« AnteriorContinuar »
and pear is not less different than the leaves and flowers. The apple is generally concave at the insertion of the peduncle, depressed at the top, of a softer texture, less astringent, but more acid than the pear; whereas, the latter, which may vary in shape, size, colour, taste, &c., by cultivation, is generally convex, and lengthened out at the base. The apple has woody threads passing through it to the peduncle, ten of which are regularly disposed round the capsules, tending towards the calyx; and it is said that the fruit decays when these are broken. The pear also has these threads, but less distinct, on account of the gritty matter which prevails in many of the varieties, and especially in wild pears. The cells of the two fruits are likewise differently shaped. Those of the apple are narrow, and pointed at both ends; while in the pear, they are obovate, broad exteriorly, and drawing to a point at the centre of the fruit.
Varieties. The common apple-tree, by itself, or conjointly with other species or races, is the parent of innumerable varieties or sub-varieties, generally termed by the British and Anglo-Americans, "cultivated apple-trees," and by the French, "pommiers doux," or "pommiers à couteau."* Many of them are not only derived from the wild apple or crab, of Europe, but from the crabs of Siberia and Astrachan. As it is utterly impossible to trace the multitude of cultivated sorts to the wild forms from which they have been obtained; and as it appears very doubtful to us whether the wild crabs of Europe, northern and western Asia, and of North America, are specifically distinct, we have considered them only as varieties of the Pyrus malus. We are aware that objections will be made to this mode of classification, as it deviates from what is considered as established authority. Those, however, who differ from us in opinion, will find no difficulty in recognizing the names, as given by De Candolle, Loudon, and others, and will be enabled to know under what head they are described.
1. P. M. ACERBA, Loudon. Sour-fruited Apple or Common European Crabtree; Pyrus acerba, of De Candolle; Pommier sauvageon, of the French; Holzapfelbaum, of the Germans; and Melo sylvatico, of the Italians. This form is a native of woods and way-sides, in Europe, and may be known by its ovate, acute, crenated leaves, glabrous even when young, as is the tube of the calyx. The flowers occur in corymbs; and, according to De Candolle, there are many sub-varieties, with sour fruit
, commonly called cider apples in Britain, and pommes d cidre in France.
2. P. M. CORONARIA. The Garland-flowering Apple-tree or American Sweetscented Crab; Pyrus coronaria, of De Candolle, Torrey and Gray, and Loudon ; Malus coronaria, of Michaux; Pommier sauvage, of the French; and Amerikanischer Holzapfelbaum, of the Germans. This variety is a native of North America, from Canada to Louisiana, and was introduced into Britain in 1724, where it is common in collections, and has also been naturalized. It is found in fertile soils, in cool, moist places, near the borders of woods, where it usually grows to a height of fifteen to eighteen feet, with a trunk six or seven inches in diameter, and under very favourable circumstances, it sometimes attains nearly double these dimensions. In some parts of Britain, as at White Knights, and at Pepper Harrow, near Godalming, it has become naturalized in the woods; and plants of various ages are found wild, which have sprung up from seeds,
disseminated by birds. The largest trees at the latter place are about thirty feet in height, and are said to preserve all the distinctive features of the species or race. The leaves are broadly ovate, rounded at the base, subangulate, smooth on the upper surface, and when fully developed, are distinctly toothed. While young, they have a bitter, and slightly aromatic taste; whence Michaux thinks that, with the addition of sugar, they would make an agreeable tea. The flowers, which put forth in March, April, and May, are white at first, and gradually change to a purplish hue before they fall. They are very large, and occur in corymbs, with smooth peduncles; and, during the blooming season, they perfume the whole air with the scent of violets. The fruit is flatly orbiculate, from an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, of a yellowish-green when ripe, which occurs in September, and gradually becomes more yellow, and somewhat translucent, with age. It is of a firm texture, extremely acid, and has sometimes been employed in the manufacture of cider, and in the making of preserves, with the addition of sugar equivalent to its own weight. Successful experiments have been made of uniting this tree, by grafting and budding, with the common apple; but the time is so long in bringing it to perfection, that no particular advantage can be derived from such a union. It has been suggested, however, that new and valuable varieties might be obtained from seeds produced by fertilizing the flowers with the pollen of the vigorous-growing pippins, or those of the Siberian crabs. Setting aside all other considerations, this tree, from the beautiful character of its leaves, the fragrance of its blossoms, together with the lateness of their appearance, and the deep-green, and depressed form of its fruit, is a most desirable object of culture, and no shrubbery should be without it.
