Page images

Velani Tourn. Voy., 1. p. 128.; Glans Cérri Dalech. Hist., 1. p. 7., the great prickly-cupped Oak;

Chêne Velani, Fr. ; Chene Velanède Bosc; Knopper Eiche, Ger. Engravings. Mill. Ic., 2. t. 215.; Oliv. Travel., t. 13.; N. Du Ham., 7. t. 51. ; our fig. 1721. ; and the

plates of this tree in our last Volume. Spec. Char., &c. Leaves ovate-oblong, with bristle-pointed tooth-like lobes;

hoary beneath. Calyx of the fruit very large, hemispherical, with lanceolate, elongated, spreading scales. (Smith.) A tree, a native of the islands of the Archipelago, and throughout all Greece; attaining, according to Tournefort, the dimensions of the common oak, in favourable situations in the Levant; but not growing even so high as the Turkey oak, according to Olivier. It was introduced in 1731, but has never been extensively cultivated. Leaves stalked, about 3 in. long, bright green; a little downy at the back; their edges very coarsely and acutely serrated, rather than lobed; each tooth tipped with a bristly point. Acorn large, short, and a little hollow at the top. Cup sessile, woody, 2 in, or 3 in. in diameter, from the projection of its numerous, long, oblong, reflexed, petal-like scales. The tree, according to Olivier, is not so lofty as the Turkey oak; nor is the wood much esteemed, except in cabinet-work. Miller observes that this is “ one of the fairest

1721 species of oak in the world;" that it thrives very well in the open air in England, and is never injured by frost. The fruit, according to Martyn's Miller, is called velani; and the tree, velanida, by the modern Greeks; but, according to Olivier, the name velani is applied to the tree, and velanida to the fruit. The cups and acorns are annually brought to Europe, where they are in great demand for tanning, being said to contain more tannin in a given bulk of substance than any other vegetable. According to M'Culloch, these acorns, which are commonly called valonia, form a very considerable article of export of the Morea and the Levant; averaging, in 1831 and 1832, nearly 150,000 cwt. a year, and being sold at from 121. to 15l. per ton. “ The more substance there is in the husk, or cup, of the acorn, the better. It is of a bright drab colour, which it preserves so long as it is kept dry; and dampness injures it, as it then turns black, and loses both its strength and value. It is principally used by tanners, and is always in demand. Though a very bulky article, it is uniformly bought and sold by weight. A ship can only take a small proportion of her register tonnage of valonia; so that its freight per ton is always high.” (MCull. Dict., p. 1203.) We agree with Miller in considering Q. Æ'gilops as one of the most splendid species of the genus, and we would strongly recommend it to every lover of fine trees. A kind of gall is found on this tree, somewhat similar to that found on Q. infectòria, and which is employed in the same manner. These galls are rugose, and of an angular form; and are either the fruit itself, distorted by the puncture of the insect, or merely the scaly cup, which is enlarged into a gall. The insect which pierces it is, according to M. Van Burgdorf, Cġnips quercus cálycis. It is found in Greece, and in the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. (Burmeister Handb, der Ent., sect. 310.) In British nurseries, Q. Æ'gilops is not very common, though there can be no difficulty in procuring acorns from the Continent. There is a tree at Syon, 22 ft. high, which bears fruit annually, and even the small tree at Messrs. Loddiges's, of which a portrait is given in our last

Volume, bears fruit. Varieties. 1 Q. Æ. 2 péndula has drooping branches. There is a small tree of this

variety in the Fulham Nursery. * Q. Æ. 3 latifolia Hort. has leaves rather broader than the species.

There is a tree of this variety in the Horticultural Society's Garden.

[ocr errors]

Statistics. In the environs of London, at Syon, it is 22 n. high, diameter of the trunk 1 ft., and of the head 24 ft. : in Denbighshire, at Llanbede Hall, 20 years planted, it is 35 ft. high, the girt of the trunk 2 ft. 8 in., and the diameter of the head 14 Suffolk, at Finborough Hall, 30 years planted, it is 40 ft. high, the diameter of the trunk 1 ft. 8in., and of the head 30ft. In Ireland, in Louth, at Oriel Temple, 60 years planted, it is 55 ft. high. In France, at Toulon, in the Botanic Garden, 10 years old, it is 19t. high. In Bavaria, at Munich, in the English Garden, 30 years old, it is 10 it. high, the diameter of the trunk 3in., and of the head 4 ft. In Italy, at Monza, 24 years old, it is 23 ft. high, the diameter of the trunk 6 in., and of the head 18 n.

Commercial Statistics. Plants, in the London nurseries, are 78. 6d. each; of the pendulous-branched variety, 3s. 6d. each: at Bollwyller, plants are 3 francs each.

