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Title: Wayside and Woodland Trees - A pocket guide to the British sylva
Author: Step, Edward
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note

This plain text version of the book uses Latin-1 symbols in addition to
ASCII character set.

[oe] is used to represent the oe ligature.

Minor changes to punctuation and formatting are made without comment.
Changes to the text, to correct typographical errors, are listed as
follows:

Page 69 (paragraph on the Eared Sallow): changed "that" to "than" (...
which are usually less than two inches long,...)

       *       *       *       *       *

                       A LIST OF THE VOLUMES IN
                                 THE
                      WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND SERIES


                     WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND BLOSSOMS

   A Pocket Guide to British Wild Flowers, for the Country Rambler.
                      (First and Second Series.)
    With clear Descriptions of 760 Species. By EDWARD STEP, F.L.S.
        And Coloured Figures of 257 Species by MABEL E. STEP.

                      WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND TREES

      A Pocket Guide to the British Sylva. By EDWARD STEP, F.L.S.
      With 175 Plates from Water-colour Drawings by MABEL E. STEP
           and Photographs by HENRY IRVING and the Author.

                      WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND FERNS

   A Pocket Guide to the British Ferns, Horsetails and Club-Mosses.
                        By EDWARD STEP, F.L.S.
       With Coloured Figures of every Species by MABEL E. STEP.
                  And 67 Photographs by the Author.

                 THE BUTTERFLIES OF THE BRITISH ISLES

               A Pocket Guide for the Country Rambler.
    With clear Descriptions and Life Histories of all the Species.
                       By RICHARD SOUTH, F.E.S.
   With 450 Coloured Figures photographed from Nature, and numerous
                      Black and White Drawings.

                    THE MOTHS OF THE BRITISH ISLES

                      (First and Second Series).
  A Complete Pocket Guide to all the Species included in the Groups
    formerly known as Macro-lepidoptera. By RICHARD SOUTH, F.E.S.
   With upwards of 1500 Coloured Figures photographed from Nature,
                and numerous Black and White Drawings.

                         AT ALL BOOKSELLERS.

        _Full Prospectuses on application to the Publishers--_
                       FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.
                  LONDON: 15, Bedford Street, Strand.
                   NEW YORK: 12, East 33rd Street.



                     WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND TREES.

[Illustration: _Pl. 1._ Flowers of Horse Chestnut. _Frontispiece._]



                      Wayside and Woodland Trees

                 A POCKET GUIDE TO THE BRITISH SYLVA

                                  BY

                         EDWARD STEP, F.L.S.

                              AUTHOR OF
                    "WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND BLOSSOMS"
              "THE ROMANCE OF WILD FLOWERS" "SHELL LIFE"
                                 ETC.

            _WITH ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE PLATES FROM
              WATER-COLOUR DRAWINGS BY MABEL E. STEP AND
                    PHOTOGRAPHS BY HENRY IRVING AND
                              THE AUTHOR._

                                LONDON
                         FREDERICK WARNE & CO.
                             AND NEW YORK

                       (_All rights reserved_)

      "_Of all man's works of art, a cathedral is greatest. A vast and
    majestic tree is greater than that._"

                                                 _Henry Ward Beecher._


PREFACE.


The purpose of this volume is not the addition of one more to the
numerous treatises upon sylviculture or forestry, but to afford a
straightforward means for the identification of our native trees and
larger shrubs for the convenience of the rural rambler and Nature-lover.
The list of British arborescent plants is a somewhat meagre one, but all
that could be done in a pocket volume by way of supplementing it has
been done--by adding some account of those exotics that have long been
naturalized in our woods, and a few of more recent introduction that
have already become conspicuous ornaments in many public and private
parks.

In this edition forty-eight extra plates have been added, of which
twenty-four are in colours. The latter are in part reproductions of
water-colour studies of flowers and fruits, and partly from photographs
by a new method. For the black and white plates, the photographs, it
should be explained, have been taken upon a novel plan in most cases.
This consists in photographing a deciduous tree in its summer glory, and
returning to the same spot in winter and photographing the same
individual, so that a striking comparison may be made between the
summer and winter aspects of the principal species. Supplementary
photographs are given, in many cases, of the bole, which exhibit the
character of the bark, and should prove a valuable aid in the
identification of species. Others show in larger detail the flowers or
fruit, and the characteristic leaf-buds in spring.

The figures in the text have all been expressly drawn for the work with
a view to showing at a glance the general character of the foliage, and
in most cases the flower and fruit.

The work is divided into two sections. Part I. including those species
that are generally considered to be indigenous to the British Islands,
with briefer notices of the introduced species that are closely related
to them. Part II. being devoted to those of foreign origin, some of them
introduced so long ago that they are commonly regarded as native by
those who are not botanists.



INTRODUCTORY.


There are two points of view from which to regard trees--the mercantile
and the æsthetic. The former is well exemplified in Dumbiedyke's advice
to Jock: "Jock, when ye hae naething else to do, ye may be aye sticking
in a tree; it will be growing, Jock, when ye're sleeping." The canny
Scot was thinking of the "unearned increment" another generation might
gather in, due to the almost unceasing activity of the vegetable cells
in the manufacture of timber. The other view was expressed by "the
Autocrat of the Breakfast-table" in a letter to a friend: "Whenever we
plant a tree we are doing what we can to make our planet a more
wholesome and happier dwelling-place for those who come after us, if not
for ourselves." But, after all, it is the trees that have been planted
by Nature that give the greatest pleasure apart from commercial
considerations--the lonely Pine, that grows in rugged grandeur on the
edge of the escarpment where its seed was planted in the crevice by the
wind; the Oak that grows outside the forest, where a squirrel or a jay
dropped the acorn, and where the young tree had room all its life to
throw out its arms as it would; the little cluster of Birches that
springs from the ferns and moss of the hillside. All trees so grown
develop an individuality that is not apparent in their fellows of the
timber forest; and however we may delight in the peace and quiet of the
forest, with its softened light and cool fragrant air, we can there only
regard the trees in a mass. We might, indeed, reverse the old saying,
and declare that we cannot see the trees on account of the wood.

Nature and the timber-producer have different aims and pursue different
methods in the making of forests, though the latter is not above taking
a hint from the former occasionally. Nature mixes her seeds and sows
them broadcast over the land she intends to turn into forest, that the
more vigorous kinds may act as nurses, sheltering and protecting the
less robust. Then comes the struggle for existence, with its final
ending in the survival of the fittest. In the mean time the mixed forest
has given shelter to an enormous population of smaller fry--plants,
mammals, birds, and insects--and has been a delightful recreation ground
for man. The timber-producer aims at so controlling the struggle for
existence that the survival of the fit is maintained from start to
finish. He plants his young trees in regular order, putting in nurses at
intervals and along the borders, intending to cut them down when his
purpose has been served. The timber trees are allowed no elbow-room, the
putting forth of lateral branches is discouraged, but steady upward
growth and the production of "canopy" is abetted. His aim is to get
these timber-sticks as near alike as possible, free from individuality,
and with the minimum of difference in girth at top and bottom of each
pole. This means a thicker and longer balk of clean timber when the tree
is felled and squared. The continuous canopy induces growth in the
upward direction only, and discourages the weeds and undergrowth that
add to the charm of the forest, but which unprofitably use up the
wood-producing elements in the soil. This plan contrasts strongly with
the views on planting formerly prevalent in this country, John Evelyn,
for example, making a special point of giving the Oak room to stretch
out its arms, "free from all incumbrances." But, then, unlike the
timber-producers, Evelyn had an eye for landscape beauty, and giving an
opportunity for the display of such beauty. He says: "And if thus his
Majesty's forests and chases were stored, viz. with this spreading tree
at handsome intervals, by which grazing might be improved for the
feeding of deer and cattle under them (for such was the old Saltus),
being only visited with the gleams of the sun, and adorned with the
distant landscapes appearing through the glades and frequent valleys,
nothing could be more ravishing."

The greater the success of the forester, the more profound is the solemn
stillness of the forest--and the more monotonous. In place of the
natural forest, with its varied and teeming life, we have what
Wordsworth called a timber factory. In the natural forest, with its
mixture of many kinds of trees, the undergrowth of shrubs, and carpet of
grass and weeds, the stronger trees spread out their arms in all
directions, and fritter away (as the scientific forester would say)
their wood-producing powers in making much firewood and little valuable
timber. But the result is very beautiful, and the nature-lover can
wander among it without tiring, and can study without exhausting its
treasures. Emerson says: "In the woods is perpetual youth. Within these
plantations of God a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is
dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand
years." To the scientific forester this is all waste land, and he pleads
for the "higher culture" being applied to it. With every desire that the
natural resources of our country should be properly developed, we do
hope that he will not be entirely successful in his efforts, and that a
few of the woods and wastes of Nature's own planting may be left for the
recreation of the simple folk who have not yet taken to appraising the
value of everything by the price it will fetch in the market.

The trees described in this volume are the really wild growths that have
lived a natural life; and though many of the photographs are from
planted trees, they are such as have been allowed to grow as they would,
and show the characteristic branching of the species.

A few words on the life of a tree may be welcomed here by those readers
who have not made a study of botany. Although the nurseryman makes use
of suckers and cuttings for the quicker multiplication of certain
species, every tree in its natural habitat produces seeds and is
reproduced by them. The flowering of our forest trees is a phenomenon
that does not as a rule attract attention, but their fruiting or
seed-bearing becomes patent to all who visit the woods in autumn. A tree
has lived many years before it is capable of producing seed. The
seed-bearing age is different in each species; thus the Oak begins to
bear when it is between sixty and seventy years old, the Ash between
forty and fifty, the Birch and Sweet Chestnut at twenty-five years. Some
produce seed every year after that period is reached, others every
second, third, or fifth year; others, again, bear fitfully except at
intervals of from six to nine years, when they produce an enormous crop.
Most tree-seeds germinate in the spring following their maturity, but
they are not all distributed when ripe. The Birch, the Elm, and the
Aspen, for examples, retain their seeds until spring, and these
germinate soon after they have been dispersed.

The seeds contain sufficient nutriment to feed the seedling whilst it is
developing it roots and first real leaves. We can, of course, go further
back in starting our observations of the life progress of the monarch of
the forest. We can dissect the insignificant greenish flower of the Oak
when the future seed (acorn) is but a single cell, a tiny bag filled
with protoplasm. From that early stage to the period when the tree is
first ripe for conversion into timber we span a century and a half,
equal to two good human lives, and the Oak is but at the point where a
man attains his majority. The Oak is built up after the fashion by which
man attains to his full stature. It is a process of multiplication of
weak, minute cells, which become specialized for distinct offices in the
economy of the vegetable community we call a tree. Some go to renew and
enlarge the roots, others to the perfecting of that system of vessels
through which the crude fluids from the roots are carried up to the
topmost leaf, whence, after undergoing chemical transformation in the
leaf laboratory, it is circulated to all parts of the organism to make
possible the production of more cells. Each of these has a special task,
and it becomes invested with cork or wood to enable it to become part of
the bark or the timber; or it remains soft and develops the green
colouring matter, which enables it, when exposed to sunlight, to
manufacture starch from carbon and water.

This is very similar to what takes place in the human organism, where
the nutriment taken in is used up in the production of new cells, which
are differentiated into muscle-cells, bone-cells, epidermal-cells, and
so forth, building up or renewing muscles or nerves, bones or arteries;
but the mechanism of distribution is different, the heart-pump doing the
work of capillary attraction and gravitation. The ancients believed in
the Dryads, spirits that were imprisoned in trees, and whose life was
coterminous with that of the tree; and it will be seen that they had
stronger physical justification for their belief than they knew.
Shakespeare relates how Sycorax, the witch-mother of Caliban, imprisoned
Ariel in a tree; and Huxley finely tells us that "The plant is an animal
confined in a wooden case; and Nature, like Sycorax, holds thousands of
'delicate Ariels' imprisoned in every oak. She is jealous of letting us
know this; and among the higher and more conspicuous forms of plants
reveals it only by such obscure manifestations as the shrinking of the
Sensitive Plant, the sudden clasp of the Dionæa, or, still more
slightly, by the phenomena of the cyclosis."

The tree, as we have indicated, gets its food from the air and the soil.
The rootlets have the power of dissolving the mineral salts in the soil
in which they ramify; some authorities believing that they are
materially helped in this respect--so far as organic matter is
concerned--by a fungus that invests them with a mantle of delicate
threads. However that may be, the fluid that is taken up by the roots is
not merely water, but water plus dissolved mineral matter and nitrogen.
At the same time as the roots are thus absorbing liquid nutriment, the
leaves, pierced with thousands of little _stomata_, or mouths, take in
atmospheric air, which is compounded chiefly of the gases oxygen and
carbon. The leaf-cells containing the green colouring matter
(_chlorophyll_) seize hold of the carbon and release the oxygen. The
carbon is then combined with the fluid from the roots by the vital
chemistry of the leaves, and is circulated all over the system for the
sustenance of all the organs and tissues.

The flowering of the trees varies so greatly that it can only be dealt
with satisfactorily as each species is described. It may be stated,
however, that all the true forest trees are wind-fertilized, and
therefore have inconspicuous greenish blossoms. By true forest trees we
mean those that alone or slightly mixed are capable of forming high
forest. The smaller trees, such as Crab, Rowan, Cherry, Blackthorn,
Hawthorn, Buckthorn, etc., belong more to the open woodland, to the
common and the hedgerow. These, from their habitat, can be seen singly,
and therefore can make use of the conspicuous flowers that are
fertilized by insects.



WAYSIDE AND WOODLAND TREES.



PART I.

NATIVE TREES AND SHRUBS.


The Oak (_Quercus robur_).

When good John Evelyn wrote his "Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest Trees,"
he was greatly concerned lest our "wooden walls" should diminish in
strength for want of a succession of stout Oaks in our woodlands, and
therefore he put the Oak in the forefront of his discourse. To-day steel
and teak have largely supplanted oak in the building of our navy, and
our walls of defence are no longer of wood. Yet in spite of these
changes, and the consequent reduction of the Oak's importance, we must
still look upon it as the typical British tree, and, regardless of its
place in botanical classifications, we shall follow the lead of our
master and place it first on our list.

There is no necessity for entering upon a minute description of the
botanical characters of so well known a tree. The sturdy, massive trunk,
firm as a rock; the broad, rounded outline of its head, caused by the
downward sweeping extremities of the wide-spreading lower limbs; the
wavy outline of the lobed leaves, and the equally distinct
egg-and-cup-shaped fruit--these are characters that cannot be confused
with those of any other tree, and are the most familiar objects in the
landscape in most parts of our islands. To my mind, no wood is so
awe-inspiring as one filled with old oaks, all so much alike, yet each
with a distinct individuality. We regard with reverence a human
centenarian, who may have nothing beyond his great age to commend him to
us; but we think of the long period of history of which he has been a
spectator, possibly an active maker of history. The huge Oak has
probably lived through ten or twenty such periods. Compared with the
Oak, man is but of mushroom growth. It does not produce an acorn until
sixty or seventy years old, and even then it is not mature. Not till a
century and a half have passed over its head is its timber fit for use,
and as a rule it is not felled under the age of two hundred years. Many
trees are left to a much greater age, or we should not have still with
us so many venerable specimens, and where they have not been left until
partially decayed, the timber is found to be still very valuable when
finally cut down. Of one of these patriarchs of the forest, cut down in
the year 1810, we have figures of quantity and value from a contemporary
record. It was known as the Gelenos Oak, and stood about four miles from
Newport, Monmouthshire. When felled, it yielded 2426 cubic feet of sound
timber, and six tons of bark. It was bought just as it stood for £405,
and the purchaser had to pay £82 for labour for stripping, felling, and
converting into timber. Five men were employed for twenty days in
stripping the bark and felling the tree, and after that a pair of
sawyers, working six days a week, were five months cutting it up. But
the bark realized £200, and the timber about £400. The timber and bark
from this one tree were about equal to the average produce of three
acres of oak coppice after fifteen years growth.

[Illustration: _Pl. 2._ Oak--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 3._ Oak--winter.]

Full-grown oaks vary in height from sixty to one hundred and thirty
feet, the difference depending upon situation; the tallest, of
course, being those that have been drawn up in forests, at the expense
of their branches. Trees growing freely in the open are of less height,
and are made to appear comparative dwarfs by the huge proportions of the
bole. In the forest this may be no more than ten feet in girth, but in
isolated specimens may be as much as fifty-four feet (Cowthorpe Oak),
with a much broader base. The thick rough bark is deeply furrowed in a
large network pattern, which affords temporary hiding-places for
insects. The branches are much given to turn and zig-zag from side to
side--a character that makes them very useful in boat-building, as
"knees" of various angles may be cut from them without having recourse
to bending. The best knees are to be obtained from Oaks grown in the
hedgerow.

[Illustration: Oak. A, female flower; B, male flowers.]

The Oak flowers in April or May, and the blossoms are of two distinct
forms--male and female. The males are in little clusters, which are
borne at intervals along a hanging stalk, two or three inches in length.
They are green, and therefore inconspicuous; but examined separately,
they will be found to have a definite calyx, whose margin is cut into an
uncertain number (4-7) of lobes. There are no petals, but attached to
the sides of the calyx there are ten stamens. The female flowers are
fewer, and will be found on short erect stalks above the male catkins.
Each female flower consists of a calyx, invested by a number of
overlapping scales, and enclosing an ovary with three styles. The ovary
is divided into three cells, each containing two seed-eggs. An acorn
should therefore contain six kernels, but, as a rule, only one of the
seed-eggs develops, though occasionally an acorn contains two kernels.
The overlapping scales at the base of the female flower become the rough
cup that holds the acorn.

The Oak is subject to a considerable amount of variation, probably due
to differences of situation, soil, etc., and some authors have sought to
elevate certain of the varieties into species by giving them distinctive
names. It does not appear to be certain, however, that these forms are
at all constant, and they are connected by intermediate forms that make
the identification of many individuals a matter of difficulty. In one of
these forms (_sessiliflora_) the stalk of the acorns connecting them
with the branch is very short, but the leaves have a distinct footstalk,
from half an inch to an inch long. This form is more plentiful in the
north and west, and is conspicuous in the Forest of Dean. A second form,
known as _pedunculata_, has the leaf-stalk short or absent, the base
of the leaf broad and somewhat heart-shaped, and the stalk upon which
the acorns are borne very long. A third form (_intermedia_), commonly
known as Durmast, has short leaf-stalks, short stalks to the acorns, and
the under side of the leaf downy. _Pedunculata_ is found more on the
lower hills and the sides of valleys, whilst _sessiliflora_ prefers
higher ground, with a southern or western aspect.

[Illustration: _Pl. 4._ Bole of Oak.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 5._ Flowers of Oak.]

The Oak is most abundant on clay soils, but is at its best when growing
in deep sandy loam, where there is also plenty of humus. Its roots in
such soil strike down to a depth of five feet, and therefore it thrives
in association with Beech, whose roots are much nearer the surface, and
whose fallen leaves supply it with humus.

The Oak is more persistently attacked by insects than any other tree.
One authority (Leunis) has tabulated the species that get their living
mainly or entirely from their attacks on the foliage, timber, or bark,
and they number about five hundred. With some species this warfare is
waged on so extensive a scale, that in some years by early summer the
Oaks are almost divested of their foliage, and a new crop of leaves
becomes a necessity. But the reserve forces of the Oak are quite equal
to this drain, and the tree does not appear to suffer, though a much
less thorough attack would be serious to a Conifer. One of the worst of
these Oak-spoilers--though it by no means restricts its energies to
attacks on this tree--is the Mottled Umber Moth (_Hibernia defoliaria_),
whose pretty caterpillars may be seen hanging by silken threads from the
leafless twigs.

A striking Oak insect is the Stag Beetle (_Lucanus cervus_), which, in
warm evenings in the south of England, may be seen flying round the
Oaks, the size and antler-like jaws of the male arousing feelings of
respect in the minds of those who are not acquainted with its habits.
The formidable looking "horns" are usually harmless. The beetle spends
its larval stage in the wood of unhealthy Oaks, and, when mature, seeks
his hornless mate among its foliage.

Perhaps the most interesting of the Oak's pensioners to the woodland
rambler will be the varied forms of gall on different parts of the tree.
There is the so-called Oak-apple, of uneven surface and spongy to the
touch, which certain people still wear on May 29th, in honour of Charles
II.; the well-rounded hard Bullet-gall of _Cynips kollari_, the
Artichoke-gall of _Cynips gemmæ_, the Spangle-galls of _Neuroterus
lenticularis_, so plentiful on the back of the leaf, and the Root-gall
of _Biorhiza aptera_. All these galls are abnormal growths, due to the
irritation set up by the Gall-wasps named, when they pierced the young
tissues in order to lay their eggs in them. Where any of these galls are
perforated it may be known that the Gall-wasp whose grub fed within has
flown, but where there is no such perforation the grub is still within,
feeding upon the flesh of the gall, or in the chrysalis stage, awaiting
translation to the winged condition.

Several Oaks of foreign origin are also grown in our parks and open
spaces; among them the Holm Oak (_Quercus ilex_) whose evergreen
leathery leaves have toothed or plain edges, and occasionally the lower
ones develop marginal spines, whence its name of Holm or Holly Oak. It
is notable for retaining its lower branches, so that its appearance, as
Loudon remarks, "even when fully grown, is that of an immense bush,
rather than that of a timber tree." It is a native of Southern Europe
and North Africa, and appears to have been introduced about the middle
of the sixteenth century. It usually attains a height of from twenty to
thirty feet, but occasionally specimens are seen up to sixty feet. It
has a much thinner, more even bark than that of our native Oak, and of a
black colour. The long brown acorns do not ripen until the second year.

[Illustration: _Pl. 6._ Holm Oak.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 7._ Acorns of Turkey Oak.]

The Turkey Oak (_Quercus cerris_) is a much larger tree, attaining to
similar heights to our British Oak, but easily distinguishable by its
more pyramidal outline, and its attenuated leaves. The lance-shaped
lobes of these are unequal, sharp, and angular; and the footless
acorn-cups are covered with bristly or mossy-looking scales. The acorns,
which are small and exceedingly bitter, rarely ripen till their second
autumn. The whole tree--trunk, branches, and twigs--is of straighter
growth than _Quercus robur_. It is a native of Southern Europe and the
Levant, and was introduced about one hundred and seventy years ago.

The spring rambler in the woods may come upon a party of woodmen
stripping young Oaks of their bark, or felling them, whilst cylinders of
separated bark rest across poles in the process of drying. This is the
industry of barking for the purpose of the tanner. When the Oaks in a
coppice are about sixteen years old they are most suitable for this
purpose, the bark then containing a larger percentage of _tannin_ than
at any other period. The operation is best performed in May, when the
sap is in flow, and should be completed between the first swelling of
the leaf-buds and the unrolling of the leaves. If the weather is cold
and damp the bark will peel the better, provided there is an absence of
north or east winds. Before the tree is cut down the bole is stripped,
the first ring being taken from just above the roots to a height of two
and a half feet above. When the tree is felled, it is cut into lengths
and the bark stripped from them; then all branches that are an inch or
more in diameter are peeled. The bark is piled to dry for a couple of
weeks, and is then broken into small pieces and sent away in sacks.

It is not alone in the use of the bark that the tannic acid of the Oak
is made evident; it is to the presence of this that the austerity of the
acorn is due, and also the ink-producing properties of certain
Oak-galls. Everything connected with the tree gets a roughness of
flavour from this same principle. Even that remarkable fungus, the
Vegetable Beef-steak, that may be found on old Oaks in autumn, is
impregnated with it.

Prior regards the name Oak (Anglo-Saxon _ac_) as originally belonging to
the fruit, and only later transferred to the tree that produces it. The
more obvious explanation (though we know that in etymological and other
matters the obvious is not always the true interpretation) is, that
acorn (ac-corn) signified the corn or fruit of the ac. Selby tells us
that "During the Anglo-Saxon rule, and even for some time after the
Conquest, Oak-forests were chiefly valued for the fattening of swine.
Laws relating to pannage, or the fattening of hogs in the forest, were
enacted during the Heptarchy; and by Ina's statutes, any person wantonly
injuring or destroying an Oak-tree was mulcted in a fine varying
according to size, or the quantity of mast it produced."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 8._ Fruit of Beech.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 9._ Beech--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 10._ Acorns of Pedunculate Oak.]


The Beech (_Fagus sylvatica_).

We speak of the Oak as the "Monarch of the Woods," and to the Beech the
title "Mother of Forests" has been given. To the timber-merchant the
Beech has little importance, but the grower of timber freely
acknowledges his heavy indebtedness to this nursing mother, for, in the
words of Professor Gayer, the Bavarian forestry expert, "without Beech
there can no more be properly tended forests of broad-leaved genera, as
along with it would have to be given up many other valuable
timber-trees, whose production is only possible with the aid of Beech."
Quite apart from utilitarian considerations, we should be very sorry to
lose the Beech, with its towering, massive shaft clad in smooth grey
bark, its spreading roots above the soil, and the dense shade of its
fine foliage. Fortunately for the lover of natural beauty, it is this
luxuriant growth of leaves and the shade it gives that are the redeeming
virtues of the Beech in the eye of the forester. Its drip destroys
most of the soil-exhausting weeds, its shade protects the soil from
over-evaporation, and the heavy crop of leaves enriches it by their
decomposition. On these points the forestry experts of to-day join hands
with John Evelyn, who, nearly 250 years ago, thus referred to it--"The
shade unpropitious to corn and grass, but sweet, and of all the rest,
most refreshing to the weary shepherd--_lentus in umbra_, echoing
Amaryllis with his oaten pipe." And, again, after giving us a long
catalogue of the varied uses to which Beechwood may be put, he
adds--"Yet for all this, you would not wonder to hear me deplore the so
frequent use of this wood, if you did consider that the industry of
France furnishes that country for all domestic utensils with excellent
Walnut, a material infinitely preferable to the best Beech, which is
indeed good only for shade and for the fire." In the days of open
hearths and chimney corners the Beech was extensively used for fuel, and
it is still reputed to make good charcoal; but to-day the chairmaker and
the turner are the chief users of its wood.

[Illustration: _Pl. 11._ Bole of Beech.]

The Beech well grown attains a height of about 100 feet, and a girth of
20 feet. There was, until recently, a Beech in Norbury Park, Surrey, 160
feet in height. Its branches horizontally spreading gave it a head of
enormous proportions. Hooker gives the _diameter_ of the Knowle Beech as
352 feet, which means a circumference of about as many yards. It will
grow in most upland places where the Oak thrives, though it does not
need so deep a soil, and has a preference for land containing lime.
Fresh mineral soils, rich in humus, are the best for it. In poor soils
its growth is slow and its life is longer. It begins to bear mostly at
about eighteen years of age, and thereafter gives good crops at
intervals of three or five years.

In spring, just before the buds expand, the twigs of the Beech have a
very distinct appearance. They are long and slender, placed alternately
along the twig, and the brown envelopes retain their shape long after
they have been cast off. It is interesting to note how well these are
mimicked by a glossy spindle-shaped snail (_Clausilia laminata_) that
has a decided fondness for the Beech. As the snails crawl up the bole or
over the moss at its base, it is not easy at a glance to say which are
snails and which bud-envelopes. This is one of the protective
resemblances adopted by many animals to give them a chance of eluding
their natural enemies--in this case the thrush and other birds.

In the bud the leaf is folded fan-wise, and the folds run parallel with
the nerves. They expand into an oval, smooth-faced leaf, with slightly
scooped edges, and a most delicate fringe of short gossamer, which falls
off later. These leaves Evelyn recommended as a stuffing for beds,
declaring that if "gathered about the fall, and somewhat before they are
much frost-bitten, [they] afford the best and easiest mattresses in the
world to lay under our quilts instead of straw.... In Switzerland I have
sometimes lain on them to my great refreshment." That last clause seems
to imply that the authorities at home would not allow the introduction
of new-fangled bed-stuffings, but remained true to straw. These leaves
are rich in potash, and as they readily decay, they produce an admirable
humus. In sheltered places the leaves, turned to a light ruddy-brown
colour, are retained on the lower branches until cast off by the
expansion of the new buds.

In early summer, whilst the leaves are still pellucid, the shade of a
big Beech is particularly inviting. Later the leaves become opaque, and
their glossy surfaces throw back the heat rays. Then the play of light
upon the great mass of foliage is very fine; but when autumn has turned
their deep green to orange and warm ruddy brown, and they catch the red
rays of the westering sun, the tree appears to be turned into a blazing
fire.

[Illustration: _Pl. 12._ Beech--winter.]

[Illustration: Leaves, flowers, and fruit of Beech. A, female; B, male flowers.]

The Beech flowers in April or May. The blossoms are rather more
conspicuous than is the case with the Oak, for the male flowers are
gathered together in a hanging purplish-brown rounded tassel with yellow
anthers. The female flowers, to the number of two, three, or four, are
clustered in a "cupule" of overlapping scales, like those of the Oak.
But in the Beech the "cupule" becomes a bristly closed box, which
afterwards opens by one end splitting into four triangular
silk-hair-lined valves, which turn back and reveal the three-sided,
sharp-edged "mast." This mast was formerly a very valuable product of
the Beech-woods, when herds of swine were turned in them to feed upon
the fallen Beech-nuts. Agricultural methods have changed; but though
our hogs are now confined in styes, and fed on a diet that more rapidly
fattens, Beech-mast is still a good food eagerly taken by such woodland
denizens as badgers, deer, squirrels, and dormice.

The vitality of the Beech is so high that quite frequently the bole
divides at its upper part into several trunks, which rise straight up,
and each attains the dimensions of a complete tree. Often such a tree
stands on a sandy bank, and seems in imminent danger of toppling over,
but its uprightness secures it against strain, and the roots that it
sent down the steep side of the bank have thickened into strong props.
Many such trees may be found along the hollow lanes in the Greensand
district of Surrey, and we have more than once sheltered from a storm
under their roots.

We have already mentioned the value of the Beech as a nurse for other
trees, and its frequent use for that purpose, but it should also be
stated that it is a powerful competitor with other trees, and if these
are left to fight their own battles unaided, the Beech will be the
conqueror. Evelyn saw this more than two centuries ago, and pointed out
that where mixed woods of Oak and Beech were left to themselves, they
ultimately became pure Beech woods. The Beech appears to gain this
advantage through rooting in the surface soil, and, exhausting it of
food elements, suffers none to penetrate to the lower strata, where the
Oak has its roots.

