J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

Essay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] online

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trees capable of being furnished from thence to our native
Island, where I have been pleased to observe many of the
Himalayan plants flourishing as in the native soil."

Dr. Wallich in reference to the same subject states, " It is
not the mere investigation of vegetables with reference to the
absolute number, their structure, the endless variety of their
forms, their properties, their uses and artificial dissemination
in other countries, it is also necessary to attend to the relations
which the plants bear to the physical Geography of their res-
pective stations, to mark their absolute and relative properties,
to compare them with those of other regions, corresponding
either in the nature of their formation, or in the similarity
of their elevation or latitude, in one word, to fix their Geogra-
phical history."



Garden subse-
quently neg-

The Author
appointed Su-
perintendent ;

succeeded by
Dr. Falconer.

Situation of

Subsequent to Dr. Govan's departure, the Gar-
den was left under the charge of the Medical
Officer of the station, and of the head native
gardener, who, being more solicitous respecting
the culture of saleable produce in the Garden
than of the ultimate objects of such an institution,
neglected much of what had been introduced,
and allowed it to return very nearly to the state
in which it had been found by the Marquis of

The Author was appointed Superintendent in
1823, and retained the appointment until the
rainy season of 1831. He was succeeded by Dr.
Falconer, who continues the present Superinten-
dent. The plans adopted for making the institu-
tion efficient for the several purposes contem-
plated in its establishment, have been detailed in
several reports, and are briefly recapitulated in
one presented by the Author to Lord William
Bentinck, then Governor-General, on his visiting
and inspecting the Garden in March 1831. This
was printed with a plan of the Garden in the
Journal of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta for
February 1832, and the results, in a Scientific
and Botanical point of view, have been more
fully dwelt upon in a work especially devoted to
illustrating the Botany and other Branches of the
Natural History of the Himalayan Mountains,
and of the Flora of Cashmere.

The situation of Saharunpore, in point of lati-
tude, its elevation, vicinity to the hills, the near-
ness of water to the surface, and facility of irriga-


tiou from the Doab Caoal, make it particularly Eligibility of

, Saharunpore

eligible for the purpose of a Botanic Garden. The for a Botanic
parallel of latitude of 30®, or that which nearly
passes through it, embraces in its course a greater
variety of interesting country than any other, and
as temperature is dependant upon latitude, and
may be deduced by a formula, simple and suffi-
ciently accurate for practical purposes, it will be
found that the vegetable productions in the vici-
nity of this parallel, will have a considerable
general resemblance to each other. For the
vegetation of different countries depends in a
great measure upon their climate, and the plants
of one country will easily grow in another which
possesses a similar climate.

Besides the latitude and elevation, which is climate;
about 1000 feet, the climate of Saharunpore is
particularly favourable for the introduction into
India of the plants of more temperate countries.
The temperature for nearly six months in the
year is sufficiently European for the cultiva-
tion of most of the annuals of that part of the
globe, while the cold is not sufficiently great, nor
long enough continued, to destroy the plants of
southern countries, with the exception only of
such tropical ones as cannot bear any frost.

Though there may be some earlier, the best culture in coia
crops of European vegetables and medicinal plants months.
are those obtained from seed sown in November,
about which time Wheat and Barley are sown.
After this, the weather becomes steadily colder



Climate of
in cold wea-

in hot wea-

and rainy sea-

of a nursery in
the mountains.

until Christmas, when some heavy rain usually
occurs^ but this is sometimes deferred to a later
period : the mean temperature of the months of
November, December, January, and February,
being 64°, 55°, 52°, and 55°. During this season
the growth of indigenous perennials is stopped,
as well as of the herbaceous plants of warm coun-
tries. In March, a rapid rise takes place in the
mean temperature of the month, and the increase
amounting to 12°, is a sufficiently powerful sti-
mulus, to accelerate rapidly the vegetation of the
Spring. About the beginning or middle of April
the hot winds begin to blow, and continue to do
so until the middle of June, when the maximum
of temperature, about 107°, is attained. The mean
temperature of the months of March, April, May,
and June, is 67°, 78°, 85°, 90°. About the 15th or
20th of June, the rainy season commences, the
temperature is then moderated, the means of the
months of July, August, September, and Octo-
ber, being 85°, 83°, 79°, 72°, but universal mois-
ture, suitable to the culture of Tropical annuals, as
Rice, &c., is diffused. The rains terminate about
the middle or end of September, and according
to this, the diminution of temperature whicli
ushers in the cold weather, is late or early.

