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(LINNÆUS, Species Plantarum.
Michaux, North American Sylva.
PURSH, Flora Americæ Septentrionalis.
| Bigelow, Medical Botany.
Magnolia, Swamp Laurel, Swamp OF THE
| UNITED STATES.
Deritations. The specific name glauca is derived from the Greek word glaucos, sea-green, alluding to the colour of the leaves. It is named Sucamp Sassafras on account of its growing in boggy grounds, and resembling some of the qualities of the Laurus gassafras; and Beaver-tree, because the root is eaten as a great dainty by beavers, which are sometimes caught by means of it. Michaux tells us that it is felled by them for constructing their dams and houses, in preference to any other tree, on account of the softoess of the wood.
Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 52; Audubon, Birds of America, pl. cxviii.; Loudon, Aboretum Britannicum, v., pl. 3; and the figures below. Specific Characters.-Almost deciduous. Leaves elliptical, obtuse, under surface glaucous. Flowers
9-12-petaled, contracted. Petals ovate, concave.- Don, Miller's Dict.
HE Magnolia glauca, though
inferior in size to the preced-
formed, is interesting on account of its beautiful foliage and sweet-scented flowers. It sometimes attains an elevation of forty feet, with a diameter of ten or twelve inches; but it does not ordinarily exceed fifteen or twenty feet in height, either in Britain or this country, and often fructifies at the height of five or six feet. The trunk is usually crooked, and divided into a great number of divaricating branches. The young shoots are from twelve to eighteen inches in length, and the roots, like all the species of the magnolia, are branched, and sparingly supplied with fibres. The bark of the trunk is grayish, and of a bitterish taste. The leaves are five or six inches long, petiolated, alternate, oblongoval, or obtuse, and entire. They are of a shining bluish-green on their upper surface, and whitish or glaucous, and often silky when young, underneath. In the southern states this tree is often found with evergreen leaves, and sometimes near its northernmost limits it retains a part of its foliage during winter. The leaves usually fall, how
ever, in autumn, and are renewed early in the following spring. This tree begins to flower in Florida and the southern states, the last of April or early in May, and a month or six weeks later in Massachusetts. The flowers are single, two or three inches broad, and are produced at the extremity of the last year's shoots. They have six white concave petals, and an agreeable perfume, which may be perceived at a considerable distance. If shut up in a close apartment during the night, they communicate to the air a heavy and almost insupportable odour. They are of short duration, although the tree continues flowering for several months. It is not unfrequent to find it in bloom, in the south, in autumn. The fruit is composed of numerous cellules, and varies in length from an inch to an inch and a half, and when of full size, is an inch in diameter in the widest part. When ripe, the cones are of a reddish-brown, and the seeds, which are of a scarlet colour, burst their cells, and hang down several days by white, lax, slender threads, as in most of its congeners.
Varieties. The only aboriginal varieties of this species are the M. g. arborea, which assumes the character of a tree; and that which retains its foliage during a greater part or all the year, and is sometimes called M. g. sempervirens. Two other varieties are noticed by Pursh, one of which has the under surface of the leaves somewhat silvery, and is called M. g. argentea, and another with longer leaves than usual, called M. g. longifolia. There are also two varieties, supposed to be hybrids, produced between this species and the Magnolia umbrella. They are usually known under the names M. g. thompsoniana and M. g. longifolia.
Geography and History. The Magnolia glauca has the most extensive range, especially near the sea, of any of the genus. It abounds from Massachusetts to Louisiana and Missouri. Its most northern boundary may be considered a sheltered swamp in Manchester, Cape Ann, about thirty miles northerly of Boston. It here attains but a small size, and is frequently killed to the ground by severe winters. In the maritime parts of the Floridas and lower Louisiana, it is one of the most abundant among the trees which grow in morasses or wet grounds. It is not usually met with far interior, nor to the west of the Alleghanies. In the Carolinas and Georgia, it grows only within the limits of the pine-barrens.
This species was introduced into England by Rev. John Banister, who sent it to Bishop Compton, at Fulham, in 1688. It was soon afterwards generally propagated by American seeds, and became known throughout Europe many years before any of the other species. At Woburn Farm, Chertsey, there was formerly a row of these trees twenty feet high, and nearly a century old, which frequently ripened their seeds.
In France, and southern Europe generally, this species is not very abundant, from the great heat of the summers, and the general dryness of the air. At Versailles and the Petit Trianon, as well as in Belgium, it has attained the height of fifteen feet. In the north of Germany, and in Sweden and Russia, it is a greenhouse plant. At Monza, in Italy, it is found in all of its varieties.
In 1843, a tree of this species was cut by Dr. Torrey, on Long Island, New York, nearly forty feet in height, and six or eight inches in diameter, which contained about eighty concentric rings or annual layers. On the estate of Lemuel W. Wells, in Yonkers, (formerly Philipsburgh,) New York, there is a Magnolia glauca thirty feet in height, with a trunk six feet in circumference two feet above the ground, and is supposed to be more than a hundred and fifty years old.
Soil and Situation. In its natural habitat the Magnolia glauca grows most abundantly in deep, boggy swamps and marshes, composed of a black, miry soil; but when cultivated in Europe or in this country, the soil should be a deep sand, or a sandy peat, kept moist, more especially in summer. The situation should be sheltered, and shaded by large trees, but it should not be overspread by them.
Propagation and Culture. Plants of this species are generally produced from seeds; but the Magnolia glauca thompsoniana, and other varieties, are propagated by inarching, or by layers, which require two years to root properly. The seeds should be sown in pots of bog earth about the beginning of March, or later, according to the climate or season, and placed in gentle heat, if necessary, under glass. They should annually be transplanted into small pots until they are wanted for final planting. A tree in ordinary circumstances will attain the height of one foot per annum until it is fifteen or twenty feet high, after which it will remain stationary.
