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THE WOOLLY-FLOWERED GORDONIA.
LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum.
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
Michaux, North American Sylva.
TORREY AND GRAY, Flora of North America.
Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 58 ; Audubon, Birds of America, pl. clxvii.; Catesby, Natural History of
HE Gordonia lasian
thus, in its native.
ful sub-evergreen tree, growing to a height of fifty or sixty feet, with a diameter of eighteen or twenty inches. The trunk is often straight, for the first half of its height, and the small divergency of its branches gives it a regularly fastigiate form ; but, as they ascend, they spread more loosely, like those of other trees of the forest. The bark is very smooth while the tree is less than six inches in diameter ; but, on old trunks, it becomes thick, and deeply furrowed. The leaves are from three to six inches in length, alternate, oval-acuminate, slightly toothed, and smooth and shining on the upper surface. The flowers are more than an inch broad, white, and sweet-scented; they begin to appear about the middle of July, and continue to put forth, in succession, during two or three months. This tree possesses the agreeable singularity of bearing flowers when it is only three or four feet high. The fruit is an oval capsule, divided into five compartments, each of which contains small, black, winged seeds.
Geography and History. This tree appears to be confined to the maritime parts of the United States, from Virginia to lower Louisiana. According to Michaux, tracts of fifty or one hundred acres are met with in the pine-barrens, which, being lower than the adjacent ground, are kept constantly moist by the waters collected in them after great rains. These spots are entirely covered with this species and are called bay swamps.
This tree seems first to have been recorded by Catesby, and was soon after described by Ellis, in the Philosophical Transactions,” and figured there, as well as in Catesby's "Carolina." It was introduced into England, in about 1768, by Benjamin Bewick; but it has never been very successfully cultivated, apparently from neglecting to imitate its natural habitat. The largest plants in England are at Purser's Cross, at White Knight's, in some of the London nurseries, and a few others. No plants, as yet, have exceeded twenty feet in height. In the vicinity of New York, Philadelphia, and other places, this tree is planted in gardens, and succeeds well, with some slight protection during winter.
Šoil and Situation. In the natural habitat of this species, the vegetable mould is often not more than three or four inches deep, and reposes upon a bed of barren sand; yet its growth is surprisingly luxuriant. A swampy soil, and a low, sheltered situation appear to be the most congenial to its growth. In preparing an artificial soil, either for this species or the Gordonia pubescens, it should be composed of peat, or leaf-mould, and sand; and it should be so circumstanced, as always to be kept moist, without having the surface alternately moistened by the watering-pot, and dried by the sun. In order to do this, a considerable mass of soil ought to be brought together, and placed in an excavation, on a retentive substratum, in a low situation. During summer, water ought to be supplied from below, rather than from the surface, in order that the degree of moisture may be maintained as uniformly as possible. This may be effected by laying the bottom of the foundation or substratum of broken stone or coarse gravel, to which water can be supplied through a shaft, or tube, communicating with the surface. Such a preparation is well worthy of the expense, in order to insure the growth of these species, as well as the Magnolia glauca, and other plants, requiring a similar situation.
Propagation and Culture. In the British nurseries, this species is generally propagated by layers; but sometimes seeds are imported for the purpose. These require to be sown on peat soil, kept moist and shaded; and, for this purpose, a covering of moss (sphagnum) is thought desirable, as the seeds which drop from the plants in their native habitats, only germinate successfully in this substance.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the Gordonia lasianthus is extremely light, a cubic foot of which, when dry, does not weigh more than twenty pounds. In trunks of these trees, which exceed fifteen inches in diameter, four-fifths of the wood is heart. It is of a rosy, or mahogany hue, and of a fine, silky texture, which render it very proper for the inside of furniture, though the cypress is generally preferred. When seasoned, it is exceedingly brittle, and rapidly decays when exposed to the alternations of moisture and dryness. The bark may be taken off this tree during three months of the year, which shows that the
is in vigorous motion a much longer period than it is in most other trees. The value of the bark, in tanning, compensates, in some measure, for the uselessness of the wood, for which purpose it has been employed in times past, throughout the maritime parts of the southern states and Florida. Although this branch of industry was never so extensively practised in the southern as in the northern parts of the United States, the regions where this tree abounds do not afford a sufficient quantity of bark, proper for tanning, to supply the wants of the inhabitants. Hence, nearly all the leather, and articles manufactured therefrom, consumed in the southern states, are carried from the north. A bark, suitable for the purpose of tanning, is more valuable in the United States, than at first sight might be supposed. Although there are a great variety of oaks, and many of the species profusely multiplied, yet there are but a very few of them that are sufficiently rich in tannin to be worth using.
Deritations. The word pubescens is derived from the Latin pubesco, to become downy; and the German name has the same signification. The name Frankliniu is so called in honour of Dr. Franklin.
Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 59; Audubon, Birds of America, pl. clxxxv.; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, figure 94 ; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Flowers almost sessile. Leaves obovate-lanceolate, pubescent beneath, somewhat serrated, membranaceous. Petals and sepals rather silky on the outside.—Don, Miller's Dic.