Though the temperature at Saharunpore is
lower in winter, and the cool weather longer
continued, than in the more southern parts of
the Great Gangetic valley, yet the climate is
essentially Indian, and as such is unsuited to the


culture of many plants in their young state, climate of sa-

1 • I 1 n ti ' 1 1 • harunporeun-

wnich may yet be successiuily introduced into suited to many
the plains of India. These require to be taken ^^*'
care of when in a tender state, and to be brought
by degrees to bear the extremes of temperature.
It is therefore desirable to have the means of
giying protection, or of producing an artificial
climate, such as in Europe is effected by Green-
houses and Hot-houses, or to have the power of
makinsr our experiments in a cooler climate, dur- cooler cUma

^ t' . ' desirable;

ing the seasons when heat and dryness, or heat
and moisture prevail in the plains. This, very for-
tunately, is easily attained, and in the most de-
sirable manner, that is, by a natural instead of attainable in

the moun-

an artificial climate. The Saharunpore Garden be- tains.
ing situated within thirty miles of the Himalayan
Mountains, the elevation of which affords us the
same diminution of temperature which we obtain
by proceeding to higher latitudes, whether in the
northern or the southern hemisphere.

The advantages of such a situation were too Nursery esta-

I • ^ 1 • ^ r i /• blished by Dr.

obvious to be lost sight of ; very soon, therefore GovanonSuen
after the establishment of the garden at Saha-
runpore, a site for a nursery was selected by
Dr. Govan on the Suen Range to the northward
of Nahn. Though eligible in point of climate
and from facility of irrigation, it had the disad-
vantage of having a large river like the Jumna
intervening between it and the Superintendence
at Saharunpore. This impeded the ready commu-
nication which is so necessary, from the impos-




Nursery esta-
blished by the
Author on

Advantages to
inhabitants of
Himalayas ;

elevation of
from6 to 7,000

sibility of insuring the exertions of natives when
removed from inspection and control. The
range of the Himalayas which extends between
the Ganges and Jumna rivers, and which rises
immediately above the Deym Doon, having in late
years become better known and more accessible,
afforded all the advantages, without the disadvan-
tages, of the former site. A new site, therefore,
was selected in the year 1826 by the Author, for
a nursery, in the neighbourhood of the stations
in the Himalayas, now so well known as Mussoo-
ree and Landour.

The results of experiments made in such a
situation would be of trifling consequence, if
considered merely in reference to the Garden, of
which it is an accessory ; but they become of con-
siderable importance, when viewed as the source
whence plants and seeds suitable to the soil and
climate are to be distributed to the inhabited
parts of the Himalayan Mountains. The inha-
bitants of these, being enabled in their cool cli-
mate to produce more of the useful articles of
northern latitudes, which are in request in the
plains, would have the means, as they now have the
inclination, to purchase more of those products
which are analogous to, or identical with, those
of tropical countries in general, and which are
grown in the plains of India.

The above range, at an elevation of from six
to seven thousand feet, enjoys a delightful climate.
From the middle of November, and during the win-


ter months of December, January, and February, Mussooree

range ;

the cold is moderate, that is, the thermometer sel- climate of ;
dom sinks below the freezing point, and the mean
temperature of these four months is 50°, 45°, 42°, "^ean tempe-

r ' rature of.

and 45°. The season of cultivation is from March

to October, the dry weather continuing until the dry weather."

middle of June, about which time the greatest

heat (80°) occurs. The mean temperature of the

months of March, April, May, and June, is 53°,

59°, 66"", and 67°. The accession of the rainy

season causes little diminution of temperature, rainy season.

and it continues remarkably equable ; the mean

temperature of the months of July, August, and

September, being 67°, 66% 64", and that of

October 57°. During the latter month, or at the

conclusion of the rainy season, the sky is clear

and serene, the air mild and still, and the climate

very delightful.

