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form the transition to the Flora of the United States. The American elm may almost be called a Canadian tree, for it is in the north that this most magnificent tree of the temperate zone attains its finest proportion.
The region of the United States may be considered botanically to include the whole central tract of North America, from about 500 to 25° N. lat. This region consists of two forests, the Eastern and Western, and one unwooded tract. The eastern part was originally occupied by an unbroken forest, extending from Hudson's Bay to the Mexican Gulf, and westward far beyond the Mississippi, though here confined to the banks of the rivers. The only encroachments by prairies or unwooded tracts, are in Illinois, Indiana, and also in Ohio, in the north, and in Mississippi and Alabama, in the south.
This vast forest is composed of 140 kinds of trees, of which more than eighty reach the height of sixty feet and upwards. The most characteristic forms are the hickories, tupelos, lyriodendron or tulip-tree, the taxodium or American cypress, the locust, the coffee-tree, and the negundo. It is further remarkable for possessing numerous oaks, ashes, and pines, several magnolias, a gordonia (loblolly bay), a plane (sycamore or buttonwood), a liquidambar, a tree andromeda, two walnuts, three tilias, the red bay, the hackberry, &c. Within this forest are found only such shrubs and herbaceous plants as require more or less protection from the sun. This has been the principal cause of our cultivated grounds being so exclusively occupied by plants introduced from abroad.
Liquidambar Tree Andromeda. In the prairie region the grasses have usurped the domain of the trees and shrubs ; the northern parts present a strong analogy to the Tartarian steppes, not only in their physical aspect and numerous salines, but in their vegetation, which is gay with a profusion of flowering
plants. In the south-western portion the grasses are very thinly scattered, and towards the Rocky Mountains the vegetation is so scanty, that the name of desert has been given to an extensive tract ; but there is no part destitute of rivers in all seasons, or where the cactuses and yuccas may not be occasionally met with, or even some cucurbitaceous plants and grape-vines spreading over the sands.
The western forest seems to be less extensive than the eastern, and the species appear to be less numerous, but among them are some of gigantic dimensions. Spruces in the north, pines, maples, oaks,
and poplars in the middle, and pines in the south, are the prevailing Prickly Pear.
growth. We will suppose, that we have arrived at the frontier of the British possessions, where the sugar maple (Acer saccharinum) pours forth its saccharine juice at the first arrival of warm weather, even before the snows have had time to melt ; the azalias add their gay and fragrant blossoms to the beauty of the opening summer, while the autumn is closed by the appearance of many kind of asters, which sțud the woods and meadows with their white or violet starry flower-heads. At this point wheat and other kinds of grain, with maize, are successfully cultivated, and even tobacco, such is the degree of summer-heat, is a common field-crop.
In the United States the great features of the North American Flora are at length assumed.
Aster. The forests consist of pines and larches unknown in Europe, of many kinds of oaks, of locust trees (Robinia pseudacacia), black walnuts of enormous size, hickories, and ashes, among which the noble tulip-tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) rears its towering head ; in the swamps grow the deciduous cypress (Taxodium distichum), the white cedar (Cupressus thyoides), certain fir-trees (Pinus serotina and Abies pendula), the rhododendron or rose-bay, the glaucous kalmia, andromedas, sarracenias, and the glaucous magnolia ; the sides of the mountains are covered with the arbor vitae (Thuya occidentalis), magnolias, and hemlock spruces (Abies Canadensis), among which spring up the arborescent araleas, the sorrel-tree (Andromeda arborea), and the beautiful mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) ; and finally, the undergrowth of the woods and plains contains endless species of aster, several kinds of aralea and asclepias, dwarf pyrus, and various of the exclusively American genera liatris, phlox, &c. Tobacco, maize (Zea mais), and wheat, are the staple objects of cultivation.
White Oak. The following list of some of the most important species, with their scientific and popular names, will serve to complete this general view of the trees and shrubs of the United States.
