« AnteriorContinuar »
no better provided with nurseries for a tree so choice, and so universally acceptable. We send, commonly, for this tree, into Flanders and Holland, while our woods do, in some places, spontaneously produce them.” The linden has long been a favorite tree for avenues and public walks, in some of the principal towns of France, Holland, and Germany, one of the most celebrated of which is in Berlin, called Die Linden Strasse. It also forms avenues to country-seats, on the continent of Europe, in Britain, and in America. "The French," says Du Hamel, "growing tired of the horse-chesnut for avenues, adopted the lime for that purpose, in the time of Louis XIV.; and, accordingly, the approaches to the residences of the French, as well as the English gentry of that date, are bordered with lime irees;" and Fenelon, "in conformity to this taste, decorates with 'flowering lime-trees,' his enchanted isle of Calypso."
The introduction of the European linden into America, no doubt, took place soon after its settlement. In general, as it is but a short-lived tree, in this country, in consequence of the ravages of insects, but few specimens are to be found of advanced age and size, which renders it difficult to determine the precise period at which it was brought from Europe. There exists, at present, however, a noble and venerable tree of this species, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is reputed to be above two hundred years old, with a trunk measuring more than eight feet in circumference at three feet from the ground. Its trunk is pierced and grooved with numerous holes by the Saperda vestita; several of its farge branches, and a portion of its top have fallen, apparently in consequence of the depredations of these insects, and in a few years more, it will probably moulder to earth.
The largest and the most remarkable linden in Europe, and probably in the world, is at Neustadt, in Würtemberg, so famous for its size, that even the city itself takes its name from it, being called by the Germans, Neustadt an der Linde; that is, Newtown by the Great Linden-tree. This monstrosity of unknown antiquity, is nearly one hundred feet in height, and eighteen feet in diameter near the ground. Its trunk rises fifteen feet before it begins to ramify. The branches extend to nearly one hundred feet on each side of the trunk, and are supported by one hundred and eight pillars of wood and stone. There is a place of entertainment formed in the head of the tree, which may be ascended by a flight of steps. In the hollows of the branches, earth has been placed, and gooseberry bushes planted, the fruit of which is sold to visiters.
At Fribourg, in the public square, there is a large lime-tree, the branches of which are supported by pieces of timber. This tree was planted on the day that the victory was proclaimed of the Swiss over the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, in 1476; and it is a monument admirably accordant with the then feebleness of the Swiss republics, and the extreme simplicity of their manners, it being the custom in the middle ages, during the struggles of the Swiss and Flemish people to recover their liberty, to plant a lime-tree on the field of every battle that they gained over their oppressors. In 1833, the trunk of this tree measured about fourteen feet in circumference. In the village of Villars-enMorig, near Fribourg, there is a large lime-tree, which existed there long before the battle of Morat, (which the tree of Fribourg commemorates,) and which now is of extraordinary dimensions. According to De Candolle, in 1831, it was seventy feet high, and thirty-six feet in circumference at four feet from the ground, where it divided into large and perfectly sound branches. It is estimated as being nearly one thousand years of age.
At Knowle, south of London, there is an immense lime-tree, which spreads over nearly a quarter of an acre of ground. What is very remarkable, the branches of this tree, many years ago, rested their extremities on the soil, rooted into it, and sent up a circle of young shoots, which surrounded the parent tree. These young shoots, in process of time, partook the character of trees themselves, and, in turn, stretched out their branches, rested them on the ground, and threw up a second circle of trees, which, in 1820, were twenty or thirty feet in height This tree is said to stand in a lawn in an ancient geometrical garden, and must be, at least, two hundred years
old. In the cemetery of the hospital at Annaberg, in Saxony, a man planted a lindentree, and was afterwards buried under its shade, who left a sum of money to have a sermon preached every Trinity Sunday, under it. This tree is said to have grown to an enormous size, and was planted in a reversed position, with its head downwards.
Mythological and Legendary Allusions. In Prussia, near Königsberg, two large lindens were grown on a grassy bank, beneath which, it is said, were buried, in one grave, a bride, who died on her wedding-day, and her husband, who did not long survive her loss. The tree was ever afterwards a favourite retreat for sorrowful lovers.
In the churchyard, at Seidlitz, in Bohemia, it is said there are some old limetrees, the leaves of which are hooded; and the peasants affirm that they have ever been so since some monks from a neighbouring convent were hanged on their boughs.
Ovid tells us in his “Metamorphoses," that Baucis, when Jupiter and Mercury, after they had partaken of her hospitality, offered to grant any request she might make, only asked to die on the same day as her husband; that the gods, granting her prayer, when she and Philemon had both attained a good old age, she was changed into a lime-tree, and her husband into an oak. While the transformation was taking place, they continued speaking affectionately to each other, till the bark had closed quite round them; and that, even when they had become trees, they entwined their branches closely together.
