John Jacobs Thomas.

The American fruit culturist, containing directions for the propagation and culture of fruit trees, in the nursery, orchard, and garden, with descriptions of the principal American and foreign varieties, cultivated in the United States online

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Online LibraryJohn Jacobs ThomasThe American fruit culturist, containing directions for the propagation and culture of fruit trees, in the nursery, orchard, and garden, with descriptions of the principal American and foreign varieties, cultivated in the United States → online text (page 10 of 31)
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be avoided. The apex of the stalk of a fruit, however, to
avoid the chance for a mistake, may in
all cases be termed the insertion.

The term apex should be understood as
applying to the part most remote from
the branch or root. In fruits, it is the
part opposite to the insertion of ihe stalk
In pears, this part is usually denominated
the crown.


The aids is a line connecting the base and apex.

A longitudinal section is made by cutting an apple from
base to apex.

A transverse section, by cutting it at right angles to the axis.

The length is the longitudinal diameter ; the breadth^ the
transverse diameter.

A fruit is round when nearly spherical, as Fameuse,
Green Sweet.

Roundish,, when varying slightly from round, or when
the length and breadth are nearly equal, as Dyer and Gra-

79 Oblate. 80 Conical. 81 Ovate. 82 Obconic.

Oblate, flat, or flattened, when the height is much less than
the breadth , as Rambo, Maiden's Blush, fig. 79.

Conical,when tapering from the base to the apex, as Bul-
lock's Pippin, fig. 80.

Ovate, or egg-shaped, when the length rather exceeds
the breadth, with a rounded taper from base to apex, as in
Esopus Spitzenburgh, fig. 81.

Obconic.,* or reversed conical, when the smaller end is at
the base or stalk, as in the Tyson pear, fig. 82.

Obovate, or reversed ovate, is when the smaller end of an
egg-shaped fruit is at the base, as the Buflfum and Dearborn
Seedling pears, fig. 83.

83 Obovate. 84 Oblong. 85 Round-ovate. 86 Oblate-conical.

Oblong, when the length exceeds the breadth, and the

* This terra is chiefly applied to pears, and is nearly equivalent to pyramidal, but
E more precise in its meaning.


sides are nearly parallel, as Kaighn's Spitzenburgh,
fig. 84.

Obtuse, when the parts are rounded or blunt.
Acute, when any part, as the neck of a pear, tapers to
nearly a point.

Fruits may partake of forms variously combined, as,
Round-ovate, when nearly round, with a slight rounded
taper to apex, as Lady's Sweeting, fig. 85.

Round-conical, nearly the same as the last, but with the
taper less rounded.

Oblong- conical, as Yellow Bellflower.
Oblong-ovate, as Black Gilliflower.

Oblate-conical, as Rhode Island Greening, and Hawthorn-
dean, fig. 86.

Depressed, pressed down, sunk, or shortened, applied to
the apex of peaches, strawberries, &c.

Flattened at the ends when the base and apex only are
flattened, as Winter Pearmain. An oblong fruit, though
not flat, may be flattened at ends ; a conical fruit may be
flattened at base.

Compressed, pressed together, when the sides are flattened,
as in some apricots, plums, &c.

The CAVITY is the hollow in which the stalk or stem of a
fruit is placed.

The BASIN is the depression
which contains the calyx, eye,
or remains of the blossom.

A cavity may be shallow,
narrow, deep, or broad.

It may be obtuse, or some-
what blunt or rounded at bottom,
as in the Petre pear and Pomme
Grise apple, fig. 87.

Acute, when simply ending
in a sharp point at bottom, as
Baldwin, fig. 88.

Acuminate, when ending in a long drawn out taper, as
Fall Pippin, fig. 89. The Holland and Fall Pippin are
distinguished from each other by the rather obtuse cavity
of the former, and acuminate cavity of the latter.

The BASIN is always narrow in any fruit having a narrow


Fig. 87 Obtuse. Fig* 88. Fig. 89.

or pointed apex, fig. 90 ; it is usually wide in fruits having
a wide or obtuse apex, as Ram bo, fig. 91 ; but where the
rim or boundary is broad and obtuse, the basin may be
narrow, as in the St. Lawrence and Gravenstein, fig. 92.

It is distinct when well defined.

Abrupt, when the depression breaks off suddenly from the
rim, fig. 93.

Fig. 90.

Fig. 91.

Fig. 92.

Fig. 93.

Even, when not furrowed or wrinkled.

Angular, with several corners.