In the Plains, the rainy season is,^of course, Plains of n.
that in which Rice and other tropical grains and
vegetables may be sown. Some of them, as Rice rainy season
itself, may also be sown and attain perfection in
the mountains during the same period of the
year. The moderate temperature in the plains, moderate tem-

1 1 /. TVT 1 »« 1 1 peraturesof;

however, extends from JNovember to March, and
in the mountains from March till the middle of
June, and with rain from that to October. We aisoofhuisj
may take advantage of the months adapted for
cultivation in the hills and plains, and obtain
a complete year of moderate climate, suited to year of mode-
the germination of seeds, and for the growth obtained.




Plants thus
introduced into

Plans adopted
for improving
the Garden ;

wells sunk ;

cut from Doab
Canal ;

trenched ;

of the plants of temperate climates, of every
part of the globe. In fact, many plants were
thus actually introduced and preserved in the
Saharunpore Garden, which, if confined to either
situation, while young, would have been destroy-
ed by the hot winds of the plains, or killed in the
mountains, by the frost of winter.

On the Author taking charge of the Garden, it
required, first, to be cleared of much exuberant
vegetation, and then the plans upon which it was
laid out to be much modified, so as to adapt
it to the English style of gardening. The surface
was levelled or sloped, a free communication
effected with every part by means of new roads ;
and as irrigation is the object of primary impor-
tance in the north of India — as it is in the
south of Europe — additional wells were sunk,
and the Persian wheel introduced, to facilitate
the raising of water. These were all afterwards in
a great measure superseded, a cut from the Doab
Canal being obtained, which, running through
the garden, much facilitated the almost constant
irrigation, that at some seasons of the year is
indispensable to the existence even of herbaceous
vegetation in the upper provinces. Pieces of
water were also formed for aquatic plants. The
uncultivated parts of the garden were laid in
Doob grass, and the cultivated parts, as well as
the borders of the roads, were trenched to the
depth of two feet. By this means the clayey
substratum became well mixed with the sandy


surface, when the whole was improved and en- sahamnpore


riched by the addition of vegetable and animal
manure. Some English tools were introduced, English tools
and the use of wheelbarrows made general. A '°
conservatory was also built, where the plants of Conservatory
warm countries could be protected from the cold
of winter, and those introduced from the hills,
equally saved from the scorching effects of solar
radiation, during the months of the hot weather.

In order to ensure due attention being paid to Garden divided
the respective objects contemplated in the insti- ments,
tution of the garden, it was divided into several
departments. In one, plants were arranged as
objects of Botanical investigation. In another. Botanical,
those devoted to Agricultural experiments, and Agricultural,
in a third, to Horticultural purposes. Of the andHorticui-
plants introduced from the Himalayas, some were
planted in nurseries, others in an artificial rock
work, and some in flower-pots in the conserva-
tory ; but in all the soil was enriched by the ad-
dition of decayed vegetable matter. Nurseries Nurseries

. 1 g-\ 1 formed, for

were likewise made for Fruit, and Ornamental Hiu plants.
Trees, and for Shrubs for general distribution, omamentsd
A portion of the garden was allotted for the Ex- nai plants, and
perimental Medicinal garden, and another as a
Nursery of Timber trees for the Delhi and Doab

As the climate has been shown, at different Sahanmpore.
seasons of the year, to partake of the nature climate.
both of tropical and of temperate parts of the
world, so it will be tbund that the vegetation.



dence of cli-
mate, vegeta^
tion, and culti-

KhureeffOi rain

Rubbee crop.