3. P. M. ANGUSTIFOLIA. Narrow-leaved American Crab Apple-tree, Pyrus angustifolia, of De Candolle, Torrey and Gray, Loudon, and others. This variety is also a native of North America, is found from Pennsylvania to Louisiana; flowers in March and April; and differs from the preceding race, in having narrower leaves, much smaller and narrower fruit, lead-coloured and speckled branches, and in being sub-evergreen, which last circumstance, together with its sweet-scented flowers, entitles it to a place in collections.
4. P. M. PRUNIFOLIA. The Plum-leaved Apple-tree or Siberian Crab; Pyrus prunifolia, of De Candolle and Loudon, a native of Siberia; was introduced into Britain in 1758; and, according to Mr. Knight, some of the finest varieties raised by him were produced from cultivated apples fecundated with the blossoms of this tree. He found that the progeny formed more hardy trees than any other kinds, and that they produced earlier and more highly flavoured fruit. The leaves are ovate, acuminate, serrated, and glabrous; the peduncles pubescent; the tube of the calyx glabrous; the styles woolly at the base, and twice as long as the stamens. The fruit is sub-globose, of a yellowish colour, and of an austere taste.
5. P. M. BACCATA. The Berry-like-fruited Apple-tree or Siberian Crab; Pyrus baccata, of De Candolle and Loudon, native of Siberia and Dahuria, and only differs from the preceding sort in not having a persistent calyx. From this variety originated the cultivated “Cherry Crab," a spreading tree, with drooping branches, bearing an abundance of fruit, about the size and colour of a large cherry.
6. P. M. DIOICA. The Diæcious-sered Apple-tree; Pyrus dioica, of De Candolle and Loudon, occasionally cultivated in the gardens of Europe. Its leaves are oval, serrated, and tomentose beneath; the flowers, in many instances, solitary; the sexes diæcious by defect; the calyx tomentose; the petals linear, of the length of the sepals; and the styles are glabrous.
7. P. M. ASTRACANICA. The Astrachan Apple-tree; Pyrus astracanica, of De Candolle and Loudon. This form is said to be indigenous about Astrachan. Its leaves are oval-oblong, acute, partially doubly serrated, pale beneath, where the nerves are villose, but glabrous above, except in being slightly downy on the midrib. From this race originated the cultivated “Red Astrachan Crab,” a medium-sized tree, with a branchy head, bearing a bright-red fruit, covered with a fine bloom, like that of the plum; also the “White Åstrachan," or " Transparent Crab,” of Moscow, a tree resembling the Red Astrachan, except in its branches tending upwards, when young, and afterwards becoming pendulous. Its fruit is of a wax colour, almost transparent, and covered with a fine bloom.
From the preceding forms, it may be safely presumed, that all the apples cultivated for the dessert, or the kitchen, have been obtained, either by selections from seedlings, or from cross-fecundation. The number of varieties and subvarieties, at present known, amounts to several thousand, about fifteen hundred of which have been collected in the garden of the London Horticultural society, and distinct sorts are being added every year. Hence, as the varieties are so numerous, and are rapidly becoming more multiplied, it is impossible for us, within our limits, to present an account of them, or even to enumerate their names. This branch of knowledge, however, forms a very important feature in practical horticulture; and one of the most valuable objects to which individuals and societies for the encouragement of experiments in cultivation, can direct their attention, would be to diminish the embarrassing list of varieties, by confining themselves to the best sorts alone.