Wrinkled, having small irregular hollows and ridges.

Waved, with gentle and irregular undulations of surface.

Furrowed, when more regularly channelled.

Plaited, having small, straight, and regular ridges.

Hibbed, with larger and more obtuse or rounded ridges.

The peculiar forms of PEARS render some additional terms
necessary :

Many pears have a neck, or narrower part towards the
stalk, and a body, or larger part towards the crown, fig. 94.

They are distinctly pyriform, when the sides formed by
the body and neck, are more or less concave or hollowed in,
as in fig. 94, shown by the dotted lines.

Turbinate, or top-shaped, when the body is nearly round,
and a short rounded acute neck, as in the Bloodgood, fig. 95.



The form of different pears is further distinguished by the
form of the different parts :

The neck may be long, as in Calebasse.
Narrow, as in Beurre Bosc, fig. 96.
Short, as in Glout Morceau, fig. 97.
Obtuse, as in Bartlett.
dcute, as in Jargonelle, fig. 98.

Fig. 94.

Fig. 95.

Fig. 96.

Fig. 97. Fig. 98.

Obconic, as in Capiaumont.

Distinct, as in Beurre Bosc.

Obscure, as in Seckel.

The body may be heavy or large, when greatly exceeding
in size the neck, as Catillac.

Light or small, when not much larger than the neck, ss
Washington; in which case the fruit approaches oblong
in form.

Oblate, or flattish, as in Frederick of Wurtemburg.

Round, as in Jargonelle.

Conical, as in Vicar of Winkfield.

Ovate, as in Marie Louise.*

CHERRIES may be round, cordate or heart shaped, or ovate.

STONE FRUITS usually have a furrow on one side, extend-
ing from the stalk to the apex, termed a suture, (literally
meaning a seam,} which sometimes occurs on both sides. It
is large, when wide and deep ; distinct, when clear or well
defined ; obscure, when faint ; obsolete, when not existing,
or only a faint line on the surface.

COLOR OF FRUIT. The lightest colored fruit is white, as
the Snow peach ; next, yellowish white ; pale yellow ; yel-

* Cultivation influences considerably the form of pears. Thus, on a young thrifty
tree, the Seckel pear has a slight neck; on an old heavily laden tree, the neck is
obsolete. The body, when ovate or slightly conical on young trees, becomes
rounded on older trees, and eveu flattened in rare instances.


low ; and deep yellow. The addition of red produces suc-
cessively, orange yellow, orange, orange red, rich warm red.
Shades of red, clear red, crimson when darkened, purple
when blue is added, violet, less blue than in purple. Am-
ber is a very light yellowish brown. Fawn color is a light
reddish brown, with a slight admixture of grey.

A fruit is striped, when in alternating broad lines of
color ;

Streaked, when the lines are long and narrow;

Marbled, when the stripes are wide, faint, irregular or
waving ;

Blotched, of different abrupt shades, without any order or
regularity ;

Clouded, when the blotches are broader and more softly
shaded ;

Stained, the lighter shades of a blotched or clouded apple;

Splashed, when the stripes are much broken and all
sizes ;

Mottled, covered with nearly confluent dots ;

Dotted, when these dots are more distinct ;

Spotted, when the dots become larger.

TEXTURE OF FRUIT. Hard, those which need the artifi-
cial aid of cooking to soften them sufficiently, as the Catil-
lac pear.

Breaking, when tenderer than the preceding, but not
yielding to the simple pressure of the mouth, as Summer

Buttery, when the flesh forms a soft mass, yielding to
the pressure of the mouth, as in the White Doyenne and
Seckel pears.

Melting, when the flesh becomes nearly or entirely liquid
by this pressure, as in the Madeleine. These qualities may
be combined, as breaking and melting, in the Washington;
breaking and buttery, in the Onondaga ; buttery and melt-
ing, in the Tyson, and in most of the best varieties of the

The texture may be fine, granular, coarse, gritty, fibrous,
tough, crisp, or tender.

THE FLAVOR may be sweet, neutral, slightly sub-acid, or
mild sub-acid, sub-acid, acid, very acid, or austere ; aromat'


or spicy ; perfumed or possessing odor and with more or less
of a shade of musk; astringent, usually a defect, but some-
times, an excellent quality, if in a very minute proportion ;
rough, astringent and austere ; vinous, rich, high-flavored,
and rather acid ; sugary or saccharine, sometimes nearly
sweet, possessing the qualities of sugar, which may be
mixed with acid.

