« PreviousContinue »
The following is the probable supply of Larch timber from
Athol, beginning twelve years from 1817.
12 years before cutting, or in 1829
12 years before cutting,
Scotch acres about.
63 years calculated to finish 1889
Scotch acres, 7,000
The Larch is unquestionably the most enduring timber that we have. It is remarkable, that whilst the red wood or heart wood is not formed at all in the other resinous trees, till they have lived for a good many years, the Larch, on the contrary, begins to make it soon after it is planted; and while you may fell a Scotch fir of thirty years old, and find no red wood in it, you can hardly cut down a young Larch large enough to be a walking stick, without finding just such a proportion of red wood compared to its diameter as a tree, as you will find in the largest Larch tree in the forest, compared to its diameter. To prove the value of the Larch as a timber tree, several experiments were made in the river Thames. Posts of equal thickness and strength, some of Larch and others of oak, were driven down facing the river wall, where they were alternately covered with water by the effect of the tide, and then left dry by its fall. This species of alternation is the most trying of all circumstances for the endurance of timber; and accordingly the oaken posts decayed, and were twice renewed in the course of a very few years, while those that were made of the Larch, remained altogether unchanged.
Besides the foregoing species, (Larix Europea,) we have two native sorts much resembling it; which are chiefly
found in the states of Maine, Vermont, and New-Hampshire. These are known by the names of the Red Larch, (L. Microcarpa,) and the Black Larch, (L. pendula); which latter is often called Hackmatack. In the coldest parts of the Union, these often grow to 80 and 100 feet high; but in the middle states, they are only seen in the swamps, and appear not to thrive so well except in such situations. For this reason the European Larch is of course greatly preferable when plantations are to be made, either for profit or ornament. The latter is generally increased from seed in the nurseries.
The American larches are well worthy a place where sufficient moisture can be commanded, as their peculiar forms are striking, though not so finely picturesque as that of the European species.
In the upper part of Massachusetts, we have observed them in their native soils growing 70 or 80 feet high, and assuming a highly pleasing appearance. Their foliage is bluish-green, and more delicate; yet altogether the American Larch appears to be more stiff and formal (except far north,) than the foreign tree.
THE VIRGILIA TREE.
Nat. Ord. Leguminceæ.
Lin. Syst. Decandria, Monogynia.
This fine American tree, still very rare in our ornamental plantations, is a native of west Tennessee, and the banks of the Kentucky river, and in its wild localities seems confined to rather narrow limits. It was named, when first discovered, after the poet Virgil, whose agreeable Georgics
*Cladeastris tinctoria. Torrey and Gray.
have endeared him to all lovers of nature, and a country life.
The Virgilia is certainly one of the most beautiful of all that class of trees bearing papilionaceous, or pea-shaped flowers, and pinnate leaves, of which the common locust may serve as a familiar example. It grows to a fine, rather broad head, about 30 or 40 feet high, with dense and luxuriant foliage-much more massy, and finely tufted, than that of most other pinnated leaved trees. Each leaf is composed of seven or eight leaflets, three or four inches long, and half that breadth, the whole leaf being more than a foot in length. These expand rather late in the spring, and are, about the middle of May, followed by numerous terminal racemes, or clusters of the most delicate and charming pea-shaped blossoms, of a pure white. These clusters are six or eight inches in length, and quite broad, the flowers daintily formed, and arranged in a much more graceful, loose, and easy manner, than those of the locust. They have a very agreeable, slight perfume, especially in the evening, and the whole effect of the tree, when standing singly on a lawn and filled with blossoms, is highly elegant.
When the blossoms disappear, they are followed by the pods, about the fourth of an inch wide, and three or four inches long, containing a few seeds. These ripen in July or August.
This tree is frequently called the Yellow-wood, in its native haunts—its heart wood abounding in a fine yellow colouring matter, which, however, is said to be rather difficult to fix, or render permanent. The bark is beautifully smooth, and of a greenish gray colour. In autumn, the leaves, when they die off, take a lively yellow tint.
This tree grows pretty rapidly, and is very agreeable in its
form and foliage, even while young. It commences flowering when about ten or fifteen feet high, and we can recommend it with confidence to the amateur of choice trees as worthy of a conspicuous place in the smallest collection.
The only species known is Virgilia lutea. It was first described by Michaux, and was sent to England, about the year 1812. Quite the finest planted specimens within our knowledge are growing in some of the old seats in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia, where there are several, thirty or forty feet in height, and exceedingly beautiful, both in their form and blossoms. A small specimen on our lawn, eighteen feet high, blossoms now very profusely.
THE PAULOWNIA TREE. Paulownia,
Nat. Ord. Scrohpulriaceæ.
The Paulownia is an entirely new ornamental tree very lately introduced into our gardens and pleasure-grounds from Japan, and is likely to prove hardy here, wherever the Ailantus stands the winter, being naturally from the same soil and climate as that tree. It has already attained a great notoriety in the gardening world of the other continent; and from a cost of four or five guineas a plant, it is now reduced to as many shillings, being very readily propagated. In the north of France, it is perfectly hardy, and will, no doubt, prove equally so here, south of the latitude of Boston. With our own plants being newly received, we have not yet had the opportunity of testing this point.
The Paulownia is remarkable for the long size of its foliage and the great rapidity of its growth. The largest leaves are more than two feet in diameter, slightly rough or
hairy, and serrated on the edges. They are heart-shaped and have been likened to those of the Catalpa, but they perhaps more nearly resemble those of the common sunflower.
In its growth, this tree, while young, equals or exceeds the Ailantus. In rich soils, near Paris, it has produced shoots, in a single season, 12 or 14 feet in length. After being two or three years planted, it commences yielding its blossoms in panicled clusters. These are bluish lilac, of an open mouthed, tubular form, are very abundantly distributed, and, together with the large foliage, and the robust habit of growth, give this tree a gay and striking appearance. Its flower buds open during the last of April, or early in May, and have a slight, syringo-like perfume.
The Paulownia, though yet very rare, is easy of propagation by cuttings and even pieces of the roots grow freely. Should it prove as hardy as (from our fine dry summers for ripening its wood,) we confidently anticipate, it will be worthy of a prominent place in every arrangement of choice ornamental trees.