Oliver R. (Oliver Rivington) Willis.

A practical flora for schools and colleges online

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eastward to Japan.

FAymology. — The specific name, regia, is the Latin for " royal "or " kingly,"
due to the high esteem of its quality,

Hhtorij. — Food plants necessarily attracted the attention of man in the period of his existence ; and nuts, on account of their edible character
in an uncooked state, have always been favorites. At the present day nuts
form an important part of the food of the laboring classes, and with them the
walnut holds high rank, Loudon, in his work on trees, states that between
Heidelberg and Darmstadt the walnut is the principal tree, not only for the
fruit, but for shade. In that region when a young farmer desires to marry,
he is obliged to furnish proof to the intended bride's father that he has planted
with his own hands a stated number of walnut trees, which are already in an
advanced stage of growth.

Use. — In the Levant, where the English walnut reaches perfection, it con-
stitutes a large portion of the food of the masses. It is highly prized iu



Europe and America for a dessert nut. A tal)lc oil is expressed from it ;
aud ill a green state it makes an excellent pickle. It is also used to flavor
sauces, aud is an importaut article in the celebrated walnut sauce. The wood
takes a good polish, has a browu color, is riclily veined, and is highly prized by
cabinet makers, rivalling mahogany. The plain kind is used for gunstocks.
The root is guarled, aud wlieu sawed into thin slices makes valuable

HICORIA, Raf . (Hickory Nut.) Flowers uni.sexual ; both stamiiiate
and pistillate flowers and leaf developed from the same bud; the pis-
tillate flowers terminal, few in number ; bract small or none ; bract-
lets none ; staminate flowers in pendulous catkins in the axils of the
lower leaves; 3 on a peduncle, theii- perianth irregularly 2-:3-lobed ;
stamens 3 to 10 ; pistillate flowers shortly spicate, few, with a minute
bract or none ; perianth enfolding and adhering to the ovary, with a
free 4-parted tip ; stigma sessile upon the ovary, 2-4-lobed. Husk or
outer shell of fruit fleshy, 4-valved nut, somewhat 4-sided, smooth or
slightly wrinkled. Flowers greenish.

1. H. ovata, Mill., Britton. (Carya Alba, Nutt.) (Shell-bark. Hickory
nut. White Walnut.) Stem from 40 to 60 feet high, and from 1 to 2 feet iu
diameter, rather regularly branched, form-
ing a symmetrical head. Bark gray, and
falling in strips. Leaves composed of two
pairs of leaflets aud a terminal one, lateral
ones sessile, terminal one petioled, all ob-
lanceolate, tlie lower pair smaller, subacu-
minate, sharply serrulate, downy beneath.
Fruit flattish, globose, with four grooves
extending along the length of the husk,
which, when ripe, separate into four sections,
freeing itself from the nut, which is marked by four seams or ridges exteud-
ing lengthwise ; shell thin ; kernel delicate. Ripens in November ; flowers in
April and May.

2. H. sulcata, Britton. (Carya sulcata, Nutt.) (Thick Shell-bark.) This
species differs from the last in* the size of the fruit, which is much larger
than tliat of the C. alba, and the leaf has from 3 to 4 pairs, and the nut has
an acuminate tip ; in other respects it is well described in C ovata. A larger
tree than C. alba.

G^0(7rfl/)/H/. — The geographical range of these last species is the northern
and middle States, fn^n the Atlantic to the Mississippi Kiver, aud it bears
well in corresjionding latitudes in Europe.

Efijmoloq,/. — The generic name, hicoria, is of unknown origin, supposed to
be an aboriginal name of the tree or its fruit, proltably tlie latter. The old
generic name, cart/a, is from the Greek word Koipvov, the walnut tree, said to
have been given in honor of Carya, daughter of Dion, king of Laconia, who,
according to the Greek myth, was changed by Bacchus into that tree. The
specific name, ovata, is from the Latin ovum, an egg. referring to the shape of
a plane of tlie fruit parallel to tlie axis of growth. Sulcata, from the Latin
sulcus, a furrow, derives its name from markings (ui the fruit.
Pk. El. — 17

HicoRiA OVATA (Hickory Nut).



