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sively used there for tea. Their leaves are much longer and narrower than those of the trees of Paraguay and the Organ Mountains, and their under surfaces are invariably dotted with minute black glands.
Geography and History. The Ilex paraguariensis is found growing spontaneously, intermingled with other trees, in the forests which cover the banks of the rivers and streams that fall into the Parana and Uruguay, as well as the sources of the Ipane and Jejui. Its principal harvest is made in the eastern part of Paraguay, and about the mountains of Maracaja, as well as in the marshy valleys which intervene between the hills. It also grows abundantly in Brazil, near Curutiba, and about the Organ Mountains, in the country adjacent to Rio Janeiro.
In the beginning of the XVIIth century, an infusion of this plant was a general beverage of the inhabitants throughout the provinces of Paraguay, and there can be no doubt but the aborigines of that country taught its use to their Spanish conquerors; for, among the creoles and mestizoes of the present day, there are many who charge the Paraguayanos with having exterminated their Indian slaves by hard labour, in gathering the leaves of this tree. In no country in the world is the Chinese tea more extensively drank, in proportion to the population, than is the yerba maté, throughout a great portion of South America. Large plantations of it are owned by the Jesuits of Paraguay, who derive a large revenue from its harvest, the annual product being estimated at five million six hundred thousand pounds, more than thirty thousand of which are carried to Chili, Ecuador, whence Lima and Quito are supplied, and the remainder is consumed in the Argentine and Cisplatine republics.
This species was introduced into Britain in 1828, and plants are growing in the botanic garden at Glasgow, and in the garden of the Horticultural Society of London.
Properties and Uses. The people of South America attribute innumerable virtues to this tree; but most of the qualities ascribed to it are doubtful. It is certainly aperient and diuretic, and like opium, produces some singular and contrary effects. It is said to give sleep to the restless, and spirit to the torpid; and like that drug, when a habit is once contracted of using it, it is difficult to leave it off; its effect on the constitution being similar to that produced by an immoderate use of spirituous liquors. There are three kinds of the herb in the prepared state, though produced by one plant, and are called by the Indians, caa-cuys, caa-mini, and caa-guazu; the prefix caa, signifying the tree or leaf itself. The former consists of the half-expanded buds, which will not keep long, and is entirely consumed in Paraguay. The caa-mini, is the leaf as prepared by the Jesuits, carefully picked and stripped from the nerves before roasting; while the third is made by roasting without any preparation, and is denominated by the Spaniards, yerba de palos. The amount daily gathered by a labourer is usually from one hundred to three hundred pounds. In preparing the leaves for market, a bundle of long poles is constructed, in the form of a cylindrical vault, under which a large fire is made, and upon which the branches are placed, and remain there till the leaves are sufficiently dry. After this, the fire is removed ; and on the hard and hot platform, after being swept clean, they throw the branches, which they give a thorough beating. In this manner the leaves are separated from the boughs, which, after being sufficiently manipulated, are next densely packed into large bags made of hides; and in this state, without further preparation, they are fit for use; but they are not considered as seasoned till they are a few months old, as the aromatic bitterness which they possess, when newly prepared, is partially dissipated by age. The leaves are used by infusions, in Paraguay, Uruguay, the Argentine republic, Chili, Peru, and Ecuador, by all classes of persons, and at all hours of the day. The creoles drink the infusion
in a pot, called maté, from the spout of which the tea is drunk, with or without a little burnt sugar, cinnamon, or lemon juice. They drink it at every meal, and seldom eat before they have taken some of it. The more wealthy and refined portion of the population partake of the infusion from a maté or teapot, formed of silver or other materials, by means of a tin or silver pipe, called bombilla, perforated with holes at one end, to prevent swallowing the pulverized herb which floats on the surface. The quantity of leaves used by a person who is fond of it, is an ounce. It is customary, in good society, to supply each of the party with a maté and pipe, with the infusion as near as possible to a boiling temperature, which, those who are habituated to its use, can swallow without inconvenience; but often the whole household and their visitors are supplied by handing the maté from one to another, filling it up with hot water as fast as it becomes exhausted. If the water is suffered to remain long on the leaves, the decoction becomes of an inky blackness. The taste of the leaves, when green, somewhat resembles that of the mallows, or the inferior kinds of green tea from China. Mr. Stenhouse, of Glasgow, has recently detected an alkali in them, not dissimilar to theine, a bitter tonic substance, which is found in the leaves of the tea of China, and the Paulliania sorbilis of the banks of the Amazon, and which is also identical with caffeine, obtained from the seeds of coffee, and theobromine, the principle yielded by chocolate. On this subject Liebig remarks, “We shall never, certainly, be able to discover how mankind were led to the use of the hot infusion of the leaves of a certain shrub, (tea,) and of a decoction of certain roasted seeds (coffee.) Some cause there must be which would explain how the practice has become a necessary of life to whole nations. But it is still more remarkable that the beneficial effects of both plants, on the health, must be ascribed to one and the same substance, the presence of which, in two vegetables, belonging to different natural families, and the products of different quarters of the globe, could hardly have presented itself to the boldest imagination."*
The Ilex paraguariensis is highly ornamental, and doubtless would flourish in any soil and situation where the Magnolia grandiflora would thrive. Hence, its introduction into the middle and southern sections of the union is well worthy of the attention of all who have proper conveniences for cultivating it.
