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coast of Cochin-China ? and why, since they have thus borrowed from the four quarters of the world, have these islands not repaid the obligation, by propagating a tree they possess, which exudes a juice, that, if boiled, becomes tar, and if boiled long, becomes pitch ?
Many valuable trees might be introduced to this country. Active as we have been to naturalise flowers and shrubs, for their beauty and variety, we have been remiss in this. Had our forefathers been equally so, we should have been destitute of some of our best fruits, and one of our best timber trees; the larch. The laburnum is scarcely known, except for ornament: and yet so highly is it prized by cabinet-makers, that a considerable quantity was sold at Brechin Castle a, at halfa-guinea a foot. Many trees from Van Diemen’s Land, New Holland, and Terra del Fuego, might, doubtless, be introduced with advantage.
At the limits of the Arctic circle there is a breed of cows 80 small, as not to be larger than sucking calves. Their milk is almost all cream ; sweet and delicious : and so thick, that it draws out in strings. This goodness in milk arises from the plant on which the cows feed, viz. the lichen rangeferinus. This lichen has a slight flavour of turpentine: it eats something like a lettuce; and its inward part resembles endive, bleached as white as snow. It flourishes best where trees have been conflagrated b. The rein-deer dig for it in the snow; it being so highly nutritive and agreeable to their palate, that it is both meat and drink to them. This plant might, doubtless, be cultivated in other climates besides those immediately in the arctic circle. Cloves, cinnamon, and nutmegs d should be introduced to
a November 1819. Sang's Planter's Calendar, p. 91. " b Flora Lapponica, p. 332. “The grasses of regions in the Arctic Circle retain their seeds all the winter, and furnish nourishment for birds, which arrive upon the melting of the show."-Richardson's Suppl. to Parry's Second Voy., p. 344. 4to.
c Clarke, Scandinavia, p. 566. 4to. d Brackenbridge, Voy. to South Americ. i. 154.
the Brazils ; and the farinaceous palm of the Nicobar Islands, which yields a highly nutritive fruit, and weighs from 17 to 24lbs., might be easily naturalized in the Caribbees and Antilles. St. Lucia, one of the former, had, when first discovered, neither canes, cocoas, nor coffee-trees : but in 1772 it had 978 pieces of land in the cultivation of the cane; 367 plots of coffee ; 1,321,600 cocoa plants; and 5,595,889 coffee trees.
The green orange of Arcot, unknown in Europe, and but partially distributed in India, should be planted in every part of that continent. But of all trees, the Mungustan a deserves the most assiduous attention, in respect to propagation. The fruit of this tree is acknowledged by all persons, who have tasted it,-—let their partialities and antipathies, in other respects, be what they may,—to be the most exquisite of all fruits : and yet it has been but little propagated. Indeed, it seems to resist almost every attempt of the kind. It was introduced into the Isle of France in 1754 ; but with little success. It was brought from Bantam to Java ; and hence it has been particularly known and described. It bears fruit and blossoms at the same time. The fruit is round; purple ; resting in a green calyx; and its top bears a corona. Its flavour has a little sweetness, with a mixture of acid : and it melts in the mouth like whipped cream.
If some plants ought to be largely propagated for their uses, others ought to be so for their beauty. In India, there are several flowers, that should be cultivated in every practicable region of the earth. Of these may be distinguished the Pichula, and the Camalata. The former blossoms during the rainy season ; and, with the Asclepias winding round it, forms one of the most lovely botanical pictures in all India. The latter is so beautiful in its colour and form, and has a scent
a Garcinia Mangostana. Dampier, Voy. vol. iii. 124. Crawford, Hist. Ind. Archipel. vol. i. 417.
so exquisite, that the eastern poets fable it to have scented paradise.' The same compliment should be paid to the Alimucta “, the Capitt'ha ", the D'urva“, and the Cusa d.
The cocoa tree of Brazil droops when planted in a rich soil. The red star flower,--one of the finest of African plants,-grows luxuriantly among rocks and sand e; and Scandinavian moss, which is scarcely susceptible of being burnt, grows frequently even on stones. The Bread-fruit tree, once introduced in a favourable soil and climate, springs up so abundantly from roots of old ones, that it is not only never
* This was the favourite plant of Sacontala, which she very justly called the delight of the woods; for the beauty and fragrance of its flowers give it a title to all the praises, which Ca'lidas and Jayadeva bestow upon it. It is a gigantic climber ; but when it meets with nothing to grasp, it assumes the form of a sturdy tree, the highest branches of which display, however, in the air, their natural flexibility and inclination to climb.-Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. 291.
b Of this plant Sir William Jones says, “I cannot help mentioning a singular fact, which may indeed have been purely accidental : not a single flower, out of hundreds examined by me, had both perfect germs, and anthers visibly fertile ; while others, on the same tree, and at the same time, had their anthers profusely covered with pollen, but scarce any styles, and germs to all appearance abortive."
