J. C. (John Claudius) Loudon.

An encyclopaedia of gardening; comprising the theory and practice of horticulture, floriculture, arboriculture, and landscape-gardening, including all the latest improvements; a general history of gardening in all countries; and a statistical view of its present stat, with suggestions for its future online

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Online LibraryJ. C. (John Claudius) LoudonAn encyclopaedia of gardening; comprising the theory and practice of horticulture, floriculture, arboriculture, and landscape-gardening, including all the latest improvements; a general history of gardening in all countries; and a statistical view of its present stat, with suggestions for its future → online text (page 239 of 313)
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trouble. " The P. sylvestris, var. montana," he says, " is the variety which yields the red wood : even
young trees of this sort are said to become red in their wood, and full of resiri very soon. The late dis-
tinguished Don, of Forfar, exhibited specimens of cones of each variety to the Highland Society of
Scotland, and likewise to the Caledonian Horticultural Society. The variety preferred by Don, is
distinguished by the disposition of its branches, which are remarkable for their horizontal direction,
and for a tendency to bend downwards close to the trunk. The leaves are broader and shorter than in
the common kind, and are distinguishable at a distance by their much lighter and beautiful glaucous
appearance. The bark of the trunk is smoother than in the common kind. The cones are thicker, and
not so much pointed The plant is more hardy than the common sort, grows freely in almost any soil or
situation, and quickly arrives at a considerable size." Sang says, he has seen trees of this variety at
Caristoun and Brechin Castle : and it is much to be wished that he or some other competent nurseryman,
in that quarter, would collect the seeds, and propagate it extensively. Thouin (Notes sur la Culture de
Pins, 8vo. 1819,) mentions a variety, which he calls P. syl. var. pin de riga, as affording the best timber.
Whether the pine which forms the extensive plantations along the sea-coast at Bourdeaux, and is called
by foreign authors, Pinus niaritima, be a variety of P. sylvestris or a distinct species, does not appear to
be ascertained. The plant is tender, and easily killed by frost when young ; but its timber is said to be
of excellent quality. {RadcltfTs Flanders, 250.)

7043. Soil and native site. " This tree is naturally the inhabitant of mountainous districts, and of rocky,
gravelly, or poor sandy soils, where its timber becomes most valuable and durable. On the sides of moun-
tains, in dells and hollows, among stones and rocks, beside rapid rivulets or mountain torrents, it is found
in high perfection ; and if it stand single, it is of great beauty. In many parts of the Scots Highlands,
where the soils are extremely various, and much mixed, the Scots pine has arrived at a good size, and
often attained remarkable dimensions. In any kind of soil from a sandy to a clay, provided the substra-
tum be rubble or rock, it will grow and flourish ; but in wet tilly soils, it ought never to be planted ;
because whenever the roots have exhausted the turf or upper soil, and begin to perforate the sub-soil, the
tree languishes and dies." [Plant. Kal. 65.)

7044. Insects. The larva? of Xoctua Pinastri, L. (Xylena, Hub.) are deposited in the leading buds, and
often perforate the young shoots, and leave the tree without a leader. The aphis pini infests the tender
shoots ; and various dermestidtB live in the bark, and perforate the soft wood.

7045. The Corsican pine (P. laricio, P. S.) is a native of the mountains of Corsica and is nearly allied
to the Scotch pine. There is a specimen in the Paris gardens, planted in 1784 and 56 feet high in 1821,
thus described by David Don. " P. laricio is a much handsome and finer tree than P. sylvestris with
which however it in some respects agrees. It is of a more pyramidal habit, and its branches are shorter
and more regularly verticillated. Its leaves are a third longer, and of a lively green, with their sheaths
nearly entire." Its cones are shorter, ovate and quite straight, with depressed scales : and its bark is finer
and much more entire. The enlightened Professor of Agriculture informed us, that it is equally hardy
with P. sylvestris, and that its wood is much more weighty and resinous, and consequently more compact,
stronger, and more flexible. It grows wild on the summits of the highest mountains in Corsica. It
teems to bear cones very freely, which ripen nearly about the same time as those of P. sylvestris.

7046. The pitch or red Canadian pine (P. resinosa) (Lam. pin. 20. t. 4.) is an Ameri-

3 R 4



Part III.

can tree, introduced in 1 756, not unlike the Scotch pine, and " receives its name from
the color of the bark. From the high geographical range of this pine, it is well adapted
to associate with the P. sylvestris. It has been imported in the form of masts into this
country. Like the P. sylvestris, it affords an inferior timber on a damp and unsuitable
soil." {Caled. Hort. Mem. v. 367.)