A number of insects feed upon the Beech, but they are mostly more
beautiful or more singular than destructive. The Copper Beech, which is
so effectively used for ornament in parks, is merely a sub-variety of
the Common Beech, and all the examples in cultivation are believed to be
"sports" from the purple variety, which itself was a natural sport
discovered in a German wood little more than a hundred years ago.

The modern word Beech is derived from the Anglo-Saxon _boc_, _bece_,
_beoce_, which had very similar equivalents in all branches of the
German and Scandinavian family, and from the fact that the literature of
these people was inscribed on tablets of Beech, our word _book_ has the
same origin.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 13._ Birch--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 14._ Bole of Birch.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 15._ Catkins of Birch.]


The Birch (_Betula alba_).

"The Lady of the Woods," as Coleridge christened the Birch, is at once
the most graceful, the hardiest, and the most ubiquitous of our forest
trees. It grows throughout the length and breadth of our islands, and
seems happy alike on a London common, in a suburban garden, or far up in
the Scottish highlands (2500 feet). It penetrates farther north than any
other tree, and its presence is a great boon to the natives of Lapland.
It will grow where it is subjected to great heat, as well as where it
must endure extreme cold, with its slender roots exploring the beds of
peat, the rich humus of the old wood, or the raw soil of the
mountain-side, where it has to cling to rocks and a few mosses. Given
plenty of light, and it seems to care for little else. Though a mere
shrub in the far north, with us the Birch has a trunk sometimes as tall
as eighty, but more frequently fifty feet, and a girth of from two to
three feet. In its first decade it increases in height at the rate of a
foot and a half or two feet in a year; but, of course, there is little
breadth to be built up at the same time. It reaches maturity in half a
century, and before the other half is reached the Birch will have passed
away.

The bark of the Birch is more enduring than its timber, which may be
partly due to its habit of casting off the outer layer in shreds, like
fine tissue-paper, from time to time. The greater part of the bark is
silvery white, which adds to the apparent slenderness of the tree, and
makes it conspicuous from a long distance; for the attenuated and
drooping branches, dressed in small and loosely hung leaves, sway so
constantly that the trunk is scarcely hidden. The glossy, leathery
leaves vary in shape from a triangular form to a pointed oval, their
edges doubly toothed, and their footstalks long and slender.

[Illustration: Birch leaves and catkins.]

About April the hanging catkins of the Birch, which were in evidence in
the previous autumn, have matured and become dark crimson; the scales
separate and expose the two stamens of each flower, which has a single
sepal. The female flowers are in a short, more erect spike, which
consists of overlapping scales (_bracts_), each containing two or three
flowers. The flowers have neither petals nor sepals, each consisting
merely of an ovary with two slender styles. After fertilization the
female spike has developed into a little oblong cone. The minute nuts
have a pair of delicate wings to each, and as they are set free from the
cones they flutter on the breeze like a swarm of small flies. The moss
that usually covers the ground beneath the Birch will be found in
October to be thickly speckled with these fruits, which are something
more than seeds, as they are commonly termed; they are really analogous
to the acorn--a nut within a thin shell. The tree sometimes begins to
produce seed when only fifteen years old; but, as a rule, it is ten
years older before it bears, and thereafter it has a crop every year.

It is strange how so striking and graceful a tree could have been so
persistently ignored by the old school of landscape painters, when one
remembers with what good effect modern artists have utilized it. In this
connection we need not apologize for quoting at length a description of
the tree from the artist's point of view, because it also gives
attention to those points one would like the rambler to notice. Mr. P.
G. Hamerton in his _Sylvan Year_, says--

"The stem ... of the Silver Birch is one of the masterpieces of Nature.
Everything has been done to heighten its unrivalled brilliance. The
horizontal peeling of the bark, making dark rings at irregular
distances, the brown spots, the dark colour of the small twigs, the
rough texture near the ground, and the exquisite silky smoothness of the
tight white bands above, offer exactly that variety of contrast which
makes us feel a rare quality like that smooth whiteness as strongly as
we are capable of feeling it. And amongst the common effects in all
northern countries, one of the most brilliant is the opposition of birch
trunks in sunshine against the deep blue or purple of a mountain
distance in shadow. At all seasons of the year the beauty of the birch
is attractive and peculiarly its own. The young beech may remind you of
it occasionally under strong effects of light, and is also very
graceful, but we have no tree that rivals the birch in its own
qualities of colour and form, still less in that air and bearing which
are so much more difficult to describe. In winter you see the full
delicacy of the sprays that the lightest foliage hides, and in early
spring this tree clothes itself, next after the willow, with tiny
triangular leaves, inexpressibly light in the mass, so that from a
distance they have the effect of a green mist rather than anything more
material. When the tree is isolated sufficiently to come against the
sky, you may see one of the prettiest sights in Nature--the pure deep
azure of heaven, with the silvery white and fresh green of the birch in
opposition. And yet it is not a crude green, for there is a good deal of
warm red in it, which gives one of those precious tertiaries that all
true colourists value."

Linnæus named our common Birch _Betula alba_; but more than a century
ago Ehrhart pointed out that there were two well-defined forms of the
tree, which he proposed to separate as distinct species under the names
of _B. verrucosa_ and _B. pubescens_. Hooker regards the first of these
as the typical form, for which he properly retains the Linnæan name. It
is distinguished by having the base of the bole covered with coarse,
rough, and blackish bark, the _smooth_ leaves looking as though their
base had been cut off, and the twigs warty. The _B. pubescens_ of
Ehrhart appears to be a variety of Fries' _B. glutinosa_, which Hooker
treats as a sub-species of _B. alba_. The bark at its base is smooth and
white, its _downy_ leaves have a triangular base, and its twigs are free
from warts. It sometimes assumes a bush-like form.

The Dwarf Birch (_Betula nana_) is a distinct species, which occurs
locally in the mountainous parts of Northumberland and Scotland. It is
not a tree, but a bush, only two or three feet in height. Its
firm-textured, round leaves have scalloped margins and short footstalks.

[Illustration: _Pl. 16._ Birch--winter.]

The foliage of the Birch in autumn turns to a yellow hue. At this
period--and, indeed, for a month earlier--there may be seen beneath
the Birch-trees one of the most striking of our toadstools, the Fly
Agaric (_Amanita muscarius_), so-called from its use as the lethal
ingredient in the making of fly-papers. From a bulbous base a creamy
yellow stem arises, decked about half its height with an ample hanging
frill. The upper side of the spreading "cap" is painted with crimson,
over which are scattered flecks of white or cream kid--the remains of an
outer envelope that was ruptured by the expansion of the cap, and of
which the frill represents the lower portion. This species is really
poisonous, and the Kamschatkans are said to make their _vodka_
superlatively intoxicating by the addition of this fungus to it. On the
trunk of the Birch may sometimes be found a large fungus named
_Polyporus betulinus_, whose root-like portion penetrates the bark and
sucks up the sap.

Birch-bark is used for tanning certain kinds of leather, and the
peculiar odour of Russian leather is said to be due to the use of Birch
in its preparation. The Birch agrees with the Beech in two respects--it
is of little value for timber, but as a nurse to young timber-trees it
is of considerable importance. Its name is from the Anglo-Saxon _beorc_,
_birce_, and signifies the Bark-tree.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 17._ Alder--summer.]


The Alder (_Alnus glutinosa_).

Although the Alder is abundant by riversides and in all low-lying moist
lands as far north as Caithness, it is not so generally well known at
sight as the Oak, the Beech, and the Birch. It is a small tree
ordinarily only thirty to forty feet in height, with a girth from three
to six feet, though occasionally it aspires to seventy feet in height.
This is when it is growing in moist loam, upon which rain or floods have
washed down good layers of humus from woods at a higher elevation. If,
with its roots thus well cared for, its head is in a humid atmosphere,
the Alder is in happy case. If it has had the misfortune to get into a
porous soil, though this may be moist enough to please an Ash, the
Alder becomes merely a big bush.

[Illustration: Alder.]

The bark of the Alder is rough and black, and the wood soft. Whilst the
tree is alive its wood is white, but when cut and exposed to the air it
becomes red; finally, on drying, it changes to a pinkish tint. As timber
it has no great reputation, except for piles or other submerged
purposes, when it is said to be exceedingly durable. It has also enjoyed
a great reputation for making the best charcoal for the gunpowder mills,
and it is largely used by the turner, the wood-carver, and the
cabinet-maker. The leaves, which have short stalks, and are from two
to four inches long, are roundish with a wedge-shaped base. They have a
waved and toothed margin, and remain green long after the leaves of
other trees have fallen. In their young condition these leaves are
covered with hairs, and are sticky to the touch, and it is to this fact
that the name _glutinosa_ has reference.

[Illustration: _Pl. 18._ Catkins of Alder.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 19._ Bole of Alder.]

The flowering of the Alder is very similar to that of the Birch, but the
male catkins have red scales, and each flower four stamens. The female
spikes have the fleshy scales covered by red-brown bracts of a woody
consistence, which persist after the fruit has dropped out of them. Seed
is not produced until the Alder is twenty years old, and the crop is
repeated almost every year after. The cones are ripe about October or
November, when they scatter their fruit, but the empty ones persist in
hanging to the branches throughout the winter in numbers sufficient to
give the leafless tree a brown appearance from a little distance. The
immature male catkins are in evidence at the same time.

There is a variety (_incisa_) of the Alder in which the leaves are so
deeply toothed that they bear a close resemblance to those of the
Hawthorn.

In some localities the tree is called the Howler and Aller, the latter
word apparently the original name, for its Anglo-Saxon forms were _ælr_,
_alr_, and _aler_.

[Illustration: _Pl. 20._ Alder--winter.]


The Hornbeam (_Carpinus betulus_).

The Hornbeam is frequently passed by as a Beech, to which it has a very
close superficial likeness, but a comparison of leaves, flowers, or bole
would at once make the differences obvious. It is usually found in
similar situations to the Beech, though it does not ascend so far up the
hills as that species. On dry, poor soils it does not attain its full
proportions and may only be classed as a small tree; but when growing on
low ground, in rich loam or good clay, it reaches a height of seventy
feet, with a girth of ten feet. If two measurements of the bole's
diameter be taken at right angles to each other, they will be found to
differ greatly. A section of the trunk will not show a circular outline,
but rather an ellipse, the bole appearing to have been flattened on two
sides. It is coated with a smooth grey bark, usually spotted with white.

The leaves are less symmetrical than those of Beech, and are broader
towards the base. They are of rougher texture, hairy on the underside,
and their edges are doubly toothed. In autumn they turn yellow, then to
ruddy gold, but a few days later they have settled into the rusty hue
they retain throughout the winter, in those cases where they remain on
the tree until spring.

The wood is exceedingly tough, and not to be worked up with ease, but it
is considered to make admirable fuel. Evelyn says, "It burns like a
candle." There are those who say that the name Hornbeam has reference to
the tough or hornlike character of its beams; others declare that in the
days when bullocks were yoked to the plough the yoke was made of this
wood, as being fitted by its toughness to stand the strain, and as it
was attached to the horns, it became the horn-beam. A third theory is
that the name was derived from _Ornus_, the Manna-ash, with which early
botanists confused it, but with all respect to the authority of Dr.
Prior, who favours it, we prefer to stand on the first suggestion, with
old John Gerarde, who says ("Herball," 1633): "In time it waxeth so hard
that the toughnesse and hardnesse of it may be rather compared to horn
than unto wood, and therefore it was called Hornbeam or hardbeam." The
carpenter is not pleased who has hornbeam to work up, for his tools lose
their edge far too quickly for his labour to be profitable. Evelyn tells
us that it was called by some the Horse-beech, from the resemblance of
the leaves.

[Illustration: _Pl. 21._ Hornbeam--summer.]

[Illustration: Hornbeam.]

The two kinds of catkins are similar and cylindrical, but whilst the
male is pendulous from the beginning, the female is erect until after
the formation of the fruit, when it gradually assumes the hanging
position. The bracts of the male are oval, with sharp tips, each
containing an uncertain (3-12) number of stamens. In the female the
bracts fall early, but their place is taken by three-lobed bracteoles,
which enlarge after flowering, and become an inch or an inch and a half
long. A single flower occupies each bracteole, consisting of a
two-celled ovary and two styles. Only one cell develops, so that the
hard green fruit contains but one seed. The appearance of these fruits
in autumn as they hang in a spray from the underside of the branches is
quite distinct from those of any other of our native trees.

The Hornbeam's title to be considered indigenous has had some doubts
thrown upon it because there are some records of specimens having been
introduced during the fifteenth century, but that is not sufficient
ground upon which to deny nationality. We have known persons to bring
home from distant parts as treasures wild plants and ferns that were
growing within a mile of their own homes. It appears to be a real native
of the southern and midland counties of England, and of Wales. A line
drawn across the map from North Wales to Norfolk roughly marks the
limit; north of that line the Hornbeam appears to have been planted, as
also in Ireland.

[Illustration: _Pl. 22._ Hornbeam--winter.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 23._ Bole of Hornbeam.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 24._ Fruits of Hornbeam.]


The Hazel (_Corylus avellana_).

It is rarely that the Hazel is allowed in this country to develop into a
tree; as a rule it is a shrub, forming undergrowth in wood or copse, or
part of a hedge. As it is cut down with the copse or hedge, it cannot
form a standard of any size. But that the Hazel left alone will develop
into a small tree is shown by an example in Eastwell Park, Kent, whose
height a few years ago was thirty feet, with a circumference of three
feet round the bole. As soon as the nuts are formed the bush is easily
identified by all, so that a description of its character is hardly
necessary. The large, roundish, heart-shaped leaves are arranged
alternately in two rows along the straight downy shoots. Their margins
are doubly toothed, and when in the bud they are plaited, the folds
being parallel to the midrib. Soon after the buds open, many of the
leaves assume a purplish tint for a while; in autumn they turn brown,
and finally pale to yellow.

[Illustration: _Pl. 25._ Hazel Catkins.]

[Illustration: Hazel. A, female flowers; B, male flowers.]

Before the leaves appear the Hazel is rendered conspicuous by the male
catkins, which are familiar to country children under the name of
Lamb's-tails. These may be seen in an undeveloped condition in the
autumn, when the nuts are being sought. A cluster of two or three hard,
little, grey-green cylinders is all that may then be seen of them;
but throughout the winter they lengthen, their scales loosen, and in
February they are a couple of inches long, pliant, and yellow with the
abundant pollen which blows out of them as they swing. The female
flowers are by no means conspicuous, and have to be looked for. They
will be found in the form of swollen buds on the upper parts of the
shoots and branches, from which issue some fine crimson threads. These
are the styles and stigmas, and on dissection of the budlike head, each
pair of styles will be seen to spring from a two-celled ovary nestling
between the bracts or scales of which the head is composed. It is only
rarely that the seed-egg in each cell develops; as a rule one shrivels,
and the other develops into the sweet "kernel" of the Hazel-nut. The
shell is the ovary that has become woody and hard; the ragged-edged
leathery "shuck" is the enlarged bracts that surrounded the minute
flower.

The Hazel likes a good soil, and will not really flourish without it,
though it will _grow_ almost anywhere, except where the moisture is
stagnant. Its wood is said to be best when grown on a chalky subsoil. Of
course, as timber, the Hazel does not count, but its tough and pliant
rods and staves are valuable for many small uses, such as the making of
hoops for casks, walking-sticks, and--divining-rods! The bark is smooth
and brown.

The Barcelona nut, imported so largely in winter, is only a variety of
the Hazel; as also the Cob and the Filbert, so largely cultivated in
Kent. The name is the Anglo-Saxon _hæsl_, or _hæsel_, and signifies a
baton of authority, from the use of its rods in driving cattle and
slaves.

[Illustration: _Pl. 26._ Hazel Nuts.]


The Lime (_Tilia platyphyllos_).

Those persons who obtain their ideas of trees mainly from the specimens
they can see in suburban roads and gardens are in danger of getting
quite a false impression of the Lime. It is a long suffering,
good-tempered tree, and like human individuals of similar temperament,
is subjected to shameful treatment. The suburban gardener who has a row
of Limes to trim uses the saw, and amputates every arm close up to the
shoulder, so that when the season of budding and burgeoning arrives the
row of Limes will look like an upward extension in green of the brick
wall. Such are the atrocities upon which Suburbia has to base its ideas
of one of the most imposing of trees.

[Illustration: _Pl. 27._ Lime-tree--summer.]

The Large-leaved Lime, growing in park-land or meadow, with its roots
deep in good light loam, and its head eighty or ninety feet above, is
quite another matter. Such a tree is a thing of beauty, and one can
stand long at its base looking up among the wide-spreading limbs so well
clothed with leaves of fine texture and tint. The girth of such a
specimen at four feet from the ground would be about fifteen feet.
Larger individuals have been recorded, up to twenty-seven feet.

There are three kinds of Lime in general cultivation in this country,
but the differences between them are not great. They are the
Large-leaved (_Tilia platyphyllos_), the Small-leaved (_T. parvifolia_),
and the Intermediate or Common Lime (_T. vulgaris_). The last-named is
generally admitted to be an introduced kind, and it is the one most
commonly planted. Respecting the claims of the other two to rank as
natives, there has been some difference of opinion among authorities.
The Small-leaved Lime, which does not occur in woods north of
Cumberland, was regarded by Borrer as a true indigene, but H. C. Watson
considered its claims as open to doubt, though he had no such doubt of
the Large-leaved Lime, which is only growing really wild in the woods of
Herefordshire, Radnorshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire.

All our Limes have similar straight tall stems, clad in smooth bark, and
with a similar habit of growth. They are trees that demand genial
climatic conditions for their proper development, and in consequence
they do not put forth their leaves until May. The period of their leafy
glory is comparatively short, for they are among the trees that lose
their leaves earliest in autumn, after having been for a few days
transmuted into gold. The leaf of the Lime is heart-shaped, with one of
the basal lobes larger than the other, and the edges cut into saw-like
teeth. There are slight differences in those of the three species, which
will be indicated below.

[Illustration: Lime.]

In its floral arrangements the Lime differs from the trees previously
mentioned in that it has distinct sepals and petals, an abundance of
honey, and strong, sweet fragrance as of Honeysuckle. Unlike them, it
does not trust to so rough and ready an agent of fertilization as the
wind, so that it waits until its boughs are well clothed with leaves
before putting forth its yellowish-white blossoms. These are in clusters
(_cymes_) of six or seven, the stalks of all arising from one very long
and stouter stalk, which is attached for half its length to a thin and
narrow bract. Individually regarded, the flowers will be found to
consist of five sepals, five petals, an oval ovary with a style ending
in a five-toothed stigma, and surrounded by a large number of stamens.
The stamens discharge their pollen before the stigma of that flower is
fitted to receive it, so that cross-fertilization is ensured by the
visits of the innumerable bees that visit the flowers for the abundant
nectar they contain, and which the bees convert into a first-rate
honey.

[Illustration: _Pl. 28._ Flowers of Lime.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 29._ Fruits of Lime.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 30._ Bole of Lime.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 31._ Lime--winter.]

The flowers are succeeded by globose little fruits, each about a quarter
of an inch across, yellow, and covered with pale down. In a good season
these will be found to contain one or two seeds, but too often in this
country the summers are too cool to ripen them. The Lime does not begin
to bear until about its thirty-fifth year. It flowers every year
thereafter, but the question of its seed-crop depends entirely upon the
weather.

For the purposes to which large timber is usually put, the light white
wood of the Lime is not highly esteemed, not being considered of
sufficient durability; yet it serves for many smaller uses, where its
lightness and fine grain are strong recommendations. It must not be
forgotten that the wonderful carvings of Grinling Gibbons were executed
in this wood. It is largely used by the makers of musical instruments;
and, as every one knows, it is from the inner bark of the Lime that
those useful bast mats, which are imported from Russia in such large
numbers, are made. Probably owing to its lightness, again, the wood was
used in old times for making bucklers. The question of its value as
timber is probably never taken into account when it is planted in this
country, where its ornamental appearance as an avenue or shade-tree is
its great recommendation. It is one of the long-lived trees, its full
life-period being certainly five centuries. Those in St. James's Park
are popularly supposed to have been planted, at the suggestion of John
Evelyn, somewhere about the year 1660. There is a fine Lime avenue in
Bushey Park, probably planted by Dutch William.

Deer and cattle are fond of the foliage and young shoots if they can get
at them. Numerous insects exhibit a like partiality; of these the
caterpillar of the large and handsome Lime Hawk-moth (_Smerinthus
tiliæ_) is the most characteristic.

The differences between the three species may be briefly noted:--

SMALL-LEAVED LIME (_Tilia parvifolia_). Does not attain the large
proportions of the others. Leaves about two inches across, smooth; on
the lower surface the axils of the nerves are glaucous and downy, with
hairy patches between nerves. Fruit thin-shelled and brittle, downy, and
very faintly ribbed. The upper leaves show a tendency to lobing.

LARGE-LEAVED LIME (_Tilia platyphyllos_). Bark rougher. Twigs hairy.
Leaves larger (four inches) and rougher, downy beneath, axils of the
nerves woolly. Fruit of more oval shape, woody and strongly ribbed when
ripe.

COMMON LIME (_Tilia vulgaris_). Intermediate between the others. Leaves
larger than those of _T. parvifolia_, smaller than those of _T.
platyphyllos_; downy in axils beneath. Twigs smooth. Fruit woody, but
without ribs.

The name Lime was originally Linde, a form which, with the addition of
_n_, is in use to-day. Chaucer and other English writers spell it Line
and Lyne, and the transition from this form to that commonly used to-day
has been effected by changing the _n_ to _m_. Originally it meant
_pliant_, and had reference to the useful bast from which cordage and
other flexible things were made.


The Wych Elm (_Ulmus montana_).

Of the two species of Elms commonly grown in these islands this alone is
a native, though the Common or Small-leaved Elm (_Ulmus campestris_) was
introduced from the Continent by the Romans, so that it has had time to
get itself widely distributed over our country. Other names for the Wych
Elm are Mountain Elm, Scots Elm, and Witch Hazel--the last-named being
now more generally applied to an American plant, the _Hamamelis_. The
philologists appear to be uncertain as to the origin and meaning of
Wych, but it seems most probably a form of Witch. Just as a Hazel-rod
is used by water-finders, who declare that its movements indicate the
presence of hidden springs, so a wand of _Ulmus montana_ may have
furnished the Witch-finder with a Witch Hazel for the detection of
witches!

[Illustration: _Pl. 32._ Wych Elm--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 33._ Fruits of Wych Elm.]

The names _montana_, _campestris_, and Mountain Elm must not be allowed
to mislead us as to the habits of the two species, for though the Wych
Elm is known to reach an altitude of 3300 feet in the Alps, here it
ascends only to 1300 feet (Yorks.), whilst _Ulmus campestris_, which
might be understood to be less a hill-climber, grows at an elevation of
1500 feet in Derbyshire. As a matter of fact, both species are much
fonder of valleys than of mountains.

The Wych Elm forms a trunk of large size, from 80 to 120 feet or more in
height, with a girth of 50 feet, and covered with rough bark that is
often corky. Its long slender branches spread widely with a downward
tendency, the downy forking twigs bearing their leaves in a straight row
along each side. The leaves are somewhat oval in general form, but the
two sides of the midrib are unequal in size and shape. Their edges are
doubly or trebly toothed, and the surfaces are rough and harsh to the
touch. The hairs that cover the strong ribs on the under surface serve
for the protection of the breathing pores from dust. On leaves of the
pendulous form of this tree, grown in the London parks and gardens,
these hairs will be found to be quite black with the soot particles
gathered from the air. Trees need carbon, but in this gross form they
are too often suffocated by it.

In March or April the brownish flowers are produced in bunches from the
sides of the branches. They are a quarter of an inch long, bell-shaped,
their edges cut into lobes, and finely fringed. The ovary, with its two
awl-shaped styles, is surrounded by four or five stamens with purple
anthers. They appear in March or April, before the leaf-buds have
opened, and are dependent on the wind for the transfer of pollen. The
fruit is an oblong _samara_, about an inch long. This consists of a
single seed in the centre, invested by a thin envelope, which is
extended all round as a light membranous wing, which gives it buoyancy
and enables it to float through the air to a little distance. These
seeds are not produced until about the thirtieth year of the tree's
life, and though they are ripened almost annually thereafter, good crops
are biennial or triennial only. It has often been stated that the Wych
Elm does not send up suckers, but it does, though not invariably; it
does so chiefly as the result of root-pruning or some other check to the
extension of the root-system.

[Illustration: Wych Elm.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 34._ Bole of Wych Elm.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 35._ Wych Elm--winter.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 36._ Common Elm--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 37._ Bole of Common Elm.]

The Elm most frequently seen is the Small-leaved Elm (_Ulmus
campestris_), which is therefore entitled to its alternative name of
Common Elm. Constantly grown as a hedgerow tree, it meets us at every
turn, though it is much less plentiful in Scotland than in other parts
of the United Kingdom. It is in all respects very similar to the Wych
Elm, but its leaves are smaller--usually from two to three inches long,
the twigs often covered with a corky bark, and the seed, instead of
being in the centre of the samara, is much nearer to the notched end.
The leaves are proportionately narrower than those of _montana_, and it
will be found that the hairs which cover the midrib below possess in
minor degree the irritating qualities of the Nettle's stings. This is a
fact not generally known, but I became painfully aware of it a few years
ago when clearing away the suckers of an Elm that were encroaching too
much upon my garden border. Examination of these hairs shows that they
are constructed much on the same plan as those of the Nettle--a member
of the same Natural Order, by the way. The fact that these leaves are
browsed by cattle and deer may explain this development of the hairs,
which, whilst they may serve to keep off sheep, have not yet reached a
degree of acridity sufficient to protect them from the larger beasts.
Both flowers and samaras are about a third smaller than those of
_montana_; but seed is very seldom produced in this country, and the
tree seeks to reproduce itself by throwing up abundant suckers round the
base of the bole, and even from root-branches at a considerable distance
from the trunk. These, of course, if allowed to grow, would soon
surround the tree with copse.

_Campestris_ often attains a greater height with its straighter trunk
than _montana_, but its girth is not so great, seldom being more than
twenty feet. Its dark wood is harder and finer grained than that
produced by the native tree. Its favour as a hedgerow tree is probably
due to the fact that it gives shade which is not obnoxious to the growth
of grass. Both species are subject to a great amount of variation, and
in nurserymen's catalogues these forms have appropriate names, but they
are not regarded as of sufficient permanence to merit scientific
distinction. In point of age--Elms are known to exceed five hundred
years.

[Illustration: Common Elm.]

Among the insects that feed upon the Elm's foliage, the most noteworthy
is the caterpillar of the fine Large Tortoiseshell Butterfly (_Vanessa
polychloros_). I have already mentioned the relationship subsisting
between Elms and Nettles, and it is a point worth noting that nearly all
our native species of _Vanessa_ feed in the larval state upon the leaves
of the Nettle. In London parks and squares the Elms are much infested
by the caterpillars of the Vapourer-moth, whose wingless females may be
seen like short-legged spiders on the bark, whilst the male flutters in
an apparently aimless way on wings of rich brown with central white
spots.

[Illustration: _Pl. 38._ Common Elm--winter.]

In October the leaves, which have for some time assumed a very dull
dark-green tint, suddenly turn to orange, then fade to pale yellow, and
fall in showers.

The name Elm was derived from the Latin _Ulmus_, and appears to indicate
an instrument of punishment--probably from its rods having been used to
belabour slaves. Prior remarks that the word is "nearly identical in all
the Germanic and Scandinavian dialects, but does not find its root in
any of them. It plays through all the vowels ... but stands isolated as
a foreign word which they have adopted." This "playing through the
vowels" may be thus illustrated--Alm, Ælm, and Elm (Anglo-Saxon and
English); Ilme, Olm, and Ulme, in various German dialects.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 39._ Ash--summer.]


The Ash (_Fraxinus excelsior_).

So commanding, yet at the same time so light and graceful, does a
well-grown Ash appear, that Gilpin called it the "Venus of the Woods."
This may appear to some to be rather too close an approach to the "Lady
of the Woods" (Birch), but in our opinion it well expresses the
characteristics of the two. They are both exceedingly graceful, but the
beauty of the Birch is that of the nymph, whilst that of the Ash is the
combined grace and strength of the goddess. I have said "a well-grown"
Ash, a phrase by which the timberman would understand a tree that had
been hemmed in so closely by other trees that it has had no chance of
developing as a tree, but only as a straight stout stick of wood, from
eighty to one hundred feet long. _My_ well-grown Ash is in a meadow,
where both soil and atmosphere are moist and cool; where it has had
elbow-room to reach its long graceful arms upwards and outwards, and to
cover them with the plumy circlets of long leaves. It is there, or on
the outskirts of the wood, or in the hedgerow, that the Ash is able to
do credit to Gilpin's name for it.

[Illustration: Ash.]

Before the reign of iron and steel was quite so universal, Ash timber
was in demand for many uses where the metals have now supplanted it. It
was then far more widely grown as a hedgerow tree than is now the case.
Selby laments the neglect of this former custom, which kept up a supply
of tough and elastic timber, useful in all agricultural operations,
and added much to the beauty of the country. No doubt the noxious drip
and shade of the Ash have had much to do with this abandonment of it,
for few things can live beneath it--a condition helped by its numerous
fibrous roots, which quickly exhaust and drain the soil, and so starve
out other plants. Although it thus drains the surface soil, it is not
dependent upon these upper layers for food, for its much-branched roots
extend very deeply in the porous soils it prefers.

It must not be supposed from the foregoing remarks that the Ash is
confined to the lowlands. In Yorkshire it is found growing at an
elevation of 1350 feet; in Mid-Germany it grows as far up as 3500 feet,
and in the Alpine districts 500 feet higher still. It has a preference
for the northern and eastern sides of hills, where the atmosphere is
moist and cool, and the soil deep and porous, for it loves free and not
stagnant moisture for its roots.

