wild Pear-tree, Sugar Plum, June Berry,
Shad-blow, Shad-flower,

ANGLO-AMERICA.

Derrations. The specific name, botryapium, is derived from the Greek, botrus, a grape, in reference to the form of the fruit, and the Celtic

apon, water,

probably from the circumstance of this species usually growing along streams and in swampy grounds. The German name signifies

Grape-pear. It is called June Berry, on account of the ripening of its fruit in some parts of the couniry in the month of June, before that of any other tree ; and it is named Shad-blow

because the opening of its blossoms indicates the season at which the shad ascend the rivers, on the banks of which it sometimes abounds.

Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 66; Audubon, Birds of America, i., pl. lx.; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, ii., fig. 628, and vi., pl. 162 et 163; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Leaves oblong-elliptical, cuspidate, somewhat villous when young, afterwards gla.

brous.--De Candolle, Prodromus.

[graphic]

Description.

THE Amelanchier cana

densis, in favourable
situations, sometimes

attains a height of thirty or forty feet, with a diameter of ten or twelve inches. Its leaves are from two to three inches long, alternate, of a lengthened oval shape, finely toothed, and, when beginning to open, are covered with a thick, silvery down, which disappears with their growth, and leaves them perfectly smooth on both sides. The flowers, which are white, and rather large, are disposed in long panicles at the extremities of the branches, and expand in the Carolinas and Georgia in February and March, and in the middle and northern states in April and May. The fruit is of a globular form, about one fourth of an inch in diameter, red in an immature state, and of a dark-purple when fully ripe, and is covered with a bloom. It matures at the south in the month of June, and from one to two months later in the more northern regions where it abounds. Of this fruit, the largest tree rarely yields more than half a pound.

Varieties. As numerous forms constantly occur between the European and American types of this genus, it is difficult to determine to which species they belong. Indeed, the two trees so closely resemble each other, that they have been regarded by some botanists as belonging to the same species. There are several races, however, which appear to be sufficiently distinct, and may be described as follows:

1. A. c. OBLONGIFOLIA, Torrey and Gray. Oblong-leaved Canadian Amelanchier, a shrubby tree, with oval-oblong leaves.

2. A. C. ROTUNDIFOLIA, Torrey and Gray. Round-leaved Canadian Amelanchier, occurring either shrubhy or arborescent, with roundish-oval leaves.

3. A. C. Alnifolia, Torrey and Gray. Alder-leaved Canudian Amelanchier, also shrubby or arborescent. Its leaves are roundish, elliptical, very obtuse or retuse at each end, and only serrate near the summit.

4. A. C. PUMILA, Torrey and Gray. Dwarf Canadian Amelanchier, with small, roundish-oval leaves, obtuse at both ends.

5. A. C. OLIGOCARPA, Torrey and Gray. Few-fruited Canadian Amelanchier, a shrubby tree, with narrow oval or oblong leaves, which are mostly glabrous, even when young.

Geography, foc, The Amelanchier canadensis, with the exception of the maritime parts of the southern states, is spread over the whole extent of AngloAmerica, from Georgia to Hudson's Bay, and froin Newfoundland to Oregon. It is most multiplied on the fertile banks of rivers, and in swampy grounds, although it sometimes occurs in dry, rocky places, where the soil is less rich This species was introduced into Britain by Archibald Duke of Argyll, in 1746. It is common in the European gardens and collections, where it has acquired a height of more than twenty feet, and is much esteemed in early spring, for its profusion of flowers, and in autumn, for the fine dark-red, which its leaves assume before they fall.

Properties and Uses. The wood of the Canadian amelanchier is white throughout, exhibiting no difference of colour, except in being longitudinally traversed by small red vessels, which intersect each other and run together, as in the red birch (Betula nigra.) From its inferior size, and want of durability, it is applied to no particular use in the arts. The fruit is of an agreeable sweet taste, and is used by the natives, in the northern regions where it abounds, as an article of food.

[blocks in formation]

Derivations. The word Pyrus is derived from the Celtic, peren, the pear; and Malus is the ancient Roman name of the apple-tree. The other names have been applied to various trees of this genus, from the analogy they were supposed to bear to the Aria, Aronia, etc. Generic Characters. Carpels 5, or 2–5. Seeds 2 in each carpel. Trees or shrubs. Leaves simple or

pinnate, deciduous. Flowers in spreading terminal cymes or corymbs.Loudon, Arboretum.