History. — The home of these species of hicoria is North America ; they
have been introduced by seed into Europe, where they grow and fruit well.
Seeds were first planted in Europe in 1629. These are the most important of
the hickories. There are several other species whose wood is similar, but
which bear inferior fruit.

Use. — The fruit of the H. ovata and H. sulcata is very delicate, and is
valued for a table dessert. The shell is full, and the kernel sweet. Both yield
an excellent salad oil, which is obtained by expression.

The wood splits easily, but is hard and tough, and is used largely in the
manufacture of agricultural instruments, axe and hammer handles, and hubs
and spokes of carriage-wheels. It is a very valuable material for fuel.

3. H. olivseformis, Nutt., Britt. (Pecan Nut.) Stem 80 to 90 feet high,
and from 1 to 2 feet in diameter ; bark rough and shaggy. Leaves with slender
petioles ; leaflets in 6 to 7 pairs, and a terminal one, lanceolate-falcate, acumi-
nate, and sharply serrate, on short petioles.
Flowers greenish. Fruit oblong, 4-angled,
with distinct valves, the green husk inclosing
an olive-shaped nut Avith a thin shell ; kernel
fills the entire shell, and possesses a delicate,
pleasant flavor.

FloM^ers appear in May. Fruit ripe, October
and November.

Hicoria oliv^foemis (Pecan Nut)

Geography. — The Hicoria olivseformis is in-
digenous to southern North America, and de-
lights in a damp rich soil ; it will grow and
fruit in the latitudes south of 40°, and north
of 20°.

Etymology. — The specific name was sug-
gested by its shape: oUvceformls, olive-shaped.

History. — Nuttall, the English botanist,
first described this tree, whose fruit Pursh
It was planted in Prussia, and found its way into England

sent to Europe,
in 1766.

Use. — The pecan nut is a favorite dessert nut, and has become an impor-
tant article of commerce. It is shipped to the West Indies, also to Europe.
In its native forests it is highly valued as a mast upon which droves of swine
fatten, which are allowed to run at large while the nuts are falling.

The wood of this tree is white, tough, and durable, and used largely in the
manufacture of agricultural implements, and, like other species of the genus,
makes excellent fuel. It is characteristic of North America, no wood equally
tough, elastic, and suitable for these purposes being known in Europe.


Flowers monoecious ; staminate flowers in pendulous, bractless cat-
kins, on last year's branches, or at the base of this year's branches ;
calyx usually 5, occasionally 5-12-parted ; stamens 2-20 ; anthers
2-celled. Pistillate flowers solitary or clustered, terminating few-
leaved branches ; calyx attached to the ovary, 6-toothed or wanting ;
ovary 2-3-celled; ovules 1-2 in a cell, pendulous. Fruit, a nut,
1-seeded by abortion, 1-3 in a cup or shell. Leaves alternate, pin-



persistent, stij»ulal
400; chietly in

north temperate

nately veined, simple, falling or persistent, stipiilal.-, with an invo-
lucre of accurrent woody bracts.

Number of genera, 10, species,
regions and in tropical mountains.

CASTANEA. Tourn. (Chestnut.) Male flowers in clusters of long,
slender, cylindrical, erect aments ; calyx G-parted ; stamens 5 to 15
in number. Fertile flow^ers in 3's, surrounded by a 4-lobed involucre,
which when ripe is leathery and beset with weak prickles about half an
inch long ; calyx 5-6-lobed, the tube adhering to the 8-6-celled ovary ;
Number of stigmas equal to the number of cells. Involucre 4-valved ;
nuts- usually 3 in number, sometimes 1 ; when the involucre contains 1
nut, it is top-shaped ; when there are 2, the nuts are plane on one side
and convex on the other ; when there are 8, the outside ones are
plano-convex, and the middle one flattened into a wedge shape. The
nuts are from three quarters to an inch in length, and sometimes as
wide as long. Covering shell thin and horny. Leaves simple.