Q. Túrneri, Q. australis, and some other sorts, may possibly belong to the section Cérris; but, as there are great doubts on the subject, we have thought it better to include them in an Appendix.

giji. A'lbæ. White American Oaks. Sect. Char. Leaves lobed, and sinuated, not mucronated; broadest at the

upper extremity; dying off more or less shaded with a violet colour. Bark white, or whitish brown, cracking and scaling off in thin laminæ. Fructification annual. Cups imbricate or echinate. Nut oblong, generally large.

The American oaks being generally propagated in Europe by acorns imported from America, we shall here give a comparative view of the acorns of some of the common kinds. Fig. 1722. represents acorns of the natural size,

[graphic][merged small][graphic]

of all the kinds that were imported by Mr. Charlwood, seedsman, of London, in the year 1836; but that year being unfavourable for the ripening of acorns in America, fewer sorts were imported than usual, and the nuts of these few are under the average size. In this figure, a is the acorn of Quércus álba; 6, that of Q. macrocarpa, with the cup on; c, that of R. obtusiloba ; d, Q. Prinus tomentosa; e, Q. P. pumila ; f, Q. tinctòria ; g, Q. nìgra; h, Q. Phéllos; and i, Q. palustris.

We may here observe that most sorts of the American oak in Messrs. Loddiges's collection (the most complete in Europe) can be propagated by grafting on the common oak, close to the ground, and largely earthing up the grafts afterwards, so as to leave only the points of the scions exposed to the air. This earthing up not only preserves a uniform degree of moisture round the graft; but the earth employed being taken from the adjoining surface, and consequently having been heated by the sun, produces an immediate increase of temperature round the graft, which gives an impulse to the rising sap, and so accelerates vegetation.

It may be proper to notice that the specimens of American oaks in the Horticultural Society's Garden are in general stunted, and by no means exhibit the average growth of such trees in the climate of London. The reason

is, they have for the most part been planted in clumps along with elms; which, being vigorous, rapid-growing trees, have robbed the soil of moisture, and overshadowed and stunted the oaks. In any of the London nurseries where the American oaks have been allowed to stand 6 or 8 years in the same place, they will be found of twice the height of those in the Chiswick Garden ; and, instead of being crooked, stunted, and unhealthy, they are straight and vigorous. We may refer to a few which are generally to be found in the Hammersmith and Fulham nurseries; but we wish, in a particular manner, to direct attention to the specimen trees of American oaks in Loddiges's arboretum, and to some hundreds of plants which they have for sale in their adjoining nursery ground. Among the latter, we observed on May 5th, 1837, above 100 plants of Quercus palústris, the hardiest, the most rapid-growing, and, in our opinion, the most beautiful, of all the American oaks; which, at 7 years from the acorn, were from 15 ft. to 20 ft. in height. In the Leyton Nursery, near Stratford-le-Bow, there were, till the sale of the stock of that nursery in the autumn of 1836, a great variety of American oaks, selected by the late Mr. Hill from seed-beds, and planted across the nursery in rows in different directions, for shelter. The variety and beauty of these oaks exceeded anything of the kind we ever before saw: in spring, when they were coming into leaf ; in summer, when they were in full foliage; and in autumn, when they were dying off of every shade of brilliant scarlet, yellow, red, and purple. The plants were mostly from 10 to 12 years from the acorn; were transplanted into these rows, after making 2 years' growth in the seed-beds; and, with the exception of Q. Banísteri, and two or three other low-growing kinds, they were all from 20 ft. to 30 ft. in height. The portrait of Q. palustris in our last Volume, taken from a tree in the Leyton Nursery, will give an idea of the progress made by that species there. In the London Horticultural Society's Garden, though about the same age, it is not half that height. (See Q. palustris.)

7 8. Q. A'LBA Lin. The American white Oak. Identification. Lin. Sp. Pl., 1414; Banist. Cat. Stirp. Virg. ; Willd. Sp. Pl., 4. p. 449.; Pursh, vol. 2.

p. 633. ; Michx. Quer., No. 4. t. 5.;, N. Du Ham., 7. p. 175. ; Smith in Rees's Cycl., No. 69. Synonymes. Q. álba virginiana Park. Theat. Bot., Cat. Carol., 1. t. 21. f. 2. ; Q. a. pinnatifida Wait.:Carol., p. 230., No. 10., Michx. Fl. Bor. Amer., 2. p. 195.; Q. palustris Marsh., p. 120. No. 3.;

Chéne blanc de l'Amérique, Fr.; weisse Eiche, Ger. Engravings. Cat. Carol., 1. t. 21. f. 2.; Michx. N. Amer. Syl., vol. 1. t. 1.; our figs. 1793. and 1726.;

and the plate of this trec in our last Volume. Spec. Char., &c. Leaves oblong, pinnatifidly serrated; pubescent underneath ; lobes linear-lanceolate, obtuse, entire, attenuated at the base. Fruit pedunculated. Calyx somewhat cup-shaped, warty, and flattened at the base, Acorn oval. (Willd.) A native of North America, where it grows to the

height of 60 ft., or upwards, and flowers in April. Introduced in 1724. Varieties. The elder lic ux gives the two following forms this species,

the leaves of both of which are shown in fig. 1723. copied from Michaux's
Histoire des Chênes Ameriques :
* Q. a. I pinnatifida Michx. Fl. Bor. Amer., ii. p.