Plants culti-
vated in cold
weather ;

in ramy season.

natural to the country, partakes of the same
double characteristic. We shall therefore be less
surprised at finding the cultivation participating
also in this double nature, and that the north-
ern like the southern part of India, enjoys two
crops during the year, the one called the khureef^
or rain crop, sown in June, and reaped in Octo-
ber, the other sown in October, and reaped in
March and April, called the ruhbee crop. The
latter, embracing the months which approximate
in temperature to that of the seasons of cultivation
in colder countries, corresponds with them also
in the nature of the plants cultivated, as for in-
stance, Wheat, Barley, Oats, and Millet, Peas,
Beans, Vetch, Tares, Chick-peas, Pigeon-peas,
and Lentils ; Tobacco, SafBower, and Succory ;
Flax, and plants allied to Mustard and Rape, as
Oil Seeds ; Carrot, Coriander, Cummin, and other
seeds of a similar kind, as ajwainy sonf^ soya,
aneeson. Hemp exists in abundance in a wild
state, but is only used for making an intoxicating
drug. Almost all the esculent vegetables of
European countries succeed remarkably well in
the cold weather in India.

In the rainy season, a totally different set of
plants engages the agriculturist's attention, as
Rice, Cotton, Indigo, and Maize, with Sor-
ghum, joar, koda, most of the tropical legumes,
as well as several of the Cucumber and Gourd
tribe, together with the Sesamura for Oil, and
the varieties of the Egg plant, as a vegetable.


The Sun and Sunnee, two cordage plants, are also
cultivated at this season.

As exemplifications of what has already been ^[^^.^J^^*
eflfected in the naturalization of plants, and as ^^j^^"
guides in the course which it would appear pro- 3^^°^.
per to follow, it may be useful to indicate some
of the plants of different countries which have
already been naturalized in the open air in the
Saharunpore Garden. We may now see there,
many of the plants and trees of very different
countries, as of India, China, Cabool, Europe,
and America collected together, and naturalized
in the open air.

Of those of southern latitudes, for which the ot soufliem

latitudes ;
cold of the Saharunpore climate is not too se-
vere, we may mention the Plantain, Shaddock,
Orange, Lemon, Mango, Tamarind, Jack fruit,
with the Cinnamon, Sweet Laurel, and many

Of those from more northern climates, such as of northern

Cabool and Cashmere, for which the parching

heats of May and June, and the tepid moisture
of the rains have not been so unfavourable but
to allow of their naturalization in the Saharun-
pore climate, may be mentioned the Almond,
Peach, Nectarine, Plum, Pomegranate, Walnut,
Apple, Quince, Grape Vine, Mulberry, and Fig.
Of Chinese fruits, the Leechee, Loquat, Longan,
Wampee, Flat Peach, and digitated Citron are
perfectly naturalized. Where these plants not
only grow but flourish and perfect their fruit,



Plants of
northern cli-

Acclimation of



there can be no difficulty in introducing others
from the same localities.

But the greatest variety of plants which have
been acclimated are those which have been pro-
cured from the Himalayas, and this does not pro-
ceed from their more easy naturaliization, but
from the greater facility of communication. The
difference between the climate of the hills and
that of the plains is much greater than what
occurs in places differing only in latitude, for not
only the temperature of the atmosphere, but also
its pressure and density differ, as do likewise
the quantity of light, and the variations between
dryness and moisture. The success has, notwith-
standing, been very considerable, and may, no
doubt, be much extended, as far as plants from
six and seven thousand feet of elevation are con-

Trees and Shrubs.





Service tree

Yew and Box


Horse Chesnut

Buck thorn


Black thorn

Spindle tree

















Anemone Aconitum


Climate of

As the

climate of the hills

rrsembles that of



countries, the transition is easy, from


consideration of the plants of the former to cultivation of

^ _ plants of Eu-

that of those of the latter. The success in ac- ropeinnorth-

em India.

climating in the plains of the north of India
many of the perennial plants of the south of
Europe, or what botanists call the Mediterranean
region, would, no doubt, be considerable. But
Saharunpore is remote from the sea, the means
of obtaining European plants are few and diffi-
cult, and seeds in a vegetative state arrive but
seldom. The introduction, however, of the various
European kitchen garden vegetables, and the
successful cultivation of many of the flowers, as
well as of the Medicinal plants of Europe, affords
the most rational prospect of the eventual suc-
cess, being only limited by the means afforded for
insuring it.