THE QUALITY is designated by first, second, and third
rates ; and fruits perfectly worthless by still lower grades.
A second rate fruit, to be worthy of cultivation, must
possess other good qualities in a high degree, as hardi-
ness, productiveness, fair appearance, &c. Very few fruits
as low as third rate, can ever be worth retaining, and only
for extreme earliness or other uncommon quality. Fruits
that possess desirable qualities, are usually designated by
three degrees of flavor; the lowest, including the best of
second rate fruits, or " good second rate," are termed good;
the lower grade of first rate fruits are termed very good, or
fine; and the highest quality of all, are best, very fine, or
excellent. Examples, Maiden's Blush apple, Napoleon
pear, Lombard plum, and Crawford's Early peach, are good ;
Khode Island Greening, Bartlett pear, Graffion or Bigarreau
cherry, and Red Gage plum, are very good or fine; and
Swaar apple, Seckel pear, Downton cherry, and Green Gage
plum, are excellent or best.






THROUGHOUT the following part of this work, to enable the
reader to perceive at a glance, the character and quality of
a fruit, without the trouble of reading every separate de-
scription, the different degrees of excellence are indicated
by the type used for the name. Those varieties which have
been admitted as eminently worthy of cultivation, by a large
vote in many different parts of the country, are printed in
LARGE CAPITALS ; those next in quality and value, and
in nearly all cases fruits of first quality, are designated by
SMALL CAPITALS ; those worthy of a place only in large col-
lections, or whose character has not yet been fully estab-
lished, are in Italics ; while such as have been superseded
or are unworthy of cultivation except on the trial grounds
of the Pomologist, are in common Roman type. A few new
varieties of high excellence, which promise to become
general favorities, are given in ITALIC CAPITALS.

It is scarcely necessary to remark that the task of thus
classing the numerous varieties, is one of extraordinary
difficulty. The diversities of tastes, the changes wrought
by soil, culture, and climate, and the different estimates
placed upon delicious flavor alone, productiveness, handsome
appearance, early maturity or long keeping, would wholly
preclude entire unanimity in any one case. The author has
endeavored to weigh properly all the different objections
and recommendations, according to the best information to be
obtained ; and in this labor he has been generously assisted
by several of the most eminent Pomologists of the country.

It has been the aim to admit, in no instance, any new
variety, that cannot deservedly rank among those of high
excellence ; all others being such as have either been known
by extensive dissemination or by descriptions in books.


NAMES AND SYNONYMS. When more than one name for
a single variety has been widely known, it has been the aim
of the author to select the one most commonly used. For
this reason, those adopted in Downing's " Fruits and Fruit
Trees of America," have in nearly all cases been retained,
a work more extensively circulated than any of a similar

It happens, in some instances, that the original or correct
name may have been for a long time partly or wholly thrown
aside and a new one substituted ; thus, William's Bonchre-
tien has given way to the name Bartlett ; Pomme Royal to
Dyer ; Epargne to Jargonelle ; Williams to William's
Favorite. In such cases, it can be hardly proper to tax the
whole community to make a change, to rectify the error of
an individual ; and the more common name has been
retained. A pomological writer, like the compiler of a dic-
tionary, should confine himself as nearly as practicable
to general usage, and not to the manufacture of new names.
Old and popular names, as Bough and Pennock, have hence
been preferred to the newer ones of Large Yellow Bough
and Pennock's Red Winter.

In a few instances, however, to prevent mistake or con-
fusion, it becomes necessary to choose the appellation the
less widely known. Preference is also given to English
names. Thus, the example of Downing has been followed
in the adoption of such names as Blue Gage, Purple Gage,
and Echassery, as used by Lindley, instead of Azure
Hative, Reine Claude Violette, and Echasserie, by Thomp-
son. The course pursued with foreign names is more fully
explained on a future page.

Cases of difficulty occur where usage differs with a
change of locality. The fruit known as the Butter pear
of Pennsylvania, the Virgalieu of New York, and the St.
Michael of New England, evidently requiring a general
name, the original European appellation of White Doyenne
has been chosen. The Ortley or White Detroit apple, fur-
nishes a similar case. Decisions can hardly be satisfactory
to all parties, however carefully opposing claims may have
been weighed ; and the voice of the public at large can
only finally settle such disputed questions.



" THE APPLE," says Downing, " is the world-renowned fruit
of temperate climates." Although less delicious than the
peach or pear, it possesses, from its great hardiness, easy
cultivation, productiveness, its long continuance through the
whole twelve months, and various uses, an importance not
equalled by any other fruit.