The bark of both trunk and branches is pale grey, and some look to this
as the origin of the tree's English name. On examining the leafless
branches in early spring, two things strike the observer--the blackness
of the big opposite leaf-buds, and the stoutness of the twigs. This
latter fact is due to the great size of the leaves they have to support,
which implies a considerable strain in wind or rain. What are generally
regarded as the leaves of the Ash are only leaflets, though they are
equal in size to the leaves of most of our trees. The largest of the
leaflets are about three inches in length, and there are from four to
seven--mostly six--pairs, and an odd terminal one, to each leaf. They
are lance-shaped, with toothed edges. The leaves are late in appearing,
but, like Charles Lamb and his office-hours, they make up for it by an
early departure.

[Illustration: _Pl. 40._ Flowers of Ash.]

The flowers of the Ash are very poor affairs, for they have neither
calyx nor corolla, though their association in large clusters makes them
fairly conspicuous as they droop from the sides of the branches in April
or May. Stamens and pistils are borne by the same or separate flowers,
and both kinds or one only may be found on the same tree. The pistil is
a greenish yellow pear-shaped body, and the stamens are very dark
purple. The flowers are succeeded by bunches of "keys"--each one, when
ripe, a narrow-oblong scale, with a notch at one end and a seed lying
within at the other. The correct name for these is samaras. In looking
at a bunch of these "keys"--they are something like the keys to the
primitive locks of the ancients--one is struck by the fact that they all
have a little twist in the wing or sail, which causes the "key" to spin
steadily on the wind and reach the earth seed-end first. They are,
therefore, sometimes known as "spinners." These are ripe in October; but
though the trees produce seed nearly every year after the fortieth, one
may chance to look at a dozen Ashes before he comes upon one that bears
a seed. The reason for this lies in the fact that some trees have no
female blossoms. The seeds do not germinate until the second spring
after they are sown.

[Illustration: _Pl. 41._ Bole of Ash.]

Much of the Ash-wood in use for carriage-poles, oars, axe and hammer
shafts, and similar purposes where only small diameters are needed, are
obtained from Ash-coppice, which rapidly produces well-developed poles.
So strong and elastic is the Ash timber when taken from young trees,
that it is claimed it will bear a greater strain than any other European
timber of equal thickness. The Ash is not one of the long-lived trees,
its natural span being about two hundred years, but its wood is regarded
as best between the ages of thirty and sixty years.

[Illustration: _Pl. 42._ Ash--winter.]

Cattle and horses are fond of Ash leaves, which were formerly much used
for fodder, and still are in some districts; but it is said that to
indulge cows in this food is fatal to the production of good butter
from their milk. In some country places there is still extant a
"Shrew-Ash"--a tree into which a hole has been bored sufficiently large
to admit a living shrew-mouse, which has then been plugged in, to die of
suffocation. A touch of a leaf from this tree was reputed to cure cramp,
but especially that form of it supposed to be caused by a shrew passing
over man or beast. Then there was the Ash whose bole had been cleft that
it might be a "sovran" remedy for infantile hernia. It is difficult to
account for the origin of these ideas, but they are deep-rooted and die
hard. John Evelyn remarks of this latter superstition: "I have heard it
affirmed, with great confidence and upon experience, that the rupture,
to which many children are obnoxious, is healed by passing the infant
through a wide cleft in the bole or stem of a growing Ash-tree; it is
then carried a second time round the Ash, and caused to repass the same
aperture as before. The rupture of the child being bound up, it is
supposed to heal as the cleft of the tree closes and coalesces."

The origin of the name Ash is uncertain, though many fanciful
suggestions have been made in explanation of its meaning. Its
Anglo-Saxon form was æsc, a word used by the same people for spear, but
that was because their spear-shafts were made of Ash-wood.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 43._ Field Maple.]


The Maple (_Acer campestre_).

There are a number of Maples in cultivation, but only three of them are
commonly met with in the open, and of these one alone is a native. This
is the Small-leaved, Common, or Field Maple (_Acer campestre_), a small
tree that attains a height of twenty or thirty feet in the tall hedgerow
or in the wood, but is most familiar as a mere bush or as a constituent
of the low field-hedge. It does not grow to any considerable thickness
of bole, so has no importance as timber, but the turner, the
cabinet-maker, and the artist in fancy pipes and snuff-boxes, are glad
to make use of its fine-grained, pale-brown wood. This is often
beautifully veined, especially the wood from the roots, and as it will
take a high polish, which brings out these markings plainly, it is a
very desirable wood for such purposes. The brown bark gives little clue
to the character of the wood it covers, for in young trees it is rough
and deeply fissured, though with age it becomes smooth.

[Illustration: Field Maple.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 44._ Fruits of Sycamore.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 45._ Sycamore--summer.]

The leaves vary greatly in size, those growing on a tree being much
larger than those produced by a bush. They range from two to four inches
in diameter, and are always in pairs--springing from the sides of the
branch exactly opposite to each other. The general form of the leaf is
kidney-shaped, but it is cut up into five lobes, which are more or less
toothed. They are downy when young, of a deep green colour, but too
frequently this is disguised by a thick layer of road-dust. In October
they turn to a rich yellow, and the Maple is then prominent even in a
distant view, for the bright colour of the foliage makes the tree stand
out prominently, in strong contrast with the still deep green of the
Oaks or Firs beyond.

The Maples are among the trees that have complete flowers, although in
this case they happen to be greenish yellow. They are about a quarter of
an inch across, have narrow sepals and narrower petals, eight stamens,
and a two-lobed flattened ovary, that develops into the pair of
broad-winged "keys," or samaras. These are individually much like those
of the Ash, but unsymmetrical and curved, half an inch long, with their
bases joined together. Sometimes in late summer these "keys" take on a
colouring of deep crimson, previous to turning brown as they ripen. As a
rule the contained seeds take eighteen months to germinate, though a few
may start growth the first spring.

The Common Maple is thought to be indigenous only from the county of
Durham to the southern coast, and in Ireland. In Scotland it is only an
introduced plant that has become naturalized.

The Great Maple, Sycamore, or False Plane (_Acer pseudo-platanus_) is
not a native tree, but it appears to have been introduced from the
Continent as far back as the fifteenth century, so that it has had time
during the intervening centuries to get well established among us, and
by means of its winged seeds to distribute itself to remote corners of
our islands. It appears to be fond of exposed situations, growing to a
large size even near the sea, where the salt-laden gales destroy all
other deciduous trees. Recently in Ireland we ascended a hill where the
planting of pines and other trees had resulted in comparative failure,
and found that the wind-borne seeds of the Sycamore had produced a large
number of young trees, which will probably serve later as nurses for
more desirable timber-producers. The close-grained, firm wood, which can
be worked with ease, is not highly esteemed.

[Illustration: Sycamore.] [Illustration: _Pl. 46._

Leaf-buds of Sycamore.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 47._ Bole of Sycamore.]

Its name of False Plane is due to the Scots calling it the Plane,
misled of old by the similarity of the leaves, and the fact that patches
of the fine ash-grey bark flake off, as in the true Plane, showing other
tints. It grows to a height of sixty or even eighty feet so quickly that
it is full-grown when only fifty or sixty years old, though it is
supposed to live from a hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty
years. Like that of the Common Maple, the wood of the Sycamore is firm
and fine-grained, which does credit to the efforts of the
French-polisher. The leaves are more heart-shaped, but cut into five
lobes, whose edges are unequally toothed; they are six or eight inches
across. The flowers are similar to those of the Common Maple, but
larger, and in a long hanging raceme, which has a rather fine
appearance. The samaras are scimitar-shaped and red-brown, about an inch
and a half long. These are produced freely after the tree is about
twenty years old. Like many other Maples, the Sycamore has sap which
contains much sugar. Some of this appears also to exude through the
leaves, for they are often found to be quite sticky to the touch. The
black patches so frequent on Sycamore leaves are the work of a small
fungus--_Rhytisma acerinum_.

The Norway Maple (_Acer platanoides_) is a tree of much more recent
(1683) introduction from the Continent. Its height is from thirty to
sixty feet, and its early growth is very rapid. The leaves are even
larger than those of Sycamore, of similar shape, but the lobes are only
slightly toothed. The clusters of bright yellow flowers are almost
erect; the tree does not produce seed until it is between forty and
fifty years old.

The Maple was the Mapel-treow or Mapulder of the Anglo-Saxons; it was
originally the Celtic _mapwl_, and the name indicated those knotty
excrescences on the trunk from which the cabinet-maker got the mottled
wood that was so highly prized in early times for the making of bowls
and table-tops, for which fabulous prices have been paid.

[Illustration: _Pl. 48._ Sycamore--winter.]


The Poplars (_Populus_).

Almost everybody who has an elementary acquaintance with trees knows a
Poplar at sight, the foliage being so very distinct from that of other
trees. But the distinctions between the several species are not so
immediately obvious. Five kinds of Poplar are commonly grown in this
country, of which only two are regarded as distinct indigenous species.
These are the White Poplar (_Populus alba_), and the Aspen (_P.
tremula_). A third indigenous form, the Grey Poplar (_P. canescens_), is
thought to be either a sub-species of _P. alba_, or a hybrid between
that species and _P. tremula_. Then of common introduced species we have
the Black Poplar (_Populus nigra_), and the Lombardy Poplar (_P.
fastigiata_).

[Illustration: _Pl. 49._ White Poplar, with Catkins--spring.]

The Poplars (_Populus_) and the Willows (_Salix_) together constitute
the Natural Order _Salicineæ_. The two genera agree broadly in the
construction and arrangement of their flowers in catkins, but whereas
the Poplars have broad leaves and drooping catkins, the Willows, with
few exceptions, have long slender leaves and erect catkins. The sexes
are not only in distinct flowers, but on separate trees--what botanists
describe by the term _di[oe]cious_. The males appear to be far more
numerous than the females. In the popular sense there are no flowers,
for there are neither sepals nor petals, each set of sexual organs being
protected merely by a scale. The catkins containing these flowers
usually appear before the leaves. As there is nothing to attract insects
to the work, the trees have to rely upon the wind for conveying the
pollen to the female trees. The first three species described below have
from four to twelve stamens; _P. nigra_ and _P. fastigiata_ have from
twelve to twenty stamens. The Poplars share the love of the Willows for
moist places. They are found more frequently in gardens and hedgerows
than in woods. Their growth is rapid, and their timber, consequently,
is of little value, though its softness and lightness render it suitable
for making boxes, and its whiteness and non-liability to splinter fit it
for use as flooring. An additional point in favour of White Poplar for
the latter purpose is its unreadiness to burn.

[Illustration: White Poplar, or Abele. A, female catkin.]

The White Poplar, or Abele (_Populus alba_), grows into a large tree,
something between sixty and a hundred feet high, covered with smooth
grey bark. Its branches spread horizontally, and its broad heart-shaped
leaves, which vary from an inch to three inches long, are hung on long
slender foot-stalks. In most trees the leaf-stalks are flattened from
above, but in the case of the Poplars they are flattened from the sides,
so that when moved by the wind they flutter laterally. These leaves have
a waved margin, a smooth upper surface, and are snowy white and cottony
beneath. The leaf-buds are also invested by cottony filaments. The roots
produce numerous suckers, even at a distance from the trunk, and the
leaves on these sucker-shoots are very large--two to four inches
broad--of a more triangular shape, the outline lobed and toothed. The
catkins, which appear in March and April, are cylindrical; those of the
male trees may be as much as four inches long, each flower containing
from six to ten stamens with purple anthers. The female catkins are not
nearly so long, the two yellow stigmas are slender with slit tips, and
the ovaries develop into slender egg-shaped capsules, each with its
fringed scale. This species is said not to produce flowers in Scotland.
In July, when the seed capsules open, the surrounding vegetation and
ground are thickly strewn with the long white cotton filaments attached
to the seeds. The wood of this tree is softer and more spongy than that
of other Poplars.

[Illustration: _Pl. 50._ White Poplar--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 51._ Bole of White Poplar.]

The Grey Poplar (_Populus canescens_), which is thought to be indigenous
only in the south-eastern parts of England, is not so tall a tree as _P.
alba_, though it sometimes attains to eighty or ninety feet, with a
circumference between ten and twenty-four feet. Its life extends to
about a century, but its wood--which does not split when nails are
driven through thin boards of it--is considered best between fifty and
sixty years of age. The leaves on the branches are shaped like those of
_P. alba_, but their under sides are either coated with grey down or are
quite smooth; those of the suckers have their margins cut into angles
and teeth. The female flowers mostly have four wedge-shaped purple
stigmas (sometimes two), which are cleft into four at their extremities.

[Illustration: Aspen.]

The Aspen or Asp (_Populus tremula_) does not attain either to so
large a size or so moderate an age as the Abele. Its height, when full
grown, is from forty to eighty feet, and after fifty or sixty years its
heart-wood begins to decay, and its destruction is then hastened by the
attacks of such internal-feeding insects as the caterpillars of the
Goat-moth and the Wood Leopard-moth. The leaves on the branches are
broadly egg-shaped, approaching to round, the waved margin cut into
teeth with turned-in points. In one form (var. _villosa_) the leaves are
covered beneath with silky or cottony hairs; in the other form (var.
_glabra_) they are almost smooth. The leaves on the suckers are
heart-shaped, without teeth. The leaf-stalks of the Aspen are longer
than those of its congeners, so that they are constantly on the
flutter--a circumstance that has led to an explanatory legend, to the
effect that the cross of Calvary was made of Aspen-wood, and that the
tree shivers perpetually in remembrance. Possibly the present
inferiority of Aspen timber is to be explained in a similar manner. The
catkins, which are two or three inches long, are similar to those of the
foregoing species, but the scales have jagged edges. It is indigenous in
all the British Islands as far north as Orkney, but, though commonly
found in copses on a moist light soil, is more frequent as a planted
tree in gardens and pleasure grounds. It is a characteristic tree of the
plains throughout the Continent, but ascends to 1600 feet in Yorkshire,
and in the Bavarian Alps is found as high as 4400 feet. It is not a
deep-rooting tree, the root-branches running almost horizontally. Where
accessible to cattle or deer, the foliage of the suckers is eagerly
browsed by them.

[Illustration: _Pl. 52._ Catkins of Aspen.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 53._ Black Poplar--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 54._ Bole of Black Poplar.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 55._ Black Poplar--winter.]

[Illustration: Black Poplar.]

The Black Poplar (_Populus nigra_) appears to be so called not by reason
of any blackness of leaf or bark, but because of the absence of any
white or grey down on the underside of its leaves. Its bark is grey,
like that of the species already mentioned, but readily distinguished
from them by the great swellings and nodosities that mar the symmetry of
its trunk. It is a tree of erect growth, fifty to sixty feet in height,
with horizontal branches, and leaves that vary in shape from triangular
and rhombic to almost circular, and in width from an inch to four
inches. They have rounded teeth on the margins, which are at first also
fringed, and in their young state the underside is silky. The flowers in
the catkins of this and the next species are not so densely packed.
Those of the male are two or three inches in length, and dark red in
colour; their abundance before the tree has put out its leaves makes the
male tree a conspicuous object. The female catkins are shorter and
do not droop. When the roundish capsules burst in May or June to
distribute their seeds, the white cotton with which the latter are
invested gives prominence to the female tree. The wood is chiefly used
by the turner; in Holland, where it is extensively cultivated, it
provides the material for sabots. The Black Poplar is not a native of
this country, but it is generally distributed throughout Europe and
Northern Asia. The date of its introduction is not known, but it has
been here for many centuries, and is quite naturalized, springing up on
river banks and in other moist situations. Some botanists regard it as
only a variety of the Lombardy Poplar, but apart from the very different
habit of the tree--not by itself sufficient grounds for
separation--there is the more important fact that the Black Poplar
rarely produces suckers from its roots, whilst the Lombardy Poplar does
so constantly. However, this is a point we can leave for the botanists
to discuss; for the purposes of this book the two trees are sufficiently
distinct to be treated separately.

The Lombardy Poplar (_Populus fastigiata_) is no more a native of Italy
than of England. Its home is in the Taurus and the Himalayas, whence it
has spread into Persia. Introduced into Southern Europe, it has become
specially abundant along the rivers of Lombardy, and so in France and
England it bears the name of that country. Lord Rochford introduced it
to England from Turin in 1758. Its leaves are like those of the Black
Poplar, but its branches, instead of spreading, all grow straight
upwards, so that the fastigiate or spire shape of the tree is
produced--a shape only found otherwise among coniferous trees,
particularly in the Cypress, the Juniper and the Irish Yew. It is its
form, great height (100 to 150 feet), and rapidity of growth that have
led to its wide use here as an ornamental tree--in many cases as a mere
vegetable hoarding to shut out some offensive view. Its growth is
extremely rapid, especially during its first score of years, when it
will attain a height of sixty feet or more, provided it be grown in
good, moist (but not marshy) soil. Its wood is, of course, of little
value, and is chiefly used for making boxes and packing-cases, where its
lightness, combined with toughness and cheapness, is an advantage. The
bark is rough and deeply furrowed, unlike the other species, and the
trunk is twisted. Like the Black Poplar, it has smooth shoots, and the
unopened buds are sticky. It is propagated in this country by suckers
and cuttings. It is said that the first trees introduced were so
obtained, and that they were all from male trees; consequently, that we
have no female trees here, and seed production is impossible. If the
female grows here, it is certainly very scarce. The bark has been used
for tanning.

[Illustration: _Pl. 56._ Lombardy Poplar--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 57._ Bole of Lombardy Poplar.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 58._ Lombardy Poplar--winter.]

The Black Italian Poplar (_Populus monilifera_) is another misnamed
tree, for it is a native of North America, though introduced to England
from the Continent in 1772 by Dr. John Hope. It has the distinction of
being considered the most rapid-growing even of the Poplars. Loudon
gives its rate of growth in the neighbourhood of London as between
thirty and forty feet in seven years! Even in Scotland (where it has
been largely planted as a substitute for Larch, since the partial
failure of that tree) it attains a height of 120 feet in sixty years,
when planted along the river banks. It is probably only a variety of _P.
nigra_, which it resembles in most points, but is larger, and of very
erect growth.

The Tacamahac or Balsam Poplar (_Populus balsamifera_) is another
importation from North America, introduced in 1692. In its native
country it grows to a height of eighty feet, but here forty or fifty
feet is more usual. Its leaves are of more slender form than those of
the other Poplars, egg-shaped, with a near approach to being
lance-shaped. Their edges are toothed, their upper surface dark green
and smooth, the underside whitish with cotton. The distinctive character
of the tree is the fragrance of its foliage, which scents the air on
moist evenings, and makes the Tacamahac a desirable tree to plant near
the water, where alone it attains any moderate size.


The Willows (_Salix_).

There is not in the whole of the British flora another genus of plants
that presents such difficulties of identification as the genus _Salix_.
Even so hardened a botanist as Sir J. D. Hooker, in reviewing the tangle
of species, varieties (natural and cultivated), and hybrids, is so far
stirred from his ordinary composure that he stigmatizes it as a
"troublesome genus." When Sir Joseph chose that mild adjective he was at
Kew surrounded by the national herbaria and with nicely labelled living
plants at hand for comparison. What, then, can the rambling
nature-lover hope to do with the Willows he comes across one at a time,
without much chance of comparing? He must be content to follow the
"lumpers," who group a number of these uncertain forms under the name of
a species to which they have evident relationship. When he has mastered
the distinctions between these aggregate species, it will be early
enough to attempt the segregation of the forms and varieties under each.

In their natural condition Willows are graceful and picturesque, but a
large number of the examples met with in our rambles have been so
altered for commercial reasons as to be more grotesque than beautiful.
It is not the timber-man who is responsible this time, for a pollard
Willow, though it produces a shock-head of long slender shoots, suitable
for basket-rods, lets in moisture at the top of the bole, and the wood
is more or less decayed and worthless. Only four of our native Willows
can be regarded as timber trees. These are the White Willow, the Crack
Willow, the Bedford Willow, and the Sallow. Like the Poplars, their
growth is very rapid, and their wood is consequently light, but it has
the advantage of Poplar-wood in being tougher, and therefore serving for
purposes where Poplar is of no value. In the present day the growers of
straight-boled Willows find their best market among the makers of
cricket-bats. A good deal of it is also cut into thin strips for
plaiting into chip-hats and hand-baskets. The Osier is grown in
extensive riverside beds for the production of long pliant shoots for
the basket-weavers; though many of the so-called Osier-rods are really
stool-shoots from Willows that have been pollarded, or whose leading
shoot has never been allowed to grow. On those parts of our coast where
the crab and lobster fishery is pursued, a regular supply of such shoots
for weaving into "pots" and "hullies" is a necessity, and a "withy bed"
will usually be found on some valley stream near, or on a damp terrace
halfway up the cliffs.

[Illustration: _Pl. 59._ Crack Willow--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 60._ Bole of Crack Willow.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 61._ Crack Willow--winter.]

The bark of the tree Willows has long been known to be rich in an
alkaloid called _salicine_, which has tonic and astringent properties,
and has often been used instead of _quinine_, though it is not nearly so
powerful as the Peruvian drug. The bark is also used for tanning.

The association of the Willow with sadness is very old, but there does
not appear to be any satisfactory reason for it--certainly to
contemplate a naturally-grown Willow that grows on the edge of a limpid
stream, in which its graceful shoots and slender leaves are reflected,
does not suggest sad thoughts to the average healthy mind. The
association is chiefly with maidens forsaken by their false lovers, as
indicated by Shakespeare when he makes Desdemona say--

    "My mother had a maid called Barbara:
    She was in love; and he she loved proved mad,
    And did forsake her; she had a song of 'Willow';
    An old thing 'twas, but it expressed her fortune,
    And she died singing it."

The Crack Willow or Withy (_Salix fragilis_) is one of the two most
considerable of our tree Willows. In good soil it will in twenty years
attain nearly its full height, which is eighty or ninety feet. Its bole
sometimes has a girth of twenty feet. Its smooth, polished shoots afford
the best ready means of distinguishing it, for instead of their base
pointing to the centre of the trunk as in other trees, they grow
obliquely, so that the shoots frequently cross each other. They are both
tough and pliant, but if struck at the base they readily break off. This
character explains the names Crack Willow and _fragilis_. The leaves are
lance-shaped, three to six inches long, smooth, with glandular teeth,
pale or glaucous on the underside, and with half-heart-shaped stipules,
which, however, are soon cast off. As we have already indicated under
the head of Poplars, the male and female catkins of the Willows are
borne by different trees. In the case of the Crack Willow, the male
catkins are an inch or two long, proportionately stout, each flower
bearing two stamens (occasionally three, four, or five). The female
catkin is more slender, the flowers each containing a smooth ovary,
ending in a short style that divides into two curved stigmas. The
catkins appear in April or May. Although, like most of the Willows, this
species is fond of cold, wet soil in low situations, it is not
restricted to the plains. In Northumberland it is found at 1300 feet
above the sea. Its northward range extends as far as Ross-shire, but it
is a doubtful native in both Scotland and Ireland.

[Illustration: Crack Willow.]

The Bedford Willow (_S. russelliana_) is believed to be a hybrid between
_S. fragilis_ and _S. alba_. It grows to a height of fifty feet, with a
girth of twelve feet. The leaves are more slender than those of _S.
fragilis_, taper to a point at each end, and are very smooth on both
sides. It occurs in swampy woods.

[Illustration: _Pl. 62._ White Willow--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 63._ Flowers of White Willow.]

[Illustration: White Willow.]

The White Willow (_Salix alba_) is so called from the appearance of the
leaves as the light is reflected from their silky surfaces, which are
alike above and below. It is a tree from sixty to eighty feet high, with
a girth of twenty feet, covered with thick and deeply fissured bark. The
leaves are from two to four inches long, of a narrow elliptical shape.
In the typical form the twigs are olive-coloured, but in the variety
_vitellina_ (known as the Golden Willow) these are yellow or reddish. In
the variety _cærulea_ the old leaves become quite smooth above, but
retain the glaucous appearance of the underside. The White Willow is
found as far north as Sutherlandshire, but although it is believed to be
an indigenous species, most of the modern specimens appear to have been
planted. It affords good timber, and the bark is almost equal to that of
Oak for tanning. A great number of the old Willows met with in our
rambles are partially decayed, a condition frequently the result of
lopping large branches, for the wound never heals, and decay setting in
at that point, extends down the bole. Upon such decaying specimens one
may often find one of the most handsome of our native beetles--the
Musk-beetle, with long, slender body and long antennæ, all coloured in
dark golden green, and diffusing the aroma of a rose.

[Illustration: _Pl. 64._ Bole of White Willow.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 65._ White Willow--winter.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 66._ Almond-leaved Willow--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 67._ Almond-leaved Willow--winter.]

The Almond-leaved or French Willow (_Salix triandra_) is a small tree
about twenty feet high, distinguished by its bark being thrown off in
flakes. Its slender lance-shaped leaves are smooth green above and
glaucous beneath, two to four inches long, and with half-heart-shaped
stipules. The male flowers offer another distinguishing mark in their
stamens being three in number. Its habitats are the banks of rivers and
streams, and in Osier-beds. It is extensively grown on account of the
long, straight shoots produced from the stump when the tree is cut down,
which are of great use in wicker-work.

The Bay-leaved Willow (_Salix pentandra_) is met with either as a small
upright tree about twenty feet high, or as a shrub eight feet high. Its
oval or elliptical leaves are rich green, smooth and sticky on the upper
surface, and give out a pleasant fragrance like those of the Bay-tree;
they vary from an inch to four inches long, and they may or may not bear
stipules, but if these are present they will be egg-shaped or oblong.
The stamens are normally five in each flower, but they vary up to
twelve. This is reputed to be of all our Willows the latest to flower. A
line drawn through York, Worcester, and North Wales will give roughly
its southward range as a native species. South of that line it has been
planted; north of it to the Scottish border it is a native. It has
been found growing at a height of 1300 feet in Northumberland.

[Illustration: _Pl. 68._ Bay-leaved Willow--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 69._ Bay-leaved Willow--winter.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 70._ Bole of Bay-leaved Willow.]

[Illustration: Sallow.]

The Sallow (_Salix caprea_) is the only other species that can properly
be considered as a tree, as it attains to a height of thirty feet,
though fifteen to twenty feet is a more common measurement. Its usually
egg-shaped leaves vary from almost round to elliptical or lance-shaped,
and from two to four inches in length. In the typical form, which occurs
chiefly in woods, dry pastures, and hedgerows, they are broad, smooth,
and dull-green above, covered with soft white down beneath; the stipules
half-kidney-shaped. This is the earliest of all our Willows to flower,
and the gold (male) and silver (female) catkins are put out before the
leaves. In the country, within a few miles of the larger cities, this
can hardly be a desirable species to plant, for on the Sunday before
Easter thousands who at no other period exhibit any strong religious
tendency journey out to pick some "Palm," as they designate the Sallow
bloom, and the rough pruning the Sallows then get must in many cases be
disastrous. He who imagines that insect life is suspended until spring
is on the verge of summer should visit the woods when the Sallow is in
bloom; he will be astonished at the swarms of bees and moths that are
collecting the abundant pollen or sipping the nectar provided for them.
Before the bright catkins can be seen the locality of the tree may be
known by the loud hum produced by hundreds of pairs of wings. The all
but invariable rule among the Willows--as among Oaks, Beech, Birch,
Hazel, and Pines--is to depend upon the wind for the transfer of pollen
from one tree to the stigmas of another of the same species, but in the
Sallow we find a breaking away from what was doubtless the primitive
arrangement in all flowering plants, by the bribing with honey of more
reliable and less wasteful winged carriers.

The Gray Sallow (_Salix cinerea_) is really a sub-species of _S.
caprea_. It has a liking for moister places than the type, or perhaps it
would be more accurate to say that its growth in moister situations has
brought about the differences by which it is separated from the parent
form. These points are, briefly--the buds and twigs are downy, the
leaves smaller and proportionately narrower, the upper surface downy,
grey-green beneath; the anthers of the male pale yellow, the capsule of
the female smaller.

The Eared Sallow (_S. aurita_) is probably also only another form of _S.
caprea_, distinguished by its small, bushlike proportions (two to four
feet high), long branches and red twigs; its small wrinkled leaves,
which are usually less than two inches long, are of an almost oblong
shape, downy beneath, and with large ear-shaped stipules. Its likeness
is much closer to _S. cinerea_ than to the type; it is fond of damp
copses and moist places on heaths, where it may be found at considerable
elevations. In the Highlands it ascends to 2000 feet.

There are Willows of dwarf habit, some with long straggling branches and
more or less prostrate stems, that grow upon heaths. Each has a name
under which it has at some time or other been ranked as a distinct
species, just as the forms of Bramble and Rose have been. The
differences between them are minute, and of little interest save to the
advanced scientific botanist, who with his dried specimens spread before
him often detects subtle distinctions not apparent to the outdoor
student of the living plant. For the purposes of those for whom this
volume is intended they may be regarded as one.

Dwarf Silky Willow (_Salix repens_). It is a low bush from six to twelve
inches high, the stem lying along the ground. Some of the branches
straggle in the same fashion, but those which bear the flowers are more
or less erect. The leaf-buds and the young leaves are silky, a condition
that usually endures on the lower surface, and in some forms on the
upper also. They are broadly or narrowly lance-shaped, varying in the
different forms alluded to above; in size they range from a half to one
and a half inches in length, and may have lance-shaped stipules, or none
at all. The scales of the catkins are yellowish-green or purple, with
dark tips. After they have shed their pollen the anthers turn black. One
form or other of this species will be found in all parts of the British
Islands where there are heaths or commons; in the Highlands it occurs as
high as 2500 feet.

Another group of small Willows that form bushes (rarely a small tree)
have been united under two species--the Dark-leaved Willow (_Salix
nigricans_), and the Tea-leaved Willow (_Salix phylicifolia_). None of
them occur south of Yorkshire, and the chief distinction between the two
species (?) consists in the leaves of _S. nigricans_ turning black when
being dried for the herbarium, whilst those of _S. phylicifolia_ do not.

[Illustration: Osier.]