7047. The pinaster or cluster-pine (P. pinaster, L.) {Lam. pin. 9. t. 5.) (Jig. 669. b)
grows to the height of fifty or sixty feet, with broader, thicker, and longer leaves than the
common pine (a) : the branches are also farther apart, and grow more horizontal than
in that tree. As the tree advances in age it becomes naked and unsightly below ; but
the top grows highly picturesque, and may readily be distinguished in the landscapes
of the Roman and Florentine painters. It grows naturally on the mountains of Italy
and the south of France ; in Switzerland it is cut into shingles for covering their houses,
and also for making pitch. It flowers in April and May, and the cones are fit to be
gathered in December. It was introduced in 1596, but never much cultivated, being
less, hardy and much less valuable as a timber-tree than the common pine. It is very
picturesque, and well merits culture in that point of view. There are some large speci-
mens at Culzean Castle, on the sea-coast of Ayrshire.

7048. The stone pine (P. pinea) (Lam. pin. 11. t. 6, 7, 8.) (Jig. 669. c) grows to a
considerable height, with a straight stem and rough bark. The leaves are not quite so
long as those of the pinaster, and are of a greyish or sea-green color. The cones are five
inches in length, round, thick, and obtuse ; the kernels are large, and frequently served
up in desserts during the winter season in Italy and the south of Fiance, and they are
also much relished by the Chinese, for the same purpose. It is a native of the south
of Europe ; very common about Ravenna, and forming a distinguishing ornament of
the villas of Rome and Florence. It was introduced here in 1570 ; but as the wood is
not so resinous as most of the other sorts, it has been only cultivated for ornament.

7049. The sivamp, Georgia, pitch, or long-leaved pine (P. palustris) (Lam. pin. 27.
t. 20.) (fig. 669, d) is a valuable and a lofty tree in America, affording planks, which,
imported in this country, are valued 20 per cent, higher than any other American tim-
ber excepting the black larch. The leaves are a foot or more in length, produced in
tufts at the ends of the branches, and having a singular appearance. It grows in a
warmer climate than most other pines ; and if it were found to produce equally valuable
timber in the low warm situations of England, which it does in America, it would be a
most valuable tree. It was introduced in 1730, but has been yery little .cultivated.

7050. Hie Weymouth or New England larch,
commonly called Weymouth pine, (P. Strobus)
(Lam. pin. 31. t. 22.) (fig. 670.) forms the con-
necting link between the pine and larch tribe.
It is one of the tallest of the genus, attaining in
America the height of 100 feet and upwards.
The bark is smooth and delicate, and the leaves
soft and of a bluish green. Vast quantities of
the timber, under the name of the white pine,
are imported from America ; but the tree seems
to be of so delicate a habit, as to prevent our
expecting it ever to become a large or valuable
tree with us, especially in exposed situations.
It was introduced in 1 705, and has been a good
deal cultivated, having formerly been supposed
the most valuable tree of the genus, next to the
common pine. The largest specimens are at
Mersham-hatch, Sir E. Knatchbull's seat in Kent,
and at Whitton Park in Middlesex.

705 1. The cedar-larch, or cedar of Lebanon, is the P. cedrus, L. (Lam. jnn. 59. t.
37.) Cedre, Fr. ; Cederbaum, Ger. ; and Cedro, Ital. It is distinguished from all other
trees of the genus by its strong ramose branches, which, in some cases, deviate from the
common character, and become ;irregular in shape, and permanent in duration. The
general character of the shoot, even when the tree is young, is singularly bold and pic-
turesque, and quite peculiar to the species. The tree is a native of the coldest part of
the mountains of Libanus, Amanus and Taurus ; but it is not now to be found in
those places in great numbers. Maundrell, in his journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem
in 1696, could reckon only sixteen large trees, though many small ones : one of the
.argest was twelve yards six inches in girth, and yet sound ; and thirty seven yards in
the spread of its boughs. The forest of Libanus never seems to have recovered the
havoc made by Solomon's forty score thousand hewers : so that we have now, as Pro-
fessor Martyn observes, probably more cedars in England than there are in Palestine.
I he tree is supposed to have been introduced here in 1683. The oldest specimens are



two in Chelsea-garden ; but there are more magnificent ones at Whitton Park, Zion
House, Pains-hill, Warwick Castle, and other places.