HE genus Pyrus is composed of low trees and shrubs, mostly decid

uous, and natives of Europe, Asia, and of North America. Some of them are held in high estimation for their fruit; while others are cultivated chiefly for their flowers. Under this head, modern

botanists have united the old genera Pyrus, Malus, and Sorbus,

do together with several species formerly included under Mespilus, Cratægus, Aronia, and others. Taking the generic characters from the fruit, we agree with Mr. Loudon, that this union appears strictly in accordance with the canons laid down by botanists; but we cannot help stating, with him, that, in our opinion, it would be much more convenient, in a practical point of view, in establishing genera, to take into consideration the leaves, the character of the vegetation, the physiology, and even the habit, of the plant, than merely to draw the distinctive characters from the parts of fructification. In consequence of attending only to these parts of plants, the genus Pyrus, as at present constituted, contains species, such as the apple and pear, which will not readily graft on each other; a circumstance which clearly shows that the union of these two kinds of plants, in one genus, is not a natural one. We think that no plants should be comprehended in the same genus, which will not grast reciprocally on each other, nor those of different habits or constitutions; and, consequently, that twining plants should not be classified with trees and upright shrubs; nor deciduous trees and shrubs with evergreens. When a more perfect knowledge is obtained of all the vegetable productions of the earth, we have no doubt that it will be found necessary to remodel all of the genera, as well as to give, in many cases, new and characteristic names to the species, –a labour which, formidable as it may appear at first view, will be diminished to a degree scarcely credible, when the present chaos of names, and apparently of species, is reduced by simplification. *

Under the genus Pyrus are at present included the apple and the pear, which were formerly considered as distinct. Those authors most tanacious concerning the establishment of the two vegetables as different genera, have drawn their characters from the adherence of the lower part of the five styles to their villosity, to the spheröidal form of their fruit, and to the stem of the apple being set in a cavity, -characters which are by no means constant, and are frequently effaced. M. Turpin, in a memoir to the French Academy of Sciences, on the difference existing between the cellular tissues of the apple and pear, founds their distinction in the absence or presence of those stony concretions which are to be met with in the pear. These concretions he attributes to the aggregation of little globules, which by degrees become clogged with an indigestible matter, confusedly deposited in molecules, from which they receive their opaqueness, hardness, and colour.

[graphic]

* See Loudon's Arboretum Britannicum, ii., p. 879.

This genus, according to De Candolle and Loudon, may be classified under eight sections, all the species of which may be propagated from seeds, and by grasting or budding on the wild varieties of each division. The sections and the most important species contained in them, we will briefly notice as follows:

1. Pyrophorum, characterized by flat, spreading petals; five distinct styles; pome more or less top-shaped, or sub-globose, without a cavity at the base; simple umbelled pedicels; and simple leaves, without glands. This section comprehends all the pears, properly so called, and besides the Pyrus communis, and all its varieties, it includes the Chinese pear, (Pyrus sinensis,) which, according to Dr. Lindley, differs from the common pear, in having longer and greenish branches, larger, more lucid, and almost evergreen leaves; insipid, apple-shaped, warted, and very gritty fruit; and a calyx, destitute of down within. The tree is ornamental, and perfectly hardy; but as a fruit-tree, it is worthless. It also includes the Bollwyller pear, (Pyrus bollwylleriana,) a very distinct variety, with large, rough leaves, resembling those of the apple, with small, turbinate, orange-yellow fruit, unfit to eat; the notched-leaved pear, (Pyrus crenata,) native of Nepal, growing to an elevation of nine or twelve thousand feet above the level of the sea, and approaches to Pyrus bollwylleriana; but its leaves are crenated instead of being serrated, and its flowers are more numerous; and the variable-leaved pear, (Pyrus variolosa,) likewise a native of Nepal, distinguished by ovate, acuminated, crenate, glabrous leaves, in the adult state, situated on long petioles, but when young, clothed with yellowish tomentum beneath. Its fruit is said to be inedible until it becomes somewhat decayed; and has the property of remaining a long time on the tree, sometimes even till the flowers appear in the following spring. It forms a very handsome tree, is hardy, of tolerably rapid growth, and is well worthy of a place in every collection.

2. Malus, characterized by flat, spreading petals; five styles, more or less strictly connate at the base; pome mostly globose, depressed, and generally having a concavity at its base; flowers in corymbs; and simple leaves without glands. This section includes all the apples and crabs, and besides the Pyrus malus and varieties, it comprehends the showy-flowering apple-tree, or Chinese crab, (Pyrus spectabilis,) distinguishable by its semi-double, pale, rose-coloured flowers, the buds of which, before they expand, are of a deep-red. The stamens and pistils are much more numerous than in the other species; the former sometimes exceeding forty and the latter twenty in number. The fruit is small, irregularly round, angular, about the size of a cherry, and when ripe, is of a yellow colour, but without flavour, and is only fit to eat in a state of incipient decay. From the beauty of its flowers in early spring, when but few other trees are in bloom, it is well worthy of cultivation, and no garden, whether large or small, should be without it.

