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Propagation, foc. The Lyonia arborea, like all the plants of the order Ericaceæ, requires a very fine loamy or sandy soil, which must be kept equally moist, or one that is mixed, more or less, with leaf-mould, or with well-rotted peat. When propagated from seeds, they must be thinly covered in pots, as they are small, and would rot, if buried deep. When the young trees are about an inch high, they should be carefully planted out in other pots, where they will acquire strength, in time; and, when large enough, may be planted in open ground.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the Lyonia arborea is very soft, of a pale rose-colour, and is totally rejected in the arts and for fuel. The leaves have a very pleasant acid taste, and are frequently made use of by hunters, in the mountains, to allay their thirst. They are sometimes employed, in the form of a decoction, as a refreshing beverage for fevers, in the parts of the country where this tree abounds. The branches and bark produce a black dye, with the addition of the salts of iron. In Tennessee, the inhabitants prefer this plant to sumach, in imparting colour to wool.
Genus RHODODENDRON, Linn.
Rhododendron, Rhododendrum, Rhodora, } OF AUTHORS.
SPAIN AND ITALY.
BRITAIN AND ANGLO-AMERICA.
Derivations. The word Rhododendron is derived from the Greek thodon, a rose, and dendron, a tree, having reference to the terminal bunches of Powers, which are red, or rose-colour, in many of the plants of this genus. Generic Characters. Calyx 5-parted. Corolla somewhat funnel-shaped, 5-cleft. Stamens 5—10. Anthers
opening by terminal pores. Capsule 5-celled, 5-valved, opening at the tip.-Don, Miller's Dict.
F all the genera in existence, the Rhododendron, including the CO
Azaleas, comprises the most handsome, the most elegant, and the most showy shrubs which grace the lawns and shrubberies of both hemispheres. Although these plants are cultivated in Europe
and America almost exclusively for ornament, yet, from their
2 stimulant and even deleterious properties, in many parts of the globe where they grow wild, they are not without their other uses. Thus, the Rhododendron ponticum, maximum, ferrugineum, and the Rhododendron chrysanthum are poisonous to cattle which feed on their leaves; and yet, they are used in moderate doses in medicine, for the cure of rheumatism, &c. The former was known to the ancient inhabitants of Pontus, who were well acquainted with the poisonous qualities of its flowers, which had such influence on the honey of that country, that the Romans would not receive it in tribute, but obliged the Greeks to pay them a double portion of wax in lieu of it. Both this rhododendron and the Azalea pontica were abundant in the neighbourhood of Trebisond in the time of Xenophon, who reports that, when the army of ten thousand Greeks, in their celebrated retreat, approached that city, his soldiers, having eaten the honey which they found in the environs, were seized with a violent vomiting and purging, followed by a species of delirium, so severe, that those jeast affected resembled drunken persons, and the others madmen. The ground was strewed about with bodies of the soldiers, as it is after a battle. No one died, however, and the malady disappeared in twenty-four hours after it had commenced, leaving only a sensation of great weakness. According to Mr. Royle, the Himalayan species, Rhododendron arboreum, is more remarkable for its uses as a timber-tree; but its flowers are eaten by the hill people, and are formed into a jelly by European visitors. The leaves of the Rhododendron campanulatum, being used as a snuff by the natives of India, are imported from Cashmere, under the names of hoolas-kasmeeree, (Cashmere snuff,) and burg-itibbut, (Thibet leaf,) though easily procurable within the British territories. And it is not a little remarkable that the American aborigines employ the dust which adheres to the petioles of the kalmias and rhododendrons for a similar purpose.
The shrubs and trees of the genus Rhododendron, are usually evergreen, but in the azalea division they are almost entirely deciduous, with quite entire alternate leaves, terminated by a withered tip, or yellow gland; and with terminal, corymbose, showy flowers. They may all be cultivated in sandy peat, kept raiher moist, and propagated by layers, seeds, or by cuttings.
(LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum.
Michaux, North American Sylva.
Don, Miller's Dictionary.
LOUDON, Arboretum Britannicum.
Derivation. The specific name marimum is derived from the Latin magnus, great, and signifies " the largest;"' in reference to the large size of this tree when compared with the minor species of this genus.
Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 67; Audubon, Birds of America, ii., pl. ciil.; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, il., fig. 932; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Arborescent. Leaves elliptic-oblong, acute, convex, bluntish at the base, whitish or
rusty beneath, glabrous. Calycine segments oval-obtuse. Segments of corolla roundish. Flowers pale-red, in umbellate corymbs, studded with green, yellow, or purple protuberances. Don, Miller's Dict.
"Pleased with their toil, the healers sought the cell.
TRAITS OF THE ABORIGLNES.