Soil and Situation. A deep, and rather light soil is recommended by Du Hamel, for the lime-tree, or an argillaceous soil, inclining somewhat to sand, and rather moist; but the largest trees are generally found in a good, loamy soil, or in the alluvial deposites of low-lying meadows, along the margins of lakes, rivers, &c. In Lithuania, where this tree abounds, the soil is rather a clayey than a sandy loam.
In dry situations, it never attains a large size, and it loses its leaves, perhaps, earlier than any other tree. Being an inhabitant of the plains, rather than of the mountains, it does not appear suitable for exposed surfaces; but it requires a pure air, rather than otherwise; for, it is found in abundance in many of the cities of continental Europe, but sparingly so in the British cities, where more mineral coal is consumed, which appears to be more injurious to the lime than to the elm, the plane, or some other trees.
Propagation and Culture. This tree is seldom propagated otherwise than by layers, which are made, in the nurseries, in autumn, or winter, and which become rooted, so as to be separated from the parent stock, in a year. Du Hamel says that the lime-tree may be raised from seeds, which ought to be sown immediately after being gathered; because, if they are preserved dry till the following spring, they will not often come up till the second year. If, however, the seeds are mixed with sand, or with soil, not too dry, and kept in that state during the winter, they will generally spring up the first year. Owing to the slowness of the growth of plants raised from seeds, the French and Belgian gardeners cut off the stock of an old tree, close to the surface of the ground, which soon sends up a great number of young shoots; among these they throw a quantity of soil, which they allow to remain one, two, or three years, after which, they find the shoots well rooted, and of a sufficient height and strength to be planted at once where they are finally to remain. The lime-tree bears transplanting when of a considerable size; but, when it is grown in the nurseries for this purpose, it ought always to be taken up and replanted every two or three years. A tree which has stood some years without being removed, should have the roots cut round, at three or four feet from the stem, a year before removal, for the purpose of stunting the growth, both of the head and roots, and of forming smaller roots and fibres.
Insects. The foliage of the Tilia europæa affords a pabulum to the larvæ of many lepidopterous insects, some of which feed exclusively upon it, while others prey upon that of various trees. Among those which prove the most injurious to it in the United States, are several species of the Geometridæ, such as spanworms, loopers, measurers, etc., some of which also feed indiscriminately upon the elm, maple, horse-chesnut, sycamore, (Platanus,) poplar, apple, cherry, and plum. Within the last five or six years, soon after the unfolding of the leaves of these trees, they have been attacked by the larvæ of these insects, and in some instances have been entirely divested of their foliage. They usually emerge from the egg, at New York and vicinity, about the middle of May, and during the month of June suspend themselves by their silken lines from the trees along the streets and avenues, greatly to the annoyance of the citizens. After gorging themselves with the tender foliage for three or four weeks, they quit the tree, enter the ground, or some other place of concealment, and undergo their transformations. The perfect insects of most of the species appear about the 20th of July, and others at various periods in autumn, and in the following spring. They commonly consist of small, whitish, or variegated millers, and, in some species, the females have no wings. Soon after their appearance, the females make provision for their future progeny, by laying their eggs upon the leaves, branches, or trunks of trees, and then die. Various expedients have been resorted to for the destruction of these insects, and but a few of these have proved effectual, except those of crushing them to death, when on the trees, or by destroying the chrysalides, or the eggs.
Another insect, in this country, which is more pernicious and fatal to the European linden-tree than the preceding, is a long-horned beetle, (Saperda vestita, Say,) described and figured by Dr. T. W. Harris, in Hovey's " Magazine of Horticulture," vol. x., p. 330. It was discovered about twenty years ago by Mr. Thomas Say, near the southern extremity of Lake Michigan, and has been known for several years in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York. The insect, in the winged state, is a little more than half of an inch in length, and is covered with a greenish down, having two dark spots on each wing cover, as indicated in the adjoining figure. It makes its appearance in the month of May, and commences eating the young bark and tender twigs, and often the petioles of the leaves. The female deposits her eggs on the branches and trunks of the trees, where they remain during the autumn and winter. According to Dr. Harris, a strip of the bark of the large linden in Cambridge, mentioned in a preceding page, two feet wide at the bottom, and extending to the top of the trunk, has been destroyed, and the exposed surface of the wood is pierced and grooved with countless numbers of holes, wherein the larvæ of these insects have been bred, and whence swarms of beetles have issued in times past. The lindens in Washington square, in Philadelphia, were also attacked by these borers a few years since, and in 1842, it became necessary to remove them entirely. The superintendent of the square informed us, that soon after the European species was cut down, they attacked the American lindens, which probably would have been destroyed, had not the insects been arrested by him. The two beautiful rows of European lindens, in front of the state house, in Philadelphia, have likewise been perforated by them, and in a year or two more, they will probably fall from their prey. The same insect also is said to attack the mountain ash. Various experiments have been tried to arrest their course, but most of them have proved fruitless, except by crushing the insects to death, or by destroying their eggs.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the lime-tree, as compared with that of the oak, the ash, and other timber trees, holds but an inferior rank, and is only used in such works as are not to be exposed to the alternations of moisture and dryness. It is of a pale yellow, or white, close-grained, soft, light, and smooth ; and, when seasoned, it is not liable to be attacked by insects. It is used by pianoforte-makers, for sounding-boards, and by cabinet-makers for a variety of purposes, as it does not warp under atmospheric changes. It is turned 'into domestic utensils of various kinds, carved into toys, and turned into small boxes for apothecaries. The most elegant use to which it is applied, is for carving, for which it is superior to every other wood. Many of the fine carvings in Windsor Castle, Trinity College Library, at Cambridge, and in the Duke of Devonshire's mansion, at Chatsworth, are of this wood. It is said to make excellent charcoal for gunpowder, even better than alder, and nearly as good as hazel, or willow. Baskets and cradles were formerly made from the twigs; and shoe-makers and glovers are said to prefer planks of lime-tree for cutting the finer kinds of leather upon.