The Osier (_Salix viminalis_). Many of the foregoing Willows, when cut
down low and induced to send out long, slender shoots, are known as
Osiers, but only two species are botanically regarded as Osiers--this
and the Purple Osier (_S. purpurea_). The present species may remain as
a shrub or grow into a small tree, thirty feet high, with long, straight
branches, which are silky when young, but afterwards become polished.
The leaves vary in length from four to ten inches, and are slenderly
lance-shaped, tapering to a point in front, and narrowing into the
foot-stalk behind. They have waved margins without teeth, and the upper
surface netted with veins, the under surface silvery and silky; stipules
narrow lance-shaped. The Osier may be seen in Osier-beds and wet places
generally throughout the country as far north as Elgin and Argyll. There
are several varieties and hybrids.

[Illustration: _Pl. 71._ Purple Osier--summer.]

The Purple Osier (_Salix purpurea_). In all the other Willows mentioned
the stamens, whatever their number, all have the filaments distinct from
each other. In this species alone the filaments of the two stamens are
more or less united. The Purple Osier gets its name from the red or
purple bark which clothes the thin but tough twigs. It is a shrub, and
grows from five to ten feet high. The leaves, which are rather thin in
texture, are from three to six inches long, of slender-lance-shape, with
toothed edges, smooth and glaucous on both sides, but especially
beneath, somewhat hairy when young. They are almost opposite on the
twigs, and when dried for the herbarium turn black. There are several
varieties of this shrub, which were formerly honoured with specific
rank.

[Illustration: _Pl. 72._ Purple Osier--winter.]

There remains a group of several small species of very local occurrence,
with which we can do little more here beyond naming them.

The Woolly Willow (_Salix lanata_) is a small shrub, two or three feet
high, with twisted branches, woolly twigs, and hairy black buds. The
broad egg-shaped or oblong leathery leaves are also woolly, and two or
three inches long. There are half-heart-shaped stipules at the base of
the very short leaf-stalk. It is an Alpine plant, and is found about the
mountain rills of Perth, Forfar, Inverness, and Sutherland at elevations
between 2000 and 2500 feet. Conspicuous in spring for its rich golden
catkins. Sadler's Willow (_S. sadleri_), of which only two or three
specimens have been found (in Glen Callater, 2500 feet), is probably a
form of this species.

The Lapland Willow (_Salix lapponum_) is of a similar proportion to the
last-named, sometimes erect, sometimes trailing. Its leaves are more
elliptic in shape, covered above with silky hairs and below with cottony
filaments. In _lanata_ the raised veins form a network pattern; in
_lapponum_ they are straight. The stipules at the base of the long
foot-stalk are small or altogether wanting. Like the preceding species,
it is restricted to Scotch Alpine rocks, at elevations between 2000 and
2700 feet.

The Whortle-leaved Willow (_Salix myrsinites_) is a small, wiry,
creeping, or half-erect shrub, six inches to a foot high, with toothed,
dark glossy leaves, an inch or less in length, whose net-veining shows
on both sides. It is restricted to the Alpine parts of mid-Scotland,
from 1000 to 2700 feet.

The Small Tree-Willow (_Salix arbuscula_) is a small shrub, whose stem
creeps along the ground and roots as it goes, sending up more or less
erect branches a foot or two high. The downy twigs are first yellow,
then reddish-brown. The small leaves vary from egg-shaped to
lance-shaped, and are shining above and glaucous beneath; toothed. In
the Highlands of Aberdeen, Argyll, Dumfries, Forfar, and Perth, between
1000 and 2400 feet.

The Least Willow (_Salix herbacea_) is not so restricted in its range,
for it is found in all parts of the United Kingdom where there are
heights sufficiently Alpine (2000 to 4300 feet) for its tastes. It is
only an inch or two high, and has consequently the distinction of being
the smallest British shrub. It is not so herbaceous as it seems, or as
its name implies, for its shrubby stem and branches creep along
underground, sending up only short, scantly leaved twigs. The curled,
roundish leaves do not exceed half an inch in length; they are
net-veined, toothed, and shining. The catkins appear after the leaves.

The Net-leaved Willow (_Salix reticulata_) is another of the Scotch
Alpines. It is similar in habit to the last-named, but larger, its
buried branches sending up twigs a foot long. The roundish-oblong,
leathery leaves are not toothed; they are smooth above and glaucous
beneath, strongly net-veined on either side. The purplish or yellow
catkins do not develop till after the leaves. It is restricted to the
mountains of Aberdeen, Forfar, Inverness, Perth, and Sutherland.

The Weeping Willow (_Salix babylonica_), so conspicuous an ornament of
riverside lawns, is an introduced species, whose slender branches hang
downwards. It has large, lance-shaped, finely toothed leaves, smooth
above and glaucous beneath. Further description of so well-known a tree
is unnecessary. It attains a height of forty to fifty feet. The name
_babylonica_ was bestowed in the belief that its headquarters were on
the banks of the Euphrates. It is now known to be a native of Japan, and
other parts of Asia.

The name Willow is the Anglo-Saxon _welig_, indicating pliancy,
willingness.


Our Native Conifers.

The British flora is singularly poor in coniferous plants, the Scots
Pine, the Yew, and the Juniper being our only native species, and even
of these some authorities will have it that the Yew is not truly a
Conifer at all; they place it in a separate order--_Taxaceæ_. For our
present purpose, however, although the Yew does not produce cones, it
will be convenient to keep it in its old position. The principal feature
distinguishing all Conifers and their allies (_Gymnosperms_) from other
flowering plants (_Angiosperms_) is briefly this: Angiosperms have their
incipient seeds (_ovules_) enclosed in a carpel, through which a shoot
from the pollen grain has to penetrate in order to reach and fertilize
the ovule. In Gymnosperms the carpel takes the form of a leaf or bract,
upon which the naked ovule lies open to actual contact with the pollen
grain. After fertilization the carpel enlarges to protect the seed, and
becomes fleshy or woody, in the latter case a group of carpels forming
the well-known cones of Pine or Fir.

[Illustration: _Pl. 73._ Yew.]

In some of the groups (as the Yew, for example) the male or
pollen-producing flowers are borne by a separate tree from that which
bears the female or cone-producing flowers. In the Pines both sexes are
found on the same tree; but throughout the order the pollen is carried
by the wind. All the species are trees, or shrubs. They are among the
most valuable of timber trees, and, in addition, yield a number of
useful substances, such as pitch, tar, turpentine, etc. The leaves are
always rigid, extremely narrow, and long in proportion: usually of the
form that botanists term linear, with the two sides parallel. In the
Yews these leaves spread out in two rows from opposite sides of the
twigs; in the Pines they are in clusters of two, three, or five, seeming
to be bound together at the base by a wisp of thin skin. The number of
leaves in each bundle is often a help in distinguishing species.

The Yew (_Taxus baccata_) lacks the graceful proportions of most of our
trees, but it has for compensation a most obvious air of strength and
endurance. Who doubts, as he gazes at some sombre Yew in the old
churchyard, the story of the local antiquarian, who tells him the tree
has so stood for 2000 years. He may, perhaps, mildly suggest that
neither the church nor the churchyard was in existence so far back, but
even then the antiquarian will probably have the last word by suggesting
that the grove of Yews of which this formed part was the church of the
past. Thousands see in cathedral aisles the reproduction in stone of the
pine-forest or the beech-wood. Standing before an ancient Yew they may
see whence came the idea for those _clustered_ columns. They actually
exist in the bole of the Yew, which presents the appearance not of a
single trunk, but of several trunks that have coalesced. This condition
is due to the Yew continually pushing out new shoots from the lower
part of its bole, which take an upright direction, and coalesce with the
old wood.

Although the Yew is a large tree, it is by no means a tall tree: the
height of full-grown Yews in this country ranging between fifteen and
fifty feet, though they are said to attain a greater length in India.
The bole of the Yew is short but massive, covered with a thin red bark,
that flakes off in patches much after the manner of Plane-bark. Large
specimens have a girth of from twenty-five to fifty feet--or even more.
Such a circumference represents the growth of many centuries, for the
annual growth-rings are very thin. It is this very slow growth that
produces the hard, compact, and elastic wood that was so highly esteemed
in the days of the long-bow. Not only is the timber elastic and strong,
but it is exceedingly durable, so that it is said, "A post of Yew will
outlast a post of iron." Its branches start from the trunk at only a few
feet from the ground, and, taking an almost horizontal direction, throw
out a great number of leafy twigs, which provide a dense and extensive
shade. These leaves are leathery in texture, curved somewhat after the
manner of a reaping-hook, shiny and dark above, pale and unpolished
below.

[Illustration: Yew. A, male flowers.]

We have already mentioned that the Yew is a di[oe]cious tree--that is,
one whose male and female blossoms are borne on separate trees--but the
statement requires qualification to this extent, that occasionally a
tree will be found bearing a branch or branches whose flowers are of the
sex opposite to those covering the greater part of the tree. The male
catkin is almost round, a quarter of an inch across, and contains about
half a dozen yellow anthers, the base surrounded by dry overlapping
scales. They may be found during February and March, in profusion on the
underside of the boughs. The female flower is much smaller, and consists
of a fleshy disk with a few scales at its base, and on this stands a
single seed-egg. After fertilization of the seed-egg the disk develops
into a red wax-like cup around the enlarging seed with its olive-green
coat. The flesh of the cup is full of sweet mucilage, which makes the
fruit acceptable to children, but the flavour is rather too mawkish to
suit older tastes. Yew-berries are not poisonous, as sometimes supposed;
neither is the contained kernel, which has a pleasant nutty flavour.
Much has been said and written as to the toxic property of Yew-leaves,
and it appears that though cattle and goats may browse upon them with
impunity, horses and human beings pay the penalty of death for such
indulgence. That word toxic, by the way, owes its significance to the
Yew. The tree was named _taxus_ in Latin, from the Greek _toxon_ (a
bow), because of the ancient repute of its wood for making that
instrument. The tree was held to be poisonous, and so its name in the
form of _toxicum_ came to designate all poisons.

[Illustration: _Pl. 74._ Bole of Yew.]

There are some lines in _In Memoriam_ which many readers of Tennyson
have found as obscure as the shade of the Yew where they were conceived.
The poet is addressing a venerable churchyard Yew in these words:--

    "Old warder of these buried bones,
        And answering now my random stroke
        With fruitful cloud and living smoke;
    Dark Yew, that graspest at the stones
    And dippest towards the dreamless dead,
        To thee, too, comes the golden hour,
        When flower is feeling after flower."

To any readers who have found a difficulty in understanding these lines,
we would say: visit the Yew groves in February or March, when the male
branches are thickly covered with their yellow flowers, and strike a
branch with your stick. In response to the "random stroke" the pollen
will fly off in a "fruitful cloud" or "living smoke," some of it to be
caught by the minute female blossoms. This is the Yew-tree's "golden
hour, when flower is feeling after flower."

In the pre-gunpowder era, so important was it to have a sufficient
supply of suitable wood for the making of the dreaded English long-bow,
that the culture of the Yew was made the subject of a number of royal
ordinances, which, of course, were allowed to drop out of observance
when the bow was displaced by the firearm. And now when men plant Yews
they are mostly the ornamental varieties, such as the Irish or Florence
Court Yew, which originated as a wild sport on the mountains of
Fermanagh about a hundred and forty years ago. Evelyn, it is true,
revived the interest in the Yew as an ornamental tree, and it is with
regret we add that at his suggestion it was first put to the base use
called topiary work, which had hitherto been restricted to Box and
Juniper. Evelyn showed how much more closely and continuously the Yew
could be clipped without affecting its vitality, and the fashion he thus
set--and regarded as a "merit"--was very generally followed during the
next century. Many of the atrocities of those days are still with us,
but only as survivals; and we can so often agree with Evelyn that we may
forgive him for having led our ancestors astray in this matter. Evelyn
was by no means blind to the good points of the tree in its natural
condition, as witness this quotation, which is as true to-day as when it
was written:--

"He that in winter should behold some of our highest hills in Surry clad
with whole woods of these two last sorts of trees [Box and Yew], for
divers miles in circuit (as in those delicious groves of them, belonging
to the Honourable, my Noble Friend, the late Sir Adam Brown, of
Bechworth Castle), from Box Hill, might, without the least violence to
his imagination, easily fancy himself transported into some new or
enchanted country; for if in any spot in England,

                              'tis here
    Eternal spring and summer all the year."

Along the chalk range of which the celebrated Box Hill forms part will
be found many fine examples of the Yew, as at Cherkley Court, near
Leatherhead, where there is an actual Yew forest. There was a monstrous
Yew at Brabourne in Kent, in Evelyn's time, for he tells us he measured
it, and found its girth to be only one inch short of fifty-nine feet.
There are numerous giants of the species still living in quiet country
churchyards, where they have probably served--as tradition states of
those at Fountains Abbey--as a shelter for the builders of the ancient
church during its erection. It is reputed to be the longest-lived of all
trees, and it is to be hoped that no hindrance will be put in the way of
these connections of the present with the far past living to their full
natural limit, whatever it may be. It is naturally a tree of the uplands
and lower hills, and shows a distinct preference for soils that contain
plenty of lime.

The Irish Yew (var. _fastigiata_), to which passing reference was made,
differs from the type in having all its branches growing erectly, after
the manner of a Lombardy Poplar, and in the leaves being scattered
promiscuously over the branchlets instead of being in two regular rows.
It attains a height of twenty to twenty-five feet.

[Illustration: _Pl. 75._ Juniper.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 76._ Fruits of Yew.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 77._ Fruits of Juniper.]

The Juniper (_Juniperus communis_) is seldom more than a shrub a few
feet in height, though it occasionally develops into a small tree from
ten to twenty feet high, and with a girth of five feet. It has a fibrous
red bark, which flakes off like that of the Yew. The leaves are shaped
like a cobbler's awl, rigid, and end in sharp points. They have
thickened margins, the concave upper sides are glaucous, and they are
arranged round the branches in whorls of three. The male and female
flowers are on separate trees. The male catkin may be known in May by
its numerous anthers and pale yellow pollen. The female catkins will be
found in the axils of the leaves, and resemble buds. The scales are
fleshy, and after fertilization the upper ones slowly develop into the
form of a berry, which has a few undeveloped scales at its base. They do
not ripen until the following year, when they are blue-black, covered
with a fine glaucous bloom. They have a pungent flavour, which is
utilized in concocting gin, which indeed owes its name to this fact--the
word being merely a contraction of _genévrier_, the French form of
Juniper. The "berries" have long been known as a kidney stimulant--a
fact which has been fully utilized as the justification of every
gin-drinker. A beautiful little moth--_Hypsilophus marginellus_--may
often be taken about the Juniper, upon which its caterpillar feeds.

To appreciate the variety of forms assumed by the Juniper according to
the elevation at which it grows, it should be seen on slopes like those
of the North Downs in Surrey--one portion of the range at Mickleham is
named Juniper Hill. In the valleys it may be found as a small shapely
tree, higher up the slopes as a pyramidal shrub, and as we reach higher
and more exposed positions, the Juniper gradually dwindles to a low,
shapeless bush. This, however, must not be confounded with a distinct
variety to which the name _nana_ has been applied; it differs from the
type in having shorter and broader overlapping leaves, with curved tips.
Var. _nana_ is confined to the mountains of the north of our islands,
and ascends to 2700 feet, which is 300 feet higher than is recorded of
the type.

[Illustration: Juniper in fruit. A, flowers.]

The Virginian Juniper (_Juniperus virginiana_), or "Red Cedar," as it is
called on the American continent, is a much larger plant, which is
frequently planted in our parks and gardens. It varies in habit, and may
be low and spreading, bush-like, or tall and tapering, thirty to forty
feet high. Its leaves are in threes, like those of our native species,
but the three are united by their bases. It is with the red heart-wood
of this tree that our "cedar" pencils are covered, large quantities of
the timber of _J. virginiana_, and formerly of _J. bermudiana_, being
imported for the purpose. The Virginian Juniper has been with us for
many years. It is mentioned by Evelyn in his "Sylva" (1664), and is
believed to have been introduced by him from North America.

[Illustration: _Pl. 78._ Scots Pine.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 79._ Bole of Scots Pine.]

The Scots Pine (_Pinus sylvestris_), commonly but incorrectly styled
Scotch Fir, is the typical Pine-tree of Northern Europe, where
(especially in Russia and Northern Germany) it constitutes huge forests.
It is even said to cover far wider tracts of country than any other
forest tree. Although there is evidence that in ancient days it was
pretty widely distributed over Britain, to-day all those Pine-woods of
Southern England are the results of planting, and it is only in a few
places between Yorkshire and Sutherland, and in Ireland, that it can be
regarded as truly wild and indigenous. Mr. John Nisbet points out that
the term "pine-forest" is a bit of tautology, for the old German word
_forst_ was derived from _foraha_--now represented by _föhre_, a fire or
pine--so that "pine-forest" is equivalent to "pine-pine." However, the
etymologists will probably allow us to speak of Pine-woods, and we will
try to remember that when we use the word forest it must always indicate
an assemblage of Pine-trees.

In favourable soil, at a moderate elevation, the Scots Pine is a fine
tree a hundred feet high, with a rough-barked trunk, whose girth is
twelve feet. Under such conditions it develops a strong tap-root, which
goes deep; but where the soil is shallow or otherwise unfavourable the
tap-root is not developed. At great elevations the upward growth is
checked early, and it becomes a mere evergreen bush. The branches are
short and spreading, those on the lower portions of the trunk dying
early, so that the tree soon gets that gaunt weather-beaten look that is
so characteristic of it. Then, after the growth of the leading shoot has
become feeble, the upper branches continue to lengthen, and so bring
about that flat-topped condition. Its growth is rapid, and in twenty
years it will attain a height of forty or fifty feet.

The leaves, which are in bundles of two, are from two to three inches
long, very slender, grooved above and convex beneath. They remain on the
tree for over two years, and in their first season are of a glaucous
hue, but in the second year this changes to dark deep-green. Both male
and female flowers are borne by the same tree. The male catkins are
individually small (¼ inch), but are combined in spikes; this and the
abundant pale yellow pollen makes them conspicuous. The female cones are
somewhat egg-shaped, tapering to a point, which is often curved. They
are usually in clusters of three, and grow to a length of two or three
inches. The scales are comparatively few, and their ends are thickened
into an irregular four-sided boss, at first ending in a little point.
The seeds are winged, and contained beneath the scales. They take about
eighteen months to ripen, when the scales separate in dry windy weather,
and allow the breeze to pick out the seeds and send them flying through
the air to a great distance. The pollen, too, it should be noted, is of
a form specially fitted for aerial transport, each particle of pollen
forming two connected spheres. It is quite a common experience in May to
find little heaps of this pollen collected in hollows and at the margins
of ponds in the neighbourhood of Pine-woods; but, so difficult is it to
get people to understand the common facts of nature, that it is
generally regarded as evidence of a shower of brimstone having fallen.
It is not only the ignorant rustic who falls into this error; judging
from letters sent to the press by country parsons, even the universities
fail to prepare their alumni to deal with such phenomena. After the
eruptions of La Soufriere, several wrote to say that quantities of
powdered sulphur from St. Vincent had descended in their Surrey and
Hampshire parishes! their notion being that the commercial "flowers of
sulphur" are the direct produce of volcanoes.

[Illustration: Scots Pine.]

Although the wood produced by the Scots Pine in this country is not
considered of the highest quality, the species is certainly of equal
value as a timber-producer with any other tree. Owing to our mild
winters and long periods of seasonal growth, the Pine-wood produced in
Britain is coarse-grained and not very durable. In the colder parts of
Northern Europe, where summers are short and the long winters are
severe, the texture of the timber is more solid and the grain closer.
And so enormous quantities of Pine-wood come to us from the Baltic ports
every year. In addition to the timber, other valuable substances known
to commerce are products of the Scots Pine--pitch and tar, resin and
turpentine, for example. The Pine is an accommodating tree, for though
it likes a deep soil in which to strike its tap-root, it will grow upon
rocky ground, where the roots have to become horizontal and near the
surface; or it will form forests on poor sandy soils, even on the loose
hot sands near the seashore. This is a valuable power, because the fall
of its needles gradually forms a humus, and so provides food for other
plants which could not exist on raw sand.

Other coniferous trees that have become more or less familiar in our
plantations and parks will be found in the second division of this book.

[Illustration: _Pl. 80._ Male Flowers of Scots Pine.]


The Holly (_Ilex aquifolium_).

The Holly must be regarded as one of our small trees, although many
specimens attain a height of forty or fifty feet, with a girth of ten or
twelve feet. It is well distributed throughout our islands, ascending to
a thousand feet, and it is probable that no other tree is so well known,
by its foliage at least, as the Holly, or Holm, to give it its ancient
name. The word Holm was incorporated by some of our ancestors far back
in the name Holmsdale, which still attaches to the stretch of country at
the southern foot of the chalk hills in Surrey, and whose proud motto
is, "Never wonne, ne never shall." At the western end of the
Holmsdale is Holmwood, and still a little further west Holmbury. In
these places the Holly still grows bravely, not far from the old home of
John Evelyn, who must be thought of whenever we talk of Hollies, though
the recollection has to do with Sayes Court, his Thames-side house,
where the barbarian Peter wrought such havoc with his cherished
Holly-hedge. How Evelyn must have lamented that outrage is indicated in
this extract from the "Sylva":--

"Is there under heaven a more glorious and refreshing object of the
kind, than an impregnable hedge of about four hundred feet in length,
nine feet high, and five in diameter, which I can show in my now ruined
gardens at Say's Court (thanks to the Czar of Moscovy) at any time of
the year, glittering with its armed and varnished leaves? The taller
standards at orderly distance, blushing with their natural coral. It
mocks the rudest assaults of the weather, beasts, or hedge-breakers, _et
illum nemo impunè lacessit_."

[Illustration: _Pl. 81._ Holly.]

[Illustration: Holly.]

The bark of the Holly is smooth and pale-grey in colour. Time out of
mind it has been used in the preparation of a viscid substance known as
birdlime, which, spread on twigs, holds the feet of small birds.
Respecting the foliage of the Holly, there is little need to say
anything, but for uniformity's sake we may note that the leaves are oval
in shape, of a leathery consistence, with a firmer margin, running out
into long sharp spines. It is a fact worthy of note that when the Holly
has attained to a height of ten feet or so, it frequently clothes its
upper branches in leaves that have no spines--a circumstance that Robert
Southey sought to explain in his poem "The Holly-tree," on teleological
grounds. His second verse, however, contains sufficient explanation of
the fact it describes:--

    "Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen
      Wrinkled and keen;
    No grazing cattle through their prickly round
      Can reach to wound;
    But, as they grow where nothing is to fear,
    Smooth and unarm'd the pointless leaves appear."

In some places the young shoots are gathered by the peasants, dried,
bruised, and used as a winter cattle-food. No doubt, in the early
history of the Holly, cattle found out its good qualities for
themselves, and browsed upon the then-unarmed foliage. In self-defence
the tree developed spines upon its leaves, and so kept its enemies at a
respectful distance. Above the reach of these marauders the production
of spines would be a useless waste of material.

[Illustration: _Pl. 82._ Flowers of Holly.]

The flowers of the Holly, though small, are conspicuous by their great
number and white colour. They are about a quarter of an inch
across, with four petals and four stamens or stigmas. Sometimes flowers
with stamens are produced by the same tree that bears flowers with
stigmas; but often the male and the female flowers are borne by separate
trees, so that the possessor of a Holly that is solely male is sometimes
puzzled by the fact that his tree, though covered with blossom, never
produces a berry. The fruit is analogous in structure to that of the
Plum and Cherry, and is technically termed a _drupe_; but instead of the
single stone of these fruits, in the Holly-berry there are four bony
little stones, each with its contained seed. The berries ripen about
September, and are then scarlet and glossy, though here and there one
finds a tree whose fruit never gets beyond the yellow stage of
coloration.

[Illustration: _Pl. 83._ Fruits of Holly.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 84._ Bole of Holly.]

Most parts of the tree have had their uses in medicine; the leaves, for
example, being said to have value as a febrifuge, and the berries as a
purgative, or in large doses (6 to 8) as an emetic. The smooth bark of
large Hollies is often attacked by one of the most striking of our
native lichens--_Graphis elegans_--whose black fruiting portions look
like a raised cuneiform inscription. The Holly is not greatly subject to
the attacks of insects, but many of its leaves will be found to have
been tunnelled between the upper and lower skins by the larva of a
minute moth, one of the Leaf-miners. It also provides the pabulum for
the caterpillar of the Holly-blue butterfly (_Lycæna argiolus_). The
dead leaves may be examined for the minute Prickly Snail (_Helix
aculeata_).

The wood of the Holly has an exceedingly fine grain, due to its slow
growth, and it is very hard and white. These qualities make it valuable
for many purposes, often as a substitute for Box-wood, and, when dyed
black, in lieu of Ebony.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 85._ Spindle--winter.]


The Spindle-tree (_Euonymus europæus_).

The Spindle is right on the borderland between trees and shrubs, for
though it will grow into a tree twenty feet high, yet our hedgerow
specimens are usually bushlike, and only ten or twelve feet high. Until
the autumn the Spindle, we fear, is rarely recognized as such, but gets
confused with Buckthorn and Dogwood. In October, however, its quaint
fruits have changed to a pale crimson hue, which renders them the most
conspicuous feature of a hedgerow--even of one plentifully decorated
with scarlet hips and haws and bryony-berries. The unusual tint of the
Spindle, and the fact that it swings on a slender stalk, at once mark it
out from the rigid-stalked hips and haws.

The trunk of the Spindle is clothed in smooth grey bark. The twigs,
which are in pairs, starting from opposite sides of a branch, are
four-angled. The shining leaves vary from egg-shaped to lance-shaped,
with finely-toothed edges. They are arranged in pairs, and in autumn
they change to yellow and red. When bruised they give off a f[oe]tid
odour, the juice is acrid, and said to be poisonous--a charge which is
laid against the bark, flowers, and seed as well. The small
greenish-white flowers are borne in loose clusters, of the type known as
cymes, from the axils of the leaves, and appear in May and June. Some
contain both stamens and pistil, but others are either stamenate _or_
pistillate. The calyx is cut into four or six parts, the petals and
stamens agree with these parts in number, but the lobes of the stigma
only range from three to five, corresponding with the cells of the
ovary. The fruit is deeply lobed, and marked with grooves, indicating
the lines of future division, when the lobes open and disclose the
seeds, at first covered with their orange jackets, or _arils_, after the
manner of the mace that encloses the nutmeg.

[Illustration: _Pl. 86._ Flowers of Spindle.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 87._ Fruits of Spindle-tree.]

[Illustration: Spindle-tree. A, flowers.]

The hardness and toughness of Spindle-wood has long been esteemed in the
fashioning of small wares where these qualities are essential, and the
common name is a survival of the days when spinning was the occupation
of every woman. Then spindles were in demand for winding the spun thread
upon, and no wood was more suitable than that of Euonymus for making
them. It shares with the Cornel (_Cornus sanguinea_) the name Dogwood;
it is also Skewerwood, Prickwood, and Pegwood, all suggestive of uses to
which it is or was applied. The young shoots make a very fine charcoal
for artists' use.

The Spindle is indigenous throughout our islands, but cannot be said to
be generally common; it is rarer in Scotland and Ireland than in
England.

Among the exotic species cultivated in our parks and gardens are the
handsome variegated forms of the Evergreen Spindle (_Euonymus
japonicus_) of China and Japan, and the Broad-leaved Spindle (_E.
latifolius_) from Europe.


The Buckthorns (_Rhamnus_).

Our two native species of Buckthorn are shrubs of from five to ten feet
in height. In this one respect they agree; in almost all others they
differ. Both are Buckthorns in name, but the Breaking Buckthorn
(_Rhamnus frangula_) is quite unarmed, whilst many of the branchlets of
the Purging Buckthorn (_Rhamnus catharticus_) are hardened into spines.

The Purging Buckthorn is distinguished by its stiff habit, and by some
of the leaves being gathered into bundles at the ends of the shoots. The
leaves are egg-shaped, with toothed edges, and of a yellowish-green
tint, with short leaf-stalks. The yellowish-green flowers are very
small, and will be found both singly and in clusters from the
leaf-axils. There are a four-cleft calyx, four petals, four stamens, or
four stigmas, for the sexes are usually on separate plants. The fruit is
black, round, and about a quarter of an inch across, containing four
stones. These so-called "berries" are ripe in September. Formerly they
were much used as a purging medicine, but of so violent a character that
their use has come to be discouraged, and the safer syrup of Buckthorn
is prescribed instead. The juice of these berries is the raw material
from which the artist's sap-green is prepared. It may be found in woods,
thick hedgerows, and bushy places on commons southward of Westmoreland,
showing a decided preference for chalky soils. In Ireland it only occurs
rarely.

[Illustration: _Pl. 88._ Breaking Buckthorn.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 89._ Fruits of Purging Buckthorn.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 90._ Fruits of Breaking Buckthorn.]

[Illustration: Purging Buckthorn. A, flowers.]

The Breaking Buckthorn (_Rhamnus frangula_) is also known as the
Berry-bearing Alder, its leaves, with their lateral veins, presenting
something of the appearance of the Alder. Its more slender stems are
purplish-brown in hue, and _all_ the leaves are arranged alternately up
the stems. The leaves further differ from those of _R. catharticus_ in
having plain, un-toothed edges, and their veins parallel one to another.
The flowers are similar in size to those of the other species, but are
whiter, less yellow, fewer in number, and on longer stalks. The parts of
the flower, too, are in fives instead of fours; and the "berry," though
similar to the previous species, is much larger (half-inch diameter). In
an unripe condition these fruits yield a good green dye, much used by
calico printers and others. The wood made into charcoal is said to be
the best for the purposes of the gunpowder makers, who know it by the
name of Black Dogwood. The straight shoots of both species are used for
forming walking and umbrella sticks, and those of longer growth for pea
and bean sticks.

The Brimstone butterfly (_Gonepteryx rhamni_) lays its eggs on the
leaves of _R. frangula_, upon which the larva feeds. The name Buckthorn
appears to be due to an ancient misunderstanding of the German name
Buxdorn, which should have been translated Box-thorn.


Wild Plums (_Prunus communis_).

