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English ancestors. In a statute of Henry VIII., you have it mentioned; and there is no churchyard in Wales without a mountain ash tree planted in it, as the yew trees are in the churchyards of England. So, in a certain day in the year, everybody in Wales, religiously wears a cross made of the wood; and the tree is, by some authors, called Fraxinus cambro-britannica."
The largest tree of this species on record, in Britain, and probably on the globe, is at Old Montrose, in Forfarshire, which, at sixty-five years after planting, had attained a height of fifty feet, with a trunk two feet and ten inches in diameter, and an ambitus or spread of branches of forty feet.
The introduction of the Pyrus aucuparia into the British colonies of North America, probably dates back to the early periods of their settlements. It is much cultivated for ornament within the environs of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other places in the United States, where there are trees to be found from twenty to thirty feet in height, which have been planted from forty to sixty years; but owing to the depredations of several species of borers hereafter mentioned, this tree does not often surpass that age.
Poetical and Legendary Allusions. In ancient days, when superstition held that place in society which dissipation and impiety hold in the more advanced stages of civilization, the mountain ash was regarded as an object of great veneration. Gilpin, in his "Forest Scenery,” in speaking of this tree, says, that often in his time, "a stump of the mountain ash was found in some old burying-place, or near the circle of a Druid's temple, the rites of which were formerly performed under its shade.” On this passage, Sir Thomas Dick Lauder observes that, branch of the roan-tree is still considered good against evil influences in the highlands of Scotland, and in Wales, where it is often hung up over doorways, and in stables and cow-houses, lo neutralize the wicked spells of witches and warlocks.” And Lightfoot, in his “ Flora Scotica,” says, “It is probable that this tree was in high esteem with the Druids; for it may to this day be observed to grow more frequently than any other in the neighbourhood of those Druidical circles of stones, so often seen in the north of Britain; and the superstitious still continue to retain a great veneration for it, which was undoubtedly handed down to them from early antiquity. They believe that any small part of this tree, carried about them, will prove a sovereign charm against all the dire effects of enchantments and witchcraft. Their cattle, also, as well as themselves, are supposed to be preserved by it from evil; for the dairy-maid will not forget to drive them to the shearlings, or summer pasture, with a rod of the rowan-tree, which she carefully lays up over the door of the sheal-boothy, or summer-house, and drives them home again with the same. In Strathspey they make, on the 1st of May, a hoop with the wood of this tree, and in the evening and morning cause the sheep and lambs to pass through it.” That a belief in the supernatural virtues of this tree still prevails in some parts of Yorkshire, as appears from the following anecdote, related by Waterton, author of the celebrated “Wanderings,' in the Magazine of Natural History, we have not the slightest doubt :-"In the village of Walton,” says he, “I have two small tenants. The name of one is 'James Simpson, and that of the other Sally Holloway; and Sally's stands a little before the house of Simpson. Some three months ago, I overtook Simpson on the turnpike-road, and I asked him if his cow was getting better, for his son had told me that she had fallen sick. 'She's coming on surprisingly, sir,' quoth he;
the last time the cow-doctor came to see her, " Jem,” said he to me, looking earnestly at old Sally's house; “Jem,” said he, "mind and keep your cow-house door shut before the sun goes down, otherwise I won't answer for what may happen to the cow." "Ay, ay, my lad,' said I, ‘I understand your meaning; but I am up to the old slut, and I defy her to do me any harm now!' And what has old Sally been doing to you, James ? said I. "Why, sir,' replied he, 'we all know too well what she can do. She has long owed me a grudge; and my cow, which was in very good health, fell sick immediately after Sally had been seen to look in at the door of the cow-house, just as night was coming on. The cow grew worse, and so I went and cut a bit of wiggin, (mountain ash,) and I nailed the branches all up and down the cow-house; and, sir, you may see them there, if you will take the trouble to step in. I am a match for old Sally, now, and she can't do me any more harm, so long as the wiggin branches hang in the place where I have nailed them. My poor cow will get better in spite of her.' Alas ! thought I to myself, as the deluded man was finishing his story, how much there is yet to be done in our country by the school-master of the nineteenth century." The author of "Woodland Gleanings,” says, “ The mountain ash, so esteemed among our northern neighbours as a protection against the evil designs of wizards and witches, is propagated by the Parisians for a very different purpose. They are used as one of the principal charms for enticing the French belles into the public gardens, where they are permitted to use all the spells and witcheries of which they are mistresses; and certainly this tree, ornamented by its brilliant scarlet fruit
, has a most enchanting appearance when lighted up with lamps, in the months of August and September." Miss Kent, in her “Sylvan Sketches,” in alluding to this tree, says, “In former times, this tree was supposed to be possessed of the property of driving away witches and evil spirits; and this property is recorded in one of the stanzas of a very ancient song, called The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heughs,
*Their spells were vain; the hags return'd
To the queen in sorrowful mood,
Where there is roan-tree wood.'
