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(LINNAUS, Species Plantarum. Rhus cotinus,
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
| LONDON, Arboretum Britannicum.
Itu Hamez, Traité des Arbres et Arbustes.
BRITAIN AND ANGLO-AMERICA.
Deripations. The French name, Arbre aur perruques, signifies Wig-tree; on account of the large shaggy hairs which grow on the elongated pedicels. The Italian name, Scotino, is derived from the Greek skotios, obscure, or happening in the dark; probably in allusion to the pedicels being clothed or concealed by hairs.
Engravings. Du Hamel, Traité des Arbres et Arbustes, pl. 178; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, ii., figure 223; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Leaves obovate, sessile, entire, very narrow at the base, and smooth on both sides;
a great part of the flowers abortive, the pedicels at length elongated, and clothed with shaggy hairs. Corymbs axillary.
Bare AOR HE Venetian Sumach, in a wild state, is seldom
STS found higher than five or six feet; but when
How that height, and forms a highly ornamentales shrub, more especially when garnished with its large, loose panicles of elongated pedicels. It is easily distinguished from all other species of rhus by its simple, obovate, smooth, stiff, lucid, green leaves, rounded at their points, and supported by long footstalks, which do not fall till they are killed by frost, so that the plant is almost sub-evergreen. The flowers, which appear in June and July, are produced at the ends of the branches, and are of a pale a purple, or flesh colour. They are composed of five small oval, petals each, which spread open; and the sexes are hermaphrodite. The drupes are half-heart-shaped, smooth, and veiny, containing a triangular nut.
Geography and History. The Rhus cotinus is native of sunny places in western Asia, and in southern Europe, from Spain to Caucasus; and, according to Mr. Nuttall, it is truly indigenous on the high rocky banks of Grand River, in Arkansas, North America.
This plant appears to have been known to Pliny, who mentions it as an Apennine shrub, under the name of coggygria. It was introduced into Britain in 1656, and was cultivated by Tradescant, and is described by Gerard as an excellent and most beautiful plant, “with leaves of the capparis, and the savour of the pistachia.” Mr. Loudon observes that there are old plants of it at Syon; and a very fine one at Deepden, the diameter of the head of which is nearly twenty feet; but the largest specimen in England is at Enville, in Staffordshire, where it has attained more than double that size.
This shrub was introduced into the United States by the late William Prince, of Flushing, New York, in about 1790, and may be found in most of the nurseries and collections in various parts of the country,
And the every garden remain. in autumn, and of root
Soil and Culture. This shrub prospers best in a dry loam, though it will grow in any common garden soil. It may be propagated by seeds, or by pegging down the branches flat to the ground, in the spring, and strewing earth over them. Young shoots will rise and take root at the base, which may be severed from the parent stock in autumn, and planted in pots or in the site where they are intended to remain. As an ornamental shrub, this species deserves a place in every garden and collection where there is room for it to extend itself. And there is but little doubt but it might be profitably cultivated in many parts of the United States, for the purposes of tanning and dyeing.
Uses, foc. In Greece, and in the south of Russia, the whole plant is used for tanning, and for dyeing leather, wool, and silk, yellow. In Italy, particularly about Venice, it is used for dyeing black. In Syria, Palestine, France, Spain, and Portugal, this species, as well as the Rhus coriaria, are cultivated with care, if they do not grow naturally, and the shoots are cut down every year quite to the ground, which, on being dried, are reduced to powder by mills, and thus prepared for use. In the commerce of the south of France, there is another plant employed as sumach, called redoul, and known by botanists under the name of Coriaria myrtifolia. When reduced to a powder, it somewhat resembles the Sicilian sumach in colour, but may be readily distinguished from it by an unpleasant herbaceous odour, while that of the latter is fragrant, penetrating, and agreeable.
(LINNAUS, Species Plantarum.
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
Don, Miller's Dictionary.
TORREY AND GRAY, Flora of North America.
Derivations. The specific name, typhina, is derived from the Greek tuphos, stupor or senselessness, on account of the roots of this shrub being used in medicine as a febrifuge. The German name, Färberbaum, signifies Dyer's-tree.
Engravings. Du Hamel, Traité des Arbres et Arbustes, ii., pl. 47 ; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, ii., figure 224; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Leaf of 8–10 pairs of leaflets, and the odd one, that are lanceolate, acuminate, ser.
rated, hairy beneath. Petiole and branches hairy.-De Candolle, Prodromus.
of ten to twenty-five feet,
og although under some circumstances it dwindles down to a mere shrub, from ten to two feet in height. Its stem is woody, with a summit composed of numerous irregular branches, generally crooked and deformed. The young shoots are covered with a soft, velvet-like down, resembling that of the new horns of the stag, both in colour and texture. The leaves are large, slightly downy beneath, and are distinguished in autumn, before they fall, by changing to a purplish or yellowish-red. The flowers appear in June, and are of a greenish-yellow. They are produced in close spikes at the ends of the branches, and are succeeded by drupes or berries, densely clothed with crimson hairs, which soon become conspicuous, and remain upon the tree during winter.
