J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

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

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in the Himalayas, at 6,500 feet of elevation, though
fifty miles distant, is very convenient for the in-
troduction of European plants. Mussooree has
a minimum of only 27°, and a maximum of 80° of
Fahr., showing that the equability is greater than
in the neighbouring plains. The mean tempera-
ture is about 57°, and of the months of Jan. 42°,
Feb. 45°, March 53% April 5J>°, May 66°, June
67°, July 67°, Aug. 66°, Sept. 64°, Oct. 57°, Nov.
50°, Dec. 45°.

The season for cultivation in the Mussooree
climate is from March to October ; but between
the Saharunpore Garden and Mussooree Nursery,
a complete year of moderate climate may be ob-
tained for the germination of seeds of temperate
climates, as the mean temperature of the several
months is, at Saharunpore, in Nov. 64°, Dec. 55°,
Jan. 52°, Feb. 55°, March 57°; and at Mussooree,
in April 59°, May 66°, June 67°, July 67°, Aug.
66°, Sept. 64°, Oct. 57°.

The climate having been proved favoui-able,little
difficulty will be experienced with the soil or
with the irrigation, as far as the experiments are


concerned. The subsequent distribution of plants
which have succeeded in the Depot Gardens must
be determined by various circumstances; but the
first should only be sent to favourable localities,
as failure is apt to discourage further attempts.

The next and principal subject of attention, for
which the preceding observations are only prepa-
ratory, is the kind of plants best suited to the
Northern parts of India, and the Himalaya moun-
tains. Here we must be guided not only by the
nature of the plants with respect to vicissitudes
of temperature, but also their usefulness — their
annual or perennial nature, and in noticing the
climate into which we wish to introduce them,
take care to compare it with that from which they
are to be introduced. The plants to be introduced
may be considered with respect to their useful-
ness, or to their fitness for different kinds of cli-
mate. In the former case, we should arrange them
under the heads of Food for the inhabitants, or
Fodder for their Cattle ; such as are likely to be
useful in any of the ordinary arts of life, or those
which may afibrd products likely to become ar-
ticles of commerce. Merely ornamental plants
should not be neglected, nor those remarkable for
their odour, as both gratify the senses, and oflfer
inducements to many to pay attention to garden-
ing, when other more useful plants are necessarily
introduced, and with little additional expense.
Fruit trees might appear to many as not included
among useful plants, but independent of their


increasing the proportion of esculent matter in a
country, they might become sources of consider-
able commerce between the plains and mountains
of India, as is now the case with Cashmere.

There is another class of plants to which I paid
considei*able attention when in India, and which
form the chief objects of my present duties —
that is, Medicinal plants. I was first requested to
do so by the Medical Board of Bengal, and I cul-
tivated many articles which were pronounced,
after trial in the General Hospital at Calcutta, to
be of the best quality. Dr. Falconer, the present
able Superintendent of the Saharunpore Botanic
Garden, writes me that Extract of Henbane,
which I first cultivated and manufactured, still
continues to be supplied from the Saharunpore
Garden to the Hospital Dep6ts. In the same
situation, and in the Hill Nursery, many other
medicinal plants, now sent from this country,
might be successfully cultivated, and thus be
not only more cheaply produced, but also pre-
scribed in a fresher state.

Keeping these several objects in view, I have
thought it preferable for practical purposes,
that is, the operations of horticulture and the
selection of sites for the experiments, to arrange
those plants I have as yet been able to think of,
in three separate lists, according to the situation
for which they are suited.

1. Annuals fit for cultivation in the Plains of


India in the cold weather and in the summer of
the Himalayas.

2. Perennials probably suited to the Plains of
North-west India.

3. Perennials suitable to the Himalayas.
Besides the plants mentioned in the respective

lists, I have long thought it a very interesting sub-
ject of inquiry to ascertain by experiment whether
the grains the people of India possess in common
with Europe are of an equal degree of goodness
and equally prolific, as for instance their Wheat,
Barley, Rape, Mustard seeds, &c. Some of the
plants which I have included in my lists are in-
tended to be useful for their products, which may
become objects of commerce; but this involves
another subject of inquiry, and that is, whether the
analogous substances which India naturally pos-
sesses are superior or inferior in quality to those
cultivated in other parts of the world.