The last line of this stanza leads to the true reading of a line in Shakspeare's tragedy of Macbeth. The sailor's wife, on the witch's requesting some chesnuts, hastily answers, 'A rown-tree, witch! but all the editions have it Aroint thee, witch !' which is nonsense, and evidently a corruption.” If the phrase “ Aroint thee,” had occurred but once in Shakspeare, we might be disposed to adopt the above explanation; but as it is to be found twice, we have reason to suppose that it is of Saxon origin, and signifies away! run! The Saxon glossaries supply ryne for running; and the old Icelandic runka, signifies to agitate, or to move. Hone, in his “Religious Mysteries," gives a fac-simile of an old drawing called the Descent into Hell, in which our Saviour is represented with a roan-tree cross in his left hand, while with the right he appears to draw a contrite spirit from the jaws of hell.* It is remarkable, that nearly the same superstitions should exist also in India, as may be seen by perusing Bishop Heber's " Journal," &c. And it is no less remarkable than true, that the American mountain ash is regarded by our native Indians as an object of veneration and awe. From time immemorial, they have made offerings to the spirits of their departed heroes, by casting round it the boughs of other trees. Ask them why they do this, and they will tell you that its branches "are eloquent with the ghosts of their warrior-sires, who will come at evening, in the chariot of cloud, to fire the young to deeds of war.” Their offerings, or their remains, are frequently to be found at the foot of this tree, and in some cases, mounds have been formed from the immensity of their numbers, which have passed into decay.
Soil and Situation. The mountain ash will grow in any soil, and in the most exposed situations, as it is found near the sea-shore, and on the tops of mountains in various parts of the globe. Hence it is an excellent tree for plantations intended to resist the sea-breeze, or to be placed in situations exposed to the fury of the winds; but, wherever it is wanted to attain a large size, it ought to be planted in a free soil in a moist climate, or near water, and in a situation that is open
* See Sylvan Sketches, pp. 251 et 252.
and dry. Few trees suffer more from extreme heat and drought than the mountain ash.
Propagation and Culture. This species, and most of its varieties may be propagated from seeds, which should be gathered as soon as ripe, to prevent their being eaten by birds. When gathered, the fruit should be macerated in water till the seeds are separated from the pulp, after which, they may be immediately sown; but, as they will remain, in that case, eighteen months in the ground, before coming up, the common mode adopted by nurserymen is, to mix the berries with light sandy soil, and spread them out in the rotting-ground, in a layer ten or twelve inches in thickness; then to cover this layer with ashes or sand to a depth of two or three inches, and allow them to remain in that state for a year. They are then separated from the soil by sifting, and sown in beds of light, rich soil, being covered to the depth of a quarter of an inch. The seeds should not be dropped nearer together than two inches, which will allow the plants to come up with sufficient strength, and without the interference of their leaves. They may be sown late in autumn or very early in spring, which will cause them to come up in the June or July following; and, by the end of the season, the strongest plants will be eighteen inches high, and fit to separate from the others, and to plant out in nursery lines. They will grow rapidly for the first three or four years, and in five years will acquire a height of eight or nine feet. At this period ihey will be ready to plant out in the situations where they are permanently to remain, after which, they will begin to form their heads, and in ten years more will attain the height of twenty feet. Each head will continue to increase slowly, though the tree seldom grows higher than twenty-five or thirty feet in a hundred years. This tree will not bear lopping, but grass and herbage will grow well under its shade. *
Insects. The trunk and roots of the mountain ash are perforated by several species of borers, among which are the larvæ of the beetles called Saperda bivittata and Saperda vestita, both of which are described in our articles on the common apple, and the European lime-tree, under the head of "Insects," and need no further notice here.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the mountain ash, when dry, weighs fiftyone pounds to a cubic foot, is homogeneous, fine-grained, hard, capable of being stained any colour, and is susceptible of taking a high polish. It is much used in Europe in the small manufactures, such as the handles of knives and forks, wooden spoons, &c.; and for musical instruments, and various articles of turnery: . When of sufficient dimensions, it is also used for axle-trees, naves, and felloes to wheels, carpenter and husbandman's tools, cogs to the wheels of machinery, and for a variety of other purposes. In Britain, the tree forms excellent coppice-wood, the shoots being well adapted for poles, and for making excellent hoops; and the bark is used in tanning. In Livonia, Sweden, and Kamtschatka, the berries of this tree are eaten, when ripe, as a fruit
, and a very good spirit is distilled from them; and in various other parts of northern Europe, these berries are dried and ground into flour, and used as a substitute for the flour made of wheat, in times of great scarcity. Infused in water, the berries make an acid drink, somewhat resembling perry, which is much used in Wales by the poor, who call it diod-graviole. In the island of Java, the juice of these berries is used as an acid for punch. In Germany, the fowlers bait springes, or nooses of hair with the berries of this tree, which they hang in the woods to entice the red-wings and field-fares.
