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EVERGREEN ORNAMENTAL TREES.
The History and Description of all the finest Hardy Evergreen Trees. REMARKS ON THEIR EFFECTS in LANDSCAPE GARDENING, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN COMPOSITION. Their Cultivation, etc. The Pines. The Firs. The Cedar of Lebanon, and the Deodar Cedar. The Red Cedar. The Arbor Vitæ. The Holly. The Yew, etc.
Beneath the forest's skirt I rest,
Whose branching Pines rise dark and high,
And hear the breezes of the West
Among the threaded foliage sigh.
THE PINE TREE. Pinus.
Nat. Ord. Coniferæ. Lin. Syst. Monccia, Monadelphia.
HE Pines compose by far the most important genus of evergreen trees. In either continent they form the densest and most extensive forests known, and their wood in civil and naval architecture, and for various other purposes, is more generally used than any other. In the United States and the Canadas, there are ten species; in the territory west of the Mississippi to the Pacific, including Mexico, there are fourteen; in Europe fourteen; in Asia, eight, and in Africa, two species. All the colder parts of the old world-the mountains of Switzerland and the Alps, the shores of the Baltic, vast tracts in Norway, Sweden, Ger
many, Poland, and Russia, as well as millions of acres in our own country, abound with immense and interminable forests of Pine. Capable of enduring extreme cold, growing on thin soils, and flourishing in an atmosphere, the mean temperature of which is not greater than 37° or 38° Fahrenheit, they are found as far north as latitude 68° in Lapland; while on mountains they grow at a greater elevation than any other aborescent plant. On Mount Blanc, the Pines grow within 2,800 feet of the line of perpetual snow.* In Mexico, also, Humboldt found them higher than any other tree; and Lieut. Glennie describes them as growing in thick forests on the mountain of Popocotapetl, as high as 12,693 feet, beyond which altitude vegetation ceases entirely.†
The Pines are, most of them, trees of considerable magnitude and lofty growth, varying from 40 to 150, or even 200 feet in height in favourable situations, rising with a perpendicular trunk, which is rarely divided into branches, bearing much proportionate size to the main stem, as in most deciduous trees. The branches are much more horizontal than those of the latter class, (excepting the Larch.) The leaves are linear or needle-shaped, and are always found arranged in little parcels of from two to six, the number varying in the different species. The blossoms are produced in spring, and the seeds, borne in cones, are not ripened, in many sorts, until the following autumn. Every part of the stem abounds in a resinous juice, which is extracted, and forms in the various shapes of tar, pitch, rosin, turpentine, balsam, etc., a considerable article of trade and export.
As ornamental trees, the Pines are peculiarly valuable for
* Edinburgh Phil. Journ.
+ Proc. Geological Soc. Lond. Arb. Brit.
the deep verdure of their foliage, which, unchanged by the severity of the seasons, is beautiful at all periods, and especially so in winter; for the picturesque forms which many of them assume when fully grown; and for the effectual shelter and protection which they afford in cold, bleak, and exposed situations. We shall here particularize those species, natives of either hemispheres, that are most valuable to the planter, and are also capable of enduring the open air of the middle states.
The White Pine, (P. strobus,) called also Sapling Pine, and Apple Pine, in various parts of this country, and Weymouth Pine abroad, is undoubtedly the most beautiful North American tree of the genus. The foliage is much lighter in colour, more delicate in texture, and the whole tufting of the leaves more airy and pleasing than that of the other species. It is also beautiful in every stage of its growth, from a young plant to a stately tree of 150 feet. When it grows in strong soil, it becomes thick and compact in its head; but its most beautiful form is displayed when it stands in a dry and gravelly site; there it shoots up with a majestic and stately shaft, studded every six or eight feet with horizontal tiers of branches and foliage. The hue of the leaves is much paler, and less sombre than that of the other native sorts; and being less stiffly set upon the branches, is more easily put in motion by the wind; the murmuring of the wind among the Pine tops is, poetically, thought to give out a rather melancholy sound:
"The Pines of Monalus were heard to mourn,
says Virgil, speaking of the European Pine. But the murmur of the slight breeze among the foliage of the White
Pine gives out a remarkably soothing and agreeable sound, which agrees better with the description of Leigh Hunt:
"And then there fled by me a rush of air
Pickering, one of our own poets, thus characterizes the
"The overshadowing pines alone, through which I roam,
Their verdure keep, although it darker looks;
And hark! as it comes sighing through the grove,
The exhausted gale, a spirit there awakes,
This species-the White Pine-seldom becomes flattened or rounded on the summit in old age, like many other sorts, but preserves its graceful and tapering form entire. From its pleasing growth and colour, we consider it by far the most desirable kind for planting in the proximity of buildings, and its growth for an evergreen is also quite rapid.
The leaves of the White Pine are thickly disposed on the branches, in little bundles or parcels of five. The cones are about five inches long; they hang, when nearly ripe, in a pendulous manner from the branches, and open, to shed their seeds, about the first of October. The bark on trees less than twenty years old, is remarkably smooth, but becomes cracked and rough, like that of the other Pines, when they grow old, although it never splits and separates itself from the trunk in scales, as in other species.
The great forests of White Pine lie in the northern parts
of the Union; and the geographical range of this tree is comprised chiefly between New-York and the 47th degree of north latitude, it being neither capable of resisting the fierce heat of the south, nor the intense cold of the extreme northern regions. In Maine, New-Hampshire, and Vermont, the White Pine abounds in various situations, adapting itself to every variety of soil, from dry, gravelly upland, to swamps constantly wet. Michaux measured two trunks near the river Kennebec, one of which was 154 feet long, and 54 inches in diameter; the other 144 feet long, and 44 inches in diameter, at three feet from the ground. Dr. Dwight also mentions a specimen on the Kattskill 249 feet long, and several on the Unadilla 200 feet long, and three in diameter. These, though they are remarkable specimens, show the stately altitude which this fine species sometimes attains, equalling in majesty the grandest specimens of the old world:
The rougher rinded Pine,
* Dwight's Travels, Vol. IV. p. 21-26.
The Yellow Pine, (P. mitis,) is a fine evergreen, usually reaching a stature of 50 or 60 feet, with a nearly uniform diameter of about 18 inches for two-thirds of its length. The branches generally take a handsome conical shape, and the whole head considerably resembles that of the spruce, whence it is sometimes called the Spruce Pine. The term Yellow Pine arises from the colour of the wood as con