Geography and History. The Pyrus malus, or some of its varieties, grows spontaneously in almost every part of the northern hemisphere, except in the torrid and frigid zones, and some of the islands in the ocean. It is found throughout western Asia, China, Japan, North America, and in the north of Europe, as far as West Finland, in latitude 62°; in Sweden, in latitude 58° or 59°; and central Russia, to 55° or 60°. The crab of Europe, however, is wanting in Siberia, where its place is abundantly supplied by the P. m. prunifolia, and the P. m. baccata. In Britain, Ireland, and North America, the common apple-tree occurs wild, in hedges, and on the margins of woods. It is cultivated for its fruit, both in the temperate and transition zones of both hemispheres, even in the southern parts of India, on the Himalayas, and in China and Japan.
That the apple-tree is a native of the eastern part of the world, we have the authority of the earliest writers in " Holy Writ,” as well as of the naturalists of ancient Greece and Rome. The prophet Joel, where he declares the destruction of the products of the earth, by a long drought, mentions the fruits which were held in high estimation, and among them, he names the apple.
"The vine is dried up, and the fig-tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm-tree, also, and the apple-tree, even all the trees of ihe field are withered.”
JOEL I. 12.
Apples are also mentioned by Theophrastus, Herodotus, and Columella; and the Greeks, according to Pliny, called them Medica, after the country whence they were first brought, in ancient times; but others conjecture that the term “Medica,” was more probably applied to the citron and the peach, both of which are supposed to have been introduced from Media into Greece. That the Epirotica, from Epirus, were what we call apples, there can be no doubt; as they are described by Pliny, as a fruit with a tender skin, that can easily be pared off; and besides, he mentions "crabs," and "wildings," as being smaller, and for their harsh sourness they have many a foul word and shrewd curse given them.” The cultivated apple, however, probably was not very abundant au Rome, in his time; for he states that, “there were some trees in the villas near the city, which yielded more profit than a small farm, and which brought about the invention of grafting." “There are apples,” continues he," that have ennobled the countries from which they came; and our best varieties will honour their first grafters forever; such as took their names from Matius, Cestius, Manlius, and Claudius." He particularizes the “quince apples,” that came from a quince grafted upon an apple stock, which smelled like the quince, and were called Appiana, after Appius, of the house of Claudius. It must be confessed, however, that Pliny has related so many particulars as facts, concerning the apple, (such as changing the fruit to the colour of blood, by grafting it on the mulberry; and the tree in the Tyburtines country, “grafted and laden with all manner of fruits," which are regarded by modern grafters as physiological impossibilities,) it would seem that very little confidence could be placed in his statements of any kind. But what reason have we to doubt the authority of a man, whose life was spent to the benefit of mankind, and whose death was caused by his perseverance in search of truth? Instances of grafting trees of different families upon one another, are also mentioned by other old authors, and even our Evelyn, of more recent times, states that he saw, in Holland, a rose engrafted upon the orange. Columella, a practical husbandman, who wrote some years before Pliny, describes three methods of grafting, as handed down to him, by whom he calls the ancients,” besides a fourth method of his own, and a mode of inarching, or grafting by approach, "whereby all sorts of grafts may be graffed upon all sorts of trees. It would appear, however, that the art of grafting, at the period in which he flourished, was comparatively a modern in vention, as it is not mentioned by Moses, in his directions to the Israelites when they
"****** shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees;"
neither by Hesiod nor Homer, although forming a part of the subjects on which they wrote.*
Whitaker, in his "History of Manchester,” conjectures that the apple was brought into Britain by the first colonies of the natives, and by the Hædui of Somersetshire in particular; hence Glastonbury was distinguished by the title of “ Avellonia” or apple orchard, previously to the arrival of the Romans. Before the IIIrd century, this fruit had spread over the whole island, and so widely, that, according to Solinus, there were large plantations of it in the “Ultima Thule.” The manufacture of wine from the apple, appears to have occurred in Norfolk, at the beginning of the XIIIth century; for it is stated by Bloomfield, that, in the sixth year of King John, (1205,) Robert de Evermere was found to hold his lordship of Redham and Stokesly, in Norfolk, by petty sergeantry, the annual payment of two hundred pearmains, and four hogsheads of wine of pearmains, into the exchequer, at the feast of St. Michael. The making of cider was introduced into Britain by the Normans, who, it is said, obtained the art from Spain, where it is no longer practised. This liquor is supposed to have been first known, however, in Africa, from its being mentioned by the two African fathers, Tertullian and Augustine, and was introduced by the Carthaginians into Biscay, a province unfriendly to the vine, on which account it became the substitute in other countries.