The flowers of this plant, in their perfect state, are among the loveliest objects in the vegetable world, and appear through a lens like minute rubies and emeralds in a constant motion from the least breath of air. It is the sweetest and most nutritious pasture for cattle ; and its usefulness, added to its beauty, induced the Hindus, in their ages, to believe that it was the mansion of a benevolent nymph.-Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. p. 252.
d Every law-book, and almost every poem in Sanschrit, are said to contain allusions to this plant.
e Many plants have the greater virtue from the want of fluidical nourishment. There is a vine, producing in Persia what is called the Royal Grape. It is of a gold-colour; transparent; and about the size of an olive.-Chardin. It makes the best wine in that country; and yet it is never watered : and it grows only upon the young branches.
Few annual roots possess medicinal properties ; and it is curious, that the most effective of drugs are natives of hot countries. Some plants in arid soils have apparently sterile branches, with green leaves. The stems are brittle and dried up; but their leaves imbibe moisture from the dews at night. The pallassia has for its appropriate soil loose and drifted sand. It grows in Peru.Molina. And is known in some parts of Russia.-Pallas.
planted in Otaheite, but requires weeding, as it were. The Pimento, on the other hand, seems to mock all the labours of man to extend, or even to improve its growth.
The best mode of introducing tropical plants into more temperate climates, is to transplant them by degrees : so that the grandchild of an original plant may live and flourish, where the mother would have languished, and the grandmother have died. With this view, the Marquis de Villanueva del Prado formed a botanical establishment at Teneriffe, in order to habituate the plants of Lower Africa, New Holland, Mexico, and other tropical regions, to the cooler temperature of the south of Europe. Suit the plant to the soil, rather than the soil to the plant, should be the motto of every husbandman : but the botanist must vary his methods as circumstances require. • M. Lavayse formed the plan of introducing tropical plants to the South of Europe, by planting them first in the Azores or Canaries ; whence, after a few years, they might be transplanted to Italy, Sicily, and Spain. Duchesme raised plants with a view of ascertaining their primitive species; and Volney, in his observations on the climate and soil of the United States, informs us, that, foreseeing the consequences of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the French West India Islands, he conceived the plan of introducing some of the products of the Tropics into Corsica ; the soil and climate of which he conceived to be adapted for the successful culture of the orange, the date, cotton, coffee, and sugar-cane. With this view he cultivated the Domain of Confina, near Ajaccio ; but the subsequent troubles of the Island, the ambition of Paoli, and its possession by England-induced him to sell his estate ; and it passing into the hands of Cardinal Fesch, the experiment was abandoned.
An English Gardener manages to have good fruit at St. Petersburg, notwithstanding the hardest winter; and this he manages by training his trees so near the ground, that during
the whole winter they are covered with snow. Even the deserts of Africa might be gradually brought under the empire of man, where he to plant detached portions of them with roots of the long creeping vegetables, which are found here and there in those regions.
Some plants are common to equinoctial Asia, Africa, and America : others only to equinoctial America and Africa ; some only to equinoctial Africa and India; some only to America and Asia ; and others only to America and Africa a : while others are equally common to Europe and New Holland.
To account for these singularities would perhaps be an impossible labour ; but it may present no unprofitable result to the imagination, if we collect and contrast a few of these remarkable phenomena. The lily root, so common in Europe, is found in Newfoundland, the north-west coast of America, and in Kamschatka, as well as in the warmer parts of southern Asia. Heath, on the other hand, is not only unknown in the European latitudes of America, but throughout the whole of that continent ;-a circumstance the more remarkable, since it is common in the opposite peninsula of Kámschatka. The papyrus, scarcely known except in Egypt, in Sicily, on the Congo, and in Madagascar, has never taken root on the opposite coasts : and of the thirteen species of African palm, the alfonsia oleifera is the only one, that has yet been discovered in America. And here we may allude to a very remarkable circumstance :—The cusso-tree does not extend beyond the limits of a disorder, which the leaves seem expressly intended to cure ; viz.—that arising from the worms, to which the natives of Abyssinia are peculiarly subject.
The blue-berried honeysuckle of Switzerland, Austria, and
a Humboldt, in a paper submitted to the French Institute, says, that “the oak, pines, yews, ranunculi, &c. of the Peruvian and Mexican Andes have nearly the same physiognomy with the species of the same genera of North America, Siberia, and Europe. But all alpine plants of the Cordilleras differ specifically from the analogous species of the temperate zone of the old continent.”