As an ornamental tree, the mountain ash is well adapted for small gardens, and also deserves a place in every plantation, where the harbouring of singing birds is an object. "In the Scottish Highlands," observes Gilpin, in his “Forest Scenery," "it becomes a considerable tree. There, on some rocky mountains, covered with dark pines and waving birch, which cast a solemn gloom over the lake below, a few mountain ashes, joining in a clump, and mixing with them, have a fine effect. In summer, the light-green tint of their foliage, and, in autumn, the glowing berries which hang clustering upon them, contrast beautifully with the deeper green of the pines; and, if they are happily blended, and not in too large a proportion, they add some of the most picturesque furniture with which the sides of those rugged mountains are invested.” One great advantage of the mountain ash, in all situations, is, that it never requires pruning, and never grows out of shape.
* See Loudon's Arboretum, pp. 916 et 920.
Derinations. The genus Cydonin is so called from Cydon, in Candia, its native place. It was formerly classified with the genera Pyrus and Sorbus, from the resemblance of its fruit to that of the service and the pear. Generic Characters. Fruit a pome. Carpels 5, each including many seeds. Testa mucilaginous. Calyx
5-parted, with leafy divisions.
CHE genus Cydonia consists of low, deciduous trees or shrubs,
natives of Europe and Asia, which are easily propagated by layers, and by grafting on the common thorn. The species most worthy of culture are the Cydonia vulgaris, hereafter described,
and the Cydonia japonica, commonly known by the name of
He Pyrus japonica. The latter is a shrub, native of China and Japan, growing to a height of five or six feet, and flowering a great part of the year, more especially if supplied with water during the hottest months.
It is one of the most desirable deciduous shrubs in cultivation, whether as a bush in the open lawn, trained against a wall, or treated as an ornamental hedge plant. It has also been trained up with a single stem as a standard; and, in this character, its pendent branches and numerous flowers, give it a rich and striking appearance, particularly in early spring. It has ripened fruit in Europe and America, both as a bush, and when trained against a wall; which, even when ripe, is unfit to eat, though it has so fragrant an odour as to induce some persons to keep it among their clothes. Miss Twamley, in her “Romance of Nature,” in speaking of this shrub, calls its flowers "fairy fires,"
" That gleam and glow amid the wintry scene,
Lighting their ruddy beacons at the sun,
To the same natural family belong the following genera :
1. Photinia, embracing evergreen trees, with audivided, coriaceous, serrated, or entire leaves, and, in most cases, with corymbose flowers, and small fruit. They are natives of China, India, Japan, and California.
2. Cotoneaster, consisting of several species of very desirable garden shrubs or low trees, natives of Europe and India. The C. frigida and affinis, in particular, from the abundance of intense scarlet-coloured fruit they bear, which remains on the trees a greater part of the winter, well deserve a place in every collection.
3. Raphiolepis, a genus, the species of which are evergreen trees or shrubs, native of China, with crenulated, coriaceous, reticulated leaves.
4. Eriobotrya. a genus of Japanese trees, evergreen in their foliage, which is large, and independently of their flowers, are strikingly picturesque and ornamental. The species the most worthy of cultivation is the E. japonica.
5. Kageneckia, a genus of evergreen trees, native of Chili and Peru, the leaves