HE Rhododendron max
imum generally presents
shrub, less than ten feet high ; but it sometimes attains a height of twenty
KY or twenty-five feet, with a stem four or five inches in diameter. When the leaves are beginning to unfold themselves they are rose-coloured, and are covered with a reddish down. When fully expanded, they are smooth, five or six inches long, of an elongated-oval form, and of a thick, coriaceous texture. Although the tree is evergreen, it renews its leaves once in three or four years. It puts forth flowers from June till August, which are commonly rose-coloured, with yellow dots on the inside, and sometimes they are perfectly white. They always occur at the extremity of the branches in beautiful groups, which derive additional lustre from the foliage that surrounds them. The seeds are extremely minute, and are contained in capsules which open in autumn, for their escape.
Varieties. The varieties recognized in this species are as follows:
1. R. M. ALBUM, Loudon. White-flowered Rose Bay-tree, with pure white flowers, and is comparatively rare.
2. R. M. HYBRIDUM, Loudon. Hybrid Rose Bay-tree, supposed to have been produced by fertilizing the common white glaucous-leaved Azalea with the pollen of the Rhododendron maximum. The flowers of this variety are very fragrant, which circumstance alone, entitles it to a place in collections.
3. R. M. PURPUREUM, Loudon. Purple-flowered Rose Bay-tree. This variety, which has large purple flowers, grows to an immense size, its stem being often found eighteen inches in diameter, and its foliage triple the size of that of any other species. It is a native of Virginia and Carolina, on the highest mountains, near lakes, where it forms a large shrub, or low tree, growing to the height of twenty-five feet, flowering in the months of May and June.
Geography, fc. The Rhododendron maximum is found on Long Island, and on the banks of the Hudson below the Highlands, in the state of New York, and rarely as far north as Massachusetts; but these places may be considered far beyond the limits where this tree ceases to be an inhabitant of the forests. It frequently occurs in the middle and southern states of the union, particularly in the mountainous tracts of Carolina and Georgia. It is almost exclusively seen on the borders of rivers and creeks, and is observed to be more multiplied in approaching the Alleghanies, till, in the midst of these mountains, especially in Virginia, it becomes so abundant on the sides of the torrents, as to form impenetrable thickets. Deeply-shaded situations, in the vicinity of cool and.crystal waters flowing among rocks, where the atmosphere is charged with vapour, are the most congenial to the growth of this tree.
This species was introduced into Britain by Peter Collinson, in 1736; but it did not flower in England, as Miller informs us, until 1756 ; and the only person who then succeeded in raising it, was Mr. James Gordon, at Mile End. It has also been introduced into many of the gardens and collections on the continent of Europe; but as it is not nearly so easy of cultivation as the Rhododendron ponticum, it does not grow to so large a size. In Derbyshire, England, at Shipley Hall, there is a specimen of the Pontic rhododendron exceeding sixteen feet in height, the branches of which cover a space nearly sixty feet in diameter. In the Bartram botanic garden, at Kingsessing, near Philadelphia, there is a Rhododendron maximum fifteen feet in height, with a top forty-five feet in circumference.
Propagation and Culture. The Rhododendron maximum, like all its congeners, may be propagated by cuttings of the young shoots, taken off in a growing state, when their lower ends have begun to ripen, and planted in pure sand, and covered with a bell-glass, or by layers; but the best plants of this, and all the other species, are procured from seeds. They are ripe in August or September; and, though they will retain their vital principle for upwards of a year, it is considered safest to sow them soon after they are gathered. They should be sown in peat soil, or very fine sandy loam, in pots or boxes, or in a border shaded from the direct influence of the sun; and kept in a uniform state of moisture, and protected from the frost. In sowing, the surface of the soil should previously be made quite smooth, and gently pressed down, or watered till it has settled to a level surface; and, after the seeds have been equally distributed over this surface, they should be covered with no more soil than is barely requisite to conceal them from the eye. Seeds sown in autumn will germinate in the following spring, and will be fit for transplanting by the next autumn, or by the spring of the following year. After seedling plants have been a year in pots, or in the seedbed, they may be planted into nursery lines, and removed every year, or every second year, and placed at greater distances, till they have acquired the size at which it is considered desirable to sell them, or to plant them where they are finally to remain. At whatever age or size they are removed from the nursery, they require, in common with all hair-rooted plants, to have a small ball of earth attached to their roots, and to have these carefully protected from drought by mats. In consequence of almost all the rhododendrons and azaleas being remov
able with balls, they may be transplanted at every season of the year, though autumn and spring are the periods generally made choice of. In consequence, also, of peat soil readily adhering to the fibrils of the plants of this genus, and, indeed, of all the Ericaceæ, it becomes less necessary to grow them in pots for the convenience of removal, than is the case with most other rare and valuable. trees and shrubs.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the American rose bay is hard, compact, and fine-grained; but, from its diminutive size and comparative scarcity in the more populous parts of the country where it grows, it has not, hitherto, been appropriated to any particular use in the arts. The leaves are sudorific and narcotic, and have been successfully employed in the cure of rheumatism. The almost entire use to which this species is applied, both in Europe and in America, is for ornament; and, from its delicately-coloured flowers, of the beautiful red and white tints of the apple blossom and of the rose, which strikingly contrast with its smooth, evergreen leaves, it richly deserves a place in every collection.