It is probable that some of those enumerated
in the accompanying lists may not be suited to
the localities indicated, and a still greater number
that might be suited to them are, I am well aware,
entirely omitted. This has occurred from want
of time to give the subject the full consideration
it deserves ; but as the plan, to be successful to
any great degree, must necessarily be carried on
for a few years, I shall be happy to return to the
subject if required, and point out the plants
suited for cultivation in different parts of India.



Though failure may attend some, I am well
satisfied that success will attend the majority of
instances, and feel the utmost confidence in
stating, that, if the subject of the Introduction of
Useful Plants suited to the different parts of
India be continued, and the Principles be not
neglected which should guide these attempts, very
beneficial results will in a few years be evident
to all. Also, that if this be combined with an
Investigation of and Publication to the Manufac-
turing world of the very varied Natural Products
of India; an increase of the Commerce and
Resources of that empire will ensue to an extent
anticipated by few, but of which, after long atten-
tion to the subject, I feel well assured and hope
to be able to prove to the sceptical.

I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obe-
dient humble servant, «

(Signed) J. Forbes Royle, M.D.

London, 31st Dec. 1838.





Annuals* Jit for Cultivalion in the Plains of India during the
cold Weather, and in the Himalayas during the Summer

Europe Corn Grasses


Sweet Herbs

Most Annuals of English

Flower Gardens
Wheat and Egyptian Wheat


Mustard, Black and White
Rape, Colza

Tobacco, Virginia

Tobacco, Persian


Peas, Beans

Vetches, Tares

Edible Lupin

Clover, Red and White


Alexandrine Clover

Turnips, Carrots


Mangel Wurzel

Skirret, Parsnip

Carraway, Fennel

Dill, Parsley


Hemlock, Foxglove

Belladonna, &c.

• The Annuals suited to the rainy season of every part of the plains, and
even of some of the mountains of India, are already very numerous ;
consisting both of commercial articles, and of such as are fitted for food.
Among the former we have Indigo, Cotton, Sugar Cane and Tobacco, even
with Rice, Maize, Sorghum, several species of Phaseolus and Dolichos,
Paspalum, Panicum, Arum, Sesamum, Sun and Sunnee, and many others.
During this season Senna, &c. may be cultivated. Many introductions
may be made from the West Indies and South America of new plants,
or of varieties of the best kinds of those already cultivated in India.



Perennials suited to the drier and more northern parts of India.

Liriodendron tulipifera
Capparis spinosa
Acacia vera



Olive tree

Carob tree

Manna Ash


Sweet Bay

Mastich tree

Chian Turpentine

Pistachio Nut tree

Myrrh tree

Sassafras tree

Sumach tree

Astragalus — yielding Traga-

Cistus — yielding Laudanum
Styrax officinalis
Cork tree
Oak Ilex




Quercus tinctoria
Quercus ^gilops

Quercus Ballota
Cactus opuntia



Morus alba




New Zealand Flax

Poterium spinosum

Liquorice plant

Aloe soccotrina


Euphorbia plant





Artemisia Abrotanum

- Sautonica
Phoenix dactylifera
Diosmae sp.


Perennials suited to the Summer and able to withstand the cold
of the Himalayan Winter.

Almond, Peach Apple, Pear, Quince

Apricot, Nectarine Spanish Chesnut

Plum, Cherry Filberts, Hazle nut

2 G



Gooseberry, Currants


Rhubarb, all the kinds

Gentian, Jalap


Juniper, Savine

Bilberries, Cranberries

Costus of the Ancients


Europe and North America

Timber Trees
Sugar-Maple, Hickories, and

Black Walnuts

Oaks and Pines
Beech, Ash
Lime tree

American Magnolias
Tulip tree
Drimys Winteri
Rhododendrons, Azaleas
Kalmias, Heaths
Strawberry tree
Rhamnus infectoria

saxatilis, &c.

Lavender, Rosemary

Tropical Perennials suited to the Plains^ and some to the Moun-
tains, of the southern parts of India.