Insects. The Magnolia glauca is very free from the attack of insects. It is noted, however, in Smith and Abbot's “Insects of Georgia," that the Sphinx vitis feeds upon this tree as well as upon the grape-vine.
Properties and Uses. In general, this tree can only be used for ornamental purposes, and no collection should be without it. The wood, however, is sometimes employed for making joiners' tools; and the bark is also used in some parts of the country, like that of the cinchona, in the case of intermittent and remittent fevers. It is aromatic and pungent, apparently more so than the other species. When distilled, it has a peculiar flavour, and an empyreumatic smell. In a dry state it affords a little resin. The aroma is volatile, and probably contains an essential oil, or a variety of camphor. The bark, seeds, and cones, are employed in tincture, in chronic rheumatism. That from the cones is very bitter, and is sometimes used to cure coughs and pectoral diseases, and for preventing autumnal fevers. The flowers in a dried state, may be used in drawing-rooms for pot pourri, as a substitute for those of the lily of the valley.
THE UMBRELLA MAGNOLIA.
WillDeNOW, Berlinische Baumzucht.
Michaux, North American Sylva.
DE CANDOLLE, Prodromus.
Don, Miller's Dictionary.
(TORREY AND Gray, Flora of North America.
VIRGINIA. Umbrella-tree, Umbrella Magnolia, OTHER PARTS OF THE UNITED STATES. Derirations. This species is called Umbrella-tree on account of the leaves being disposed somewhat in the form of an umbrella. It is called Elkrood in the mountains of Virginia, probably from the resemblance which the points of the shoots bear to the horns of the elk. The French names merely signify Umbrella-tree, and the German ones, the Three-petaled Beavertree or Magnolia.
Engravings. Michaux, North American Sylva, pl. 55; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, v., pl. 5; and the figures below. Specific Characters. Deciduous. Leaves lanceolate, spreading, adult ones smooth, younger ones pubes
cent underneath. Petals 9—12, exterior ones pendant.-Don, Miller's Dict.
JULIU I WILL
YAT HE dimensions of the MagnoTo l ia umbrella are such as to 6 form a connecting link be
tween the large shrubs and trees of the third order; although it sometimes rises to the height of thirty-five or forty feet, with a diameter of five or six inches, it rarely attains this size. The stem is seldom erect, but generally inclined, and rises, from the root in twos or threes. The bark on the trunk is gray, smooth, and polished, and if cut when green, exhales a disagreeable odour. The leaves are eighteen or twenty inches long, and seven or eight inches broad. They are thin, oval, and acuminate at both extremities. They are often disposed in rays at the extremity of vigorous shoots; and these display a surface of two and a half feet in diameter, in the form of an umbrella. The flowers, which open in May or June, are seven or eight inches in diameter, with large, white, flaccid petals. They are placed on the extremities of the last year's shoots, have a languid, luxuriant appearance, and a strong odour. The fruit is five or six inches long, and about two inches in diameter. It ripens in America about the beginning of October, and about the same period in England and France. It is conical in its form, of a beautiful rose-colour, and usually contains from fifty to sixty pale-red seed.
Varieties. In 1836, at Desio, near Milan, in Italy, several young hybrid plants were raised from seeds which had been secundated with the pollen of the Mag
nolia conspicua and purpurea. From the hardiness of this tree, no doubt, many other hybrids may be produced between it and the more delicate Chinese species.
Geography and History. The Magnolia umbrella, according to Michaux, is first seen in the northern part of the state of New York, and is found on wooded mountains, in Carolina, Georgia, and eastern Tennessee. In the lower parts of Georgia and South Carolina, however, it is found near the alluvial flats which lie along the banks of the rivers, in company with the Magnolia grandiflora.
This tree was introduced into England in about 1752, and soon after it passed into France, and was cultivated on the continent generally. It may now be considered as the most common of all the magnolias. In France and northern Italy it seeds freely; and even in England, at Deepdene, in Surrey, self-sown seeds have produced plants. It does not thrive in the north of Scotland without protection. In England and middle Europe it attains the height of thirty feet, which it will acquire in fifteen to twenty-five years.
In the Bartram botanic garden, at Kingsessing, three miles below Philadelphia, there is a tree of this species, thirty-five feet in height, with a trunk three feet in circumference.
Soil and Situation. In its natural habitat, this tree grows only in the shade where the soil is deep, strong, and fertile. When cultivated, the soil should be a deep, rich, sandy loam, but not very moist, like that recommended for the Magnolia glauca.
The situation should be sheltered and shady, as the exposure to the sun, or the training against a wall is injurious. A sheltered glade, in a shrubbery or wood, where it is sufficiently distant froin other trees not to be injured by the roots, is the most desirable site.
Propagation and Culture. In nurseries, this species should always be propagated by seeds, although it may be multiplied by layers. In either case the plants are kept in pots until required for final transplanting. The seeds should be sown immediately after they are gathered, as otherwise they become rancid and lose their vital qualities; though, if enveloped in moist moss, or earth, they may be preserved for several months. As this tree is short-lived, and consequently flowers young, there is not the same objection to raising plants of it from seeds, as there is in the Magnolia grandiflora, which is a long-lived tree. The Umbrella magnolia is hardy, and can withstand the most rigorous winters, when the summer has been sufficiently hot to ripen the wood. In Britain and the northern parts of the United States, it sends up various shoots from the roots, to replace the stems, which are seldom of long duration; so that a plant that has stood thirty or forty years in one spot, has had its stems several times renewed during that period.
Properties and Uses. The wood of the Magnolia umbrella is spongy, brittle, with a large pith, soft, porous, and of very little use. Hence it may be considered of little or no utility except for the purposes of ornament.