Varieties. There are many varieties of this species in North America, and from the confusion existing in botanical works, it is often difficult to decide which are species or which are varieties in this genus. The following races, however, appear to be sufficiently distinct, to be classed under the present head.
1. R. T. VIRIDIFLORA. Green-flowered Sumach, with green flowers in upright racemes.
2. R. T. GLABRA. Glabrous Rhus, or Scarlet Sumach, with glabrous leaves, and fruit covered with red, silky hairs.
3. R. T. HERMAPHRODITA, with hermaphrodite sexes, glabrous leaves, and greenish flowers.
4. R. T. DIOICA, with diecious sexes, glabrous leaves, and greenish flowers.
5. R. T. COCCINEA. Scarlet-flowered Sumach, with diæcious sexes, leaves glaucous beneath, flowers red, and fruit of a rich, velvety crimson.
Geography and History. The Rhus typhina is found in a wild state in almost every part of North America, from Canada to Texas, and even west of the Rocky Mountains. It was cultivated in England, by Parkinson, in 1629, and is now common in most of the European gardens and collections.
Soil, Culture, foc. This species, or its varieties under notice, grows abundantly, both in cultivated and in uncultivated tracts. In woodlands, it is found near the margins of open glades; and, in arable fields, suitable for growing corn, it is more common than in low meadows. In some parts of the country it flourishes like a weed, and a field left uncultivated for a few years, becomes overrun with it from berries which have been disseminated by birds, or other natural causes; and, when the ground is again brought into tillage, the roots prove a great impediment to the plough. This shrub, like all others of the genus, is easily propagated by seeds or by cuttings of the roots. As it is of an open, irregular growth, and of not many years' durability, it should never be placed where it is intended to serve as a screen. The most striking situation in which it can be placed, is when standing alone on a lawn. If trained to a single stem, it forms an interesting little tree, and well deserves to be cherished, from its large and beautiful foliage, its varied colours in autumn, and its spikes of dark-red fruit, which diversify the scenery of a northern winter.
Properties and Uses. On cutting the stem of this shrub, a yellowish, resinous juice flows out from between the bark and wood. One or two of the outer circles of the wood are white, but those innermost, are of a yellowish-green, or orange-colour, having a strong aromatic odour. It contains a soft pith, of a brownish colour, and is frequently more than half of an inch in diameter. The wood and leaves are used in tanning the finer kinds of leather, and the roots are prescribed as a febrifugal medicine. The branches, boiled with the berries, afford a black, ink-like tincture; and the berries may be employed alone for dyeing red. They are eaten by children with impunity, though they are very sour. Professor Rogers, in “Silliman's Journal,” observes that they contain a large portion of malic acid, and are used as a substitute for lemons in various preparations of domestic economy, and in medicine.
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus. h
| HOOKER, Flora Boreali Americana.
Don, Miller's Dictionary.
TORREY AND GRAY, Flora of North America.
BIGELOW, Medical Botany.
Elder, Poison-wood, Derivation. The specific name, venenata, is derived from the Latin venenum, poison, on account of the poisonous nature of this shrub to most persons
Engravings. Bigelow, Medical Botany, i., pl. 19; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, ii., figure 226; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Leaf rather glabrous than pubescent, of 5–6 pairs of leaflets, and the odd one, which
are ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, entire, and beneath reticulately veined.-De Candolle, Prodromus.
HE Rhus venenata, in its
tree, growing to a height of ten to twenty feet; but when cultivated on more elevated grounds, it does not attain so great an elevation. The leaves are divided like those of the Rhus typhina, but differ in being smooth and shining; the leaflets are very entire, narrow, and pointed, with purplish-red veins; and in autumn they change to an intense red, or purple. The flowers, which appear in May, June, and July, are mostly diecious, small, and of a greenish colour. The drupes are whitish, and about the size of peas; and the nuts are rather broader than long, compressed and furrowed.
Geography and History. The Rhus venenata is indigenous to North America, and may be found in swamps, and moist, shady situations, from Canada to Louisiana. It was introduced into Britain in 1713, and is cultivated in several of the European collections.
Properties, Uses, fc. Every part of this shrub, even when reduced to charcoal, is in a high degree poisonous to most persons, either by touching or smelling any part of it. It operates somewhat differently upon different constitutions; and some, it is said, are incapable of being poisoned by it at all. This may be true under some circumstances, but is liable to fail under others. A few years since, in a hot day in the month of August, while prosecuting a public survey, we directed a number of men to cut a pathway through a swamp, densely filled with this poisonous plant. As most of us had never suffered any inconvenience from