7052. Use. The tree has been very generally planted for ornament, and from its branchy head, and its
aversion to pruning, it is not likely ever to become a valuable timber-tree in this country. When planted
for that purpose, it should, as Sang recommends, be sown in groves, and thus by proximity drawn up with
few branches. Much has been said of the timber which borders on the miraculous ; as far as experience
has gone, it is greatly inferior to that of the common larch, or the wild pine. Its great use is as a single
tree in lawns, where it combines beauty and singularity in a degree not to be found in any other tree. It.
has also an excellent effect in the margin of plantations, and one or two plants will give force and character
to the dullest front of round-headed trees, and effect a great deal even in the fronts and sky outlines of
plantations with spiry tops. (Jig. 560.)

7053. The common larch is the P. larix, L. (Lam. pin. 53. 35.) Larix or Meleze,
Fr. ; Lerchenbaum, Ger. ; and Laricio, Ital. It is the only species of the genus, the
leaves of which are deciduous ; it rises to eighty or a hundred feet high, forming a nar-
row cone of small white-barked caducous, pendulous branches, with delicate drooping
spray. It is a native of the Alpine mountains, on the north sides of which, in hollows
and chasms, it attains to its greatest height and thickness, and most durable timber. In
returning from Italy, by the Simplon, the silver fir will be found in great perfection in
the hollows on the south side, the common Scotch pine on the summit, and the larch
in descending to the Vallais. It appears to have been cultivated by Parkinson in 1629;
and Evelyn, in 1664, speaks of a tree of good stature, " not long since to be seen at
Chelmsford, in Essex, (also mentioned by Harte,) which sufficiently reproaches our
not cultivating so useful a material for many purposes." Harte, in his excellent essays,
published in 1715, gives a figure of the larch, and strongly recommends its culture.
It was first introduced into Scotland by Lord Karnes in 1734 (Lam. pin. t. 35.), and
afterwards in 1741, planted by the Duke of Athol at Dunkeld, and these last trees have
prospered so astonishingly^ and the timber produced from such as have been cut down,
has so fully answered all the eulogiums that have been bestowed on it, that the larch is
now considered on the whole, as decidedly the most valuable timber-tree, not even ex-
cepting the oak. Some of the first-planted larches in the low grounds, near Dunkeld,
have grown to the height of one hundred and twenty feet in fifty years, which gives an
average of two feet four and a quarter inches a-year. It is stated by the Duke of Athol,
in a communication to the Horticultural Society, made in June, 1820, that on moun-
tainous tracts, at an elevation of fifteen or sixteen hundred feet, the larch, at eighty
years of age, has arrived at a size to produce six loads (300 cubic feet) of timber, ap-
pearing in durability and every other quality, to be likely to answer every purpose, both
by sea and land. (Hort. Trans, iv. 416.) Professor Martyn (Miller $ Diet, in loco)
has brought together a mass of valuable information respecting the history of the larch
in this country, and its uses in others. That singularly accomplished agricultural
writer, Dr. Anderson, did much to promote its increase by his essays and other works
from 1750 to 1790; and subsequently the Bishop of LlandalF, Marshall, Nicol, Ponrey,
and Sang, have each, in practice, and by their popular publications, contributed to
spread the tree ; and now several millions are annually planted in the mountainous dis-
tricts of the empire. The larch, Sang observes, passes all other timber-trees, for the
first ten or twenty years after planting, and will arrive at a timber size in almost any
situation or soil. It bears, he says, " the ascendency over the Scots pine in the follow-
ing important circumstances : that it brings double the price, at least, per measurable
foot ; that it will arrive at a useful timber size in one half or a third part of the time, in
general, which the fir requires ; and, above all, that the timber of the larch, at thirty or
forty years old, when placed in soil and climate adapted to the production of perfect
timber, is in every respect superior in quality to that of the fir at a hundred years old.
In short, it is probable that the larch will supersede the Scots pine in most situations in
this island, at no very distant period." The finest specimens of this tree are at Dun-
keld, Blair, and Monzie, in Perthshire.