* While on this subject it may be interesting to notice incidentally, the plants employed as tea in various countries of the globe. In China, Thea bohea and viridis mixed with the leaves of Camelia sasanqua and oleifera, and sometimes with those of Olea fragrans; also Rhamnus theezans ; New Holland and Kurile Ísles, Correa alba ; Kamtschatka, Pedicularis lanata; Argentine Republic, Paraguay, &c., Ilex paraguariensis ; Brazil, Thea bohea, Ilex paraguariensis, and Paulliania sorbilis, from which the people on the banks of the Amazon make a beverage called guarana ; New Granada, Alstonia theaformis, which is said to be equal to the tea of China ; Chili and Mexico, Psoralia glandulosa or "culen;" Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Nex vomitoria, or cassena; Virginia, Pennsylvania, &c., Gaultheria procumbens, or mountain tea, which, when properly cured, is much esteemed; also, Ceanothus americanus, or New Jersey tea, (having actually been used in the revolutionary war as a substitute for tea,) and Solidago odora or golden-rod, the flowers of which, gathered when fully expanded, and carefully dried, afford a most agreeable substitute for tea, and in former times were exported to China, where they brought a high price; and in Canada, Labrador, &c., Ledum latifolium, Indian or Labrador tea.
Derivation. The name Rhamnus was derived from the Celtic word, ram, signifying a tuft of branches; which the Greeks changed to rhamnos, the Romans to ramus, and the French to rame, or in old French, reim. Generic Characters. Calyx urceolate, 4–5-cleft. Petals 4–5, emarginate or 2-lobed, usually more or
less convolute. Torus thin, lining the tube of the calyx. Ovary free from the calyx, not immersed in the torus, 2-4-celled ; styles 2-4, distinct or more or less connected. Fruit drupaceous, containing 2-4 cartilaginous nuts. * * * * * Leaves alternate or rarely opposite, on short petioles. Flowers minute, usually in short, axillary clusters.—Torrey and Gray, Flora.
HIS genus is composed of deciduous and evergreen shrubs, one or more of them with the habit of low trees, and some of them subprocumbent, or procumbent; and all of them, except the latter, are distinguished by an upright, stiff mode of growth, with numerous
strong thorns in their wild state. Many of those described by
We botanical writers as species, are doubtless, only varieties; but till his whole are brought together and cultivated in one garden, this cannot be determined. The flowers in all are inconspicuous; but the Rhamnus alaternus and its varieties are most valuable evergreen shrubs, and several of the other species are ornamental, both from their foliage and their fruit, the latter of which is also useful in dyeing. The article of commerce, known under the names of French or yellow berries, graine de jaune, graine – Avignon, graine de Perse, graine d'Espagne, graine du Levant, &c., are produced by the Rhamnus infectorius, oleöides, amygdalinus, and saxatilis. The Rhamnus frangula, known in France by the name of bourdaine, is preferred to all other kinds of wood for making charcoal emploved in the manufacture of gunpowder. The leaves of the Rhamnus theezans are substituted in China for those of tea. The fruit of the Rhamnus ziziphus is employed throughout the southern or temperate parts of Europe, in the manufacture of jujubes. The species procurable in nurseries, and well deserving of cultivation, are the Rhamnus alaternus, hybridus, alpinus, frangula, saxatilis, latifolius, and catharticus, the latter of which, from its medicinal qualities, and utility for live fences, is worthy of particular consideration.
(Linnæus, Species Plantarum.
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
Don, Miller's Dictionary.
TORREY AND GRAY, Flora of North America.
BRITAIN AND ANGLO-AMERICA.
Derivation. The specific name, catharticus, is derived from the Greek kathairo, to purge, from the medicinal nature of the berties of this tree.