In proceeding westward in the latitude of Sa- Plants of Per-

. - . . sia, Arabia, and

harunpore, the countries of which it is most de- Egypt.
sirable to acclimate the productions, are Arabia,
Egypt, and the lower parts of Persia. As there is
a considerable resemblance between the botany
of these and that of the upper provinces of India^
and as some of their fruits have already been
introduced, while others, as well as many of their
vegetable and useful productions are the same as
those of India, there is no doubt that a consider-
able proportion of their valuable products, as
Assafcetida, Ammoniacum, Galbanum, Sagape-
mim, Opoponax, Myrrh, Aloes, and others might
be naturalized at Saharunpore, or between it and
its mountain nursery, as the Coffee plant flou-



piantsof Mex- rishcs, and Senna is produced in the fullest per-

ico and North ' r *

America in fection in the former.


From the similarity in the temperature of parts
of Mexico, as also of North America, and the
correspondence, in a general point of view, in
vegetation, between them and the Mussooree
range, it would be quite possible to acclimate in
the nursery there, many of the natural produc-
tions of the western world. Some of the plants
of America, though from very different parts of the
continent, have already succeeded remarkably well
in the Saharunpore Botanic Garden, such as the
Mahogany, Logwood, Sapota, Pimento or Allspice,
Cherimolia, and Ash-leaved Maple. It would,
therefore, be easy to naturalize many others.

The countries in the southern hemisphere,
which have the nearest approximation in latitude
and temperature to northern India, are the Cape
of Good Hope and New Holland ; the most popu-
lous parts of which are about the thirty-fourth
parallel of latitude. Though the vegetation of
each is distinguished from that of the other, by
possessing a number of genera peculiar to itself,
yet there is the closest affinity between that of
the two countries, and a marked difference from
that of every other. They possess indeed but few
plants in common, yet we must not, from this cir-
cumstance, conclude that the plants of the Cape
and of New Holland will not succeed in India.
We must rather consider the similarity of these
countries in latitude and temperature, with the

Of Cape of
Good Hope
and New Hol-


northern parts of India ; and that having possessed Plants of Cape
themselves of every kind of vegetable and many land.
fruit trees known in other parts of the world,
some of which are natives of, and the greater
number flourish in, India ; so their own'peculiar
or useful productions may, no doubt, be as easily
transferred to the latter country. Those which
have been already attempted, in the open air,
in the Saharunpore Botanic Garden, have com-
pletely succeeded, such as species of Aloes, Pelar-
gonium, Stapelia, Amaryllis, Casuarina, and Me-
laleuca Cajeputi, or Kayapootee plant.

In the Asrricultural department less has been Agricoiturai

° ^ * ezpenments.

done than perhaps might have been effected, but
here the chief difficulty to be contended with, is
the want of a population, ready to take advantage
of any objects of culture that are introduced.
Still, much good may be effected by introducing
improved kinds of the seeds which the natives
themselves are in the habit of sowing, as from
this they might be led to adopt new and un-
tried cultures. The finest kind of wheat now
in the Delhi market is said to have been intro-
duced by an European gentleman stationed at
Bareilly. The number of articles cultivated in
the open fields is very great ; the most impor-
tant have been already enumerated, but the ma-
jority of them are little known, and are usually
included under the term of small grains and
As instances of what may be effected, it may be o^'*



of Oats ;

arley ;



mentioned, that Oats were originally cultivated
by Dr. Go van in the Saharunpore Garden, and
were spread both in the district and in the hill
provinces, but a few gentlemen only employed
them for feeding their horses. The Barley of the
Himalayas, from ten thousand feet of elevation,
was introduced by the Author into the Saharun-
pore Garden, and produced finer crops than any
of that cultivated in the neighbouring plains.
The species from an equal elevation, on the
northern face, so remarkable for its permanent
monstrosity of form, was also cultivated, though
less successfully. Of plants affording fodder for
cattle which were introduced, and grown with
success, were the^ Guinea and Fiorin grasses,
as well as Lucern, Clover, and Succory. The
three last are particularly valuable, as affording
green food when there is little or no grass in the

Dr. Falconer has since introduced the nume*
rous and fine varieties of Rice cultivated in the
Himalayas. Of these, some of the best sorts were

Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 15 of 32)