With the single exception of the Hazel, all our native fruit-trees are
members of the extensive and beautiful Rose family. Before Roman
invasions brought improved and cultivated varieties, our "rude
forefathers" must have been glad to eat the Sloes, Crabs, and Wild
Cherries that are now regarded as too terribly crude and austere, in an
uncooked condition, for any stomach but that of the natural boy, which
appears capable of surviving any ill-treatment. Some authors have
regarded the Wild Plum and the Bullace as being specifically distinct
from the Sloe and from each other; but the modern view is that their
differences only entitle them to rank as sub-species of the Sloe, and as
such they will be regarded here.

[Illustration: _Pl. 91._ Flowers of Wild Plum.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 92._ Sloes.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 93._ Blackthorn--spring.]

[Illustration: Blackthorn. A, flowers.]

The Sloe or Blackthorn (_Prunus communis_) is the rigid many-branched
shrub, with stiletto-like tips, that luxuriates on some of our commons
and in our hedgerows. The blackish bark that gives its name to the shrub
forms a fine foil in March or April for the pure white starry blossoms
that brave the cold blasts before the leaf-buds dare unfurl their
coverings. In some places--as in Cornwall, where it is the principal
hedge plant, and where cliffs, creeks, and river banks are bordered by
it--these bare black or purple stems are almost hidden by the
abundant growth of the Grey Lichen (_Evernia prunastri_). In this, the
typical form, the branches and twigs turn in every direction, so that it
is impossible to thrust one's hand into a Blackthorn bush without
getting considerably scratched. The well-known flower consists of a
five-lobed calyx, five white petals, and from fifteen to twenty stamens
round the single carpel. The stigma matures in advance of the stamens,
so that it has usually been fertilized by bee-borne pollen from another
Sloe before its own anthers have disclosed their pollen. The fruit is
about half an inch across, globose in form, and held erect upon its
short stalk; black, but its blackness hidden by a delicate "bloom" that
gives it a purplish glaucous hue. Terribly harsh are these fruits to the
palate, and a mere bite at an unripe one is sufficient to set teeth on
edge and contract the muscles of mouth and face. And yet, when the tight
jacket of the Sloe begins to relax and pucker, the juice condenses into
more mealy flesh, and the acridity passes, one may _eat_ not one but a
dozen, slowly, enjoying the piquancy of each before swallowing. Country
people make them into wine, and it used to be said that much that is
sold as port had its origin in the skins of British sloes instead of
Portuguese grapes. And for special use "for the stomach's sake" old-wife
followers of St. Paul pin their faith to gin in which Sloes have soaked
for months.

In the days of our youth it was a stock jibe against the grocer that
most of his China tea had been grown on Blackthorn bushes not far from
home, and with tea at five or six shillings a pound there may have been
some basis of truth for the belief; but with the prices of to-day it may
be presumed that Blackthorn leaves would cost the dealer at least as
much as real tea-leaves from Assam and Darjeeling.

The Bullace (_Prunus communis_, sub-sp. _insititia_) differs from the
Sloe in having _brown_ bark, the branches _straight_ and only a few of
them ending in spines, the leaves larger, broader, more coarsely
toothed, and downy on the underside. The flowers, too, have broader
petals, and the fruit--which may be black or yellow--droops, and is
between three-quarters and one inch in diameter. In many places where
this grows it can only be regarded as an escape from cultivation.

The Wild Plum (_Prunus communis_, sub-sp. _domestica_) has also brown
bark, its branches straight, and not ending in spines. The downiness
noticed on the underside of the Bullace leaves is here restricted to the
ribs of the leaf. The fruit attains a diameter of an inch or an inch and
a half. Although found occasionally in hedgerows, this sub-species is
not indigenous in any part of our islands. Hooker says the only country
in which it is really indigenous is Western Asia; but its numerous
cultivated forms are widely distributed.

It should be noted that the fruits of the Blackthorn and its sub-species
are formed within the flower; so are those of the Cherries, to be next
described, the ovary being botanically termed "superior," that is, above
the base of the calyx and corolla, when the flower is in an erect
position. This is a point of some importance when one seeks to
understand the different formation of the fruit in so closely related a
species as the Apple, in which the ovary is "inferior," or below the
flower.


Wild Cherries (_Prunus avium_).

Nature has been comparatively lavish in the matter of Cherries, for she
has bestowed three species upon the British Islands. For the cultivated
Cherry it is said that we ought to thank the Romans, as for many other
good things in the way of food. Pliny states that we had the Cherry in
Britain by the middle of the first century A.D. Evelyn tells us that the
Cherry orchards of Kent owe their origin to "the plain industry of one
Richard Haines, a printer to Henry VIII.," by whom "the fields and
environs of about thirty towns, in Kent only, were planted with fruit
trees from Flanders, to the unusual benefit and general improvement of
the county to this day." It is probable, however, that our own
countrymen had already effected some improvement on the wild sorts by
cultivation, for even in the woods some trees are found bearing fruit
much larger and of better flavour than usual, and such would be selected
for cultivation.

[Illustration: _Pl. 94._ Gean in flower.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 95._ Flowers of Gean.]

Our three natives are the Wild or Dwarf Cherry (_Prunus cerasus_), the
Gean (_P. avium_), and the Bird Cherry (_P. padus_). Of these the Gean
is the species most widely distributed throughout our country, and we
therefore give it precedence.

[Illustration: Gean. A, fruit; B, flower.]

The Gean (_Prunus avium_) is a tree that in suitable soils attains a
height of thirty or forty feet, with short, stout branches, that take an
upward direction. The leaves are large, broadly oval, with sharp-toothed
edges, and downy on the underside. They always droop from the branches,
and in spring they are of a bronzy-brown tint, which afterwards changes
to pale green. Soon after the leaves have unfolded they are almost
hidden by the umbels of wide-open white flowers, which have soft,
heart-shaped petals, and whose anthers and stigmas mature
simultaneously. The firm-fleshed drupe is heart-shaped, black or red,
sweet or bitter, with scanty juice which stains the fingers. This is
believed to be the original wild stock from which our modern Black
Hearts and Bigarreau Cherries have been evolved by the cultivator.

[Illustration: Wild Cherry. A, fruit; B, flower.]

The Dwarf or Wild Cherry (_Prunus cerasus_) is more bush-like than
tree-like, for it sends up a great number of suckers around the main
stem. The branches are slender and drooping. The leaves, which are of
similar shape to those of _P. avium_, are smooth and deep blue-green in
tint, with round-toothed edges. The flowers are not so widely open as in
the previous species, but retain more of the cup-shape, whilst the
notched petals are firmer in consistence and oval in shape. The drupe
is in this species round, with red skin and juicy flesh of a distinctly
acid character. The juice does not stain as does that of _P. avium_. The
Morello or Brandy Cherry, the May Duke, and the Kentish Cherries are
considered to be derived from this species. This does not extend further
north than Yorkshire; in Ireland it is rare.

[Illustration: _Pl. 96._ Bird Cherry--spring.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 97._ Bole of Bird Cherry.]

The Bird Cherry (_Prunus padus_) forms a tree from ten to twenty feet in
height, with more elliptic leaves, which have their edges doubly cut
into fine teeth. The flowers are not clustered in umbels, as in both the
foregoing, but in a loose raceme from lateral spurs of new growth. The
flowers are erect when they open, and the stigmas mature before the
anthers, so that cross-fertilization is favoured in this species. After
fertilization the flower droops, to be out of the way of the bees in
their visits to the unfertilized blossoms. The petals in this species
look as if their edges had been gnawed. The drupes are small, black, and
very bitter, with a wrinkled stone. This is a northern species, coming
not further south than Leicestershire and South Wales. All three species
flower in late April or early May.

Cherry wood is strong, fine-grained, and of a red colour. It is easily
worked, and susceptible of a high polish, so that it is in request by
cabinet-makers, turners, and musical instrument makers.

[Illustration: _Pl. 98._ Flowers of Wild Apple.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 99._ Bird Cherry--winter.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 100._ Wild Pear--spring.]


The Wild Pear (_Pyrus communis_).

The Wild Pear is only to be found growing in the southern half of
Britain, its northward range not extending beyond Yorkshire, and even in
the south its claim to be regarded as a true native has been contested.
Mr. Hewett C. Watson regards it as more probably a denizen, that is, a
species originally introduced by man, which has maintained its hold upon
the new land. Upon this assumption it is probable that the
introduced specimens were already somewhat cultivated, but when they (or
their descendants) became wild they reverted to the original condition
of the species.

[Illustration: Wild Pear. A, flower.]

The Wild Pear, or Choke-pear, is a small tree, from twenty to sixty feet
in height, of somewhat pyramidal form. The twigs, which are usually of a
drooping tendency, are also much given to ending in spines--a character
scarcely apparent in the cultivated tree. The leaves, too, of the wild
tree are more distinctly toothed than those of the Garden Pear. They are
oval in shape, with blunt-toothed edges, and downy on the lower surface.
Along the new shoots the leaves are arranged alternately on opposite
sides, but on shoots a year old they are produced in clusters. The
flowers, which measure more than an inch across, are pure white in
colour, and are clustered in cymes of five to nine. They appear in April
and May, and are of the Wild Rose type, there being numerous stamens,
from three to five styles, which ripen before the stamens, five petals,
and the calyx, taking the form of a pitcher with a five-lobed mouth,
represents the five sepals.

In speaking of the Wild Plums we directed attention to the fact that the
ovary was within the flower; in the Pear (and the other members of the
genus _Pyrus_) it is below the flower, hidden away in fact within the
calyx-tube. When the flower opens it is ready for fertilization, but as
the stamens of that flower are not yet mature this can only be
accomplished by pollen brought by the bees from other flowers as they
rifle the honey-glands. The effect of pollination is to cause special
vegetative activity in the neighbourhood of the ovary, resulting in the
thickening of the flesh of the calyx-tube around it, until it has become
of the characteristic pear-shape, and an inch or two in length. A
section of a pear or apple, taken lengthwise, will show a faint green
outline of the ovary, and will demonstrate how much of the flesh is
really belonging to the calyx-tube. The fruit of the Wild Pear is green
until about November, when it turns yellow. It is of too harsh a
character to be fit for eating.

A Pear formerly known as a variety (_briggsii_) of _Pyrus communis_ is
now regarded as a distinct species under the name of _Pyrus cordata_. It
is found in Cornwall, and is distinguished by its more oval leaves being
rounded at the base, and by its much smaller fruits being often
globular.

The Pear is a long-lived tree, that grows singly or in small groups on
dry plains. It attains a height of about fifty feet in thirty years, and
its girth may then be three or four feet. The timber is fine-grained,
strong and heavy, with a reddish tinge. Stained with black, it is used
to counterfeit ebony.

[Illustration: _Pl. 101._ Wild Apples.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 102._ Bole of Wild Pear.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 103._ Wild Pear--winter.]


The Wild Apple (_Pyrus malus_).

It is by no means an easy matter to decide whether the Crab-trees that
grow along the hedgerows are truly wild or the offspring of orchard
apples. In woods, away from gardens and orchards, there is less
difficulty. Like the Pear, the Apple appears to have been the subject of
cultural attention from very early times. This is proved by the
philologists from the similarity of the equivalents for our word Apple
in all the Celtic and Sclavonian languages, showing by their common
origin that the fruit was of sufficient importance to have a distinctive
name long before the separation of the peoples of Northern Europe. The
name of Crab is of comparatively recent origin. Prior regards it as a
form of the Lowland Scotch _scrab_, derived from Anglo-Saxon _scrobb_, a
shrub, indicating that it is an Apple-bush rather than an Apple-tree.

The Wild Apple has not the pyramidal form of the Wild Pear, the branches
spreading more widely when young and drooping when older, so that the
head is rounded. In height it varies as a tree from twenty to thirty
feet, though many examples of good age still retain the dimensions of a
bush. Owing to the spreading character of the branches, the diameter of
the head often exceeds the height of the tree. The bole has seldom any
pretensions to symmetry, and is usually more or less crooked like the
older branches. The brown bark is not very rough, though its numerous
fissures and cracks give it a rugged appearance. Its wood, like that of
the Pear, is hard and fine-grained, but, instead of having a reddish
tinge, there is a tendency to brownness. The leaves vary in shape, but
are more or less oblong, smooth above, sometimes downy on the lower
surface when young, and with toothed edges.

[Illustration: Crab or Wild Apple. A, flower; B, fruit.]

The flowers are about the same size as those of the Wild Pear, but their
white petals are beautifully tinted and streaked with pink. The small
clusters are umbels--that is to say, the footstalks of similar length
start from a common base. The fruit is almost spherical, and instead of
the foot-stalk gradually merging into the apple, the attachment is
always in a depression of the latter. In the typical form of the Wild
Apple the yellow and red fruit hang by their slender stalks, but there
is a variety (_mitis_) in which the fruit is borne _above_ the stouter
stalks. The variety may also be known by the downiness of the young
leaves, the calyx-tube, and the stalks. The fruit is about an inch
across, and so rich in malic acid as to be unfit for food in its
natural state, though children punish their digestive organs with it.
Pigs are partial to Crab-apples, a taste they have evidently inherited
from the wild boar. A delicious preserve, called Crab-jelly, is made by
stewing the whole fruit, then pressing the soft flesh through a hair
sieve, and boiling the pulp with sugar. Cyder is made from the rotting
Crabs; also a kind of vinegar called verjuice, or vargis.

[Illustration: _Pl. 104._ Wild Apple--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 105._ Wild Apple--winter.]

The Wild Apple is found all over the United Kingdom as far north as the
Clyde, and wherever it is known to occur it is worth a special visit in
May, when all its crooked branches and straggling shoots are rendered
beautiful by the abundance of delicately tinted and fragrant flowers. It
is also far from being unattractive in the autumn, when the miniature
apples hang from the boughs.

[Illustration: _Pl. 106._ Bole of Crab, or Wild Apple.]


White Beam (_Pyrus aria_).

Owing to its very local occurrence, the White Beam, though widely
distributed, is one of the less known of our trees and shrubs. It comes
into both these categories according to the situation of its growth, for
whilst in exposed mountainous localities a specimen of mature age may be
no more than four or five feet high, and of bush-like growth, under the
lee of a wood, and on a calcareous soil, it will be an erect and
graceful tree of pyramidal form, whose apex is forty feet from the
ground. In its early years growth is tolerably rapid, but at the age of
ten it slackens pace, and after it has attained its majority its
progress is very slow. Its wood is fine-grained, very hard, white, but
inclining to yellow. The bark is smooth, and little subject to the
cracks and fissures that mark the Apple-bark. The branches, except a few
of the lowest, all have an upward tendency.

[Illustration: _Pl. 107._ White Beam--spring.]

[Illustration: White Beam. A, fruits.]

The leaves vary considerably in the several forms or sub-species, but in
the typical form they are a broad oval, with the edges coarsely toothed
or cut into lobes, the upper side smooth, and the lower side clothed
with white cottony down, the almost straight nerves strongly marked. The
white flowers, which appear in May or June, are only half an inch
across, and gathered into loose clusters. They are succeeded by nearly
round scarlet fruits, half an inch in diameter, known in Lancashire and
Westmoreland as Chess-apples. The tree is also known in the same
districts as Sea Owler, the latter word, according to Prior, being a
corruption of Aller or Alder, probably from the resemblance of the
plaited leaves to those of _Alnus glutinosa_. These Chess-apples are
very sharp and rough to the taste, but when kept like Medlars, till
they "blet" or begin to decay, are far from unpleasant. Birds and
squirrels eagerly seek for them on the tree, and those that fall are as
welcome to hedgehogs and other mammals. This form is only found from the
Midlands to the South of England as far west as Devon, and in Ireland.

The sub-species _latifolia_ (_Pyrus rotundifolia_ of some botanists) has
broader leaves, varying from oval-oblong to almost round, divided into
wedge-shaped lobes, the cottony down beneath being grey rather than
white, and the nerves less prominent on the underside. This form is
found in Cornwall.

The sub-species _scandica_ (also known as _Pyrus intermedia_) has the
leaves less tough, more deeply divided into rounded or oblong lobes, and
the grey cotton beneath of a looser character. This form is found in
Scotland.

It should be noted that this species must not be called the White
Beam-_tree_, for the word _beam_ is the Saxon equivalent for tree. Other
names for it include Hen-apple, Cumberland Hawthorn, Hoar Withy, Quick
Beam, and Whipcrop.

THE WILD SERVICE (_Pyrus torminalis_) is a small tree of local
occurrence, which does not extend further north than Lancashire. In
general appearance it may be taken for the White Beam, but closer
inspection will reveal the following differences. The leaves, which are
cut into tapering lobes and coarsely toothed, are heart-shaped at the
base; when young they are slightly downy beneath, but when mature they
are smooth on both sides. Though the flowers are similar in size and
colour to those of the White Beam, the fruit is smaller (one-third inch
in diameter), less globular, and more like a large haw, though the
colour is greenish-brown. The flowers appear in April and May, and the
fruit, which is of a very dry, juiceless character, is ripe in November.
In some localities these fruits are marketed, but they require to be
kept like Medlars, until decay sets in, before they are fit to be eaten.

[Illustration: _Pl. 108._ Flowers of White Beam.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 109._ Bole of White Beam.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 110._ White Beam--winter.]


Mountain Ash, or Rowan (_Pyrus aucuparia_).

Little description of the Mountain Ash is needed, for in recent years it
has come so much into favour that it is now one of the commonest of the
trees planted in little suburban gardens and fore-courts. Its hardiness,
its indifference to the character of the soil, the fact that other
plants will grow beneath it, and the absence of need for pruning--all
these points unite to make it suitable and popular for growth in
restricted spaces. But the wood on the hillside is the natural home of
the Mountain Ash, and in the Highlands its vertical range extends to
2600 feet above sea-level.

[Illustration: _Pl. 111._ Rowan, or Mountain Ash--summer.]

The Mountain Ash attains a height of from thirty to fifty feet, and has
a straight clean bole, clothed in smooth grey bark, scarred horizontally
as though it had been scored with a knife. All the branches have an
upward tendency, and the shoots bear the long feathery leaves, whose
division into six or eight pairs of slender leaflets suggests _the_ Ash,
from which part of its name has been borrowed. Gazing on this tree
either in flower or fruit, it would be quite unnecessary to explain that
it is not even remotely allied to _Fraxinus excelsior_, and that the
similarity of leaf-division is the only point of resemblance between
them. These leaflets have toothed edges, are paler on the underside, and
in a young condition the midrib and nerves are hairy. The creamy-white
fragrant flowers are like little Hawthorn blossoms, though only half the
size, and they appear in dense clusters (_cymes_) in May or June. The
fruit are miniature apples, of the size of holly-berries, bright scarlet
without and yellow within. They ripen in September, and are then a great
attraction to thrushes, blackbirds, and their kind, who rapidly strip
the tree of them. Though this at first sight may appear like frustrating
the tree's object in producing fruit, it is not really so, the
attractive flesh being a mere bait to induce the birds to pass the seeds
through their intestines, and thus get them sown far and wide. By
this method the process of germination is considerably hastened, whereas
by hand-sowing the seeds lie in the earth for eighteen months before
shooting. All the species of _Pyrus_ produce their fruits with this
object, the larger more or less brownish ones being intended to attract
mammals, the smaller and red-coloured to tempt birds. The seeds have
leathery jackets to protect them from the action of the digestive
fluids, and are further wrapped in a parchmenty, bony, or wooden "core"
(_endocarp_) with a similar object. In the case of the Rowan this is
very like wood.

[Illustration: Rowan, or Mountain Ash. A, portion of flower-cluster.]

In the south of Britain the Mountain Ash is chiefly grown as underwood
and used as a nurse for oaks and other timber trees, which soon outgrow
it and kill it; so that in the woods it is seldom allowed to grow into
a fully developed tree, but, thanks to the birds, it comes up on the
common and the hillside, and has a chance of producing its masses of
ruby fruit. Its wood is tough and elastic, but, owing to the smallness
of its girth, it does not produce timber of any size. Still, it makes
admirable poles and hoops.

The word Rowan is one of the most interesting of tree-names, and
connects the still-existing superstitious practices of our northern
counties, not only with the old Norsemen, but with the ancient Hindus
who spoke the Sanskrit tongue. The word is spelled in many ways which
connect it with the Old Norse _runa_, a charm, it being supposed to have
power to ward off the effects of the evil eye. In earlier times _runa_
was the Sanskrit appellation for a magician; _rûn-stafas_ were staves
cut from the Rowan-tree upon which runes were inscribed. Until quite
recently the respect for its magical properties was shown in the north
by fixing a branch of Rowan to the cattle-byre as a charm against the
evil designs of witches, warlocks, and others of that kidney. In this
connection we may quote also from Evelyn's "Sylva." He says: "Ale and
beer brewed with these berries, being ripe, is an incomparable drink,
familiar in Wales, where this tree is reputed so sacred that there is
not a churchyard without one of them planted in it (as among us the
Yew); so, on a certain day in the year, everybody religiously wears a
cross made of the wood; and the tree is by some authors called Fraxinus
Cambro-Britannica, reputed to be a preservative against fascinations and
evil spirits; whence, perhaps, we call it witchen, the boughs being
stuck about the house or the wood used for walking-staves."

[Illustration: _Pl. 112._ Bole of Rowan.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 113._ Flowers of Rowan.]

Among the numerous names of the Mountain Ash are Fowler's Service (or
Servise, from _Cerevisia_, a fermented drink), Cock-drunks, Hen-drunks
(from the belief that fowls were intoxicated by eating the "berries"),
Quickbeam, White Ash (from the colour of the flowers), Witch-wood, and
Witchen. Quickbeam is in allusion to the constant movement of
foliage, quick being the Anglo-Saxon _cwic_, alive. Witch-wood and
Witchen are also forms of _cwic_.

[Illustration: _Pl. 114._ Rowan--winter.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The True Service (_Pyrus sorbus_) closely resembles the Mountain Ash in
habit and foliage, but it is not a native of Britain, though it used to
be claimed as such, on account of its growing in the more mountainous
parts of Cornwall and in Wyre Forest, Worcestershire. The latter,
however, is the only Service tree that could put in such a claim, for it
grows--or grew?--far from habitations or cultivated land, and the
presumption is that it has not owed its introduction to man. Still, "one
swallow does not make a summer," and a solitary wild tree does not give
the species a title to be reckoned as British. It is occasionally
cultivated here, and its portrait, with a brief account of its points of
difference from the Mountain Ash, may be useful. A comparison of the
photographs from the boles of the two species will show a great
difference: that of the Mountain Ash being smooth, whilst that of the
Service is rugged. The leaf is similarly broken up into paired leaflets,
but these are broader, and are downy on both upper and lower sides. The
white flowers are as large as May-blossoms, and the fruits, which may be
either apple-shaped or pear-shaped, are greenish-brown, with rusty
specks, and four times the size of Rowan-berries. In winter, when there
are neither leaves, flowers, nor fruits to help in the distinction, the
bark may be taken in conjunction with the leaf-buds, which are green and
smooth in this species, whilst those of the Mountain Ash are black and
downy. The fruit may be eaten after it has begun to decay, as in the
case of the Medlar.

Loudon describes the wood of the Service as the hardest and heaviest of
all the trees indigenous to Europe: fine-grained, red-tinted,
susceptible of a high polish, and much in request in France for all
purposes where strength and durability are needed. He further says that
it takes two centuries to attain its full stature (fifty to sixty feet),
"and lives to so great an age that some specimens of it are believed to
be upwards of 1000 years old."

We have already made reference to the meaning of the name Service.
Another name--Sorb (from Latin _sorbeo_)--shows closer affinity for the
fermented liquor indicated by Servise, for it means "drink down." A
third name is Chequer-tree, which Dr. Prior tells us is an antique
pronunciation of the word _choker_, in allusion to the unpalatable
fruit, fit to choke one. Choke-pear, it will be remembered, is a synonym
of the Wild Pear. Britten and Holland regard the name Chequer-tree as
having no connection with choking, but an indication of the chequered or
spotted appearance of the fruit.

[Illustration: _Pl. 115._ True Service Tree--spring.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 116._ Fruit of Medlar.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 117._ Bole of True Service.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Medlar (_Pyrus germanica_) is a small tree, native of Persia, Asia
Minor, and Greece, and which is generally held to occur wild in England
and the Channel Islands only as an escape from cultivation. The theory
is that the tree was introduced at some date prior to 1596--when we have
record of its being in cultivation here--and that the Medlar-trees
growing in the hedges of south and middle England are from seeds of
these cultivated trees, which have been sown by birds, or more probably
mammals who have eaten the fruit. The fact that it is not found in woods
is taken as evidence that it is non-indigenous. Such evidence is not the
most convincing, but it is the best available. It should be noted,
however, that the agents credited with its distribution along our
hedgerows have free access to woods, and that if these places were
favourable to the growth of the Medlar, we should probably find it
there, whether indigenous or exotic. Much more conclusive, we think, is
its restricted distribution abroad, as already indicated. One would not
expect to find a tree whose nearest home is Greece, leaping over
the whole of Europe and appearing as an indigene in Britain.

[Illustration: Medlar. A, flower.]

In its wild condition the Medlar is a much-branched and spiny tree, from
ten to twenty feet high, in these respects resembling the Hawthorn; but,
like the Pear, it puts off its defences when cultivated. Its leaves are
large and undivided, of an oblong-lance shape, downy beneath, and
sometimes with the edges very finely toothed. The solitary white flowers
are large--one and a half inches across--with a woolly calyx, whose five
tips expand into leafy growths. They appear in May or June, and are
succeeded by brown fruits, an inch or less across, which may be
described as round, with a depressed top, which is ornamented with the
remains of the calyx-lobes. They ripen in October or November.


Hawthorn (_Cratægus oxyacantha_).

Though distributed as a wild tree throughout the length and breadth of
the British Islands, we are all more familiar with the Hawthorn as
planted material in the construction of hedges, and this is a use to
which it has been put ever since land was plotted out and enclosed. For
the word is Anglo-Saxon (_hægthorn_), and signifies hedge-thorn. The man
in the street would say without hesitation that Hawthorn means the thorn
that produces Haws, but the philologist would tell him that it is only a
modern and erroneous practice to apply the name of the hedge to the
fruit of the hedge-thorn. It is also Whitethorn, to make the distinction
between its light-grey bark and that of the Blackthorn; and May because
of the period when it chiefly attracts attention.

[Illustration: _Pl. 118._ Fruits of Hawthorn.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 119._ True Service--winter.]

Where the Hawthorn is allowed its natural growth, it attains a height of
forty feet, with a circumference between three and ten feet. Such a tree
is represented in our photograph. On our commons, where in their youth
the Hawthorns have to submit to much mutilation from browsing animals,
their growth is spoiled; but though some of these never become more than
bushes tangled up with Blackthorn into small thickets, there are others
that form a distinct bole and a round head of branches from ten to
twenty feet high, which in late May or (more frequently) early June look
like solid masses of snow. The characteristic of the tree which makes it
so valuable as fencing material is found in its numerous branches,
supporting a network of twigs so dense that even a hand may not be
pushed among them without incurring serious scratches. That this
character is not confined to it as a hedge shrub is clearly shown by the
winter photograph of the leafless tree.

[Illustration: Hawthorn, or May. A, fruit ("haws").]

The well-known lobed leaves are very variable both in size and shape,
and the degree to which they are cut. They are a favourite food with
horses and oxen, who would demolish the hedges that confine them to the
fields but for the spines which protect the older branches at least. The
white flowers are about three-quarters of an inch across, borne in
numerous corymbs. The pink anthers give relief to the uniform whiteness
of the petals. The flowers, though usually sweet-scented, occasionally
give forth a very unpleasant odour. The familiar fruits, too, instead of
their usual crimson, are yellow occasionally, as in the Holly. In
favourable years these are so plentiful that they quite kill the effect
of the dark-green leaves, and when such a tree is seen in the October
sunshine, it appears to be glowing with fire to its centre. Beneath the
ripe mealy flesh there is a hard bony core, in whose cells the seeds are
protected from digestion when the fruit has been swallowed by a bird.

The Hawthorn is said to live from a century to two centuries, growing
very slowly after it has reached a height of about fifteen feet. Its
wood is both hard and tough, and the name of the genus has reference to
that fact, being derived from the Greek kratos, strength.

[Illustration: _Pl. 120._ Hawthorn--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 121._ Flowers of Hawthorn--"May."]

[Illustration: _Pl. 122._ Bole of Hawthorn.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 123._ Hawthorn--winter.]


The Strawberry-tree (_Arbutus unedo_).

Not in the woods or by waysides in Great Britain will the
Strawberry-tree be found, though it may be seen in parks and gardens;
but in parts of the Emerald Isle it is native. Killarney, Muckross, and
Bantry are given by Hooker as its Irish stations, but we have also found
it in the woods at Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny, in a situation where it
seemed unlikely such a tree would be planted. It does not attain a large
size--ordinarily about ten or twelve feet--though in cultivation it may
attain to twenty or even thirty feet. The bark is rough and scaly,
tinged with red, and twisted. The leathery leaves are more or less oval,
two or three inches long, with toothed edges and hairy stalks. Although
arranged alternately on the shoots, they present the appearance at a
little distance of being clustered, rosette fashion, at the tips of the
twigs. The creamy-white flowers are clustered in drooping racemes at the
ends of the twigs, and are about one-third of an inch across,
bell-shaped. When the seed-eggs have been fertilized the corollas
drop off, so that in the flowering season (September and October) the
ground beneath will usually be found strewn with them. The fruit is a
round berry, of an orange-red hue, whose surface is completely studded
with little points. As these berries do not come to maturity until about
fourteen months after the flowers have dropped their corollas, we may
see both flowers and almost full-formed fruit on the tree at the same
time. They are not eatable until quite ripe, and even then they are not
to everybody's taste, on account of their austerity. In truth, we have
it on the testimony of Pliny that the old Latin name _unedo_, now
enshrined in the specific scientific name, was given to it because to
eat one of these tree strawberries was a sufficiently extensive
acquaintance for most persons.

[Illustration: Strawberry-tree.]

It is perhaps unnecessary to add that, in spite of the name, there is no
relationship existing between this tree and _the_ Strawberry; nor is
there more than a faint superficial resemblance between the fruits of
the two plants. The Strawberry belongs to the great Rose family, whilst
the nearest British connections of the Arbutus are the Bilberries and
Heaths.

[Illustration: _Pl. 124._ Strawberry Tree.]


Dogwood (_Cornus sanguinea_).