1. C. vesca. Gaert. (Chestnut.) Trunk from .50 to 70 feet in height, rang-
ing from 1 to 5 feet in diameter, throwing out branches nearly horizontal, which
extend 20 to 30 feet, sometimes

forming a liead 50 feet in diameter.
Leaf oblong-lanceolate or oval,
mucronately serrate, glabrous on
both sides. Flowers yellowish,
appearing in May. Fruit in Oc-

Var. Americana is the Ameri-
can chestnut, and differs from the
European chestnut only in bearing
a smaller and more delicate fruit.
The tree grows to the height of
80 feet, and when in the forest
reaches tlie lieight of 40 or .50 feet
without a branch, but when stand-
ing alone branches low.

2. C. pumila, Mx. Stem 6 to
15 feet in height, branching low
and profuse, shrub-like in appear-
ance. Leaf oblong, ovate, or obo-
vate, nnicronately serrate, hoary,

tomentose on the under side, 3 to 5 inches long and about 2 inches broad,
smooth above, acute at the apex, and obtuse at the base ; petioles long.
Flowers axillary; nut solitary, small, and very sweet.

In Europe great efforts liave been made to improve the chestnut ; and as the
trees are produced from .^ced, the varietie.s are numerous. The American tree
is believed to be identical witli the F^uropean Castanea vulgaris. Lam. In
America no efforts have been put forth to improve the fruit, hence no varie-
ties have arisen.

Out of about twenty varieties grown in England, four are considered as
greatly improved. In France also much attention has been given to the

Castanea vesca (Chestnut)^


improvement of the chestnut, and many varieties have been produced, differ-
ing only in the size and quality of the fruit.

Several species of chestnuts have been found in eastern Asia recently, which
were formerly classed under the oaks, and there has been a species discovered
in Nepaul, northern India, recently.

Geography. — The geographical range of the chestnut is very broad. It
grows well and is indigenous all along the eastern coast of North America,
from 40° to 43° north latitude, extending west to eastern Kentucky and Ten-
nessee. The C. pumila is found between 30° and 40° north latitude, — from
southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia. The C. vesca grows well through-
out the middle and southern counties of England, in all the countries of middle
and southern Europe and northern Africa, and in the countries of the Levant
and southern and eastern Asia, wherever it has been planted.

Etymology. — Castanea was named for Castane, a city of Thessaly, famous
for chestnuts. Vesca is from the Latin vescor, eat, referring to the edible
character of the fruit. The common name, chestnut, is due to the fruit or nut
being inclosed in a box or chest.

History. — The home of the chestnut is not exactly defined. De CandoUe
says it forms natural forests from the Caspian Sea westward to Portugal. It
has also been stated that its home is the country between the Black and
Mediterranean seas, and that it was carried west after the Roman conquests.
Pickering says it is native to China, and Thunberg saw it near Jeddo, in
Japan. It is believed that the Emperor Tiberius took it to Italy from Asia
Minor, and that it thence spread all over southern Europe. It is also indige-
nous in North America.

There are some very remarkable chestnut-trees in the world, some of which
have reached a greater diameter of trunk than any other tree. The most
noted is the celebrated Mount ^tna chestnut, under which a hundred
mounted horsemen took shelter. The enormous size of this tree has led to
the belief that it is the union of a group of trees that stood near each other in
their youth. M. Jules Houel, a French scientist, nearly a hundred years
since, made a journey to measure and make a drawing of it. He found it to
be 1 60 feet in circumference, and on the closest and most careful examination
could find no evidence that it is not a single trunk. There are other large
trees in the neighborhood, measuring from 36 to 40 feet in diameter.

There are three large chestnut-trees in the southern suburb of the city of
Yonkers (just outside the northern limits of New York City.) Two of these
measure respectively 24 feet 10 inches, and 19 feet 6 inches in circumference.
These are of the American variety, and are in an advanced state of decay.
By a calculation from the best known data, the largest of these trees is about
210 years old.

Use. — The chestnut is a favorite nut in many parts of Europe ; and in the
countries of the Levant it constitutes a very important article of food. It is
roasted or boiled, and eaten with salt. It is also eaten raw. A flour is made
of the nuts in a dried state, which is used for various culinary purposes, prin-
cipally for griddle cakes.