' 7054 Use. Much has been said of the durability of larch-timber in Italy : its resistance to fire, accord-
ing to some (Matthiolus), and its great combustibility, according to others (DuHamel); its durability
under water (at Venice), and its not being liable to warp (Harte). We shall confine ourselves to its uses
as experimentally proved in Britain ; and perhaps we shall do this with most effect by stating that it may
be used for all the purposes for which the best foreign deal is applied ; for many of those of the oak ; and
that it is more durable than any other timber when placed in a situation between wet and dry, especially

attacked by the dry or wet rot (5927. and 692t>.) One property almost peculi
is exceedingly valuable at every period of its growth ; so that a dead hedge of larch-boughs, or a hurdle
wattled with larch-spray, will last longer than dead hedges or wattled hurdles of any other species of tree.
Planted in rows in exited gardens it forms a useful hedge plant in point of shelter ; but in this resect is
dene cut as a fence, and getf soon naked below. Hods, stakes, pales, rails, posts, and especially gate-posts,
of this tree are therefore more valuable than of any other ; the spruce fir approaching the nearest to it in
these respect* Turpentine is extracted from it in the Tyrol; but that being always injurious to the
timber, can never be recommended for adoption in this country : it is also peculiarly valuable as a

nU ^5 S ^nrie/ies or specks. Of the P. larix, there is a variety with red and another with white .lowers,
one : with SnVrcous bark, called the Russian larch, and one with pendulous branches. There are also the


black larch (P. pendtda) and red larch (P. microcarpa), natives of America, by some considered distinct
species; the timber of both of which is said to be harder than that of the common white larch As
these trees are only to be met with in the nurseries, originated by layers, they cannot be recommended to
be planted as timber-trees. There are, however, a few large specimens at Dunkeld and otheT places ;
and from these the trees will probably soon be propagated by seed, and a practical estimate be formed of
their merits There are some trees of the red larch on the Athol estates, but they do not contain one
third as many cubic feet of timber as the white larch at the same age. The wood is so ponderous that it
will scarcely swim on water. {Hort. Trans, iv. 416.) .,,... .

7056. Soil and site. The larch will grow and attain a large size in every soil and situation, excepting in
standing water ; but a certain elevation of surface, or coldness of climate and inferiority of soil, is abso-
lutelv necessary to produce the timber in perfection. The quality of the timber of all trees is more or less
affected by climate and soil ; but that of the resinous tribe particularly so. We pointed out several
instances in 1806. {Treatise on Country Residences, ii.) Sang mentions a number as having occurred since
1812 (Plant. Kal. 59.), and observes generally that he has " known it in many places make the most rapid
progress for 30 or 35 years, and though there was no external signs of disorder, yet, when it was felled,
the wood had begun to rot in the hearts of the trees ; so that there was scarcely a sound tree over a large
extent of ground ; yet here, the oak, the chestnut, the elm, and the ash, amongst which the larch
had been used as a nurse, are not only in the utmost vigor, but their wood is perfectly sound. Some
larches in a similar soil and situation had attained seven feet each, and were quite hollow a good way
upwards." , . .

7057. Insects. The Coccus lartcea, and the others mentioned as inhabiting the common pine.

7058. The Norway fir, or common spruce fir, (P. Abies, L. (Lam. pin. 73. t. 25.)
Sapin, Fr. ; Fichte, or Tanne, Ger. ; Abiete, Ital.) is the first species of that section of
pinus in which the leaves are solitary. It is one of the tallest of European trees, attains
from 100 to 150 feet in height, with a very straight but not thick trunk, and throwing
out its spreading frond-like branches so as to form an elegant narrow cone of vivid green.
It is a native of the north of Europe, and particularly abundant, as the name imports,
in Norway : its timber being the white deal received from that country and the Baltic.
It is supposed to have been introduced about 1548, and has been, and still is, more
cultivated than any species of the genus, excepting the common pine and the larch.
Some of the finest specimens are in Harefield Park, at Blenheim, and at Temple
New sham.

7059. Use. The timber is inferior to that of the common pine in durability and bulk ; and being often
knotty, is not proportionably strong for horizontal bearings with that timber. White Norway deal, how-
ever, is used for a great variety of purposes in building ; and the entire trees are more prized than any
other for masts for small crafts, for spars both for marine purposes and on land. What constitutes the
value of this fir is, that its timber is equally durable at any age, like that of the larch ; and what renders
it peculiarly adapted for masts, spars, scaffolding, poles, &c. is its habit of almost in every case, whether
standing single or detached, growing perfectly erect and straight. The tree may be cut for rods, stakes,
and scythe or other implement handles, when the trunk at the base is not more than two inches in dia-
meter, and the bark being kept on it, it will prove almost as durable as the larch. Pontey says, that poles
of spruce are so far inferior to those of the larch, that they are more apt to crack when exposed whole to
the influence of the sun and air ; but in all other respects it is nearly equal to it, and in straightness sur-
passes it. The tree is peculiarly valuable as a nurse, from being evergreen, and closely covered with
branches, by which radiating heat is retained ; from its conical shape and rigid stem, by which it does
not suffocate or whip the adjoining trees ; from its being valuable at whatever age it is thinned out; and
from its being an excellent shelter for the most valuable game. It will not, however, grow in situations
where the common pine and larch will flourish. It is also an excellent hedge plant for shelter, but is
deficient in point of defence and durability. By incision, it yields a resin, from which, by various pre-
parations, turpentine and Burgundy pitch are formed. The tops or sprouts {spruytsen, Ger.) give the flavor
to what is called spruce-beer.

