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and legendary associations which belong to it in England; for scarcely any tree is richer in such than this. With the floral games of May, this plant, from its blooming at that period, and being the favourite of the season, has become so identified, that the blossoms are known in many parts of Britain chiefly by that name. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, they were dedicated to Flora, whose festival began on the first of that month; and in the olden times of merry England, the May-pole, its top decked with the gayest garlands of these blossoms, was raised amid the shouts of the young and old assembled to celebrate this happy rustic festival. Chaucer alludes to the custom, and describes the hawthorn thus:
Marke the faire blooming of the Hawthorne tree,
Fills full the wanton eye with May's delight.
And Herrick has left us the following lines to "Corrina going a Maying :"
COURT OF LOVE.
Come, my Corrina, come; and coming, marke
Or branch; eche porch, eche doore ere this,
An arke, a tabernacle is,
Made up of Hawthorne, neatly interwove,
As if here were those cooler shades of love."
"Come let us rest this hawthorn tree beneath,
The following lines descriptive of the English species, we extract from the "Romance of Nature:"
And watch the tiny petals as they fall,
The berries or haws, as they are called, have a very rich and coral-like look when the tree, standing alone, is completely covered with them in October. There are some elegant varieties of this species, which highly deserve cultivation for the beauty of their flowers and foliage. Among them we may particularly notice the Double White, with beautiful blossoms like small white roses; the Pink and the Scarlet flowering, both single and double, and the Variegatedleaved hawthorn, all elegant trees; as well as the Weeping hawthorn, a rarer variety, with pendulous branches.
The Hawthorn is most agreeable to the eye in composition when it forms the undergrowth or thicket, peeping out in all its green freshness, gay blossoms, or bright fruit from beneath and between the groups and masses of trees; where, mingled with the hazel, etc., it gives a pleasing intricacy to the whole mass of foliage. But the different species display themselves to most advantage, and grow also to a finer size, when planted singly, or two or three together, along the walks leading through the different parts of the pleasureground or shrubbery.
THE MAGNOLIA TREE. Magnolia.
Nat. Ord. Magnoliacea. Lin. Syst. Polyandria, Polygynia.
The North American trees composing the genus Magnolia are certainly among the most splendid productions of the forests in any temperate climate; and when we consider the
size, and fragrance of their blossoms, or the beauty of their large and noble foliage, we may be allowed to doubt whether there is a more magnificent and showy genus of deciduous trees in the world. With the exception of a few shrubs or smaller trees, natives of China, and the mountains of Central Asia, it belongs exclusively to this continent, as no individuals of this order are indigenous to Europe or Africa. The American species attracted the attention of the first botanists who came over to examine the riches of our native flora, and were transplanted to the gardens of England and France, more than a hundred years ago, where they are still valued as the finest hardy trees of that hemisphere.
The Large Evergreen Magnolia, (M. grandiflora,) or Big Laurel, as it is sometimes called, is peculiarly indigenous to that portion of our country south of North Carolina, where its stately trunk, often seventy feet in height, and superb pyramid of deep green foliage, render it one of the loveliest and most majestic of trees. The leaves, which are evergreen, and somewhat resemble those of the laurel in form, are generally six or eight inches in length, thick in texture, and brilliantly polished on the upper surface. The highly fragrant flowers are composed. of about six petals, opening in a wide cup-like form, of the most snowy whiteness of colour. Scattered among the rich foliage, their effect is exquisitely beautiful. The seeds are borne in an oval, cone-like carpel or seed-vessel, composed of a number of cells which split longitudinally, when the stony seed, covered with a bright red pulp, drops out. There are several varieties, which have been raised from the seed of this species abroad; the most beautiful is the Exmouth Magnolia, with fine foliage, rusty beneath; it produces its flowers much earlier and more abundantly than the original sort.
We regret that this tree is too tender to bear the open air north of Philadelphia, as it is one of the choicest evergreens. At the nurseries of the Messrs. Landreth, and at the Bartram Botanic Garden of Col. Carr, near that city, some good specimens of this Magnolia and its varieties are growing thriftily; but in the State of New-York, and at the east, it can only be considered a green-house plant.
The Cucumber Magnolia, (C. accuminata,) (so called from the appearance of the young fruit, which is not unlike a green cucumber,) takes the same place in the north, in point of majesty and elevation, that the Big Laurel occupies in the south. Its northern limit is Lake Erie; and it abounds along the whole range of the Alleghanies to the southward, in rich mountain acclivities, and moist sheltered valleys. There it often measures three or four feet in diameter, and eighty in height. The leaves, which are deciduous, like those of all the Magnolias except the M. grandiflora, are also about six inches long, and four broad, accuminate at the point, of a bluish green on the upper surface. The flowers are six inches in diameter, of a pale yellow, much like those of the Tulip tree, and slightly fragrant. The fruit is about three inches long, and cylindrical in shape. Most Most of the inhabitants of the country bordering on the Alleghanies, says Michaux, gather these cones about midsummer, when they are half ripe, and steep them in whiskey; the liquor produced, they take as an antidote against the fevers prevalent in those districts.
The Umbrella Magnolia, (M. tripetala,) though found sometimes in the northwest of New-York, is rare there, and abounds most in the south and west. It is a smaller tree than the preceding kinds, rarely growing more than thirty feet high. The leaves on the terminal shoots, are disposed
three or four in a tuft, which has given rise to the name of Umbrella tree. They are of fine size, eighteen inches or two feet long, and seven or eight broad, oval, and pointed at both ends; the flowers are also large, white, and numerous; and the conical fruit-vessel containing the seeds, assumes beautiful rose-colour in autumn. From its fine tufted foliage, and rapid growth, this is one of the most desirable species for our pleasure-grounds.
The Large-leaved Magnolia, (M. macrophylla,) is the rarest of the genus in our forests, being only found as yet, in North Carolina. The leaves grow to an enormous size, when the tree is young, often measuring three feet long, and nine or ten inches broad. They are oblong, oval, and heart-shaped at the base. The flowers are also immense, opening of the size of a hat-crown, and diffusing a most agreeable odour. The tree attains only a secondary size, and is distinguished in winter by the whiteness of its bark, compared with the others. It is rather tender north of NewYork.
The Heart-leaved Magnolia, (M. cordata,) is a beautiful southern species, distinguished by its nearly round, heartshaped foliage, and its yellow flowers about four inches in diameter. It blooms in the gardens very young, and very abundantly, often producing two crops in a season.
Magnolia auriculata, grows about forty feet high, and is also found near the southern Alleghany range of mountains. The leaves are light green, eight or nine inches long, widest at the top, and narrower towards the base, where they are rounded into lobes. The flowers are not so fine as those of the preceding kinds, but still are handsome, pale greenish white, and about four inches in diameter.
Besides these, there is a smaller American Magnolia,