Among the constituents of the broad hedgerow, and the copse that borders
many a country road, the Dogwood or Cornel is apt to be overlooked as
Privet, to which its similar, opposite leaves and clusters of small
white flowers bear a superficial resemblance. It has a great variety of
local names, though it must be admitted that many of these show close
connections one with another. This, however, makes them not less
interesting, but indicates how ancient and general is the underlying
idea which has given rise to them. Dogwood had originally no connection
with dogs, but was the wood of which dags, goads, and skewers were made,
because, as the Latin _Cornus_ signifies, it was of horny hardness and
toughness. When the etymology got changed by the substitution of "o" for
"a" in dag, it was also called Dog-tree, Dog-berry, Dog-timber, and
Houndberry-tree, and to explain the name it was said that the bark made
an excellent wash for mangy dogs. Gatter, Gatten, Gaiter, Gaitre-berry,
are all from the Anglo-Saxon _Gad-treow_, or goad-tree; Gadrise means
Goad-shrub (_Gad-riis_), and Gatteridge is _gaitre rouge_, from the red
colour of the bare twigs.

[Illustration: _Pl. 125._ Fruits of Dogwood.]

[Illustration: Dogwood, or Cornel. A, flowers; B, berries.]

But we must not overlook the shrub itself whilst considering its wealth
of names. It grows to a height of six or eight feet, and is clothed with
opposite oval leaves, which are smooth on both surfaces. The honeyed
flowers are produced in June or July at the extremities of the branches
in dense round cymes. Individually they are small (one-third of an inch
across), opaque white, with four petals and four stamens, which mature
concurrently with the stigma. They give out an unpleasant odour, which
appears to render them more attractive to flies and small beetles. The
flowers are succeeded by small green berries, which turn purple-black
about September, and are exceedingly bitter. They are said to yield an
oil which is used in France for soap-making, and has been here burned in
lamps.

The Dogwood is widely distributed over Britain as far north as
Westmoreland. It does not occur in Scotland, and is rare in Ireland. It
would seem as though its place in North Britain was taken by a
herbaceous species, the Dwarf Cornel (_Cornus suecica_), which grows
upon Alpine moorlands from Yorkshire as far north as Sutherlandshire.
The stems of this, which have as many inches to their stature as the
shrub has feet, die down annually. Its minute flowers are purplish
instead of white, and its smaller berries red.

[Illustration: _Pl. 126._ Flowers of Dogwood.]


Wayfaring-tree (_Viburnum lantana_).

The Wayfaring-tree has a number of names by which it is known locally,
but the one we have used is generally known, though it may have the
disadvantage of being a comparatively modern one whose parentage is
known to us. The origin of most of these popular names is lost in the
mists of antiquity. John Gerarde, whose "Herbal" was published in 1597,
noting its fondness for roadside hedges and thickets, called it
Wayfaring-tree, or Wayfaringman's-tree. Thereupon Parkinson, nearly half
a century later, remarks: "Gerard calleth it in English the Wayfaring
tree, but I know no travailer doth take either pleasure or profit by it
more than by any other hedge trees." Our own experience serves to prove
that Wayfarers, as a class, have improved since Parkinson's day, for we
have frequently been questioned in the Surrey chalk-districts, at
various seasons, respecting the bold plant; in winter showing its large
naked buds, all rough with starry hairs, which keep off frost, as well
as do the many scales and thick varnish of Horse-chestnut buds; in
summer the broad, hairy leaves, looking as dusty as a miller's coat,
whilst above them spread the slightly rounded heads of white flowers;
later, when the flowers are succeeded by bunches of glowing coral beads,
that in autumn become beads of jet. It is not confined to the
chalk-hills, but as far north as Yorkshire may be looked for wherever
the soil is dry, though it finds this condition best on the chalk, and
is there especially abundant. It is not indigenous in either Scotland or
Ireland.

[Illustration: _Pl. 127._ Fruits of Wayfaring-tree.]

[Illustration: Wayfaring-tree. A, portion of flower-cluster.]

Though it grows to a height of twenty feet in places, it can never
properly be called a tree. Its downy stems are never very stout. They
branch a good deal, and it should be noted that the branches are always
given off in pairs, a branch from each side of the stem at exactly the
same height; the leaves are produced in the same order. These leaves,
which are three or four inches in length, are much wrinkled,
heart-shaped, with a blunt, small end, white beneath, and the edges very
finely toothed. The flower-cluster is a cyme, and it should be noted
that all the white flowers comprised in it are of the same size and
form, the corollas being funnel-shaped, with five lobes, and the five
stamens are extruded from the mouth. The flowers, which are jointed to
the stalks, are out in May and June, and the flattened oval fruits that
follow are, as already stated, at first red, then black.

The local names for this shrub include Mealy-tree, Whipcrop,
Cotton-tree, Cottoner, Coventree, Lithe-wort, Lithy-tree, Twist-wood,
White-wood. Mealy-tree, Cotton-tree, Cottoner, and White-wood all have
obvious reference to the appearance of the young shoots and leaves, due
to the presence of the white hairs with which they are covered.
Lithe-wort and Lithy-tree, also Twist-wood and Whipcrop, indicate the
supple and elastic character of the branches, which are often used
instead of Withy to bind up a bundle of sticks or vegetables, or to make
a hoop for a gate-fastener. In Germany the shoots, when only a year old,
are used in basket-weaving, and, when a year or two older, serve for
pipe-stems.

[Illustration: _Pl. 128._ Wayfaring Tree.]


The Guelder Rose (_Viburnum opulus_).

Although the Guelder Rose and the Wayfaring-tree are very closely
related, the differences between them are so great that there is little
danger of any person with ordinary powers of observation confusing them.
The Guelder Rose does not grow so tall as its congener, twelve feet
being about the extreme height to which it attains in a wild state, and
ordinarily it is several feet less. It is not so fond of dry soils, and
is more frequently found in the copse, where it is not subject to the
extremes of heat and cold that have produced the hairy covering of _V.
lantana_. The stems and branches are quite smooth, and the leaf-buds are
wrapped in scales. The young leaves, it is true, when they break from
the bud, are covered with down, but they throw this off as they expand
to their full size, and become smooth on either side. Instead of the
leaf being heart-shaped, it is divided into three deeply toothed lobes,
and it will be noted that at the base of the leaf-stalk there is a pair
of slender stipules, which _lantana_ never has. The cyme or flower-head
is more rounded, and whilst the mass of flowers are of the same size (a
quarter of an inch) as those of the Wayfaring-tree, those in the outer
row are three times the size--but they are entirely without stamens or
pistil! It would appear that in order to make the flower-cluster more
conspicuous, and thus attract insects, the material that should have
gone to furnish these organs has been used up in the broader and whiter
corolla. The inner and perfect flowers are creamy-white, bell-shaped,
and they secrete honey. Both stamens and stigma mature simultaneously.
The fruits are almost round, and of a clear, translucent red. Respecting
these fruits, we cannot forbear from quoting a remark of Hamerton's. He
says, writing as the French recorder of the _Sylvan Year_: "For any one
who enjoys the sight of red berries in the most jewel-like splendour,
there is nothing in winter like the Viburnum, the species we call
_Viorne obier_, and if you meet with a fine specimen just when it is
caught by the level rays of a crimson sunset, you will behold a shrub
that seems to have come from that garden of Aladdin where the fruit of
the trees were jewels." These fruits, though enticing to the sight, and
juicy, are nauseous to the taste.

[Illustration: Guelder Rose. A, fruit; B, flowers.]

The name Guelder Rose is a strange case of transference from a
cultivated to a wild plant: the var. _sterilis_, in which _all_ the
flowers are like the outer row in the normal cluster, was first
cultivated in Gelderland; so Gerarde tells us that "it is called in
Dutch, _Gheldersche Roose_; in English, _Gelder's Rose_." In the
Cotswolds it is known as King's Crown, from the "King of the May" having
been crowned with a chaplet of it. Another name for it is Water Elder,
presumably given on account of the similar appearance of the
flower-clusters in _Viburnum_ and _Sambucus_.

The distribution of the Guelder Rose as a wild plant extends northwards
to Caithness, although it is rare in Scotland. It occurs throughout
Ireland.

[Illustration: _Pl. 129._ Elder.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 130._ Fruits of Guelder Rose.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 131._ Flowers of Elder.]


The Elder (_Sambucus nigra_).

[Illustration: Elder. A, berries; B, portion of flower-cluster.]

The Elder is more a tree of the wayside than of the woodland, often of
low bushy growth; but where it finds good loamy soil with abundant
moisture it attains a height of twenty feet. None of our trees grows
more rapidly in its earliest years, and any bit of its living wood will
readily take root, so that its presence in the hedge is often due to
planting for the purpose of rapidly erecting a live screen. Its quickly
grown juicy shoots soon harden into a tube of tough wood with a core of
pith which is readily extracted, and renders the tube available for a
peashooter, a pop-gun, or a music-pipe. Such uses have been known from
remote antiquity--probably one might say from the beginnings of the
human race. The ancient Greeks called it _Sambúke_, from its wood having
been used in the making of musical instruments. In the north of Britain
it is known as Bourtree, Bore-tree, or Bottery, from the ease with which
this clearing out of the pith is effected, and it is pretty clear that
the more general name of Elder also has relation to the tubular shoots.
Piers Plowman calls the tree Eller, a name that survives in Kent,
Sussex, Lincoln, East Yorks, and Cheshire. This word, according to
Prior, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon _eller_ and _ellarn_, and seems
to mean "kindler"--"a name which we may suppose that it acquired from
its hollow branches being used, like the bamboo in the tropics, to blow
up a fire." It is thus probable that the housewife got her bellows, the
musician his pipe, and the schoolboy his pop-gun, all from the same
source.

The stems are coated with a grey corky bark, and the younger divisions
of the branches show an angular section when cut. When old, the wood
becomes hard and heavy, and has been used as a substitute for Box. The
leaf is divided into five, seven, or nine oval leaflets with toothed
edges. The flower is of the form that botanists describe as _rotate_,
that is, the corolla forms a very short tube, from the mouth of which
five petal-like lobes spread flat. This is a quarter of an inch broad,
and creamy-white in colour, giving out an odour which some persons like,
but which the writer considers offensive. Large numbers of these small
flowers are gathered into flat-topped cymes, five or six inches in
diameter. The primary stalks of these cymes are five in number. The
flowers are succeeded by small globular berries, ultimately of a
purple-black hue, and of mawkish flavour, which are yet much sought
after by country people for the making of Elderberry wine, which they
credit with marvellous medicinal powers. In truth, the Elder still
retains among rustic folk much of the reputation it had when John
Evelyn praised it so highly in his "Sylva," where he says, "If the
medicinal properties of the leaves, bark, berries, etc., were thoroughly
known, I cannot tell what our countryman could ail for which he might
not fetch a remedy from every hedge, either for sickness or wound."

Occasionally one may find in the hedgerow an Elder with its leaflets
deeply cut into very slender lobes, so that the leaf has resemblance to
that of Fool's Parsley. This is an escape from cultivation--a garden
variety (_laciniata_) known as the Cut-leaved or Parsley-leaved Elder.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 132._ Box Trees.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 133._ Bole of Box.]


The Box (_Buxus sempervirens_).

Though frequently to be met with in parks and ornamental grounds, there
are only a few places in this country where the Box is really
indigenous. These are in the counties of Surrey, Kent, Buckingham, and
Gloucester. On the famous Box Hill, near Dorking, in Surrey, it may be
seen attaining its proper proportions as a small tree, and in sufficient
abundance to form groves covering a considerable area. It grows to a
height of fifteen or twenty feet, with a girth of about twenty inches.
Its slender branches are clothed with small, oblong, leathery leaves,
which give out a peculiar and distinctive odour. They are about an inch
in length, polished on the upper side, evergreen, and opposite.

The flowers may be looked for from January to May, and will be found
clustered between the leaf and the stem. These are quite small and
inconspicuous, of a whitish-green colour, and the sexes are in separate
flowers. The uppermost one in the centre of each cluster is a female
flower; the others are males. The males consist of four petals,
enclosing a rudimentary ovary, from beneath which spring four stamens.
The sepals of the female flower vary in number, from four to twelve, and
enclose a rounded ovary with three styles, which are ripe and protruded
before the males open. This develops into the three-celled capsule with
three diverging beaks, which correspond with the styles, and in each
cell there are one or two black seeds.

[Illustration: Box. A, male flowers; B, female flower.]

The growth of the tree is very slow, and, in consequence, the grain of
its wood is very fine. It is also very hard, and so heavy that alone
among native woods it will not float in water. On account of its fine
grain and hardness, it is in request by the turner and mathematical
instrument maker, and was formerly largely used by the wood-engraver for
"woodcuts." Since the introduction of the photographic "process"
blocks, the industry of preparing Box-wood for the engraver must have
become all but extinct, and for that reason Box plantations must be less
valuable assets than formerly. It is on record that when the Box Hill
trees were cut in 1815, the "fall" realized nearly £10,000. Box Hill is
in no sense a plantation; its slopes and summit are clothed with a
natural mixed wood of Box, Oak, Beech, and Yew. Beneath every Box-tree
will be found hundreds of seedlings of various ages. Some of these may
be seen in our photograph, which depicts naturally grown Box-trees on
the famous hill. It will be noted that their "habit" is widely different
from that of the more bush-like forms so familiar in gardens.



PART II.

EXOTIC TREES AND SHRUBS.


We have already given descriptions and illustrations of several exotic
species in Part I., where it seemed more advantageous to the reader to
include them with British species of the same genus; those now to be
dealt with are in all cases members of genera not represented in our
native Flora.


The Plane (_Platanus orientalis_).

In spite of the fact that the Plane is an exotic of comparatively recent
introduction, it seems in a fair way of being associated in the future
with London. It has taken with great kindness to London life, in spite
of the drawbacks of smoke, fog, flagstones, and asphalt. Its leaves get
thickly coated with soot, which also turns its light-grey bark to black;
but as the upper surface of the leaves is smooth and firm, a shower of
rain washes them clean, and the rigid outer layer of bark is thrown off
by the expansion of the softer bark beneath. This is not thrown off all
at once, but in large and small flakes, which leave a smooth yellow
patch behind, temporarily free from soot contamination. A variety of
trees has been tried for street-planting, but none has stood the trying
conditions of London so well as the Plane, and therefore before many
years the capital will be the city of Planes.

[Illustration: _Pl. 134._ Plane Tree--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 135._ Bole of Plane Tree.]

[Illustration: Oriental Plane.]

Two species are recognized--the Oriental Plane (_Platanus orientalis_)
and the Western Plane (_P. occidentalis_); but it would probably be more
accurate to regard them as geographical varieties of one species, the
points in which they differ being small and not very important. Thus the
leaves of the Oriental Plane are described as being so much more deeply
lobed than those of the Western Plane that the former are botanically
described as palmate; but the two forms of leaf may often be found on
the same individual. The Western Plane, too, does not shed its bark in
small flakes like the Oriental Plane, but in large sheets.

Planes normally rise to a height of something between seventy and ninety
feet, and the trunk attains a circumference of from nine to twelve feet;
but there is a record of a portly Plane whose waist measurement was
forty feet! Many persons imagine because the leaves of the Plane
resemble those of the Sycamore that the two are closely related; but
this is not so, and a comparison of the flowers and fruit will show that
they are not. The catkins of the Plane take the form of balls, in which
male _or_ female flowers are pressed together; and the fruits, instead
of being winged samaras, are the rough balls that so closely resemble an
old-fashioned form of button, that the tree is known in some parts of
the United States as the Button-wood. (It is also known there as
Sycamore and Cotton-tree.)

The Plane is supposed to have got its name _Platanus_ from the Greek
word _platus_ (broad), in double allusion to the broad leaves and the
ample shadow which the tree throws. These leaves are five-lobed, and, as
already indicated, those of the Oriental species are much more deeply
cut. Further distinction is found in the colour of the petiole or
leaf-stalk, which is green in _P. orientalis_, and purplish-red in _P.
occidentalis_, and in the larger and smoother seed-buttons of the
latter. Instead of the leaves being attached to the stem in pairs, as we
saw in the Sycamore, those of the Plane are alternate--that is to say,
leaf number two of a series will be halfway between one and three, but
on the opposite side of the shoot.

The outline of the tree is not so regular as in most others, the leaves
being gathered in heavy masses, with broad spaces between, rather than
equally distributed over the head. This is, of course, due to the
freedom with which the crooked arms are flung about. The pale-brown wood
is fine-grained, tough, and hard, and is extensively used by
pianoforte-makers, coach-builders, and cabinet-makers, but is not
highly esteemed for other purposes to which timber is put in this
country.

The Oriental Plane is popularly supposed to have been introduced to
England from the Levant by Francis Bacon, but if Loudon's statement that
it was "in British gardens before 1548" rests on good evidence, Bacon's
claim is dismissed, for _he_ was not "introduced" until 1561. It was
nearly a hundred years later (1640) that the Occidental Plane was first
brought from Virginia by the younger Tradescant, and planted in that
remarkable garden of his father's in South Lambeth Road. The form that
has done so well in London, and of which many fine examples are to be
seen in the parks and squares, is a variety of the Oriental Plane, with
leaves less deeply divided than those of the type, and therefore more
nearly approaching the Occidental Plane in this respect. It is
distinguished by the name of the Maple-leaved Plane (_Platanus
orientalis_, var. _acerifolia_). It is this variety we have chosen as
the subject for our photograph.

[Illustration: _Pl. 136._ Plane Tree--winter.]


The Walnut (_Juglans regia_).

In the Golden Age, when man lived happily on a handful of acorns, the
gods fed upon walnuts, and so their name was _Jovis glans_--the nuts of
Jupiter--since contracted into _Juglans_. Those who delight in obvious
interpretations by appealing to the modern meanings of words similar in
construction may be pardoned for supposing that Walnut-trees were
formerly trained against walls; but, like many other obvious
interpretations, this is wide of the mark. Some have gone back to the
Anglo-Saxons for help, and though the result arrived at is in all
probability the correct one, it is almost certain that the Anglo-Saxons
knew nothing of the matter, and would scarcely trouble to give a name to
something they had never seen. The Walnut is a native of the Himalayas,
the Hindu Kuh, Persia, Lebanon, and Asia Minor to Greece. The learned
Roman, Varro, who was born B.C. 116, and died B.C. 28, mentions it as
existing in Italy in his day; and Pliny tells us it was brought thence
from Persia. The date of its introduction to Britain is usually set down
as about the middle of the sixteenth century, but it was probably at
least a century earlier, for Gerarde, writing at the close of the
sixteenth century, describes it as a tree commonly to be seen in
orchards, and in fields near the highways, where a very new importation
was not likely to be found. But to return to the name: there can be
little doubt that it is a contraction of Wälsh-nut (in modern spelling,
Welsh-nut), meaning foreign. This is German, and while the modern sons
of the Vaterland write it Wallnuss (occasionally Wälshenuss), the Dutch
form is Wallnoot. That this is the true derivation is made pretty
certain by Gerarde, who calls it "Walnut, and of some Walsh-nut."

That the new importation was fully appreciated in Europe for its fruit
may be judged by the extent to which its cultivation had spread in
Evelyn's day, for he tells us the trees abounded in Burgundy, where they
stood in the midst of goodly wheat-lands. He says: "In several places
betwixt Hanau and Frankfort in Germany no young farmer is permitted to
marry a wife till he bring proof that he hath planted and is a father of
such a stated number of [Walnut] trees, and the law is inviolably
observed to this day, for the extraordinary benefit the tree affords the
inhabitants."

[Illustration: _Pl. 137._ Walnut--summer.]

The Walnut is a handsome tree, growing to a height of forty to sixty
feet, with a bole twenty feet or more in circumference, and a huge
spreading head. The bark is of a cool grey colour, smooth when young,
but as the tree matures deep longitudinal furrows form, and it becomes
very rugged. The twisted branches take a direction more upward than
horizontal, but in early summer they are almost completely hidden by the
masses of large and handsome leaves of warm green colour and spicy
aroma. I once rejoiced in the occupation of a garden that held two
Walnut-trees, and though they had not attained to the fruiting age,
their possession was a delight to me; but then I am one of those who
enjoy their fragrance, which is unbearable to some persons. The large
leaves are formed after the fashion of the Ash-leaf--broken up into a
variable number of lance-shaped leaflets with scarcely perceptible
teeth.

[Illustration: Walnut. A, female flowers; B, male flowers.]

The flowering of the Walnut is much on the plan of the Oak and the
Hazel, the sexes being in different flowers, but borne by one tree; the
males forming a long drooping catkin of slender cylindrical form, the
females being solitary, or a few grouped at the end of a shoot.
Separated from the catkin, the males will each be seen to consist of a
calyx of five greenish scales, enclosing a large number of stamens. The
calyx of the female closely invests the ovary, which has two or three
fleshy stigmas. The flowering takes place in early spring, before the
leaf-buds have burst. The fruit is a plum-like drupe, only the
enveloping green flesh becomes brown, and, splitting irregularly,
discloses the "stone," which in this species takes the form of a hard
but thin-shelled nut--the well-known Walnut, with its wrinkled kernel of
crisp white flesh, from which a fine oil is obtained. The ripening of
these nuts--which is accomplished by the beginning of October--can only
be relied upon in the southern half of Britain, and even there the crop
is often spoiled by late frosts in spring. Its chief value in Europe is
as a fruit-tree, though the light but tough wood is much esteemed for
the manufacture of furniture. Owing to its rapid growth, the grain is
coarse, but the dark-brown colour is esteemed, especially as it is
relieved by streaks and veins of lighter tints and black. It is easily
worked, and bears a high polish. The wood of young trees is white,
gradually deepening to brown as maturity is approached. All the juices
of the tree, whether from wood, bark, leaves, or green fruit, are rich
in the brown pigment to which the hue of the timber is due. The combined
lightness and toughness of the wood led to its adoption as the favourite
material for making the stocks of guns and rifles. It is said that so
great was the demand for this purpose during the Peninsular War, that a
single Walnut-tree realized £600 for its timber, and this created a boom
that led to the cutting down of all our finest Walnut-trees. Some of
these were doubtless the very trees referred to by Evelyn, who tells us
the Walnut was extensively planted at Leatherhead in Surrey, also at
Cassaulton (Carshalton) and Godstone in the same county, where the
rambler may come across fine Walnut-trees to this day, and
occasionally to young ones growing wild in hedgerows and wastes.

[Illustration: _Pl. 138._ Fruit of Walnut.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 139._ Walnut--winter.]

The old doggerel adage, "A dog and a wife and a walnut-tree, the more
they are beaten the better they be," has reference to the manner of
harvesting the ripe fruit. Evelyn says: "In Italy they arm the tops of
long poles with nails and iron for the purpose [of loosening the fruit],
and believe the beating improves the tree; which I no more believe than
I do that discipline would reform a shrew." He expresses no opinion on
the question of beating dogs.


Sweet Chestnut (_Castanea sativa_).

Until about the middle of the last century the Chestnut was generally
regarded as a genuine native of these islands. It is true that botanists
felt that so large and longevous a tree, if native, should be found in
the natural forests of this country, or even forming pure forest. These
things they did not find, but, on the other hand, they were shown beams
in ancient buildings, including Westminster Abbey, which were believed
to be Chestnut-wood, and this evidence seemed to point to the fact that
Chestnut timber was grown much more plentifully in this country at the
period when these old buildings were erected. Dr. Lindley, however, set
the matter at rest by examination of the reputed Chestnut beams in the
roof of Westminster Abbey, and proved that they were of Durmast Oak. A
similar examination of the timbers of the old Louvre in Paris, which
were also reputed to be Chestnut, gave a similar result. A comparison of
sections across the grain of Oak and Chestnut allows of no possibility
of mistake, and it is now known that whilst the wood of young Chestnuts
is tough and durable, that from old trees is brittle and comparatively
worthless, except for firewood, which is exactly the opposite of
Oak-wood. It is now generally agreed that its real home is in Asia Minor
and Greece, whence it was introduced to Italy in very remote times, and
has since spread over most of temperate Europe, its seeds ripening and
sowing themselves wherever the vine flourishes. We appear to be indebted
to our friends the Romans for its introduction to Britain, who no doubt
hoped to utilize the fruit for food, as at home--a hope that must have
been disappointed, for its crops, even in the South of England, are very
fitful, and the nuts quite small.

[Illustration: _Pl. 140._ Sweet Chestnut--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 141._ Bole of Sweet Chestnut.]

In suitable situations the Chestnut is of larger proportions and greater
length of life even than the Oak. In the South of England it will attain
a height of from sixty to eighty feet in fifty or sixty years, and if
growing in deep porous loam, free from carbonate of lime, and sheltered
from strong winds and frosts, it builds up an erect massive column.
Hamerton has said of such a tree: "His expression is that of sturdy
strength; his trunk and limbs are built, not like those of Apollo, but
like the trunk and limbs of Hercules." Under less suitable conditions
the undivided trunk is little more than ten feet long; then it divides
off into several huge limbs, and so the general character of the tree is
altered, and it presents much the appearance of having been pollarded.
The branches have a horizontal and downward habit of growth, the
extremities of the lowest ones often being but little above the earth.
The fine elliptical leaves are nine or ten inches in length, of a rich
green, that is enhanced by the polished surface, which "brings up" the
colour. Their edges are cut into long pointed teeth. Towards autumn they
pale to light yellow, and then deepen into gold on their way to the
final brown of the fallen leaf, which, by the way, is a great enricher
of the soil where the Chestnut is grown.

[Illustration: Sweet Chestnut. A, fruit.]

The flowers, though individually small and inconspicuous, are rather
striking, from their association in cylindrical yellow catkins, about
six inches long, which hang from the axils of the leaves. The upper part
of this catkin consists of male flowers, each with a number of
stamens enclosed in a perianth or calyx of five or six green leaves. The
female flowers, on the lower part of the catkin, are two or three
together, in a prickly four-lobed "cupule," or involucre, and consist
each of a calyx closely investing a tapering ovary, whose summit bears
from five to eight radiating stigmas, the number corresponding with the
cells into which the ovary is divided. Each cell contains two seed-eggs,
but as a rule only one in each flower develops. As development of the
ovary and seeds progresses, the cupule also grows, and ultimately
entirely surrounds the cluster with the hedgehog-like coat in which the
nuts are contained when ripe. Then it splits open and discloses the two
or three glossy brown nuts. The Chestnut is in flower from May to July,
and the nuts drop in October. They form an important article of food in
South Europe, where they are produced in abundance, and there can be
little doubt that the importers of the tree to this country believed it
would prove equally valuable here. Evelyn had this in mind when he
recommended the nut as "a lusty and masculine food for rustics at all
times, and of better nourishment for husbandmen than cole and rusty
bacon." Well, there is plenty of Chestnut grown around Evelyn's estate
at Wootton to-day, but it is chiefly as coppice, to provide hop-poles,
and hoops for barrels, for which purpose the long straight shoots are
split in two. Grown as coppice, the Chestnut also provides fine cover
for pheasants and other game. The trees begin to bear when about
twenty-five years old, and from thence on to the fiftieth or sixtieth
year the timber is at its best, but later it develops the defect known
as "ring shake," and becomes of little use. That is probably why one
meets with so many hollow wrecks of what were once noble Chestnuts.

The young wood is covered with smooth brown bark, but later this becomes
grey, and its surface splits into longitudinal fissures, which give a
very distinctive character to the trunk. In older trees the fissures and
the alternating ridges have a slight spiral twist, which gives the tree
the appearance (shown in our third photo) of having been wrenched round
by some mighty force. The average age of the Chestnut is about five
hundred years, but there have been in this country many old trees that
were much older, if any reliance could be placed in local tradition.
There was--we fear there is little of it still remaining--the great
Tortworth Chestnut in Lord Ducies' park at Tortworth Court. In 1820 it
was found to have a girth of fifty-two feet. Evelyn refers to it in his
"Sylva," and tells us that in the reign of King Stephen it already bore
the title of the Great Chestnut of Tortworth.

The name Chestnut appears to be a modification of the old Latin name
_Castanea_, through the French form _Chataigner_. The Latin is said to
be derived from Kastanum, a town in Thessaly, but it is more likely that
the presence of Chestnut-trees gave a name to the town, as has happened
so many times in our own country with various trees, the Chestnut
included.


Horse Chestnut (_Æsculus hippocastanum_).

Our placing the Chestnut and the Horse Chestnut into juxtaposition must
not be understood as a recognition of any relationship that may be
implied in their names, but rather the reverse--to accentuate the
differences that exist between them, and which have led botanists to
separate them widely in all systems of classification. Although the
fruits are sufficiently similar to have suggested the name Chestnut
being applied to this, with a qualifying prefix, they have been produced
by flowers of entirely different character. Evelyn tells us that the
word Horse was added because of its virtues in "curing horses
broken-winded and other cattle of coughs," a statement for which he was
no doubt indebted to Parkinson (1640), who says, "Horse Chestnuts are
given in the East Country, and so through all Turkie, unto Horses to
cure them of the cough, shortnesse of winde, and such other diseases;"
but seeing that, in this country at least, horses refuse to touch them,
there can be little doubt that the name was given to indicate their
inferiority to the Sweet Chestnut, and by a process only too well known
to the student of early botanical literature, the name was afterwards
held to be proof of their medicinal value to horses.

[Illustration: _Pl. 142._ Flowers of Sweet Chestnut.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 143._ Sweet Chestnut--winter.]

The Horse Chestnut is a native of the mountain regions of Greece,
Persia, and Northern India, and is believed to have been introduced to
Britain about 1550. It is not a tree that will be found in the
woodlands, or even by the wayside, except when it is behind a fence; yet
it constantly greets the rambler who has left the suburban gardens
behind him, and in the public parks--notably the magnificent avenue of
Bushey Park--where by contrast it exhibits itself as the grandest of all
flowering trees. Though the stout cylindrical bole is short, its erect
trunk towers to a height of eighty or a hundred feet, supporting the
massive pyramid, beautiful on account of its fine foliage and handsome
flowers alike. The stout branches take an upward direction at first,
then stretch outward and curve downwards, though in winter, when
relieved of the weight of foliage, their extremities curl sharply
upward, and the great buds in spring are almost erect.