Coffee, Cacao

Pimento, Papaya

Nutmeg, Cloves

Cinnamon, Camphor

Cocculus palmatus

(Columba plant)

Telfairia volubilis

Pterocarpus erinaceus

(African Kino)

Elaeis guineensis (Oil Palm)

Bix aorellana (Annotto)

Persea gratissima

Maranta arundinacea

Canna coccinea

Copaifera, yielding Balsam of

Balsams of Peru and Tolu

Krameria triandra
Coutarea speciosa

Arenga saccharifera (Gomuto)
Cabbage Palm
Ceroxylon andicola
Vanilla and Tropical Or-

Passion Flowers

Ilex paraguayensis
Raphis vinifera
Sterculia acuminata
Sarcocephalus esculentus
Anona senegalensis
Chrysobalanus Icaco
Logwood, Mahogany
Nicaragua Wood
Quassia, Simaruba
Cinchonas, all the species
Cepheelis Ipecacuanha
Psychotria emetica



Smilax officinalis

• medica, &c.

Guaiacum tree

Cusparia tree

Cascarilla plant

Croton Tiglium

Hymenaea Courbaril

Stillingia sebifera (Tallow

Elaeococca verrucosa (Oil

vemicia (Var-
nish tree)

Agave, species of
Sanseviera guineensis
Baccharis genistelloides
Dipterix odorata (Tonquin

Csesalpinia braziliensis, &c.

(Brazil Wood)
Jacaranda ovalifolia

Hevea guianensis
Schinus raolle
Bertholletia excelsa

(Brazil Nut tree)


The foregoing lists having been referred to in the preceding
pages (p. 248 and 445), are published as memoranda, nearly, as
originally prepared. They might easily be rendered more
copious, by an examination of the notices of the useful plants
of different countries, but these are scattered, like the accounts
of those of India, in a variety of publications, some Botanical,
others INIedical. A few are found in the lists of the Commerce
of different countries, and others are mentioned by Travellers,
of whom, however, but few are copious and exact in the rela-
tions, like Humboldt, or Spix and Martius. The names, to be
fully useful to practical men, ought to be accompanied with a
short account of the nature and uses of the different plants,
their peculiar habits and culture, and the parts of India to
which they appear best suited. This, it is evident, would re-
quire much time, in fact, constitute a work of itself. By re-
ferring to the Index, most of them will be found in the ** Illus-
trations of Himalayan Botany," and generally with notices
respecting the parts of India to which they are suited.


Printed by J. L. Cox and Sons, 7^) Great Queen-street,
Lincoln's-Inn Fields.

London, September, 1840.











By J. FORBES ROYI.E, M. D., V. P. R. S., F. Xi. S., 8e G. S., H. R. A. S., Ate.

Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, King' s-CoUege.

JUi&D ^Domplcte, iDiti^ 13eatitifnIlQ=CoIorel) plates,
In Two Volumes, Imperial quarto, hd^ morocco, extra. Trice £11 lis.


This "Work being now concluded, it is desirable to give a fuUer idea of its
contents than can be obtained from its title. The Himalayan Mountains,
forming the stupendous barrier between the dominions of the British and of
the Chinese, and having their south-western bases resting on the heated
plains of India, abound in all the forms of Animal and Vegetable Life,
characteristic of Tropical Countries in general, and of India in particular.
Their gradually-elevated slope, supporting vegetation at the greatest known
heights, aflFords, at intermediate elevations, £dl the varieties of temperature
adapted to forms, considered pecuhar to very different latitudes. A gradual
approach is thus observed to take place to the Animal and Vegetable forms
common in Europe, China, Japan, Siberia, and North America.

Dr. RoYLE, while Superintendant of the Honourable East India Company's
Botanic Garden at Saharunpore, within 30 miles of the Himalayas, had great
advantages in becoming acquainted with the Natural History and Products of
these Mountains. He made Meteorological Observations, collected Geological
Specimens, and skins of the Mammalia and Birds, together with Insects, and
about 4,000 species of Plants in the Plains of India, and in the Himalayas, as
far as Cashmere. Drawings were made of the most interesting of these by the
East India Company's Establishment of Painters.