Its value as a table fruit, or for cooking, and its increasing
importance as an article for exportation, are well known.
But its great value and cheapness as food for domestic animals
is very imperfectly comprehended or understood. Take for
example, a brief estimate : Where land is fifty dollars per
acre, an acre of good productive apple trees may be planted
and brought into bearing for as much more, making the
entire cost one hundred dollars. These will yield, as an
average, four hundred bushels annually, or ten bushels per
tree, if the best cultivation is given. The annual interest of
the orchard, at six per cent., is six dollars ; the annual cultiva-
tion will not exceed six more, or twelve dollars as the cost
of the whole crop on the trees, or three cents per bushel. In
many fertile parts of the country, where one plowing and
two or three harrowings each year would be all the cultiva-
tion needed, the cost of the ungathered crop would be only
a cent and a half per bushel. The value of sweet apples
for cattle and swine has proved to be fully equal to the
best root crops. No land-owner need therefore fear to plant
extensively, with a view of being furnished with a copious
supply of food for domestic animals, needing not, like other
crops, the yearly attention and care of procuring seed and



Raising the Seedlings. The seeds are most easily ob-
tained from the pomace of cider mills. They will make
the most thrifty plants, if the apples are selected from the
most rapidly growing sorts. The pomace is to be broken up
fine, in a large wash tub, mixed with water, stirred, and
allowed to stand a few seconds, when the seeds will settle
to the bottom, and the apple pulp is then racked off. A man
will thus wash out half a bushel of seeds in a day. The
clean seeds are more evenly and conveniently sown than in
the pomace, which may be done either in autumn or spring.
If not done till spring, they should be kept through the win-
ter, mixed with clean, moist sand, or with fine peat or pul-
verised muck, ard exposed to the frost, which will tend to
split the exterior horny covering. If mixed with soil or
loam, it will be more difficult to separate the seed in dropping.

The seeds may be sown in drills from one to two feet
apart, to be kept clean with the hoe. Or where land can
be afforded, they may be sown in wide drills, three feet
apart, for the cultivator to pass between. When sown in
the autumn, on soils which have a large admixture of clay,
the seed should be covered with fine muck or peat, to pre-
vent the formation of the crust on such soils, often so hard
that the young plants cannot rise through it. A compost
made of peat and one quarter of its bulk of ashes, is still
Letter. If sown in the spring, the seed should be mostly
covered with soil, with only a sprinkling of muck on the
surface ; otherwise the seeds or young plants may perish by
becoming too dry before they are well established. A
sprinkling of fine manure will accomplish nearly the same

The seedlings are treated in three different ways. They
may be set out into nursery rows in the spring, when a year
old, to be budded the second summer ; they may be taken
up and root-grafted as soon as large enough ; or they may
be planted into rows and grafted at any subsequent period.

1. Budding. When the young plants are vigorous and
the land fertile, the budding may sometimes be done the
first year after removal to the nursery rows, but usually
the second summer will be found best, when the trees are
of sufficient size, and in the highest state of vigor, and


when, as a consequence, the bark will separate freely, and
the work be expeditious as we 1 as sure of success. These
are headed back the following spring, according to the treat-
ment described in the chapter on budding.

2. Root- grafting. This is done by whip or tongue
grafting, already described on a previous page. When per-
formed on a large scale, by nurserymen, the season selected
is the latter part of winter, and before the commencement
of the usual spring operations. It is wholly performed
within doors, and consequently the seedlings must be taken
up the preceding autumn. Most of the part above ground
is cut off, to save room, and they are then packed in tight
boxes, to be secure from mice, in a common cellar. The
usual practice is to fill the interstices among the roots with
moist earth ; but pulverised muck is better, as it admits a
more easy separation of the, and they are less covered
with grit, and more easily washed. Trees of two years'
growth are usually quite large enough, and sometimes one-
year seedlings will do.

