« FöregåendeFortsätt »
a pale yellow, with a greenish cast, interspersed with small blackish vems, and the wood durahie : the bark is of a sleek, whitish grey, the branches numerous, and covered with thick, smooth, shining leaves, among which are long pendulous catkins.
It bears a fruit resembling, in its form, the round sort of crab-apple we have in England, of a beautiful colour and fragrant smell. Yet the pulp does not exceed one-seventh of an inch in depth, the inside being a hard, stony kernel, in which are included the seeds. The juice of the apple is of the same colour and quality as that of the leaves ; and yet Mr. Hughes says he has known a pregnant woman, who longed for them, eat of them without any apparent bad effect; but that he cannot say, the fragrance of the smell, or the tempting looks of the fruit, have induced others to follow her example, by sa dangerous au experiment. Yet, if some of this crude, milky juice, only fails:
upon a horse, the hair of the part affected soon falls off, and the skin rises up in blisters that will require a long time to beal. Formerly no one dared to cut down these trees, without first making a large fire round them, in order to burn the bark, and dry up the juices that fly from them in cutting ; but now negroes, entirely naked, venture to cut them down, only first rubbing their whole bodies with lime-juice, which prevents the sap from corroding or ulcerating the skin. Our author adds, that it is a remarkable instance of the goodness of God, that wherever a manchineel-tree grows, there is always a white wood, or a fig, tree, near it; the juice of either of wbich is an infallible antidote against the poison.
Salt water is equally efficacious; and as the manchineel-trees grow by the sea side, this remedy is likewise near at hand,
The trees in Barbadoes, as well as in the neighbouring islands, are perpetually bearing fruit or blossoms; so that at the same time one may see the blooming beauties of the spring, and the mature glories of the summer. Here are all sorts of oranges and lemons, sweet, sour, and seville in abundance, which last are large, and their juice delicious. The fragancy of the juice is as remarkable as the beauty and size of the fruit ; and the weight of the citrons often bend the branches of the tree to the ground. With the rind or peel of citrons the ladies of Barbadoes make the finest cordials and sweetmeats; and indeed they are generally allowed to excel the English in the art of conserving, having the advantage of the finest sugar and fruits, with abundance of choice roots, &c. that are both wholesome and agreeable to the palate.
The lime-trees in Barbadoes are as prickly as our holly-bush, and they were formerly used by the planters for hedges. The tree grows seven of eight feet high, full of leaves and fruit, which so much resemble a lemon, that they are hardly to be distinguished at a little distance. Since punch has been a fashionable liquor in England, some tuns of lime juice have been annually imported to our island. China limes are frequent there, also China or sweet lemons, of which the latter are of most use and value. The tamarind and palm-tree are nut natives of Barbadoes, but were brought thither many years ago. Here are also fine pine-apples, with aloes, mangroves, calabashes, cotton-trees, bulley-trees, mastich-trees, cedars, cacao-trees, and other vegetables already described.
There are some plants however, that grow in Barbadoes, which deserve more particular notice; as the fig-tree, which has a trunk about as big as an elm, though the fruit is less than a cherry, insipid, and little regarded. The trunk shoots out. beards or fibres, which take root in the ground; and, if suffered to grow, would become a grove; from whence we are apt to imagine it is the same. as the banian-tree mentioned in the East-Indies.
The cassia fistula, which has been heretofore described, is also common in Barbadoes, and is a trée of such rapid growth, that it has been known to. rise eight feet in a year's time. This is a straightbodied tree, thirty feet high, with spreading branches, from which hang the pods, which are about twelve inches long, and of a dark brown colour. The plantain-tree is also remarkable for its quick growth, and three or four stems shoot from one root; but there is a wild sort, which is of a scarlet colour, and the fruit good for nothing. A tree also grows in this island, that bears large yellow plumbs, which, being steeped twenty-four hours in water, and then strained, make a good. drink. Guana-trees, which yield a tolerably pleasant beverage, and soap-berries, about the bigness of a sloe, grow likewise in great plenty:
The guava is a tree common in Barbadoes and the neighbouring islands, as well as on the continent, somewhat resembling a cherry-tree, and -bearing a fruit of the size of a small lemon, which has a soft but thick rind, and is of a delicate flavour. The rind incloses a pulpy substance, which is not unlike a quince, and makes the best jelly and marmalade that can be imagined. What is remarkable of this tree, it lias been known to bear fruit when not above six inches out of the ground, though it grows to the height of eighteen or twenty feet,
The custard-apple, which grows on a tree of a fine clear red colour, is eaten by the servants and slaves, being kept a day after gathering, when they take out the pulp, which is like a custard, with a spoon. The pomegranate has smalt leaves of an
and grows in Barbadoes, but the fruit is not so large as in the southern parts of Europe. The prickled apple-tree bears a fruit shaped like a heart, which is of a pale green colour, and tastes like a musty lemon.
One of the most singular trees is the cabbagetree, by some authors called the palmeto-royal, as exceeding all the other trees in height, beauty, and proportion. The trunk, says Mr. Hughes, bulges out a little near the ground, which gives it the appearance of a substantial basis, to support its towering height. It is generally as straight as an arrow, and scarcely can any pillar be more regular, especially when it is of about thirty years growth. It rises above an hundred feet in height, and the trunk near the earth is then about six or seven feet in circumference, the whole body growing tapering to the top. The colour of the bark is like that of the ash-tree, and is faintly clouded, at the distance of every four or five inches, with the marks of the fallen branches: this colour of the bark continues till within about twenty-five or thirty feet of the extremity, where it changes from an ash colour to a beautiful sea-green, and this continues to the top. About five feet above the beginning of the green part, the trunk is encircled with its numerous branches, all the lowermost spreading horizontally with great regularity; and the extremities of many of the higher branches bend waving downwards, like plumes of feathers. These branches, when full grown, are about twenty feet long, and are thick set on the trunk, rising gradually above each other; and the top is terminated by a beautiful upright, green, conic spire. These branches have a great number of green pointed leaves, some of them nearly three feet long, and an inch and a half broad, but
gradually decreasing in length, towards the extre. mities of the branches. It is observed that the lowermost branch drops monthly from the tree, carrying with it an exfoliated circular lamen of the green part of the tree, from the setting on of the branches, to the ash-coloured part. This, and the branch, to which it is always fixed, fall together. When the loss of this lower branch hap. pens, the green conic spire, which issues from the centre of the uppermost branches, and rises superior to all, bursts and throws, from its side, young branch, which continues the uppermost, till another of the towermost branches drops off ; and then the spire-sends forth again another branch, superior in situation to the last; and thus the loss of the branches below is supplied by those above. The inside texture of the leaves consists of many longitudinal threads like filainents, which, being spun, are used in making cordage of every kind, and also fishing-nets. What is called the cabbage, ties in many thin, white, brittle flakes, which have sonething of the taste of almonds; and, when boiled, is sweeter and more agreeable, than the
The locust-tree, whose timber is used in windmills and other buildings, grows likewise in Barbadoes, just in the form of a Tuscan pillar, being less and less all the way from the bottom to the top. Iron-wood, so called from its weight and hardness, is of a dark-red colour, and blossoms