Engravings. Woodville, Medical Bolany, pl. 114; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, ii., figure 198, et v., pl. 70, and the figures below. Specific Characters. Erect. Leaves ovate, toothed. Flowers in fascicles, polygamo-diæcious. Berries
4-seeded, rather globose.- Don, Miller's Dict.
FROM THE Rhamnus catharti
cus is a deciduous shrub!
or low tree, growing,
MOHON when wild, to a height of eight or ten feet, and from twelve to fifteen feet in a state of cultivation. It naturally partakes the character of a bush, unless it is carefully trained to a single stem. Its branches are numerous and irregular, the young shoots of which have a smooth, grayish-brown bark; but the older branches are rough and armed with short thorns. The leaves on old trees are ribbed, smooth, about an inch in length, and from half an inch to three-fourths of an inch in width, and of a bright-green colour; but on young plants, or in hedges, they are often found from two inches to two inches and a half in length, and nearly as broad as they are long. The flowers, which appear in May and June, are of a yellowish-green colour. They are, for the most part, hermaphrodite, clustered when grown wild, but fewer and nearly solitary in a state of cultivation. The berries are of a bluishblack, globular in their form, with four cells, and as many seeds, and are ripe in Britain and the northern parts of the United States in October. It often remains on the tree after the leaves have fallen.
Geography and History. The Rhamnus catharticus is indigenous to Europe and the north of Asia. În Britain it is found native in the woods, and according to Pallas, it is common in the southern parts of Siberia. It has also become indigenous in the vicinity of Boston, in Massachusetts, and near West Point,
New York, and is cultivated for use and ornament in the various countries of Europe and of North America.
The first cultivated tree of this species in the United States, of which we have any record, stood in the garden of the venerable Dr. Holyoke, in Salem, Massachusetts. It bore an abundance of fruit, which was long used by him, in his practice, as a cathartic. On the estate of Mr. E. Hersey Derby, in that town, there are several buckthorn-trees, from thirty to forty years planted, which have attained a height of twelve or fifteen feet, and bear an abundance of berries every year.
Propagation, Culture, Uses, foc. The Rhamnus catharticus, in common with most plants of its genus, may be easily propagated by seeds, or by cuttings and layers. It prefers a rich, moist soil, in rather a shady situation; but it will thrive in any place where the current or gooseberry will succeed. It is cultivated in Europe as an ornamental shrub, and is becoming of great utility in America as a hedge-plant, as will be seen by the following extract from Mr. Derby's paper in the Transactions of the Essex Agricultural Society." "In the year 1808, I happened to have some young plants which had come up from the chance-scattered seeds of the American buckthorn,* and finding they had made a good growth in the nursery to which they had been removed, I determined to try to form a hedge of them, and I have been well pleased with the result. They were set out in 1809, and very soon became a fine hedge, of about twenty rods in length, which has remained so until the present time, Sept. 1842] not a single plant having failed from it, nor have I ever known it to be attacked by any insect. This hedge being my first experiment with the buckthorn, I did not keep it down so closely as I have since found it expedient to do, and consequently it is not quite so impervious at the bottom as some of my younger hedges, which have been more severely pruned. Being fully satisfied that I had at last found the plant I wanted, I have, since that time, set out various hedges of it, at different periods, until I can now measure one hundred and sixty rods of them, all, in my opinion, good hedges; and I do not hesitate to pronounce the buckthorn the most suitable plant for the purpose that I have ever met with. It veg. etates early in the spring, and retains its verdure late in autumn, I have often seen it green after the snow had fallen. Being a native plant, it is never injured by our most intense cold, and its vitality is so great that the young plants may be kept out of the ground for a long time, or transported any distance without injury. It never sends up any suckers, nor is disfigured by any dead wood; it can be clipped into any shape which the caprice or ingenuity of the gardener may devise; and being pliable, it may be trained into an arch, or over a passage-way, as easily as a vine; it needs no plashing or interlacing, the natural growth of the plants being sufficiently interwoven. It is never cankered by unskilful clipping, but will bear the knife to any degree. During the last winter, I found one of my hedges had grown too high, casting too much shadow over a portion of my garden, and wishing to try how much it would endure, I directed my gardener to cut it down within four feet of the ground. This was done in mid-winter, and not without some misgivings on my own part, and much discouraging advice from others; but it leaved out as early in the spring as other hedges, and is now a mass of verdure. I have been applied to for young plants by persons who have seen and admired my hedges, and have sent them to various states in the union, and I have never, in any instance, heard of their failure.
“My method of forming a hedge is to set the young plants in a single row, about nine inches apart, either in the spring or autumn; if the latter, I should clip it in the following spring, within six inches of the ground; this will cause
* The writer believing it to be a native plant.