Many of the better varieties of the apple were probably introduced into Britain from the continent, as the greater part of their names are either pure or corrupted French. Thus the “ Nonpareil,” according to old herbalists, was brought from France by a Jesuit, in the time of Queen Mary, and first planted in Oxfordshire. On the other hand, the celebrated “Golden Pippin” is considered as of British origin; and is noticed as such by French and Dutch authors. It is described by
* The art of grafting, as well as that of pruning, has been ascribed to accidental origin. The occasional natural union or inarching of the boughs of distinct trees in the forests, is thought to have first suggested the idea of grafting; and the more vigorous shooting of a vine, after a goat had broused on it, is said to have given rise to the practice of pruning.
Du Hamel under the name of “Pomme d'or," “Reinette d'Angleterre," and “Grosse Reinette d'Angleterre." Pippins were probably very little known in England until towards the close of the XVIth century. Fuller states that one Leonard Maschal, in the sixteenth year of the reign of Henry VIII., brought them from over sea, and planted them at Plumstead, in Sussex. They were called pippins because the trees were raised from the pips or seeds, and bore the apples which gave them celebrity, without grafting.
The fine cider orchards of Herefordshire began to be planted in the reign of Charles I. The adaptation of the trees to the soil was soon discovered, and they spread over the face of the whole country. The cider counties of England lie something in the form of a horse-shoe, round the Bristol channel, the best of which are in Worcester and Hereford, on the north of the channel, and Somerset and Devon on the south. Of the varieties of the cider apples, the “Redstreak," and the “Sline,” were formerly the most prized; and the cider of these apples, and the perry of the “Squash Pear,” were celebrated throughout. the kingdom. Some of the orchards occupy a space of forty or fifty acres, the produce of which is very fluctuating, and the growers seldom expect an abundant crop oftener than once in three years; and in a good year, an acre of orchard will produce about six hundred bushels of fruit.*
The introduction of the common apple-tree into the North American colonies, dates back to the earliest periods of their settlements. In the middle, northern, and some of the western states, no branch of rural economy has been pursued with more zeal, and few have been attended with more successful and beneficial results, than the cultivation of orchards. It was not undertaken on an extensive scale, however, until about the commencement of the present century, when experience had taught the hardy yeomanry of the soil, that the moderate use of cider, as a common beverage, was highly conducive to sound health and long life.” It appears from Dodsley's London “Annual Register," that in the year 1768, the Society for promoting Arts, &c., at New York, awarded a premium of ten pounds to Thomas Young, of Oyster Bay, for the largest nursery of apple-trees, the number being twenty-seven thousand one hundred and twenty-three. Between the years 1794 and 1808, Mr. William Coxe, of Burlington, New Jersey, enriched his lands in that vicinity with extensive orchards, containing in the aggregate several thousand trees, which occupied a space of seventy or eighty acres; and within and since. that period, numerous other orchards have been planted in various parts of the country, equaling, and even surpassing them in extent. Among the largest, and perhaps the most select, are those of Mr. Robert L. Pell, of the county of Ulster, New York, which have been planted about twenty years, and are said to contain twenty thousand trees. America, too, has given birth to several valuable varieties of apples, which enter extensively both into her foreign as well as her domestic commerce, and are eagerly sought after in almost every civilized country of the globe. The most celebrated, and unquestionably the best variety extant, for shipping and for winter use, is said to have been the spontaneous production from a seed, more than a century and a half ago, in Newtown, on Long Island, near New York, and is well known by the name of “Newtown Pippin.” The original tree stood on the estate owned at present by Mr. John J. Moore, of that town, and for a long tiine its fruit was called “Gershom Moore Pippin," in honor of its former proprietor. After enduring for more than one hundred years, it died, in about ihe year 1805, from excessive cutting and exhaustion. Its scions were in great request by all the principal amateurs and orchardists of the day, and engrafted trees of it are still to be met with in the neighbouring towns, which have stood
* See Library of Entertaining Knowledge, article, “ Apple."