When ready to commence grafting, roots enough for one
day's work are taken, the side roots trimmed within about
a quarter of an inch of the main root, and they are cut in
pieces about four inches long ; the upper piece may have a
portion of the stem attached. They are then washed by
stirring them in a pail of water, leaving them in the water,
and taking out small quantities to dry', as wanted for use.
Scions for half a day's work are then cut about four inches
long, and a portion prepared for setting by cutting the usual
slope and tongue at the lower end. The roots are then cut
one by one in the same way, and the grafts inserted. The
place of union is then covered with grafting wax. This
may be applied, either directly in a melted state, with a
small brush, which is best and most expeditious ; or by
rolling tightly round, a small strip of wax plaster. Tying
with strings is wholly needless, if the grafting has been
properly done by crowding the tongue and cleft closely
together, so that the parts cannot be easily displaced. Wax
for this purpose, being placed always beneath the surface of
the soil, should be softer than for other grafting, to facilitate
its more ready application, and to prevent any danger of
scorching the bark by heating it in melting. A larger


portion of tallow or oil in the wax described under grafting,
will accomplish this purpose.

When the grafting is completed, the grafted roots are to
be packed away in boxes," till the ground opens. Raisin
boxes, or those of similar size, will prove convenient. Fine
mould or peat, from the box in which the roots were packed,
is sprinkled over the bottom, the grafts are placed in, slant-
ing, in successive layers, and all the spaces filled with
mould or peat. A strip of board, with a length equal to
the width of the box, to press against each successive layer
while applying the mould, is found convenient. The mould
should reach within an inch or two of the tops of the grafts,
and should be compactly filled among them. During the
whole of the work, each heap of grafts must be kept with
a label, and every box sufficiently marked, to prevent all
possibility of mistake.

It is a practice with many cultivators to place the boxes
in so warm a place, that the grafts may make a growth of
a few inches before setting out. But unless the soil is very
favorable, the result is often unsuccessful. As a general
rule, for all localities, the grafts should be set out as early
as practicable in spring, and before they have made much

Waxing is sometimes omitted ; but in light or gravelly
soils, and especially if dry weather succeeds, the omission is
attended with great loss.

The most favorable soils, are rich, rather moist, and
rather heavy loams. If light or gravelly, there is more dan-
ger from midsummer drouths, which often prove quite de-
structive. Grafting the whole root entire will much
lessen the difficulty.

The grafts are most expeditiously set out with a
dibble, or a sharp tool, shod with iron or steel, about
an inch and a half in diameter, one stroke of which
into the mellow soil forms a hole for the roots, and
two or three lighter strokes press the earth closely
Fig. 100. about them. Fig. 100 represents a convenient form
for this instrument, which may be made of the handle of a
broken spade. Fig. 101 shows the graft and root, ready for
setting out. To keep the whole moist, till sufficient growth
takes place, the place of union between the root and graft


should be at least three inches below the surface. Espe-
cial care is needed to fill up closely the hole made by the
tool, and that no cavity is left about the lower part of the
root, which is sometimes done by the inexperienced

The chief care afterwards is to keep the ground
constantly cultivated, and perfectly clean, which will
increase the growth during summer, and exclude
mice in winter ; the trees are to be trained up to
one leading stem, not trimming so closely as to make
them slender ; they are to be kept straight, by ty-
ing them when necessary to upright stakes ; and all
101. destructive insects must be watched and destroyed.
If the ground is rich and kept perfectly clean, they will
grow from one and a half to two feet the first summer after
grafting ; to three or four feet, the second summer ; five to
six or seven feet the third summer, when many of them
will be large enough for removal to the orchard, and most
of the remainder in one year more. If suffered to remain
longer in the nursery, they should be taken up and set out
again, for the purpose of shortening the long roots, without
which subsequent transplanting would be attended with
too great a check in the growth, if not actual danger to the

Root grafting is extensively performed in large nurseries,
but on unsuitable soils, budding is found the most certain of
success, the buds being rarely destroyed, and only by the
most unfavorable winters. The bud remaining dormant the
first summer, the growth is one year later than on grafted
stocks of the same age ; but this difference is made up by
the more rapid growth of the shoot from the bud, which
is usually twice as great as that of a graft on the root. To
obtain handsome and good trees, the bud should be set within
two or three inches of the ground.

An industrious man will set and wax in a day 500 root
grafts, or the same number of buds, tying them in for him-
self. If a careful boy ties the buds after him, 1000 per day
will not be a severe task.


Soil. The apple is a vigorous and hardy tree, and will
grow upon most soils. It does best however, on those that


are deep, rich and fertile, such as will give good crops of
Indian corn. Hard, shallow, and wet grounds are to be
avoided. Improvement by manuring, and deep cultivation,

Online LibraryJohn Jacobs ThomasThe American fruit culturist, containing directions for the propagation and culture of fruit trees, in the nursery, orchard, and garden, with descriptions of the principal American and foreign varieties, cultivated in the United States → online text (page 10 of 31)