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Derivation. Named by Linnæus in honour of Peter Kalm, professor at Abo, in Sweden; author of "Travels in America, in 1753. Generic Characters. Corolla of the shape of a wide-spread bell, and with 10 cavities on the inside, in
which the anthers of 10 stamens repose before shedding their pollen. Capsule 5-celled. Dissepiments marginal.-Don, Miller's Dict.
HE genus Kalmia consists of low evergreen shrubs, highly ornamental in their foliage and flowers; natives of North America; of easy culture in peaty soil, and propagated by layers, seeds, or by cuttings. Most, if not all the species are accounted poisonous, and honey collected by bees from their flowers is of a deleterious
nature. The leaves of the shrub called “ Lamb-kill,” or “Sheep Laurel," (Kalmia angustifolia,) is highly poisonous to sheep and lambs, often causing their death when eaten by them, particularly the latter. Hence the name.
To the same natural family belong the various species of heath (Erica, Gypsocallis, Calluna, etc.); also the several kinds of strawberry-trees (Arbutus); whortleberries (Vaccinium); and several genera of procumbent and trailing shrubs, among which are the common bearberry, (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi,) the partridgeberry or winter-green, (Gaultheria procumbens,) the Labrador tea, (Ledum latifolium,) and the common marsh cranberry (Oxycoccus palustris.)
(LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum.
Michaux, North American Sylva.
Bigelow, Medical Botany.
| LOUDON, Arboretum Britannicum.
Derivations. The specific name latifolia is derived from the Latin latus, broad, and folium, a leaf, having reference to the broad leaves of this species. The French and German names have the same signification as the botanic one. It is called Calicotree, Calico Flower, &c., on account of its beautiful spolled lowers.
Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 68; Calesby, Natural History of Carolina, ii., pl. 98; Audubon, Birds of America, i., Iv. ; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, ii., fig. 959; and the figures below.
Specific Characters. Leaves on long petioles, scattered, or 3 in a whorl, oval, coriaceous, smooth, and
green on both surfaces. Corymbs terminal, downy, and viscid.—Don, Miller's Dict.
progTHE Kalmia latifolia
shrub or low tree,
Cool growing to a height of fifteen or twenty feet, in favourable situations, with a stem three or four inches in diameter; but ordinarily it does not attain more than one half of these dimensions. Its leaves are of a coriaceous texture, oval-acuminate, entire, and about three inches long. The flowers, which put forth from May to July, are sometimes of a pure white, tinted with palepink, delicately spotted; but, in general, they are of a beautiful rose-colour, and are destitute of odour. They are disposed in corymbs at the extremity of the branches; and, as they are always numerous, their brilliant effect is heightened by the richness of the surrounding foliage. The seeds are very minute, and are contained in small, globular capsules.
Geography and History. The Kalmia latifolia is indigenous to North Ameiica, from Canada to Carolina. It rarely occurs, however, north of the forty-second or forty-third degrees of north latitude, and is but sparingly produced in Kentucky and western Tennessee, and disappears entirely in the southern states wherever the rivers enter the low country, or where the pine-barrens begin. Although it is comparatively abundant along the rivers of the middle and southerr states, it is nowhere seen more profusely multiplied, nor of a greater height,
and of more luxuriant vegetation, than in North Carolina, on the loftiest parts of the Alleghanies. It there occupies large tracts, and forms thickets upon their summits, and for a third of the distance down their sides, which are rendered almost impenetrable by the crooked and unyielding trunks, crossed and locked with each other. As the shrubs which compose these copses are nearly of the same height, and richly laden with evergreen foliage, they present, at a distance, the appearance of verdant meadows, surrounded by tall trees.
This species was introduced into Britain in 1734, by Peter Collinson, who procured it from Pennsylvania, and planted it in Catesby's garden, at Fulham, where it flowered for the first time in England, in 1741. It was introduced into France, by the elder Michaux, in about the year 1790, and is to be found in many of the European collections.
Soil, Situation, foc. The Kalmia latifolia, in its natural habitat, usually occurs on the sides of stony hills, near water, where the soil is sterile; but when cultivated, it flourishes best in a soft, loose, and cool soil, with a northern exposure. For propagation and culture, the reader is referred to our article on the Rhododendron maximum.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the Kalmia latifolia, particularly that of the roots, is very compact, fine-grained, and marked with red lines. When green, it is of a soft texture, and is easily wrought; but, when well seasoned, it is very hard, and more nearly resembles the European box, (Buxus sempervirens,) than any other American wood. Consequently it is worthy of the attention of mathematical instrument-makers, and of engravers on wood. It is sometimes employed in the United States for the handles of light tools, for screws, boxes, &c.; and it is said, also, to make good clarionets. It is used by the American Indians for making small dishes, spoons, and other domestic utensils. The whole plant is regarded as poisonous to young cattle, and sheep, but not to goats and deer. A decoction of the leaves of this tree was formerly taken by those miserable natives who had determined on self-destruction. But modern enterprise has successfully enlisted it in the service of medicine, and it is applied, in a pulverized form, internally, in fevers, or topically, for the relief of cutaneous affections. A few drops of the tincture poured upon the body of a large and vigorous rattlesnake, killed the reptile in a short time. The powder which covers the leaves is popularly employed in some parts of the country where it grows, for snuff. The honey collected from the flowers by bees, is accounted deleterious, which, with other noxious qualities of this elegant shrub, lessens that esteem which its beauty claims.