These brown buds, with their numerous wraps and liberal coating of
varnish, afford considerable interest to the suburban dweller in early
spring. He watches their gradual swelling, and the polish that comes
upon them through the daily melting of their varnish under the influence
of sunshine. Then the outer scales fall flat, the upper parts show green
and loose; there is a perceptible lengthening of the shoot, which leaves
a space between those outer wraps and the folded leaves. Next the
leaflets separate and assume a horizontal position as they expand. Then
probably there comes a frost, and next morning the leaflets are all
hanging down, almost blackened, flaccid and dejected-looking. A warm
southerly rain, followed by sunshine, reinvigorates them, and we see
that the lengthening of the shoot has actually brought the incipient
flower-spike clear into view. By about the second week in May the
pyramid is clothed with bold handsome foliage, against which the conical
spikes of white blossoms, tinged with crimson and dotted with yellow,
stand out conspicuously.

The leaves are almost circular, but broken up, finger-fashion, into
seven toothed leaflets of different sizes, which appear to have started
as ovals, but the necessity for not overcrowding their neighbours has
necessitated the portion nearest the leaf-stalk taking a wedge shape.
The large size of these leaves--as much as eighteen inches across--leads
the non-botanical to regard the leaflets as being full leaves. On
emerging from the bud the leaves are seen to be covered with down, but
as they expand this is thrown off.

[Illustration: Horse Chestnut. A, flower; B, fruit.]

The flowers consist of a bell-shaped calyx with five lobes, supporting
five separate petals, pure white in colour, but splashed and dotted with
crimson and yellow towards the base of the upper ones, to indicate the
way to the honey-glands. There are seven curved stamens, and in their
midst a longer curved style proceeding from a roundish ovary with three
cells. In each cell there are two seed-eggs, but as a rule only one egg
in two of the cells develops into a "nut." The ovary develops into a
large fleshy bur, with short stout spines, which splits into three
valves when the dark-red glossy seeds are ripe. In the Sweet Chestnut
the brown skin of the nut is the ovary, which had been overgrown by the
prickly involucre; here the spiny green shell is the ovary, and the
"nut" a seed. Though horses will not eat this bitter fruit, cattle,
deer, and sheep are fond of it. Pounded in water, it becomes one of the
numerous vegetable substitutes for soap. Under the name of Konker, or
Conqueror, it affords a seasonal joy to the average boy, who first
bombards the tree with sticks and stones to dislodge the fruit, and then
threads the ruddy konkers on string and does battle with a chum
similarly equipped, the one whose string is broken or pulled from his
hand by the conflict of weapons being the vanquished. In some parts the
game is led off by the recitation of the rhyme, "Oblionker! my fust
konker."

[Illustration: _Pl. 144._ Horse Chestnut--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 145._ Fruits of Horse Chestnut.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 146._ Bole of Horse Chestnut.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 147._ Horse Chestnut--winter.]

The growth of the tree is very rapid, and consequently the timber is
soft and of no value where durability is required. Still, its even grain
and susceptibility to a high polish make it useful for indoor wood, such
as cabinet-making and flooring. It is also used for making charcoal for
the gunpowder mills. Although Salvator Rosa and other landscape painters
have made such good use of the Sweet Chestnut pictorially, they have
utterly neglected the Horse Chestnut; and Hamerton hints that the cause
of this neglect is the artist's inability to represent its large flowers
and leaves by the landscape painter's ordinary method of laying on
masses of colour: this requires drawing. The tree begins to produce
fruit about its twentieth year, and continues to do so nearly every
year. Its age is estimated as about two hundred years. The bark, at
first smooth, breaks into irregular scales and in old trees a twist
may be developed, as illustrated by our photo of the bole.

The generic name _Æsculus_ (from Latin _esca_, food) has no real
connection with the tree, the ancients having given it to some species
of Oak with edible acorns (_vide_ Pliny), but by some unknown means it
has become transferred to a tree whose fruit is far too bitter to be
eaten by man.

The Red-flowered Horse Chestnut (_Æsculus carnea_) is a smaller and less
vigorous tree. Its origin is unknown, but it is believed to be a garden
hybrid that made its appearance about 1820.


The Bay Tree (_Laurus nobilis_).

The Bay is the true Laurel, of whose leaves and berries the wreaths were
made in ancient days for poets and conquerors. Naturally it is more of a
shrub than a tree, for though it often attains a height of sixty feet,
it persists in sending up so many suckers that the tree-like character
is lost. In cultivation, however, it is often grown on a single stem, as
well as formed by cutting into arbours and arches. We call to mind a
Cornish village, where a garden enclosure in its square (or "plestor,"
as Gilbert White would say) was surrounded by about a dozen Bays so
grown. Bays grow abundantly in the gardens of South Cornwall, and we
always connected their general cultivation with the pilchard fishery.
Certainly, these trees in the plestor were very convenient in the autumn
and winter, for the leaves are an essential ingredient in the proper
composition of that seductive dish, marinated pilchards, to which they
impart their peculiar aromatic flavour.

The Bay is a native of Southern Europe, whence it was introduced at some
date prior to 1562. Prior says the name is the old Roman _bacca_ (a
berry), altered "by the usual omission of 'c' between the two vowels,"
this plant having become the _bacca par excellence_, because its
berries were articles of commerce.

[Illustration: Bay. A, flower; B, fruit.]

The evergreen leaves are lance-shaped, without teeth, and arranged
alternately on the branchlets. Not all the trees produce the berries,
for the sexes are in distinct individuals, and all the white or
yellowish four-parted flowers on one tree are stamen-bearing, whilst on
another individual they all bear ovaries and no stamens. The berries, at
first green, ultimately become of a dark purple hue. The flowers will be
found in April or May; the ripe berries in October. The Bay is grown
chiefly as a shrubbery ornament, and can only survive our winters
out-of-doors in the South of England.

[Illustration: _Pl. 148._ Bay.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 149._ Laburnum.]


Laburnum (_Laburnum vulgare_).

Although the Laburnums of our parks and gardens have all come from seed,
and themselves produce an abundance of it, we do not meet with wayside
"escapes" as we might expect to do, having regard to the habit of the
tree and the fact that it is comparatively indifferent respecting
character of soil. Possibly a remark of Loudon's may explain this. He
says that rabbits are exceedingly fond of the bark, and it may be that
they destroy any young trees that are unprotected by palings or netting.
The tree produces such a glorification of many an ordinary suburban
road, when its flowering time comes round, that one would like to note
its effect as a common object of the hillside and the woodland, against
a background furnished by our more sober native trees.

The Laburnum is at home in the mountain forests of Central and Southern
Europe, but there is no record of its introduction to Britain. We do
know, however, that it has been with us for more than three centuries,
for Gerarde, in his "Herbal," published 1597, refers to it as growing in
his garden. It belongs to the great Pea and Bean family (_Leguminosæ_),
and is very closely related to the Common Broom, whose solitary flowers
those of the Laburnum's drooping racemes nearly resemble. Ordinarily it
is only a low tree of about twenty feet in height, but in favourable
situations it may attain to thirty feet or more. Some of the larger
Laburnums, however, are of a distinct species (_L. alpinus_).

The pale round branches are clothed with leaves that are divided into
three oval-lance-shaped leaflets, covered on the underside with silvery
down. Both leaves and golden flowers appear simultaneously in May, but
from the fact that the latter are gathered into numerous long pendulous
racemes, their blaze of colour makes the leaves almost invisible.
Tennyson's description of its flowering--"Laburnum, dropping wells of
fire"--is fine, but we rather prefer Cowper's "rich in streaming gold,"
as embodying a more exact colour idea. The flowers are succeeded by long
downy legumes or pods, like those of the bean and pea, containing many
seeds, which are of a dangerously violent emetic character when
introduced to the human stomach. The dark wood is of coarse grain; but,
in spite of this, hard and enduring, and taking a good polish. It is
chiefly used by musical instrument makers, turners, and cabinet-makers.

[Illustration: Laburnum. A, seed-pod.]

Laburnum is the old Latin name, which is thus rather fancifully
explained by Prior, "an adjective from _L. labor_, denoting what
belongs to the _hour of labour_, and which may allude to its closing its
leaflets together at night, and expanding them by day." Common local
names are Golden Chain, suggested by the strings of flowers, and
Bean-trefoile and Pea-tree, having reference to the leaves and legumes
respectively.


The Locust Tree (_Robinia pseudacacia_).

Although the Locust, or False Acacia, is little planted now, it is only
paying the penalty for having had its merits enormously exaggerated;
just as human reputations sometimes sink into oblivion after a season of
popularity achieved by the persistent "booming" of influential friends.
The friend in this case was William Cobbett, who, on his return from the
United States, about 1820, preached salvation to the timber grower
through the planting of Robinia; "nothing in the timber way could be so
great a benefit as the general cultivation of this tree." So great was
the demand thus created that Cobbett himself started a nursery for the
propagation and supply of Robinias, and so great is the virtue of a name
that people refused the Locust-trees that every nurseryman had in stock
and wished to sell, and would be content with nothing but Cobbett's
Robinias, which could not be produced fast enough for the demand! They
thought it was an entirely new introduction, though it had been grown in
this country as an ornamental tree for nearly two centuries! Its wood is
hard, strong, and durable, but liable to crack, and of limited utility.

The Locust was introduced to Europe from North America early in the
seventeenth century, and was then thought to be identical with the
African Acacia. Linnæus named the genus in honour of Jean Robin, a
French botanist, whose son, an official at the Jardin des Plantes, was
the first to cultivate the tree in Europe.

It is a tree of light and graceful proportions, its branches being long
and slender, and the long narrow leaves being broken up into a large
number of small oval leaflets, arranged _pinnately_, that is,
featherwise. The stipules, which are found at the base of the leaf-stalk
in many plants, are in this genus converted into sharp spines. The
flowers, of similar pea-shape to those of the Laburnum, are white and
fragrant. They are in long loose racemes, which droop from the axils of
the leaves in May. The legumes are very thin, and of a dark-brown hue.

[Illustration: False Acacia, or Locust Tree. A, seed-pod.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 150._ Locust Tree--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 151._ Bole of Locust Tree.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 152._ Locust--winter.]

This was one of the first American trees introduced to Europe, and its
name of Locust came with it, the missionaries believing it must be the
tree upon whose fruit, with the addition of wild honey, John the
Baptist supported himself in the wilderness. It is also known as Silver
Chain, in contradistinction to the Gold Chain or Laburnum; also as White
Laburnum.


The Larch (_Larix europæa_).

An enormous number of exotic Coniferous trees are at the present time
commonly grown in our parks and pleasure grounds, and even our woods
show a considerable variety beyond the Scots Pine and Yew that Nature
has alone given us as timber trees in this order. To attempt to give
even a very brief account of all these in a pocket volume, in addition
to almost the entire woody Flora indigenous to these islands, would be
manifestly absurd. We can, however, deal with a few representative
species of these exotics, and we give the Larch the first place by
reason of its present plentifulness in extensive unmixed woods and
plantations.

The Larch is naturally a tree of the mountains, and ascends to a greater
elevation even than the Spruce Fir. Unmixed forests of Larch in the
Bavarian Alps occur between 3000 and 6000 feet above sea-level, and on
the central Swiss Alps it ascends to nearly 7000 feet. A long winter of
real cold is necessary for its full development and the ripening of its
wood, and for that reason the timber of Larch grown in England is
inferior to that grown in its native countries, because our winters are
either short or mild, and neither gives the tree the full rest it needs.
It is a European tree, and was introduced--though not in any numbers--to
England at some date prior to 1629. For 150 years it appears to have
been cultivated here merely as an ornamental garden tree. Then attention
was called to its value as a timber tree, and the Society of Arts
offered gold medals for Larch planting and essays upon its economic
importance. Already (1728) the second Duke of Atholl had begun those
experiments in Larch growing for timber which have been continued by
his successors on a vast scale, the fourth Duke planting 27,000,000
Larch-trees on 15,000 acres of barren land. Their example has been
copied on a smaller scale all over the country.

[Illustration: Larch. A, flower.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 153._ Larch--summer.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 154._ Larch--winter.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 155._ Bole of Larch.]

The Larch is a lofty tree, with a very straight tapering trunk
ordinarily attaining a length between 80 and 100 feet, but under very
favourable conditions 120 feet, with a girth of bole from 6 to 12 feet.
The brown bark is easily separable into thin layers, and the growth of
the tree causes it to split into deep longitudinal fissures. The long
lower branches are spreading, with a downward tendency, and the tips
turned upward again. The twigs are mostly pendulous, and bear long and
slender light-green leaves, in bundles of thirty or forty. All the other
families of Coniferous trees are evergreen, their leaves lasting for
several years; but at the beginning of winter the Larch leaves wither
and fall, and the Larch-wood takes on a more lifeless aspect than is
assumed by any of our native trees in their leafless condition. But in
spring, when the fresh green leaves are just showing in spreading tufts,
and the reddish-purple female flowers--Tennyson's "rosy plumelets"--hang
brightly from the gaunt branches, the Larch wears an entirely different
appearance, and in summer the light grace of branches and foliage makes
the Larch a beautiful object. That is, one should say, the trees that
grow on the very outer edge of the wood, or, better still, one that has
been planted as a specimen tree, where it has room to fling out its arms
on all sides without touching anything, and can get the abundant light
it needs. The straight rows in the plantation, with every tree at an
equal distance from its neighbours, and its lower branches dead, may be
very pretty from the timber-merchant's point of view, but one likes to
think of the tree as a living thing of beauty rather than as a detail in
a factory where scaffold-poles and telegraph-posts are being grown to
regulation size and shape.

The brown cones are egg-shaped, little more than an inch in length, the
scales with loose edges. The wood is very durable, and it has the great
recommendation of being fit for ordinary use when the tree is only forty
years old. It is most valuable for those purposes where exposure to all
weathers is a necessity, for it endures constant change from wet to dry.
Larch-bark is used for tanning, and Venice turpentine is a product of
the tree. Unlike most Conifers, it has the power of sending out new
shoots when the branches have been removed close up to the stem.

Larch plantations sometimes present the appearance of death whilst they
are still covered with foliage, but the leaves are yellow and twisted.
This most frequently occurs in the case of trees between the ages of ten
and fourteen years, and is due to the depredations of a leaf-mining
caterpillar, which ultimately changes into a minute moth, the
Larch-miner (_Coleophora laricella_). It feeds in the interior of the
Larch-needles, and therefore is beyond the reach of destruction, except
by felling and burning affected trees, to prevent the spread of the
pest. Its ravages keep the tree in ill-health, and apparently prepare
the way for the deadly attack of another small enemy, known as the Larch
Canker--the fungus _Peziza willkommii_. Sickly trees are also liable to
the attentions of a Wood-wasp (_Sirex juvencus_), whose appearance is
usually the cause of a little terror in nervous persons. It has two
pairs of smoky transparent wings, and its stout, straight, blue body
terminates in a long slender point. Its large white grub spends two or
three years tunnelling towards the heart of the tree and out to the bark
again, but rarely attacks sound trees. It sometimes makes its appearance
in a house from wood that has been used for building purposes.

[Illustration: _Pl. 156._ Flowers and Cone of Larch.]


The Silver Fir (_Abies pectinata_).

Evelyn has left on record the fact that a two-year-old specimen of the
Silver Fir was planted in Harefield Park, near Uxbridge, in the year
1603, and this is usually regarded as the date of its introduction to
England, though the evidence is by no means conclusive. Its home is in
the mountain regions of Central and Southern Europe. Its highest
range appears to be on the Pyrenees, where it is found at an
elevation of 6500 feet, forming pure forests of considerable area.
Specimens have been recorded in Southern Germany that have attained a
height of nearly 200 feet, but in this country a more usual stature is
from 100 to 120 feet, with a bole girth between 10 and 15 feet. Its
trunk is straight and erect, tapering gently, and covered with smooth
bark, of a greyish-brown colour, which in aged specimens becomes rugged
and fissured longitudinally, as shown in our photo, and of a silvery
grey colour. It retains its lower branches for a period of forty to
fifty years, but after that age they begin to fall off. Whilst the tree
is growing up--which is, roughly speaking, during its first two hundred
years--the crown forms a slender bush; but its vertical growth
completed, the crown grows laterally, and becomes flat-topped. Its
life-period covers about four hundred years.

[Illustration: _Pl. 157._ Silver Fir.]

[Illustration: Silver Fir. A, cone.]

The leaves are flat and slender, not in bundles, as in the Scots Pine,
but arranged along the branchlets in two or three dense ranks. They are
dark, rich green above, about an inch long, and on the flattened
underside there is a bluish-white stripe on each side of the midrib,
which gives a silvery appearance to the foliage when upturned, as is
usual on the fertile branches. These leaves endure from six to nine
years. The flowers appear in May at the tips of the branches. The male
flowers are about three-quarters of an inch long, and consist of two or
three series of overlapping scales, enclosing the yellow stamens. The
cones are cylindrical, with a blunt top, always erect, 6 to 8 inches
long, and from 1¼ to 2 inches in diameter. On the back of each of the
broad scales there is a long, slender, pointed bract, which extends
beyond the scale and turns downward. At first these cones are green,
then become reddish, and when mature are brown; but maturity is not
reached until eighteen months after their appearance. The angular seeds
are furnished with a broad wing twice their length. They are shed by the
cones in the spring following their maturity, the scales falling at the
same time and leaving the core of the cone on the tree.

As a rule, the tree does not produce fertile seeds until it is about
forty years of age, but seedless cones are formed from its twentieth
year. Although the flowers of both sexes are found on the same tree, it
may be that for a series of years only cones are produced. Until the
Silver Fir is about twelve years old its growth is slow, and its annual
increase is only a few inches, but later it will be as many feet. During
this early stage spring frosts often destroy the leader-shoot, but its
place is taken by another shoot; and soon the symmetry of the tree is
restored. If this occurs at a later stage, however, the tree bears
evidence of it in a forked trunk. It is a deep-rooting species, with a
branching tap-root, and succeeds best in an open soil that is moist
without being wet.

[Illustration: _Pl. 158._ Bole of Silver Fir.]

The timber, which has an irregular grain, is strong, and does not warp;
but it is soft, and not enduring where it is exposed to the weather. It
is yellowish-white in colour, and is largely used for all interior work.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 159._ Spruce Firs.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 160._ Bole of Spruce Fir.]


The Spruce Fir (_Picea excelsa_).

Although we are compelled to class the Spruce among introduced species,
it can lay claim to have been one of the older forest trees of Britain,
for the upper beds of the Tertiary formations contain abundant evidence
that the Spruce was a native here when those strata were laid down. Of
its modern introduction there is no record, but from mention of it by
Turner in his "Names of Herbes in Greke, Latin, Englishe, etc.," we know
that it was at some date anterior to the publication of that work
(1548). It is widely distributed as a native tree throughout the
continent of Europe, with the exception of Denmark and Holland. It is
the principal forest tree on the elevated tracts of Germany and
Switzerland, and on the central Alpine ranges it reaches an altitude of
6500 feet. It is an extremely variable tree, but we cannot here deal
with the varieties beyond saying that two principal forms, different in
habit and in timber, are outwardly distinguished by one having red, the
other green, cones.

The Spruce Fir is a tall and graceful tree with tapering trunk, 120 to
150 feet in height, though in this country its more usual stature, when
full-grown, would be about 80 feet high, with a bole circumference of
about 9 feet. At first covered with thin, smooth, warm-brown bark, in
later life this breaks up into irregular scales, thin layers of which
are cast off. Instead of a bushy crown, such as we see in the Silver
Fir, the Spruce ends in a delicate spire, so familiar in the
Christmas-tree, which is a Spruce Fir in the nursery stage. The branches
are in very regular tiers from base to summit, and the branchlets go
off almost opposite each other, densely clothed with the short
grass-green needles. These are from a half to three-quarters of an inch
in length, four-sided, and ending in a fine sharp point. They endure for
six or seven years.

[Illustration: Spruce Fir.]

The flowers are produced near the ends of last year's shoots, those with
stamens being borne singly or in clusters of two or three. They are
about three-quarters of an inch in length, and of a yellow colour,
tinged with pink. The cones, which hang downwards, are almost
cylindrical, about 5 inches long and 1½ inches in diameter. The pale
brown scales are thin, and loosely overlap. The seeds, of which there
are two under each scale, are very small, with a transparent brown wing,
five times the length of the seed. The flowers appear in May, and the
seeds are not ripe until nearly a year later.

The tree is a shallow rooter, the roots going off horizontally in all
directions a little below the surface, and becoming intimately matted
with those of neighbouring trees. This surface-rooting often leads to
disaster in plantations and forests of Spruce, for it is least able of
all the firs to withstand a gale, which will sometimes make a broad
avenue through the plantation by toppling the trees one against another.

The wood of the Spruce Fir, though light, is even grained, elastic, and
durable, and the straightness of its stem makes it very valuable for all
purposes where great length and straightness are required, as for the
masts of small vessels, ladders, scaffolding, telegraph-poles; as well
as for the varied uses the builder finds for its planks. It supplies
resin and pitch, and most of the cheaper periodicals now issued largely
owe their existence to the Spruce, for its fibres reduced to pulp are
made into the paper upon which they are printed. Although its growth
during the first few years is rather slow, progress during the next
twenty-five years is tolerably rapid, being at the rate of two or three
feet per year, if in a favourable situation, and on moist light soil.
When grown in a wood the Spruce loses its lower branches early, but when
given sufficient "elbow-room," these remain to a good old age, so that
from spire to earth the graceful cone of bright green is continuous.

The name Spruce is from the German _sprossen_ (a sprout), in allusion to
the numerous short branchlets that are a characteristic of the tree.

[Illustration: _Pl. 161._ Douglas Fir.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 162._ Bole of Douglas Fir.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 163._ Cone of Spruce Fir.]


The Douglas Fir (_Pseudotsuga douglasii_).

Although the name of this tree in English and Latin might reasonably
lead one to suppose that David Douglas, the intrepid botanical explorer,
was the discoverer of it, that is not really so. It was Archibald
Menzies who first made it known to science, by means of herbarium
specimens collected in 1792, when, as the companion of Vancouver, he
visited the western coasts of North America. But Douglas, in his
capacity of collector to the Royal Horticultural Society, landed at Fort
Vancouver on the Columbia River in 1825, and not only sent home
herbarium specimens, but seeds also, of this and several previously
unknown Conifers. It was by means of these seeds that the Douglas Fir
was introduced to Britain. It was already known by Lambert's name of
_Abies taxifolia_, but Dr. Lindley, a short time previous to Douglas'
untimely death, selected the tree as a suitable and enduring memorial of
the enormous services Douglas had rendered, and named it _Abies
douglasii_. Since then Carrière has split up the old genus _Abies_ and
placed _douglasii_ in the new genus _Pseudotsuga_.

Under the most favourable natural conditions, as around Puget Sound and
on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the Douglas Fir grows to a
height of 300 feet, with a girth of 30 to 40 feet, but on the drier
slopes of the Rocky Mountains it is not more than 100 feet high. In
Colorado, forests of Douglas Fir are found at an elevation of 11,000
feet. The tree has not been sufficiently long established in this
country to say what dimensions it will reach, though it appears to have
taken kindly to Ireland and to Devon and Cornwall, where the rate of
growth of young trees is about 30 inches per annum. There are plenty of
trees in these islands, planted about the year 1834, which have reached
or passed 100 feet, and there is no doubt that towards our western
coasts this height will be greatly exceeded. Some of these trees have
long since produced cones, and from their seeds many young trees have
been raised.

[Illustration: Douglas Fir. A, female flower; B, male flower.]

The Douglas Fir is of pyramidal outline, with the lowest branches
bending to the ground under their weight of branchlets and leaves;
above, they spread horizontally, but the uppermost are more or less
ascending. The branchlets are given off mostly in opposite pairs,
densely clothed with slender, rich green leaves, ¾ to 1¼ inches in
length, paler beneath. They endure for six or seven years, and are
arranged in three or four ranks. The male flowers will be found
clustered at intervals on the underside of the previous year's shoots,
whilst the cones are formed at the tips of the lateral branchlets, and
hang downwards. These cones are somewhat elliptical in outline, from
2½ to 4 inches long, with large scales, and from the back of each
there extends a three-clawed bract, whereof the middle claw or awn is
very long. Several well-marked varieties of the Douglas Fir are also to
be met with occasionally in parks and gardens.

The Douglas Fir produces excellent timber, and is a most valuable forest
tree, not only on that account, but because of its adaptability to
varying conditions of soil and climate. It is the most widely
distributed of all American forest trees, and the area of its
distribution is spread over thirty-two degrees of latitude, and from end
to end of this range it has, in the words of Sargent, "to endure the
fierce gales and long winters of the north, and the nearly perpetual
sunshine of the Mexican Cordilleras; to thrive in the rain and fog which
sweep almost continuously along the Pacific coast range, and on the arid
mountain slopes of the interior, where for months every year rain never
falls." It appears to thrive best where the air is humid and the soil
well drained. It begins to bear cones about its twenty-fifth year. The
straight tapering trunk is largely used for the masts and spars of
ships, its suitability for this purpose being evident to all visitors to
Kew who have gazed at the flag-staff set up in the arboretum. This pole
is 159 feet long, with a circumference of 6 feet at the base, tapering
to 2 feet 2 inches at the top, and weighing about 3 tons. It was brought
from Vancouver Island, and an examination of its rings before it was set
up showed that it represented the growth of about 250 years. The full
life of the Douglas Fir is estimated to be about 750 years.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 164._ Stone Pine.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 165._ Bole of Stone Pine.]


The Stone Pine (_Pinus pinea_).

Between the tall, graceful spire of the Douglas Fir and the squat,
heavy, umbrella-like head of the Stone Pine, there is an enormous
contrast. It must be confessed that the Stone Pine is less beautiful
than picturesque, a point that strongly commends it to the landscape
painter working in the countries bordering the Mediterranean, in
which region it is native. The date of its introduction to Britain is
not known, but it has been in cultivation here certainly for more than
three centuries and a half, for Turner mentions it in his "Names of
Herbes in Greke, Latin, Englishe, Duch, and Frenche," published in 1548.
In its native countries it attains a height of sixty to eighty feet, but
in this country the finest examples are only about thirty-five feet,
whilst ordinary British-grown examples are only half that height. Its
trunk, covered with rugged, and deeply fissured, thick, red-grey bark,
forks at no great distance from the roots, and sends off massive
spreading branches of great length. For several years the young tree
produces short single leaves, but later leaves are five or six inches
long, slender, and of a bright green tint, in pairs, united at their
base by a pale sheath. These leaves endure for two or three years. The
pollen-bearing flowers are crowded into a spike. The female flowers are
about three-quarters of an inch long, composed of pale greenish scales.
After fertilization, these grow to a length of four to six inches, of a
rugged oval form and red-brown colour, ripening in the third year. The
scales of these cones are somewhat wedge-shaped, with a stout rhomboid
boss, which has a depression round the central protuberance. The seeds,
which are eaten for dessert and preserved as sweetmeats in the countries
where the Stone Pine is native, are enclosed in a bony shell, and it is
from this circumstance that the tree gets its name.

[Illustration: Stone Pine, cone and leaves.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 166._ Austrian Pine.]

[Illustration: _Pl. 167._ Bole of Austrian Pine.]


The Austrian Pine (_Pinus laricio_).

What is known as the Austrian Pine is a variety of the Corsican or Larch
Pine, and its botanical name correctly set out is _Pinus laricio_, var.
_austriaca_. The name has reference to the fact that its chief home as
an indigenous tree is in the southern provinces of the Austrian Empire.
The range of the type and its varieties together includes Central and
Southern Europe, and part of Western Asia. It is a comparatively recent
addition to our sylva in both forms, for the type was introduced in
1759, in the belief that it was a maritime form of the Scots Pine, but
the variety _austriaca_ was first sent out by Lawson and Son, the
Edinburgh nurserymen, in 1835.

[Illustration: Austrian Pine.]

The typical species (Corsican Pine) is a slender tree of somewhat
pyramidal form, growing to the height of 80 to 120 feet. The Austrian
Pine, though a large tree, is of smaller proportions--from 60 to 80 feet
high--but with stouter and longer branches, and denser foliage. The
leaves, which vary from three to five inches in length, are sheathed in
pairs, convex on the outer side, rigid, glossy, dark green, and with
toothed margins. The cone is conical (!), with a rounded base, two to
three inches in length, and its position on the branch is almost
horizontal, the scales somewhat similar to those of the Scots Pine, but
with stronger bosses, and of a yellowish-brown colour, polished. It
takes about seventeen months to become full grown and ripen the seeds.

[Illustration: _Pl. 168._ Cones of Austrian Pine.]

The Austrian Pine is one of those that do well on poor soils, and takes
kindly to chalk. From the density of its foliage, it makes a good shade
and shelter tree. Its timber, though coarse in grain, is very durable,
and useful for outside work.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 169._ Cedar of Lebanon.]


Cedar of Lebanon (_Cedrus libani_).

Made familiar, by name at least, from very early times by frequent
references to it in the books of the Old Testament, it is rather strange
that so hardy a tree was not one of the first of those introduced for
ornament into Britain. It is true that local legends attaching to some
old Cedars in this country credit them with having been planted in "the
spacious times of great Elizabeth"--as the great Cedar at Whitton,
Middlesex, blown down in 1779; but, on the other hand, we have the fact
that no mention is made of the Cedar by John Evelyn in his "Sylva"
(1664). This, it is true, is only negative evidence; but it is strong
none the less, for it is not at all likely that so keen and pious an
arboriculturist would have omitted mention of so noteworthy a tree had
such been growing here when he wrote. There is reason to believe,
however, that the still-existing Enfield Cedar was planted about the
date of Evelyn's publication by Dr. Uvedale, master of the Enfield
Grammar School.

The researches of Sir J. D. Hooker, subsequent to his memorable
expedition to Lebanon and Taurus in 1860, established the specific
identity of the three Cedars known as the Mount Atlas Cedar, the Cedar
of Lebanon, and the Deodar. Though the arboriculturist still treats them
as distinct species, they are scientifically regarded as geographical
forms of one species. For convenience we here adopt the
arboriculturist's view.

[Illustration: _Pl. 170._ Bole of Cedar of Lebanon.]

[Illustration: Cedar of Lebanon.]