The leaves of this tree are collected in Sweden, Norway, Carniola, and Switzerland, for feeding cattle; though in Sweden, Linnæus says, they communicate a bad flavour to the milk of cows. One of the most important uses of the lime-tree, in the north of Europe, is that of supplying material for making ropes and mats; the latter of which enter extensively into European commerce. The Russian peasants weave the bark of the young shoots for the upper parts of their shoes, the bark of the trunks or large branches serving for the soles; and they also make of it, tied together with strips of the inner bark, baskets and boxes for domestic purposes. The outer bark of old trees also supplies them, like that of the birch, with tiles for covering their cottages. Ropes are still made of the bark of this tree in Cornwall, and in some parts of Devonshire. The manufacture of mats from the inner bark, however, is now chiefly confined to Russia, and to some parts of Sweden. Trees from six to twelve inches in diameter are selected at the beginning of summer, when, from the expansion produced by the ascending sap, the bark parts freely from the wood. The bark is then stripped from them in lengths of six to eight feet, and is afterwards steeped in water till it separates freely in layers. It is then taken out, and divided into ribands or strands, and hung up in the shade, generally in the forest were it grows, and, in the course of the summer, is manufactured into mats, so much in use by gardeners and upholsterers, and for covering packages generally. The fishermen of Sweden make nets for catching fish, of the fibres of the inner bark, separated by maceration, so as to form a kind of flax or hemp; and the shepherds of Carniola weave a coarse cloth of it, which serves for their ordinary clothing. The sap of the lime-tree, drawn off in spring, and evaporated, affords a considerable quantity of sugar. The honey produced from the flowers is considered superior to all other kinds for its delicacy, selling for three or four times the price of common honey; and it is used in the preparation of medicine, and for making particular liqueurs, more especially, Rosoglia. This lime-tree honey is only procured at the little town of Kowno, on the river Niemen, in Lithuania, which is surrounded by an extensive forest of lime-trees, and where the management of the honey-bee occupies the principal attention of the inhabitants. The Jews of Poland produce a close imitation of this honey, by bleaching the common kind in the open air, during frosty weather. The fruit of the lime-tree had long been thought of little use, till M. Missa, of Paris, by triturating it, mixed with some of its flowers, succeeded in procuring a butter, perfectly resembling chocolate, both in taste and consistency; but, unfortunately, it was found that the lime-tree chocolate would not keep. It has been suggested whether some of the American varieties of tilia would not prove successful in this particular. In England, there are many ancient lime-trees, planted in towns, because, in olden times, their odour was considered as purifying to the air, and to be good against epilepsy.
In landscape gardening the principal use of the linden is as a detached tree on a lawn, or in scenery which is decidedly gardenesque; because, from the symmetrical and regular form of its head, it is unfitted for grouping with other trees in a picturesque manner. It is recommended as preferable to the elm, for sheltering gardens, or orchards, because the roots, do not, like those of the elm, spread and impoverish all around them. Evelyn commends the lime for its "unparalleled beauty” for walks; "because," says he, “it will grow in alınost all grounds, lasts long, soon heals its wounds, when pruned, affects uprightness, stoutly resists a storm, and seldom becomes hollow.” Scattered trees of it harmonize well with immense masses of Grecian or Roman architecture; but it is less suitable for the narrow, perpendicular forms of the Gothic. For architectural gardening it is well adapted, from the patience with which it bears the knife, or the shears. In some of the public gardens in the vicinity of Paris, and Amsterdam, there are numerous colonnades, arcades, walls, pyramids, and other architectural masses formed of this tree, which produce an imposing effect.