To shew the connection between the different branches of Natural History,
and their dependance on the Physical Features, Soil,, and CUmate of the
Country, the work has been divided into t\^'0 Parts. The Introductory portion
treats, first, — of the Physical Geogkaphy of the Plains and Mountains of


India, dwelling especially on the results of the Survej's of the Himalayas,
(of which a view from the vicinity of Almorah is given in the Frontis-
piece,) and the Travels of Messrs. Turner, Moorcroft, and the Gerards,
with notices of the elevations of the highest Peaks and Passes. This is
followed by a view of the Geological Features of the Plains and
Mountains, illustrated by a Plate of Sections, (in which the Author was
assisted by Mr. De La Beche,) and three plates of Fossil Plants and Animals,
containing 54 figures. The Meteorology is next treated of, and the climate
of the Tropics compared with that of the Plains and Mountains of India,
with tabular Views of the monthly and diurnal range of the Barometer and
Thermometer in the Plains of India. The characteristics of Himalayan
Climate, consisting of mildness, and equability of Temperature and of
Pressure, at such elevations as Simla and Mussooree, resorted to by Europeans
for the recovery of health, are then given.

The Physical Features, Soil, and Climate having been noticed, a general
view of the Geographical Distribution of the Plants and Animals which
these are calculated to support, is treated of in an Introductory Chapter, in con-
nection with the Cultivation at different seasons and at several elevations.

The Botany itself is arranged according to the Natural System, under the
heads of 207 families, illustrated by colored plates of 197 Plants. The
observations on each Family consist of a notice of its Geographical Distribution
in different parts of the world, an enumeration of the Genera and remarkable
species found either in the Plains and Hot Vallies, or in the Mountains of
India ; and the Vegetation natural to different parts of India is compared with
that of other countries enjoying similar climates. This plan was adopted,
as giving the most interesting and important general results, and as leading to
a just appreciation of the influence of Physical Agents on Vegetation, and as
elucidating those principles which require to be attended to in the Culture
both of new Plants, and of old Plants in new situations. It also afforded
great facilities in treating of the properties of Plants as connected with
structure, and for showing the immense resources of British India, and the
probable means of still further increasing them.

The subjects of Agricultural and Commercial importance which are
more fully treated of, are Tea, Cotton, and Tobacco ; and the probability of the
first being successfully grown in the Mountains, and the two latter in the Plains,
is shown by application to Practice of the principles of Science. Also Hemp,
Flax, and the Cordage Plants; and, among Medicines, the Cinchonas, Ipeca-
cuanha, Sarsaparilla, Senna, Rhubarb, and Henbane, with many others. As
articles of Culture and Commerce, various Timber trees. Gums, Resins, Caout-
chouc, Astringents. Dyes, Vegetable Oils, Fruit Trees, the Olive and Carob
Trees, Com and Pasture Grasses, Salep, Arrow-Root, and other articles of
diet, are pointed out. As subjects of Classical Interest elucidated, may be
noticed Lyciuin, Agallochum, or Eagle Wood, Calamus Aromaticus, and
Spikenard of the Ancients ; also their Costus, which is the Puchuk of Commerce.

In connection with the Climate and Vegetation, it is interesting to notice
the Animal Forms, and this has been done in two able papers, one on the
Entomology of India, and the Himalayas, by the Reverend F. W. Hope,
President of the Entomological Society, which is illustrated with two colored
plates of 20 insects, and the other on the Mammalogy of the Himalayas,
by W. Ogilby, Esq., Secretary of the Zoological Society ; this is illustrated
by a figure of Lagorays, (new species,) and also by two of Deer. A list of
the Birds in the Author's Collection is also appended, and two plates, one
of Birds of Tropical Forms found in the Himalayas in the rainy season, and
the other of Himalayan Birds of European forms are given.

As the work contains so much of detail as well as of General Views it would
have been comparatively useless M'ithout easy means of reference. This
has been supplied by an Analytical Table of Contents, and by Alphabetical
Indexes at the end of the book, extending to 34 pages ; also an Alphabetical
List of Plates for the Second Volume.



" It is not too much to say of this very remarkable work, that it is indispen-
sable to all who would acquire a knowledge of the vegetation, climate, and soil of
the north of India." — Athenaum.

" This work unquestionably contains a greater amount of valuable practical
information upon useful matters than any work yet written upon the foreign posses-
sions of any other European power." — Dr. Lindtey in Botanical Regiiter.

" The observations respecting the geographical description of the Flora of Northern
India are very interesting ; and the work will be valuable in supplying a rich
mass of facts on' the Natural History, of a part of the world of which our know-
ledge has hitherto been very vague and partial." — Loudon*s Gardener's iSagazine.