195., Hist. des Chênes Amér., t. 5. f. 1., and our
fig. 1723, a; Q. álba Ban. Cat. Stirp. Virg.; Q:
virginiàna Catesb. Carol., i. p. 21. t. 21.; and
Q. a. palustris Marsh., p. 120. No. 3.—This is
the usual form of the species, and is common
in North America, from Canada to Florida.
Fig. 1726. is a sprig and acorn of Q. álba pin-
natifida, taken from Michaux's North American
Sylva, vol. i. t. 1.; and the acorn without its

calyx is shown in fig. 1722. at a.
* Q. a. 2 repanda Michy. I. c., Hist. des Chênes, t. 5. f. 2., Du Roi, t.5.f.5.,

and our fig. 1723. b, which is found wild in the forests of Carolina, and which sometimes occurs in seed-beds of Q. álba in Europe. Fig.

[graphic][merged small]

1724. is from a sprig apparently of this variety, grown in the Horticultural Society's Garden, under the name of Q. álba. In Messrs. Loddiges's arboretum is an oak named Q. squamosa, from a specimen of which fig. 1725. was taken. This tree, which is 20 ft.


high, has exactly the appearance, bark, and habit of growth of Q. álba, and as it only differs from it in the shape of the leaves, it may

probably be a variation of this variety. Description. The American white oak, according to Michaux, bears most resemblance to Q. pedunculàta, which is sometimes called the white oak in Europe. Q. álba, in the American forests, is often 70 ft. or 80 ft. high, and with a trunk 6 ft. or 7 ft. in diameter ; but its proportions vary with the soil and climate. Cobbett says that it is amongst the least curious and beautiful of the American oaks.” The leaf, he adds, “ is small, and the shape and colour not very handsome.”. According to Michaux, the leaves are regularly and obliquely divided into oblong rounded lobes, destitute of points or bristles; and the indentations are the deepest in the most humid soils. “ Soon after their unfolding, the leaves are reddish above, and white and downy beneath; when fully grown, they are smooth, and of a light green on the upper surface, and glaucous underneath. In the autumn they change to a bright violet colour.” (N. Amer. Syl., i. p. 19.) Michaux adds that this is the only American oak that retains some of its withered leaves till spring The acorns are large, oval, and very sweet; and they are contained in rough, shallow, greyish cups. They are borne singly, or in pairs, on long peduncles,“ attached, as in all the species with annual fructification, to the shoots of the season.” The fruit is rarely abundant; and sometimes not above a handful of acorns can be found in a large forest. The acorns have a very thin and brittle shell: they ripen early, and, according to Cobbett, germinate so easily, that, “ if warm rains come on in the month of November, which they very frequently do in America, the acorns still clinging to the trees actually begin to sprout before they are shaken down by the winds.” (Woodlands, $ 542.) Some trees produce acorns of a deep blue colour; but Michaux had seen only two specimens of this variety; one in the grounds of Mr. Hamilton, near Philadelphia, and

the other in Virginia. The bark of this tree is white (whence the species derives its name); and, though it is often variegated with large black spots, it has such a silvery hue, that the tree may be easily distinguished by it 1726 even in winter. The bark is scaly; and, on young, trees, it appears divided into squares, but, on old trees, into plates laterally attached. The wood is reddish, somewhat resembling that of the British oak, but lighter, and less compact. The rate of growth of this tree, in British gardens, where the soil is good and the situation sheltered, may be considered as nearly equal to that of the common oak; but without shelter, even in a good soil, the tree has a stunted appearance for many years, as is evident from a tree of 20 years' growth in the Hackney arboretum, and several in the Horticultural Society's Garden, of two of which fig. 1727. presents portraits. The largest



trees that we know of are between 60 ft. and 70 ft. high ; 'and, both at York House near Twickenham, and at Muswell Hill, they have ripened acorns.

Geography. Q. álba is found as far north as Canada, n. L. 46° 30'; and thence it was traced by the two Michaux, as far as Cape Canaveral, n. L. 28°; and westward, from the ocean to the country of Illinois; a distance of above 1200 miles from north to south, and nearly as much from east to west. It is not, however, equally distributed over this extensive tract of country, being found either in very dry and sandy, or in very rich, soils. The white oak is in the greatest abundance in those parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia that lie

« PreviousContinue »