The wood is not hard, but is very durable, and takes a high polish. It is
used for cabinet work, bedsteads, tables, etc., and by reason of its durable
character is very highly valued for fencing material. It is also a strong and
valuable timber for building purposes.

The nut forms an important article of commerce. The best European nuts
come from Spain.


QUERCUS, L. (Oak.) Stamiiiate flowers in groups of slender
hanging catkins; stamens 5 or more, surrounded by sepal-like bracts,
to S in number. Pistillate flowers axillary and erect; ovary sur-
rounded by an adnate calyx, the limb of which is toothed; style
short ; stigma 3-lobed ; ovary 3-celled, rarely 4-5, containing ovules,
5 of which are abortive. Fruit oblong, somewhat in the form of a
modern musket-cartridge, with the base inserted in a cup, which is
clothed with imbricated scales. F'lowers greenish, appearing in regions
of frost during the month of May. Leaves simple, alternate, stipulate,
deciduous, but persistent. A few evergreen in the southern fringe of
the north temperate zone.

1, Q. alba, L. (White Oak.) Trunk 60 to 80 feet high, 4 to 5 feet in
diameter ; bark grayish-white ; much-branched. Leaves 3 to 5 inches long,
sinuatc-lobed, in opposite pairs, 1 to 4 pairs of lobes, with a terminal one ; lobes
coarsely and irregularly toothed, pubescent underneath ; acorn on short
peduncles, large and sweet, edible.

Var. pinnatifida, Mx. Like Q. alba, except the leaves, which have 3 to 4
pairs of well marked lobes.

Var. repanda, Mx. Leaves with a wavy margin.

Geofjraphjj. — The oak thrives best in the temperate zones, above 35°, and
is found in a zone between 30° and 60° quite around the globe. It is found
in the mountain-top as well as in the valley and the plain below, and is indig-
enous in tlie al)0ve-named parallels in both liemispheres. The white oak is
common in the L'uited States and Canada.

Etymology. — Qitercus, the generic name, is derived from Latin quercus, an
oak. The popular name of the oak among the Celts was drew, from which the
word Druid was derived, signifying " priest of the oak." Alba, the specific
name of this species, is from the Latin alba, white, and is due to the grayish-
white bark of the trunk. Oak comes from the Anglo-Saxon name of the
tree, dc.

History. — The oak is famous in all ancient writings in which trees are
mentioned. Among the Gauls it was held sacred. Oak groves were the abodes
of priests, and no religious ceremony was complete without oak-boughs or
oak-leaves. The Greeks and Romans also dedicated the oak to their gods ;
and the Roman peasants initiated the harvest by a festival, in which their
heads were adorned with wreaths woven with the leaves of the oak. It was
upon the oak that the Druid priests found the mistletoe, which figured so
largely in their religious ceremonies.

Manv oaks are noted for liistorical events. Less than a hundred years
ago the oak was still standing in tlie Xew Forest against which the arrow
glanced that killed WiUiam Rufus. The Royal Oak at Boscobel concealed
the person of Charles 11. after the di.sastrous battle at Worcester The oak
at Torwood, at the place where Wallace convened his followers, still stands.
xVlfred's Oak, at r)xford, which was in e.xistence when the university was
founded, may still be seen. And in our own country an oak in the city of
Hartford, Conn., concealed the charter of that colony, and was known after
wards as the Charter Oak.

Abraham's ^)ak ((^ pseudococcifera), near Hebron, in Palestine, is many hun-
dred years old ; it measures twenty-three feet in circumference, and its branches
extend forty-five feet from the stem, forming a head ninety feet in diameter



Use. — The white oak furnishes a hard, durable timber for frames of build-
ings, axles of carriages, floors, tables, chairs, handles for axes and hammers,
wainscoting, panelling, church furniture, shipbuilding, and mill-gearing.
The bark is highly charged with tannin, and is a valuable material in the
manufacture of leather. The fruit of the Q. alba, which is the sweetest of all
the species, is excellent for fattening swine ; the pork thus fatted is said to

produce the most delicious bacon.
The delicate flavor of the Vir-
ginia hams is said to be due to
the feeding of swine upon acorns.