3. Aria, characterized by flat, spreading petals; from two to three styles; globose pome; flowers with racemose corymbs, and branched peduncles; simple leaves, whitely tomentose beneath, and without glands. This section comprehends the white beam-tree, (Pyrus aria,) and its varieties of Europe and Asia, which vary much in a state of culture, and consequently cause great confusion among amateurs and botanists. As a useful and an ornamental tree, the white beam has some valuable properties. Its wood is universally enıployed on the continent for cogs to the wheels of machinery, and is appropriated to a variety of other uses. From the moderate size of the tree, and the definite shape of its summit, and thus bearing the character of art, it is adapted for particular situations where the violent contrast exhibited by trees of picturesque forms would be inharmonious. In summer, when clothed with leaves, it forms a compact green mass, till it is ruffled by the breeze, when, like the abele, it suddenly assumes a mealy whiteness. From its hardy nature, it will withstand the fiercest and the coldest winds, and yet will never fail to grow erect, and produce a regular head; and for this reason, it is well adapted for sheltering houses and gardens where the situations are much exposed.

4. Torminaria, characterized by flat, spreading petals, with short claws; from two to five connected glabrous styles; pome top-shaped at the base, and truncate at the tip, with but little juice; sepals deciduous; leaves angled, with lobes, glabrous when adult; flowers in corymbs, with the peduncles branched. In this section is included the griping-fruited or common wild service-tree, (Pyrus torminalis) native of various parts of Europe, and of western Asia; and in its general character, in regard to constitution and habit, greatly resembles the trees of the division Aria.

5. Eriolobus, characterized by flat, spreading petals, with short claws, and with about three teeth at the tip; styles, five in number, long at the base, very hairy, and somewhat connected; pome globose, glabrous, crowned with the lobes of the calyx, which are tomentose upon both surfaces; leaves palmately lobed, and glabrous; flowers upon unbranched pedicels, disposed in corymbs. This section includes the three-lobed-leaved pear-tree, (Pyrus trilobata,) a native of Mount Lebanon, which grows to the height of twenty feet.

6. Sorbus, characterized by flat, spreading petals; from two to five styles; globose, or top-shaped pome; impari-pinnate, or pinnately-cut leaves; and flowers occurring in branched corymbs. The trees comprehended in this division, are natives of northern and western Asia, Europe, the Himalayas, and North America, and like those of the section Aria, are much confounded, and bear a great variety of names. Besides the mountain ash, or fowler's service-tree, (Pyrus aucuparia,) and its varieties, this section includes the auricled service, (Pyrus auriculata,) a native of Egypt; the pinnatifid-leaved service, (Pyrus pinnatifida,) indigenous to Gothland, Thuringia, and Britain; and the true servicetree, (Pyrus sorbus,) a native of Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, cultivated for ornament, and celebrated for being the hardest and the heaviest of all European woods.

7. Adenorachis, characterized by spreading petals, each with a claw, and a concave limb; from two to five styles; globose pome; simple leaves, with the midribs bearing glands on the upper surface; and the flowers occurring in branched corymbs. This section is so unlike the others in habit and general appearance, that, at some future time, it will probably form a distinct genus, and perhaps will be classified with the common hawthorn, (Cratægus oxycantha,) as the trees in the two divisions will probably prove to graft reciprocally upon each other. Among the trees of this section, are included the arbutus-leaved aronia, (Pyrus arbutifolia,) and its varieties, which consist of deciduous shrubs, natives of North America, growing to a height of four or five feet, and distinguished for their prolific flowers, and red, dark-purple, or black fruit; 'the downybranched aronia, (Pyrus pubens,) and the large-leaved aronia, (Pyrus grandifolia) both of which are also natives of North America, and well deserve a place in every collection.

8. Chamamespilus, characterized by upright, conniving, concave petals; two styles; ovate pome; simple, glandless leaves; and flowers occurring in capitate corymbs. This section comprehends the European dwarf medlar, (Pyrus chamamespilus,) a compact bush, bearing an abundance of flowers, and orange-coloured fruit, grafts readily on the common hawthorn, and deserves to be extensively introduced in collections.

« AnteriorContinuar »