7060. Varieties and species. Linnaeus has five varieties of P. abies ; but the principal are, the white
(P. alba) {Lam. pin. S9. t. 26.), the red (P. rubra) {Lam. pin. 43. t. 28.), and the black (P. nigra). {Lam.
pin. 41. t. 27.) These are all natives of N. America, and their timber, which is white, possesses nearly
the same properties as that of the European species. The white spruce rises only to 40 or 45 feet, with
pale bluish-green leaves. The black spruce is reckoned the most durable of the tribe. " In America, the
black spruce is used for knees in ship-building, where neither oak nor black larch can be easily obtained
these knees are not prepared from two diverging branches, as in the oak ; but from a portion of the base
of the trunk connected with one of the largest diverging roots. The timber of the red is universally pre-
ferred throughout the United States for sail-yards, and indeed imported for this purpose into Liverpool
from Nova Scotia, where it is also used for constructing casks for salted fish. It is chiefly from the decoc-
tion in water of young shoots of the black, and not exclusively from those of the white spruce as sup-
posed by Lambert, that the celebrated beer is prepared by fermentation, with a due proportion of sugar
or molasses. The essence of spruce of the dealers is prepared by evaporating this decoction to the con
sistence of honey." -*~ -

7061. Soil and site. Pontey says it grows rapidly on every description of soil, from a very stiff* loam
and such as possess a very considerable degree of humidity, to a very dry sand, provided the situation be
not very much exposed. Sang says it luxuriates much in deep low situations : in shallow soils and ex
posed places it never succeeds. It " should never be planted for the sake of its wood, excepting in masses
or groves by itself; otherwise its timber is so coarse and knotty, that it is hardly worth working but in
the mass way, if planted thick, and properly pruned and thinned afterwards, it maybe trained to tall clean

t 7062. Insects. The Coccus abietis, and occasionally the others which infest the common pine.

7063. The silver fir (P. Picea) (Lam. pin. 46. t. 30.) (fig. 671. a) is a lofty ever-
green tree, forming a cone broader at the base, in proportion to its height, than the
spruce, and displaying a more stable and majestic figure than any of the other firs.
It is more thinly covered with frond-like branches than the spruce, and differs from it
also in regard to the frondlets, which, when they grow old, and begin to decay, do not
droop down as in that tree, but remain rigid till the last. The upper surface of the
leaves is of a fine vivid green, and their under surface has two white lines running length-
wise on each side of the midrib, giving the leaves that silvery look, whence has arisen
the name. It flowers in May, and the cones are ripe in December. It is a native
or the Alps and Germany, was known here in 1601, and has been a good deal planted



as an ornamental tree. It grows faster for the first
twenty or thirty years of its growth than any other
tree of the genus, excepting the larch. Some of the
finest specimens in England are at "VVoburn, in the
evergreen-drive, planted by Miller. The tree
called the grand silver fir there, measured, in 1810,
nine feet ten inches in diameter, at four feet from
the ground ; it has a clean-pruned stem of seventy-
five feet, and the estimated height is upwards of.
110 feet.

7064. Use. The timber is reckoned inferior to that of the
common pine, and is not of much value till of forty or fifty
years' growth. According to Sang, though till of late year's
planted only as an ornamental tree, " vet there is, perhaps,
none of the genus more worthy of cultivation for the sake
of its timber." It is more prolific in resinous matter than
any of the fir kind.

7065. Its soil and site are nearly similar to those most
desirable for the common spruce ; but it requires a climate
rather milder, and a more loamy earth. On poor sands,
where the common pine and larch will thrive, it dies off in
a year or two after planting. None of the genus are more majestic on a lawn ; but its characteristic or
natural situation, is in dells, and on the sides of sheltered rocky steeps-

7066. The balm of Gilead fir (P. Balsamea) (Lam. pin. 48. t. 31.) (fig. 671. b) is

Online LibraryJ. C. (John Claudius) LoudonAn encyclopaedia of gardening; comprising the theory and practice of horticulture, floriculture, arboriculture, and landscape-gardening, including all the latest improvements; a general history of gardening in all countries; and a statistical view of its present stat, with suggestions for its future → online text (page 239 of 313)