Genus HALESIA, Ellis.
Stamens 12 to 16. Filaments combined into a tube at the base, and adoate to the corolla Anthers oblong, erect, 2-celled, dehiscing lengthwise. Ovarium inferior. Style 1. Stigma simple. Drupe dry, corticate, oblong, with 244-winged angles, terminated by the permanent style, containing a 244celled putamen, which is acute at both ends. Cells 1-seeded. Seeds attached to the bottom of the cells. Testa of seeds simple, very thin. Embryo the length of albumen, with linear-oblong cotyledons, and a long, linear, compressed, inferior radicle. Albumen fleshy. Trees, with alternate serrated leaves, and lateral fascicles of pedicellate, drooping, white flowers.- Don, Miller's Dict.
VHE genus Halesia embraces but two species, natives of Caro
lina and Georgia, both of which are highly ornamental and sufficiently hardy to withstand the climate of Britain and the temperate parts of the United States. The Halesia diptera, a
native of Georgia, has leaves which closely resemble those of the a r Styrax grandifolium, but differ from them in not being downy beneath, and is frequently sold for it in nurseries. Indeed, in affinity, as well as in general appearance, this genus approaches near to that of styrax; and there is so close a resemblance among all the allied. species of styrax, that they may possibly be only varieties of one form. To the last-named genus belongs the officinal storax of apothecaries, (Styrax officinale,) much used at the present day in Catholic countries to burn as incense. The common storax of commerce differs from that of the shops, and is a liquid balsam, said to be obtained from the Liquidambar styraciflua.
(LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum. Halesia tetraptera,
Don, Miller's Dictionary.
LOUDON, Arboretum Britannicum.
FRANCE AND GERMANY.
BRITAIN AND ANGLO-AMERICA.
Deridations. The specific name tetraptera is derived from the Greek tetra, four, and pteron, a wing, in allusion to the four wings of the fruit of this tree. It is called Snowdrop-tree, from the resemblance which ils flowers bear to those of the snowdrop.
Engravings. Curtis, Botanical Magazine, pl. 910 ; Audubon, Birds of America; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, ii., fig. 1012 and vi., pl. 196 et 197; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, acuminated, sharply serrated. Petioles glandular. Fruit with 4 wings. Leaves acuminated, with the middle depressed Flowers pure white, 9–10 in a fascicle drooping, resembling those of the snowdrop.-Don, Miller's Dict.
POROTHE Halesia tetraptera is a beautiSA
S TS ful low tree or large shrub, grow* U i ng from fifteen to thirty feet in
er height, with a trunk from five to eighteen inches in diameter. The bark of the trunk is of a darkish colour, with many irregular fissures. The leaves are ovate-acuminate, serrate, with the middle depressed. The flowers, which are of a pure white, put forth in April and May, and are succeeded by an acid fruit, of a rhomboidal form, with four wings. Its flowers are produced in great abundance; and, from their shape, colour, and pendulous appearance, they are considered as resembling those of the snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis.)
Variety. H. T. PARVIFLORA. Small-flowered Four-winged-fruited Halesia, ou Snowdrop-tree; Halesia parviflora, of Pursh, Michaux, and others. This variety, though usually considered as a distinct species, differs from the Halesia tetraptera, chiefly in having the leaves downy and glaucous beneath.
Geography, foc. The Halesia tetraptera is found in shady woods, on the banks of streams, from Carolina to Texas. It was introduced into Britain in 1756, and is to be met with in most of the European collections. The largest recorded trees of this species in Britain, are at Purser's Cross, and at Syon House, near London, which exceed thirty feet in height, with trunks about eighteen inches in diameter. At Schwöbber, in Hanover, Germany, there is another tree of about the same dimensions.
This species may be propagated from seeds which often remain in the ground more than a year without vegetating. It may also be increased by cuttings or by layers.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the Halesia tetraptera is hard, brittle, and veined; but owing to its small size, and comparative scarcity, it is appropriated to no particular use in the arts. The fruit, when ripe, is eaten in a crude state, by some people; and, when green, it is sometimes employed as a pickle. As this species is one of the most ornamental of the American deciduous trees, it richly deserves a place in every collection.