The three tilias are white lime (T. Alba), Basswood (T. Americana), and downy lime-tree (T. pubescens); the oaks are white oak (Quercus alba), which abounds particularly in the Northern and Middle States, reaching the height of 70 feet, with a diameter of six; the live oak (Q. virens), the most durable of our trees, and affording the most valuable ship-timber, found only near the sea in the extreme Southern States; the scarlet oak (Q. coccinea), most common in the middle and southern States, and reaching the height of 80 feet; the red oak (Q. rubra), a more northern species ; the quercitron, black, or yellow oak (Q. tinctoria), one of the loftiest trees of our forest, being about 90 feet high, found all over the country except in the extreme north, yielding a brownish-yellow dye, called quercitron; the swamp white oak (Q. prinus), extensively diffused; the pin oak (Q. palustris), most common in the middle parts of the country; the post oak (Q. stellata), abundant in the southern States:
the black jack (Q. ferruginea); the water oak (Q. aquatica); and the laurel oak (Q. imbricaria) Most of this family afford good timber for building, staves, machinery, &c., and the bark is generally valuable for tanning. The hickories are the shagbark (Carya alba), already mentioned; the pekannut (C. olivaformis), whose fruit is much admired; the shag-bark hickory (C. sulcata), the nutmeg hickory (C. myristicæformis), the pig-nut (C. porcina), &c; the wood of the hickories possesses great weight, tenacity, and strength, but decays quickly when exposed to heat and moisture. The walnuts are nearly allied to them ; among them are the butternut (Juglans cinerea), and the black walnut (J. nigra), which takes a beautiful polish. Among the maples, beside the sugar-maple, which furnishes the beautiful bird's-eye maple for cabinet work, are the black maple (Acer nigra), which also yields sugar, the red maple (A. rubrum), whose wood, called the curled maple, takes a beautiful polish, the white maple (A. eriocarpum), the box-elder or ash-leaved maple (A. negundo), &c. The maples are handsome trees, with beautiful and peculiar leaves, which in the autumn assume various delicate and brilliant hues. The buttonwood or sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), is one of the largest of our forest trees, especially in the rich valleys of the West. The birches are for the most part northern trees, but the red birch (Betula nigra), is found in the southern States. The canoe birch (B. papyracea), takes its name from the use which is made of the outer bark; the canoes of the Indians and fur traders, formed of this material, are
extremely light as well as strong. The wood of the black birch (B. lenta) is superior to that of either of the other birches, and it takes a good polish, whence it is often called the mahogany birch. The red bay (Laurus Carolinensis) of the southern States, attains the height of 70 feet, and its wood takes a fine polish. The sassafras (L. sassafras) abounds in all parts of the country, and its wood, particularly the root, has a fragrant odor and aromatic taste, and is much used for medicinal purposes. The American holly (Ilex opaca) is most abundant in the central regions of the country; the wood is used by cabinet makers, and the keys of piano-fortes are often made of it. The persimon (Diospyrus Virginiana), and the papaw (Asamina triloba), are confined to the southern part of the country, and are esteemed for their fruits. Several species of poplar are found in the United States, among which the Carolina poplar (Populus angulata) and the cotton-wood (P. Canadensis), are the largest; these abound chiefly on the southern and western rivers. The aspen (P. tremuloides) is a smaller tree. The palmetto or cabbage-tree (Chamaerops palmetto) is a palm growing along the Atlantic coast in the Carolinas and Georgia. The American chestnut (Castanea Americana) is one of our
Chestnut. loftiest trees;
its fruit though smaller, is sweeter than those of the European species. The chinquapin (C. Pumila) is merely a shrub, but it produces a pleasant fruit
. The nut of the hazel (Corylus Americana) is also very delicate. The red beech (Fagus ferruginea) is confined to the northern parts of the United States and the British Provinces; the wood is tough and durable. The white beech (F. Americana) is more widely diffused. The hop-hornbeam (Ostrya Virginica), or iron wood, so called from its weight, is also widely diffused. The dogwood (Cornus florida) occurs from Massachusetts to Florida; it is a small tree, but it makes a fine appearance in the spring, when covered with a profusion of white flowers. The sour gum (Nyssa villosa), and the great tupelo (N. denticulata), are southern trees, and reach a great height; but the black gum (N. biflora), or tupelo, is much smaller. The American nettle-tree (Celtis occidentalis) abounds in the southern and western States, and grows to the height of 70 feet. The hackberry or hoop-ash (C. crassifolia) is peculiar to the western States, and exceeds the nettle-tree in height; its wood is used for making chair-bottoms, and by the Indians for baskets. The red mulberry (Morus rubra) is rare in the Atlantic, but abundant in the western States. Its fruit is agreeable, and the wood very durable. The white mulberry (M. alba), and the black mulberry are exotics from Italy and China, and are begin
White Mulberry. ning to be cultivated for feeding silk-worms. There are five or six species of ash in the United States, among which are the white ash (Fraxinus acuminata), one of the most beautiful and valuable trees of the American forest, chiefly confined to the northern States and the British Provinces; the blue ash (F. quadrangulata) of the western States, and the black ash (F. sambucifolia), also a
northern tree. The willows are numerous ; the basket willow (Salix viminalis) takes its name from its economical use; the yellow willow is an exotic. The American elm (Ulmus Americana) towers to the height of 90 or 100 feet in the northern latitudes, but is much inferior in the southern parts of the country. The winged elm (U. alata), or wahoo, and the slippery elm (U. fulvu), remarkable
Wahoo. for its mucilaginous bark, are smaller trees. There are several very valuable pines in North America, particularly the white pine (Pinus strobus), a northern tree, and the long-leaved pine (P. palustres), which is confined to the southern districts. The former sometimes reaches the height of 170 or 180 feet, with a trunk of 6 or 7 feet in diameter, and is much used for masts, and also for the ornamental work of houses and vessels ; the wood is soft, light, and free from knots. The latter does not reach more than half the height of the white pine, but is very abundant throughout the broad belt of low country from the Chesapeake to the Mississippi. The wood is much used for shipbuilding, and it furnishes great quantities of tar, pitch, turpentine, and rosin to commerce. The red or Norway pine (P. resinosa), properly a Canadian tree, and the yellow pine, which abounds in the central districts of the United States, are also valuable trees. The New Jersey pine, (P. inops), and
New Jersey Pine. he loblolly pine (P. tada), are less important. The pitch pine (P. rigida) is a large and valuable ree. On the west of the Rocky Mountains, a gigantic species (P. lambertiana), sometimes reaches the height of 200 feet, with a trunk 12 or 15 feet in diameter ; there are seven other species in that region. The most important spruces have already been mentioned. The hackmatack or American larch (Larix microcarpa), is rare in the United States, but abundant further north; it is a magnificent tree, about 100 feet high, and the wood is highly valued. The bald cypress (Taxodium disti