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THE LARGE-LEAVED MAGNOLIA
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
Don, Miller's Dictionary.
Michaux, North American Sylva.
TORREY AND GRAY, Flora of North America.
BRITAIN AND ANGLO-AMERICA.
Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 57; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, v., pl. 6; and the figures below.
at the base, under surface whitish, glaucous. Petals 6–9, ovate.—Don, Miller's Dict.
HE Magnolia macrophylla is
ly met with in the forests. Its
cylindrical, and of a vivid rose-colour when arrived at maturity. In the arrangement of the carpels and of the seeds, the fruit resembles those of the Magnolia umbrella and acuminata. It should be remarked, however, that it is destitute of the appendages visible on that of the last-mentioned species, especially when it is dry.
Geography and History. The large-leaved magnolia is found in the mountainous regions of North Carolina, about ten miles from Lincolnton; in Tennessee, near the river Cumberland ; and in Georgia on the river Chattahouchie. It is also sparingly found in Tennessee, west of the mountains, at intervals of forty or fifty miles.
This tree was discovered by the elder Michaux, in 1789, but was not introduced into England till imported by Messrs. Loddiges, in 1800. In France, it seems to have been introduced about the same time as in England; and it appears to prosper better in the climate of Paris, as there, in the nursery of M. Godefroy, it has ripened seeds, from which, in 1827, young plants were raised.
The largest tree of this species in England, is at Arley Hall, the seat of the Earl of Mount Norris. In 1837, it was twenty-eight and a half feet high, with a trunk six inches in diameter, at a foot from the ground, with a head seventeen feet in diameter.
In France, the largest Magnolia macrophylla is at Fromont, which in 1835, measured twenty-four feet in height, and the branches covered a space of fifteen feet in diameter. It had flowered every year since 1826, and ripened seeds in October, from which many young plants had been raised.
In the Bartram botanic garden, at Kingsessing, near Philadelphia, there is a tree of this species thirty feet in height and six inches in diameter.
Soil and Situation. In its natural habitat this species delights in cool situations, sheltered from the wind, where the soil is deep and fertile. The soil, in which trees have attained the largest size in England, is a deep, dry sand, with a situation perfectly sheltered on every side, and slightly shaded from the midday sun.
Propagation and Culture. Neither this species nor the Magnolia umbrella can be readily grafted or inarched on each other, or on any other tree; probably from the large proportion which the pith bears to the ligneous part of the shoots. It will root by layers with great difficulty ; but plants so raised, from the want of vigour, will probably not be of long duration. The only mode of general adoption is, to raise it from seeds. In order to preserve the power of vitality in the seeds, the same attention is requisite as in the preceding species. Young plants grow very slowly till they are thoroughly established, which will require, in general, two years. The annual growth of the shoots may vary from one to two feet; so that in ten years a plant may attain a height of twelve or fifteen feet. This species may be considered as short-lived, and, like all trees of short duration, comes into flower when young.
Properties and Uses. The wood of this species is softer and more porous than the Magnolia umbrella, and has comparatively no value except for ornament.
LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum.
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
Michaux, North American Sylva.
TORREY AND GRAY, Flora of North America.
Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 53; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, v., pl. 7; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Deciduous. Leaves oval, acuminate, under surface pubescent. Flowers 6–9 petaled.—Don, Miller's Dict.
HE Magnolia acu-
of a uniform size, and is often destitute of branches for two thirds of its length, and sometimes attains a height of sixty or eighty feet, with a diameter of three or four feet. The branches are numerous, and are disposed in a regular manner, forming an ample and beautiful fastigiate summit. The bark on old stocks is grayish, and deeply furrowed. The leaves upon old trees are from six to seven inches long, and from three to four inches broad, and double that size upon young, vigorous ones. In general, on adult trees, they are oval, entire, and very acuminate; but, on seedlings, they are sometimes found ovate, nearly orbiculate, and cordate-acuminate. The flowers, which open in May, are five or six inches in diameter. They are bluish, and sometimes white, with a tint of yellow, and emit but a feeble odour. They are large and numerous, and have a fine effect in the midst of the superb foliage. The cones are about three inches long, and nearly an inch in diameter. They are cylindrical, and often a little larger at the summit than at the base. They are convex on one side, and concave on the other; and when green, they nearly resemble small cucumbers. They are rose
coloured, and, as in the fruit of the other species, the seeds, before they drop remain suspended for some time by long, white threads.