" We may now congratulate the public on a great blank in the physical geography
of India being satisfaciorily filled up by the appearance of this important work. The
plates are remarkably good." — Asiatic Journal.

" A perusal of the very interesting letter-press, and a careful examination of the well-
engraved and beautifully-colored plates of Himalayan plants and animals fully realize
the very favorable opinion we expressed of Mr. Rotle's Illustrations, an opinion
founded on the well-known and highly-esteemed practical skill of our author as a
naturalist, and his activity and intelligence as a traveller." — Jameson's Edinburgh Philo-
sophical Journal.

" Replete with varied and important facts and inferences, no one can peruse this
work without advantage and great satisfaction. So perfect do we regard this work in all
its departments, that we are sensible of no desideratum, except that of the remaining
portion of it, which, we trust, will speedily be laid before the public. The plates are
very beautifully executed and colored."— London Medical Gazette,

"A more valuable contribution has rarely been made to the science of Natural
History than by the splendid work of Mr. J. Forbes Rotle. The work, in sbort, is
highly deserving of public patronage." — Times.

" Of this region, (the Himalayan) an invaluable account is given by Mr. Roy lb
in the above work, to which we are indebted for the principal part of our data regard-
ing the vegetation of India." — Penny Cyclopcedia.

" The constant attention which is paid in this work to useful matters, and the
skilful manner in which general views are made to bear upon particular cases of
practical value, render it of immense importance to all who have a stake in our
Indian possessions. We particularly refer to the articles on Cotton and Tea, both which
deserve the most serious attention of the Indian Government. The value of such
a work is scarcely to be appreciated." — Alhenaum, 1834. Second Notice.

" Such an authentic and almost official book, in express contribution to an ex-
tension of our information, must be welcome, must be valued, must be taken into
possession." — Loudon's Magazine of Natural History.

" We feel justified in pronouncing this to be by far the most valuable practical
work which has yet been published with reference to the vegetable resources of the
British territories in Asia; and the most calculated to show how the vegetable kingdom
is capable of extending our revenues in the most valuable part of our Colonial
possessions."— j4*ia/«c Journal. Second Notice.

" We rise from an attentive examination of this work, in doubt whether the botanical
knowledge which it displays and imparts, or the patriotic spirit which pervades it,
calls for the higher admiration. We are, however, certain that every Botanist who
desires to demonstrate what are the practical uses of his study, may appeal to it with
satisfaction, to shew its bearings upon the aflFairs of life; while the Merchant who is
interested in the produce of the East should patronize if, as contributing largely to
promote a just knowledge of the resources of that vast empire, the improvement of
which would materially increase the commercial greatness ot Britain and of India."—
London Medical Gazette. Second Notice.

" No one who would be acquainted either with the ornamental, the cultural, or
the medical qualities of the Indian Flora, can dispense with the possessioii of Da.
Royle's highly-valuable labours." — Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

" Mr. Royle's work presents a most systematic and complete view of the Natural


History of those Regions which, though the first that has been given to the world, will
probably long remain the best. Instead of being one to be prized by mere botanists or
geologists, it is likely to have the warmest admirers among the politico-economical class,
whose principal care is how to increase the " Wealth of Nations." Its contents are of
so generally-interesting a nature that it can hardly fail of obtaining a very extensive
share of popularity."— Mechanic'* Magazine.

" We highly recommend this publication to our readers, containing, as it does,
not only an ample store of information respecting the natural productions of the
Himalayas, but also the best general view of the physical features of those mag-
nificent mountains." — London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine and Journal of

" The work is chiefly addressed to the scientific naturalist, but contains much that
is also interesting to the more general student, as well as a vast number of interesting
statements regarding a most interesting portion of the globe." — Journal of the Royal
Geographical Society.

" This will be found to be one of the most scientific and comprehensive works of
the kind that has ever been published." — Arboretum, Britannicum.

" The text is rich in original details, as well as in elaborate scientific researches ;
and every thing bearing on the Materia Medica, whether as acknowledged in the
schools, or as existing only in the written dispensatories of the natives of the country,
is studiously noticed "—British and Foreign Medical Review.

" Dr. LiNDLEY, on the subject of Geography of Plants, after referring to the

Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 31 of 32)