HE Franklinia is a decidu-
rarely exceeds thirty feet in height, and six or eight inches in diameter. The bark of the trunk is smooth, and presents a ridged surface, somewhat like that of the Carpinus americana. The leaves are alternate, oblong, narrowed at the base, finely and sharply toothed, shining above, canescent beneath, and rather thin. The flowers are white, with yellow anthers, and are nearly three inches in diameter. They are of an agreeable odour, and appear in Carolina about the beginning of July, and a month later near Philadelphia. They open in succession during two or three months, and mature when the tree is only three or four feet high. In the neighbourhood of London, it seldom comes into flower Jefore September; and so continues until the flowerbuds are destroyed by frost. The fruit consists of round, ligneous capsules, which, when ripe, open at the summit in four seams, to release the small seeds.
Geography and History. The Gordonia pubescens is found only on the banks of the river Altamaha, in Georgia, where it was discovered, in 1770, by John Bartram, who gave it the name of Franklinia. It was introduced into England, in 1774, by Mr. William Malcolm. There are plants ten feet high in the Mile End nursery, London, and of a larger size at Purser's Cross, and at Syon. It is also cultivated in the Jardin Impérial des Plantes, in France; and a few years ago there was a tree of a considerable size in the garden at Trianon. The largest tree of this species which we have on record, is in the Bartram botanic garden, at Kingsessing, near Philadelphia. It is fifty-two feet in height, with a trunk three feet and nine inches in circumference. There is also another vigorous tree fifteen feet high, in the garden of Mr. D. Landreth, of Philadelphia.
Soil, Situation, &c. The native soil of this species is sandy wastes, where there is peat and an abundance of moisture a great part of the year. It is considered somewhat hardier than the Gordonia lasianthus, and has been more generally cultivated. The soil, situation, and culture, may be considered, in all respects, the same as those described in the preceding species.
Uses, fc. No particular application has been made of this tree, except for
Genus CITRUS, Linn.
Syst. Lin. Derivation. The meaning of the word Citrus has escaped the ingenuity of philologers and etymologists; it was probably corrupted from the Latin word cedrus, a name applied by the Romans to various kinds of trees, which they ignorantly con. founded. It is supposed by some to be derived from kitron, the Greek name of the lemon-tree.
Distinctive Characters. The common character of the citrus family, is that of low, evergreen trees, with
ovate or oval-lanceolate, entire, or serrated leaves. On trees in a wild state, or on ungrafted cultivated ones, there are often axillary spines. The flowers occur in peduncles, axillary or terminating, and single or many-flowered. The fruits are large berries, round, spheröidal, or oblong, and generally of a yellow colour. The species appear to be the most easily distinguished by the petiole, which, in the orange and shaddock, is winged; while in the citron, lemon, and lime, it is naked. The form of the fruit, although not constant, may serve, in a measure, for a distinction. In the orange and shaddock it is spherical, or rather flattened at the ends, with a reddish yellow, or golden-coloured rind; in the lime, the form is spherical, or oblong, with a pale, yellowish rind; in the lemon, oblong, rough, with a pointed protuberance at the end; and in the citron, the form is oblong, with a very thick greenish, or yellow rind. The flowers of the citron and lemon have ten stamens, but those of the orange more. After all, it is very difficult to determine what is a species, and what a variety in this family.
HE beautiful and tree-like forms of this genus, clothed as they are in shining and perennial verdure, odoriferous flowers, and adorned with brilliant, fragrant, and delicious fruits, must have attracted the attention of aboriginal man, long before other fruits of less brilliancy, though more nutritious, and grateful to his senses. The
"golden apples” of the heathens, and the "forbidden fruit” of the Jews, are supposed to have reference to this family, though we have no authentic records of any species of citrus having been cultivated either by the ancient Greeks or Romans. The citron was introduced into Europe from Media, under the name of Medica, and was cultivated in Italy by Palladio, in the IInd century; but the introduction of the other species has been, comparatively, of recent date. They are all natives of the torrid zono, chiefly of India, and have been disseminated throughout the warmer and more temperate regions of the habitable globe. The limes are classified by modern botanists under the name of Limonia, a new genus, derived from the Arabic, lymoun, a citron. It is not very well known, however, but it is said to include nearly twenty species, one of which is a native of East Florida, the Limonia ambigua, of Nuttall
. There are also several half-hardy kinds, natives of the Himalayas and Nepal, which are said to grow at considerable elevations, and are adapted to the climate of the temperate parts of Europe, and of the United States, without protection in winter.
The most splendid work on this genus which has ever appeared, is the “Histoire Naturelle des Orangers,” by Risso, of Nice, and Poiteau, of Versailles, published in folio, at Paris, in 1818. There are described in this treatise one hundred and sixty-nine sorts, one hundred and five of them figured, and their French and Italian culture given at great length. They are classified as sweet oranges, of which they describe forty-three varieties or races; bitter and sour oranges, thirty-two; bergamots, five; limes, eight; pampelucos or shaddocks, six; sweet limes, twelve; lemons, forty-six; and citrons, seventeen varieties.
Dr. Sickler, who lived several years in Italy, and paid particular attention to the culture of the orange, published, in 1815, a work entitled “ Der Volkommen Orangerie Gartner," in which he describes above seventy kinds of citrus. And Galesio, in his " Traité du Genre Citrus,” etc., Savonna, 1818, has given a synopsis of forty principal kinds cultivated'in Italy.