The Cedar varies greatly--no tree more so--in height and general
outline, according to situation and environment, and though the stature
of well-grown trees in this country may be correctly stated as from 50
to 80 feet, we are not without examples of 100 and 120 feet where the
conditions have been specially favourable. There is one of 120 feet at
Strathfieldsaye, and among the numerous fine Cedars at Goodwood there is
the celebrated Great Cedar, 90 feet high, with a bole 25 feet in
circumference, and a broad conical head whose base has a diameter of 130
feet. But the Cedar, as usually seen on lawns and in parks, has a low,
rounded, or flattened top, the great spreading arms having grown more
rapidly than the trunk. Thus grown, the huge bole has seldom any great
length, throwing out these timber branches at from six to ten feet from
the ground, and immediately afterwards the trunk is divided into several
stems. From these the main branches take a curving direction, at first
ascending, but the part furthest from the trunk becoming almost
horizontal. It is chiefly at the extremity of the branches that the
branchlets and leaves are produced.

The evergreen leaves last for three, four, or five years, and are of
needle-shape, varying in length from a little less to a little more than
an inch. They are produced in a similar manner to those of the Larch--in
tufts that are arranged spirally round dwarf shoots, mostly on the upper
side of the branchlets. The male flowers are to be found at the
extremity of branchlets which, though six or seven years old, are very
short, their development having been arrested. The solid, purple-brown
cones are only three or four inches long, broad-topped, and with a
diameter of about half the length; the scales thin and closely pressed
together; they are at first greyish-green, tinged with pink. The
development and maturity of these cones takes two or three seasons, and
they remain on the tree for several years longer. The seeds are angular,
with a wedge-shaped wing.

The trees do not produce cones until they are from twenty-five to thirty
years old; but they may be a century old before producing either male or
female flowers.

The trunk is covered with thick, rough, deeply fissured bark. On the
branches the bark is smooth, and peels off in thin flakes. The Cedar, in
its native habitat, produces admirable timber, but that of trees grown
in our own country is described by Loudon as "reddish-white, light and
spongy, easily worked, but very apt to shrink and warp, and by no means
durable." For these reasons the tree is grown almost solely for
ornament.

The name Cedar is supposed to be derived from the Arabic _kedroum_, or
_kèdre_ (power), and has reference to its majestic proportions and
strong timber.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 171._ Deodar.]


The Deodar, or Indian Cedar (_Cedrus deodara_).

Although, as we have indicated, the differences between the Cedar of
Lebanon and the Cedar of Himalaya are not such as can be scientifically
accepted as constituting specific distinctness, they are sufficient to
at once strike the ordinary observer. In proportion to the height of the
trunk, for example, the main branches are much shorter, the result being
a more regular pyramidal outline, terminating in a light spire. The
terminal shoots of the branches are longer, more slender, and quite
pendulous. These differences, though really slight, transform the rather
heavy majesty of the Cedar, as represented by _C. libani_, into one of
graceful beauty. Although the experience of sixty years has sadly
falsified the high hopes entertained as to the suitability of the Deodar
for cultivation in this country as a timber tree, its value for
ornamental purposes and in landscape gardening has not been impaired.

The headquarters of the Deodar are in the mountains of north-west India,
where it forms forests at various altitudes above 3500 feet. Its
vertical distribution, indeed, extends to a height of 12,000 feet, but
its principal habitat lies between 6000 and 10,000 feet. Deodar timber
produced in its native forests is exceedingly durable, being compact and
even grained, not liable to warp or split, and standing the test of
being alternately wet and dry. Loudon states that when a building, which
had been erected by the Emperor Akbar in the latter part of the
sixteenth century, was pulled down between 1820 and 1825, the Deodar
timber used in its construction was found to be so sound that it was
again used in building a house for Rajah Shah. And Brandis tells of very
much more ancient bridges in Srunagar, whose piers are of Deodar wood,
and appear to be as yet unaffected by decay.

[Illustration: Deodar. A, cone.]

It is to the Hon. W. L. Melville that we are indebted for the
introduction of the Deodar to Britain in 1831, and during the next ten
years many young trees were raised here from seeds. Favourably impressed
by the rapidity of growth of these seedlings, the government, fearing a
coming shortage of Oak for naval purposes, imported and distributed
large numbers of Deodar seeds, and high estimates were formed of the
future value of these trees. But in framing these estimates one
important factor was omitted--the uncertainty of the British climate,
with its rapid changes, "everything by turns, and nothing long." A score
or two of years served to demonstrate that such conditions were opposed
to the longevity and uniform development that produced sound timber on
the Indian mountains; and to-day the Deodar is not mentioned among the
trees that are to bring riches to the British timber grower. In spite
of this failure, there are to be seen in many parts of these islands
fine young Deodars of forty or fifty years, and from fifty to seventy
feet in height.

[Illustration: _Pl. 172._ Bole of Deodar.]

There is no necessity for repeating the particulars already given
respecting the Cedar of Lebanon, and which apply to the Deodar with such
modifications as are indicated in the first paragraph above. Specimens
grown where they have sufficient space for spreading out their long
arms, retain their branches to the base of the trunk, and if these are
cut off they can reproduce them. Several nursery varieties--with golden
(_aurea_), silvery (_argentea_), or more intense green (_viridis_)
foliage than the type--have appeared as a result of European
cultivation.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pl. 173._ Lawson's Cypress.]


Lawson's Cypress (_Cupressus lawsoniana_).

Lawson's Cypress belongs to that section of Conifers which includes the
Junipers and Thuias, and is a representative of the North American
Sylva. It is a native of South Oregon and North California, where it is
believed to have been first discovered by Jeffrey, about 1852. Two years
later seeds were received by Messrs. Lawson, the Edinburgh nurserymen,
from Mr. William Murray, and from these seeds were raised the first
young trees of this species sent out by the firm. The name was bestowed
in honour of Mr. Charles Lawson, the then head of the firm, and by this
name it is generally known in Europe, but in the United States it is the
Port Orford Cypress. At Port Orford, on the Oregon coast, according to
Sargent, "it forms one of the most prolific and beautiful coniferous
forests of the continent, unsurpassed in the variety and luxuriance of
its undergrowth of Rhododendrons, Vacciniums, Raspberries, Buckthorns,
and Ferns," and any one who has seen well-grown specimens in the
pleasure-grounds of this country can easily realize something of the
beauty of such a forest, though allowance has to be made for the fact
that in forest growth the lower branches are lost at an early age.

[Illustration: Lawson Cypress.]

In its native home the Lawson Cypress attains a height of between 120
and 150 feet, occasionally reaching 200 feet, with a base circumference
of 40 feet. The thick brown bark splits into rounded scaly ridges. The
short horizontal branches divide a good deal towards their leafy
extremities, which are curved, and commonly drooping. The leaves are
little evergreen scales, which overlap, and being closely pressed to the
branchlet, completely clothe and hide it. They are bright dark-green in
colour, and endure for three or four years. The male flowers are
produced at the tips of short branchlets, formed a year earlier. They
are of cylindric form, crimson in colour, and each stamen bears from two
to six anther-cells. The small "cones" are more or less globular, but
instead of a large number of spirally arranged overlapping scales, as in
the Pines and Firs, here there are only eight, whose edges at first join
to form a box. When the "cone" is ripe these scales separate, to allow
the escape of the seeds.

The Lawson Cypress produces a valuable wood, close-grained and strong,
yet light. It is considered one of the most important timber trees of
North America; but in this country it has been planted solely with a
view to its ornamental qualities. Its perfect hardiness and its freedom
of growth may, with longer experience than half a century affords, lead
to its being regarded as a timber producer here also.

The Common Cypress (_Cupressus sempervirens_) of the Mediterranean
region and the East, of which poets have sung in all ages, has been
cultivated in this country for at least three hundred and fifty years.

[Illustration: _Pl. 174._ Bole of Lawson's Cypress.]


The Chili Pine (_Araucaria imbricata_).

The Chili Pine, or "Monkey Puzzle," is a familiar sight on suburban
lawns, where, however, it seldom attains a large size or long retains
health. The lower branches drop off, and the upper ones become brown, as
though scorched. But away from the smoke-laden atmosphere and
uncongenial soils, some handsome and massive Araucarias may be seen
rising from fair lawns, with dense branches curving at their tips, and
regularly disposed in whorls from the dome-like head of the tree to the
grass at its base. Such was the magnificent specimen at Dropmore that
died in 1902, such is the fine tree at Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny, which
now presumably takes the position of eminence in these islands hitherto
held by the Dropmore example.

[Illustration: Chili Pine, and cone. A, seed, with attached wing.]

The Chili Pine is a native of Southern Chili, where it was discovered by
a Spaniard, Don F. Dendariarena, in 1780, as he was prospecting for
timber. About the same time two other Spaniards, Drs. Ruiz and Pavon,
were botanizing in Chili, and came across the Araucaria, of which they
sent herbarium specimens to Europe. But in spite of this three-fold
opportunity for Spain, the actual introduction of the Araucaria to
Europe must be credited to Britain. Archibald Menzies, who accompanied
Captain Vancouver as botanist on his celebrated voyage, came across the
tree in Chili, and brought home both seeds and young plants. One of
these became a fine tree at Kew, where it was for many years the object
of admiration and interest, but it perished in 1892.

[Illustration: _Pl. 175._ Chili Pine.]

The Araucaria forms extensive pure forests in the province of Arauco,
from which it gets its name, and to whose inhabitants the seeds are a
most important item of their food-supply. Not only do the trees in these
forests lose their lower branches, but even those growing in the open
plains of their native country have similarly bare trunks for nearly
half their height. It is therefore a satisfaction to know that the
finest specimens grown in this country have really surpassed those grown
in their natural home. The height reached by old trees is from eighty to
a hundred feet, with a trunk-girth of from sixteen to twenty-three feet.
The tapering of this trunk is very slight, and a few of the stiff,
spine-tipped leaves, with which its younger extremity is densely
clothed, still remain attached in a dried-up condition far down the
column. These leaves will have been observed to entirely cover the
branches, not being restricted, as in most trees, to the newly formed
branchlets and twigs. They are very hard, and endure for about fifteen
years; are about an inch and a quarter long, and overlap, though their
sharp-pointed ends turn away from the branch.

The cylindrical male flowers are four or five inches long, borne singly
or in small clusters. It was formerly supposed that the sexes were on
separate trees, but though many individuals only produce flowers of one
kind, this is by no means the general rule. The female flowers are about
four inches long, almost round in shape, but broader at the base than
above. They are covered with long, narrow, overlapping scales, beneath
which are found the seeds when the flower has developed into the brown
cone, which is six inches in diameter. The scales are then easily
detached; in fact, when the seeds are ripe, the cone falls to pieces.
The seed is about an inch and a half long, enclosed in a hard, thin
shell.

The Chili Pine does not succeed in this country unless it is given pure
air, sunshine, abundant moisture, and an open subsoil to carry it off.
Yet it will grow to a very handsome tree if these conditions are
observed. Very fine effects have been obtained in some places by
planting an Araucaria grove. Such an avenue is in fine condition at
Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny (running parallel with an avenue of _Abies
nobilis_), every tree with its branches intact from turf to summit, and
bearing fertile cones. There is a similar, but less perfectly preserved,
Araucaria grove at Bicton in Devonshire.



CLASSIFIED INDEX

TO

NATURAL ORDERS, GENERA AND SPECIES

_Described in this work._


  Order TILIACEÆ.

  TILIA platyphyllos, Scop., 36, 40. _Plates_ 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
    "   parvifolia, Ehrh., 37, 40
    "   vulgaris, Hayne, 37, 40


  Order ILICINEÆ.

  ILEX aquifolium, L., 85. _Plates_ 81, 82, 83, 84


  Order CELASTRINEÆ.

  EUONYMUS europæus, L., 88. _Plates_ 85, 86, 87
    "      japonicus, Thunb., 90
    "      latifolius, C. Bauh., 90


  Order RHAMNEÆ.

  RHAMNUS catharticus, L., 90. _Plate_ 89
    "     frangula, L., 91. _Plates_ 88, 90


  Order SAPINDACEÆ.

  ÆSCULUS hippocastanum, L., 139. _Plates_ 1, 144, 145, 146, 147
    "     carnea, Willd., 143

  ACER campestre, L., 49. _Plate_ 43
    "  platanoides, L., 53
    "  pseudo-platanus, L., 51. _Plates_ 44, 45, 46, 47, 48


  Order LEGUMINOSÆ.

  LABURNUM vulgare, Presl., 145. _Plate_ 149

  ROBINIA pseudacacia, L., 147. _Plates_ 150, 151, 152


  Order ROSACEÆ.

  PRUNUS communis, Hudson, 92. _Plates_ 92, 93
    "    insititia, L., 94
    "    domestica, L., 94. _Plate_ 91
    "    avium, L., 95. _Plates_ 94, 95
    "    cerasus, L., 97
    "    padus, L., 98. _Plates_ 96, 97, 99

  PYRUS communis, L., 98. _Plates_ 100, 102, 103
    "   cordata, Desv., 100
    "   malus, L., 101. _Plates_ 98, 101, 104, 105, 106
    "   aria, Ehrh., 103. _Plates_ 107, 108, 109, 110
    "   latifolia, Syme, 105
    "   scandica, Syme, 105
    "   torminalis, DC., 105
    "   aucuparia, Gaert., 106. _Plates_ 111, 112, 113, 114
    "   sorbus, Gaert., 109. _Plates_ 115, 117, 119
    "   germanica, Hook., 110. _Plate_ 116

  CRATÆGUS oxyacantha, Pall., 112. _Plates_ 118, 120, 121, 122, 123


  Order CORNACEÆ.

  CORNUS sanguinea, L., 116. _Plates_ 125, 126
    "    suecica, L., 118


  Order CAPRIFOLIACEÆ.

  SAMBUCUS nigra, L., 123. _Plates_ 129, 131

  VIBURNUM opulus, L., 120. _Plate_ 130
    "      lantana, L., 118. _Plates_ 127, 128


  Order ERICACEÆ.

  ARBUTUS unedo, L., 114. _Plate_ 124


  Order OLEACEÆ.

  FRAXINUS excelsior, L., 45. _Plates_ 39, 40, 41, 42


  Order LAURACEÆ.

  LAURUS nobilis, L., 143. _Plate_ 148


  Order EUPHORBIACEÆ.

  BUXUS sempervirens, L., 125. _Plates_ 132, 133


  Order URTICACEÆ.

  ULMUS montana, Stokes, 40. _Plates_ 32, 33, 34, 35
    "   campestris, L., 43. _Plates_ 36, 37, 38


  Order PLATANACEÆ.

  PLATANUS orientalis, L., 128. _Plates_ 134, 135, 136
    "      occidentalis, L., 129


  Order JUGLANDACEÆ.

  JUGLANS regia, L., 131. _Plates_ 137, 138, 139


  Order CUPULIFERÆ.

  BETULA alba, L., 25. _Plates_ 13, 14, 15, 16
    "    verrucosa, Ehrh., 28
    "    pubescens, Ehrh., 28
    "    nana, L., 28

  ALNUS glutinosa, Medic., 29. _Plates_ 17, 18, 19, 20

  CARPINUS betulus, L., 31. _Plates_ 21, 22, 23, 24

  CORYLUS avellana, L., 34. _Plates_ 25, 26

  QUERCUS robur, L., 13. _Plates_ 2, 3, 4, 5, 10
    "     ilex, L., 18. _Plate_ 6
    "     cerris, L., 19. _Plate_ 7

  CASTANEA sativa, Mill., 135. _Plates_ 140, 141, 142, 143

  FAGUS sylvatica, L., 20. _Plates_ 8, 9, 11, 12


  Order SALICINEÆ.

  SALIX triandra, L., 66. _Plates_ 66, 67
    "   pentandra, L., 66. _Plates_ 68, 69, 70
    "   fragilis, L., 63. _Plates_ 59, 60, 61
    "   russelliana, Sm., 64
    "   alba, L., 65. _Plates_ 62, 63, 64, 65
    "   cinerea, L., 68
    "   aurita, L., 68
    "   caprea, L., 67
    "   repens, L., 69
    "   nigricans, Sm., 69
    "   phylicifolia, L., 70
    "   arbuscula, L., 72
    "   viminalis, L., 70
    "   reticulata, L., 72
    "   purpurea, L., 71. _Plates_ 71, 72
    "   lanata, L., 71
    "   sadleri, Syme, 71
    "   lapponum, L., 72
    "   myrsinites, L., 72
    "   herbacea, L., 72
    "   babylonica, Hort., 73

  POPULUS alba, L., 55. _Plates_ 49, 50, 51
    "     canescens, Sm., 56
    "     tremula, L., 56. _Plate_ 52
    "     nigra, L., 58. _Plates_ 53, 54, 55
    "     fastigiata, Desf., 60. _Plates_ 56, 57, 58
    "     balsamifera, L., 61
    "     monilifera, Hort., 61


  Order TAXACEÆ.

  TAXUS baccata, L., 74. _Plates_ 73, 74, 76


  Order CONIFERÆ.

  JUNIPERUS communis, L., 79. _Plates_ 75, 77
    "       bermudiana, L., 81
    "       virginiana, L., 81

  CUPRESSUS lawsoniana, Murr., 169. _Plates_ 173, 174

  ARAUCARIA imbricata, Pav., 171. _Plate_ 175

  PICEA excelsa, Link., 155. _Plates_ 159, 160, 163

  CEDRUS deodara, Loud., 167. _Plates_ 171, 172
    "    libani, Loud., 164. _Plates_ 169, 170

  LARIX europæa, DC., 149. _Plates_ 153, 154, 155, 156

  ABIES pectinata, DC., 152. _Plates_ 157, 158

  PSEUDOTSUGA douglasii, Carr, 157. _Plates_ 161, 162

  PINUS sylvestris, L., 81. _Plates_ 78, 79, 80
    "   laricio, Poir., 162. _Plates_ 166, 167, 168
    "   pinea, L., 160. _Plates_ 164, 165



INDEX.


  Abele, 55. _Plates_ 49, 50, 51

  _Abies pectinata_, 152. _Plates_ 157, 158

  _Acer campestre_, 49. _Plate_ 43
    "  _platanoides_, 53
    "  _pseudoplatanus_, 51. _Plates_ 44, 45, 46

  _Æsculus carnea_, 143
    "     _hippocastanum_, 139. _Plates_ 1, 144, 145, 146, 147

  Alder, 29, _Plates_ 17, 18, 19, 20;
    Berry-bearing Alder, 91, _Plates_ 88, 90

  _Alnus glutinosa_, 29. _Plates_ 17, 18, 19, 20

  Apple, Wild, 101. _Plates_ 98, 101, 104, 105, 106

  _Araucaria imbricata_, 171. _Plate_ 175

  _Arbutus unedo_, 114. _Plate_ 124

  Ash, 45, _Plates_ 39, 40, 41, 42;
    Mountain Ash, 106, _Plates_ 111, 112, 113, 114

  Aspen, 56. _Plate_ 52

  Austrian Pine, 162. _Plates_ 166, 167, 168


  Bay Tree, 143. _Plate_ 148

  Beech, 20. _Plates_ 8, 9, 11, 12

  _Betula alba_, 25. _Plates_ 13, 14, 15, 16
    "    _nana_, 28

  Birch, 25, _Plates_ 13, 14, 15, 16;
    Dwarf Birch, 28

  Blackthorn, 92. _Plates_ 92, 93

  Box, 125. _Plates_ 132, 133

  Buckthorns, 90;
    Breaking Buckthorn, 91, _Plates_ 88, 90;
    Purging Buckthorn, 90, _Plate_ 89

  Bullace, 94

  _Buxus sempervirens_, 125. _Plates_ 132, 133


  _Carpinus betulus_, 31. _Plates_ 21, 22, 23, 24

  _Castanea sativa_, 135. _Plates_ 140, 141, 142, 143

  Cedar of Lebanon, 164, _Plates_ 169, 170;
    Indian Cedar, 167, _Plates_ 171, 172;
    Red Cedar, 81

  _Cedrus deodara_, 167. _Plates_ 171, 172
    "    _libani_, 164. _Plates_ 169, 170

  Cherry, Wild, 95, _Plates_ 94, 95;
    Dwarf Cherry, 97;
    Bird Cherry, 98, _Plates_ 96, 97, 99

  Chestnut, Horse, 139, _Plates_ 1, 144, 145, 146, 147;
    Sweet Chestnut, 135. _Plates_ 140, 141, 142, 143

  Chili Pine, 171. _Plate_ 175

  Conifers, Native, 73;
    Exotic, 149

  Cornel, 116;
    Dwarf Cornel, 118

  _Cornus sanguinea_, 116. _Plates_ 125, 126
    "    _suecica_, 118

  _Corylus avellana_, 34. _Plates_ 25, 26

  Crab, 101. _Plates_ 98, 101, 104, 105, 106

  _Cratægus oxyacantha_, 112. _Plates_ 118, 120, 121, 122, 123

  _Cupressus lawsoniana_, 169. _Plates_ 173, 174


  Deodar, 167. _Plates_ 171, 172

  Dogwood, 116. _Plates_ 125, 126

  Douglas Fir, 157. _Plates_ 161, 162


  Elder, 123. _Plates_ 129, 131

  Elms, 40;
    Wych Elm, 40, _Plates_ 32, 33, 34, 35;
    Common Elm, 43, _Plates_ 36, 37, 38

  _Euonymus europæus_, 88. _Plates_ 85, 86, 87
    "      _japonicus_, 90
    "      _latifolius_, 90


  _Fagus sylvatica_, 20. _Plates_ 8, 9, 11, 12

  False Acacia, 147. _Plates_ 150, 151, 152

  False Plane, 51. _Plates_ 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

  Fir, Douglas, 157. _Plates_, 161, 162;
    Silver Fir, 152. _Plates_ 157, 158;
    Spruce Fir, 155. _Plates_ 159, 160, 163

  Fraxinus excelsior, 45. _Plates_ 39, 40, 41, 42


  Gean, 96. _Plates_ 94, 95

  Guelder Rose, 120. _Plate_ 130


  Hawthorn, 112. _Plates_ 118, 120, 121, 122, 123

  Hazel, 34. _Plates_ 25, 26

  Holly, 85. _Plates_ 81, 82, 83, 84

  Holm Oak, 18. _Plate_ 6

  Hornbeam, 31. _Plates_ 21, 22, 23, 24

  Horse Chestnut, 139. _Plates_ 1, 144, 145, 146, 147;
    Red-flowered Horse Chestnut, 143


  _Ilex aquifolium_, 85. _Plates_ 81, 82, 83, 84


  _Juglans regia_, 131. _Plates_ 137, 138, 139

  Juniper, 79. _Plates_ 75, 77;
    Virginian Juniper, 81

  _Juniperus bermudiana_, 81
    "       _communis_, 79. _Plates_ 75, 77
    "       _virginiana_, 81


  Laburnum, 145. _Plate_ 149;
    White Laburnum, 147

  _Laburnum vulgare_, 145. _Plate_ 149

  Larch, 149. _Plates_ 153, 154, 155, 156

  _Larix europæa_, 149. _Plates_ 153, 154, 155, 156

  _Laurus nobilis_, 143. _Plate_ 148

  Lawson's Cypress, 169. _Plates_ 173, 174

  Lime, 36. _Plates_ 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

  Locust Tree, 147. _Plates_ 150, 151, 152


  Maples, 49;
    Field or Common, 49. _Plate_ 43;
    Great Maple, 51. _Plates_ 44, 45, 46, 47, 48;
    Norway Maple, 53

  May, 112. _Plates_ 118, 120, 121, 122, 123

  Medlar, 110. _Plate_ 116

  Monkey Puzzle, 171. _Plate_ 175


  Norway Maple, 53


  Oak, 13. _Plates_ 2, 3, 4, 5, 10;
    Holm Oak, 18. _Plate_ 6;
    Turkey Oak, 19. _Plate_ 7

  Osier, 70;
    Purple Osier, 71. _Plates_ 71, 72


  Pear, Wild, 98. _Plates_ 100, 102, 103

  _Picea excelsa_, 155. _Plates_ 159, 160, 163

  Pine, Austrian, 162. _Plates_, 166, 167, 168;
    Chili Pine, 171. _Plate_ 175;
    Scots Pine, 81. _Plates_ 78, 79, 80;
    Stone Pine, 160. _Plates_ 164, 165

  _Pinus laricio_, 162. _Plates_ 166, 167, 168
    "   _pinea_, 160. _Plates_ 164, 165
    "   _sylvestris_, 81. _Plates_ 78, 79, 80

  Planes, 128;
    Oriental Plane, 128;
    Occidental Plane, 129;
    Maple-leaved Plane, 131. _Plates_ 134, 135, 136

  _Platanus occidentalis_, 129
    "      _orientalis_, 128. _Plates_ 134, 135, 136

  Plums, Wild, 92, 94. _Plates_ 91, 92, 93

  Poplars, 54;
    White Poplar, 55. _Plates_ 49, 50, 51;
    Grey Poplar, 55;
    Black Poplar, 58. _Plates_ 53, 54, 55;
    Lombardy Poplar, 60. _Plates_ 56, 57, 58;
    Black Italian Poplar, 61;
    Balsam Poplar, 61

  _Populus alba_, 55. _Plates_ 49, 50, 51
    "     _balsamifera_, 61
    "     _canescens_, 55
    "     _fastigiata_, 60. _Plates_ 56, 57, 58
    "     _monilifera_, 61
    "     _nigra_, 58. _Plates_ 53, 54, 55
    "     _tremula_, 56. _Plate_ 52

  _Prunus avium_, 95. _Plates_ 94, 95
    "    _cerasus_, 97
    "    _communis_, 92. _Plates_ 92, 93
    "    _domestica_, 94. _Plate_ 91
    "    _insititia_, 94
    "    _padus_, 98. _Plates_ 96, 97, 99

  _Pseudotsuga douglasii_, 157. _Plates_ 161, 162

  _Pyrus aria_, 103. _Plates_ 107, 108, 109, 110
    "   _aucuparia_, 106. _Plates_ 111, 112, 113, 114
    "   _communis_, 98. _Plates_ 100, 102, 103
    "   _cordata_, 100
    "   _germanica_, 110. Plate 116
    "   _latifolia_, 105
    "   _malus_, 101. _Plates_ 98, 101, 104, 105, 106
    "   _scandica_, 105
    "   _sorbus_, 109. _Plates_ 115, 117, 119
    "   _torminalis_, 105


  _Quercus cerris_, 19. _Plate_ 7
    "     _ilex_, 18. _Plate_ 6
    "     _robur_, 13. _Plates_ 2, 3, 4, 5, 10


  _Rhamnus catharticus_, 90. _Plate_ 89
    "     _frangula_, 91. _Plates_ 88, 90

  _Robinia pseudacacia_, 147. _Plates_ 150, 151, 152

  Rowan, 106. _Plates_ 111, 112, 113, 114


  _Salix alba_, 65. _Plates_ 62, 63, 64, 65
    "   _arbuscula_, 72
    "   _aurita_, 68
    "   _babylonica_, 73
    "   _capræa_, 67
    "   _cinerea_, 67
    "   _fragilis_, 63. _Plates_ 59, 60, 61
    "   _herbacea_, 72
    "   _lanata_, 71
    "   _lapponum_, 72
    "   _myrsinites_, 72
    "   _nigricans_, 69

  _Salix pentandra_, 66. _Plates_ 68, 69, 70
    "   _phylicifolia_, 70
    "   _purpurea_, 71. _Plates_ 71, 72
    "   _repens_, 69
    "   _reticulata_, 72
    "   _russelliana_, 64
    "   _sadleri_, 71
    "   _triandra_, 65. _Plates_ 66, 67
    "   _viminalis_, 70

  Sallow, 67;
    Grey Sallow, 68;
    Eared Sallow, 68

  _Sambucus nigra_, 123. _Plates_ 129, 131

  Scots Pine, 81. _Plates_ 78, 79, 80

  Service, Wild, 105;
    True Service, 109. _Plates_ 115, 117, 119

  Silver Fir, 152. _Plates_ 157, 158

  Sloe, 92. Plates 92, 93

  Spindle-tree, 88. _Plates_ 85, 86, 87

  Spruce Fir, 155. _Plates_ 159, 160, 163

  Stone Pine, 160. _Plates_ 164, 165

  Strawberry-tree, 114. _Plate_ 124

  Sweet Chestnut, 135. _Plates_ 140, 141, 142, 143

  Sycamore, 51. _Plates_ 44, 45, 46, 47, 48


  Tacamahac, 61

  _Tilia parvifolia_, 37, 40
    "   _platyphyllos_, 36, 40. _Plates_ 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
    "   _vulgaris_, 37, 40

  Turkey Oak, 19. _Plate_ 7


  _Ulmus campestris_, 43. _Plates_ 36, 37, 38
    "   _montana_, 40. _Plates_ 32, 33, 34, 35


  _Viburnum lantana_, 118. _Plates_ 127, 128
    "      _opulus_, 120. _Plate_ 130


  Walnut, 131. _Plates_ 137, 138, 139

  Wayfaring-tree, 118. _Plates_ 127, 128

  White Beam, 103. _Plates_ 107, 108, 109, 110

  Whitethorn, 112. _Plates_ 118, 120, 121, 122, 123

  Willows, 61;
    Crack Willow, 63. _Plates_ 59, 60, 61;
    Bedford Willow, 64;
    White Willow, 65. _Plates_ 62, 63, 64, 65;
    Golden Willow, 65;
    Almond-leaved Willow, 66. _Plates_ 66, 67;
    French Willow, 66;
    Bay-leaved Willow, 67. _Plates_ 68, 69, 70;
    Dwarf Silky Willow, 69;
    Dark-leaved Willow, 69;
    Tea-leaved Willow, 70;
    Woolly Willow, 71;
    Sadler's Willow, 71;
    Lapland Willow, 72;
    Whortle-leaved Willow, 72;
    Small Tree Willow, 72;
    Least Willow, 72;
    Net-leaved Willow, 72;
    Weeping Willow, 73

  Withy, 63. _Plates_ 59, 60, 61

  Wych Elm, 40. _Plates_ 33, 34, 35


  Yew, 74. _Plates_ 73, 74, 76;
    Irish Yew, 79


THE END.

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BECCLES.





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