Varieties. As this species is frequently raised from seeds, and as the seedlings vary much in the size and form of their leaves, and in the presence or absence of pubescence, both on the leaves and the young shoots, it would be easy to select several varieties apparently marked with distinctness. It may be deemed sufficient, however, to enumerate the following:
1. M. A. CORDATA, Loudon. Magnolier à feuilles en cour, in France; Herzblättriger Bieberbaum, in Germany; and Heart-leaved Cucumber-tree, in Britain and America. This variety, in its general appearance and in the form of its fruit, very nearly resembles the type of this species. It is found growing in insulated situations on the banks of the rivers in upper Georgia, and on those of the streams which traverse the western part of South Carolina. It appears to have been discovered by the elder Michaux, and was first introduced into England by John Lyon, in 1801. The original tree is said still to exist in the nursery of Messrs. Loddiges, at Hackney, in England, and is about fifteen feet in height. In its natural habitat, it attains an elevation of forty or fifty feet, with a trunk twelve or fifteen inches in diameter. Its leaves are from four to six inches in length, and from three to five inches in width, are somewhat ovate or cordate, acute, with their under surfaces tomentose, and their upper ones smooth. Its flowers, which are odoriferous, appear in Georgia in April, and are yellow, with the interior of the petals longitudinally marked with reddish lines. They are from three to four inches in diameter, and are succeeded by fruit about three inches long, and nearly an inch in thickness.
2. M. A. CANDOLLI SAVI, Loudon. De Candolle's Acute-leaved Magnolia. This variety can readily be distinguished by its ovate, oblong, and acute leaves, and greenish flowers. It is figured in Savi's “ Bibliotheca Italica.”
3. M. A. MAXIMA, Loudon. Large Acuminate-leaved Magnolia. The leaves of this variety are much larger than those of the original species. Hence its name.
Geography and History. The most northerly point at which this species is found is near the falls of Niagara, in latitude forty-three degrees. It grows along the whole mountainous tract of the Alleghanies to their termination in Georgia; and is common on the Cumberland Mountains, which divide the state of Tennessee. “At the distance of forty or fifty miles from these mountains," says Michaux, “either eastward or westward, the Cucumber-tree is met with only accidentally upon the steep banks of rivers. It is also rare in the parts of Kentucky and west Tennessee, which are most remote from the mountains, where the face of the country is less even.”
The Magnolia acuminata was first discovered by John Bartram in 1736, and was sent by him to that venerable English amateur, Peter Collinson. Being readily propagated by layers, and very hardy, it was soon extensively cultivated in the gardens of Europe, and there are now numerous trees in Britain, France, and the north of Italy, from forty to sixty feet in height, which flower freely every year.
A tree of this species more than eighty feet in height, and three feet in diameter, is at present growing in the Bartram botanic garden, at Kingsessing, on the west bank of the Schuylkill, three miles below Philadelphia. It was brought by John Bartram from Lake Erie, in about 1753; and Col. Robert Carr, the present proprietor of this garden informs us, that a great part of the seeds of the Magnolia acuminata sent yearly from America to Europe, are supplied from this tree.
Soil and Situation. The situations peculiarly adapted to the growth of this tree in its native country, are the declivities of mountains, narrow valleys, and the banks of torrents, where the air is constantly moist, and the soil is deep and fertile. To attain a large size, when cultivated, it requires a sheltered situation, and a deep, rich soil; but it will grow in exposed sites, and in almost any soil that is moderately free, and not surcharged with moisture.
Propagation and Culture. The Magnolia acuminata is generally propagated in the European nurseries by layers; the plants so produced flowering much sooner than seedlings; but the latter, as they make far more durable plants, should always be preferred when this species is used as a stock to graft or inarch others on. It is thus treated very generally, not only for the Magnolia auriculata and cordata, but for the Magnolia conspicua and soulangeana. The plants are sometimes grown in the free soil, but it is preferable to rear them in pots; because, in that case, they are not checked by transplanting, and at least a year is gained in their growth. Plants raised from seeds do not usually produce flowers till they are eight or ten years old, when the tree will probably be fifteen or twenty feet in height; but those propagated from layers produce flowers in two or three years.
Properties and Uses. The wood of this species is soft and light, weighing, when dry, twenty-six pounds to a cubic foot. Being comparatively rare in the United States, its timber is not in general use. Where it can be obtained, it is employed in joinery for the interior of houses, and for cabinet-making; and, from its size and lightness, large trunks are selected for scooping out into canoes. Many of the inhabitants of the Alleghanies gather the cones about mid-summer, when they are half ripe, and steep them in whiskey, which thus becomes extremely bitter, and habitually taken in the morning, is considered as a preventative against autumnal fevers.