2. Q. robur, L. Q. peduncu-
lata, Willd. (British Oak.)
Trunk 50 feet high and upward
to 100 feet; when standing in
open grounds it branches low,
spreading out so as to form a head
whose diameter is greater than
the height ; branches crooked,
gnarled, and very large ; bark
gray and rough ; leaves on short
petioles, blade oblong, made up
of 3 to 5 unequal pairs of lobes,
and a terminal one ; sinuses nar-
row, lobes rounded. Fruit ses-
sile or on long peduncles, oblong,
elongated, brown, buried to one
fourth of its length in the hemi-
spherical cup, which is clothed
with rough imbricated scales.
Flowers greenish-white, appear-
ing in April. Fruit ripens in

Like all trees that propagate

themselves by means of their

seeds, the Quercus robur has run into a great variety of forms, of which the

following are the most prominent, and may be found growing in the public

grounds in Washington: —

Var. sessiliflora.

Var. pubescens, Lodd. Leaves downy beneath.
Var. fastigiata, Lodd. Branches compact and upright.
Var. pendula, Lodd. Branches decidedly pendulous, or weeping.
Var. heterophylla, Loudon. Leaves varying greatly in size and form ;
some lobed, others lanceolate and entire.

Var. foliis variegatis, Lodd. Leaves variegated with white and red streaks.
A beautiful specimen is growing in the public grounds at Washington.

Var. purpurea, Lodd. Foot-stalks of the leaves tinged with purple, and the
leaves when young entirely purple.

There are many other varieties, but less striking.

Geography. — The British oak is indigenous to the continent of Europe, and
most likely to England. It grows in the south of Europe, the Levant, and
northern Africa,

Quercus robur (British Oak).


Etymology. — The many names by which the British oak has been known to
botanists constitute not the least of its features. Robur is from the Latin word
robur, and indicates strength ; it is also an old name for the oak tree. Pedun-
culata refers to the long foot-stalks of the fruit. The variety names, with
the exception of heterophylla, are all derived from the Latin, as follows :
sess'dijiora, sessile-Howered ; pubesceus, covered with down ; fustiyiata, sloping
to a point ; pendula, hanging down ; foliis variegatls, variegated leaves ; pur-
purea, purple-colored. HeterophyUa is from the Greek ^repos, different, and
(pvWou, a leaf, hence varying leaves.

History. — The celebrated character of the British oak seems to call for a
special notice. Some of the most remarkable specimens of this tree are
interesting for their age and size. The Framlingham oak, used in the con-
struction of the " Koyal Sovereign," squared four feet nine inches, and yielded
four square beams, each forty-four feet in length. An oak felled at Whitney
Park, Shropshire, in England, in 1697, was nine feet in diameter without the
bark, and yielded from the trunk alone twenty-eight tons of timber. The
head of this great tree was one hundred and forty-four feet in diameter.
Another English oak, in Holt Forest, Hampshire, measured, seven feet from
the ground, thirty-four feet in circumference. Another, at Newbury, meas-
ured forty-five feet around. Still another, in the vale of Gloucester, was
fifty-four feet in circumference; and one in Dorsetshire gave a girth of
sixtv-eight feet.

IJse. — The wood of the British oak is hard and tough, and resists great
force without fracture ; these qualities make it rank very high as a material
for shipbuilding. Its acorns formerly took a high place in European history
as food.

The oak forests of central Europe furnished food for swine and other do-
mestic animals, and the people themselves subsisted largely upon acorns. It
was reo-arded as one of William the Conqueror's most oppressive acts that he
deprived the people of England of the use of the oak forests, where they had
been accustomed to collect the acorns for their swine.

3. Q. bicolor, WiUd. (Silver-leaved Oak. Swamp White Oak.) Trunk 60
to 70 feet high, 4 feet in diameter ; bark scaly, and greeuish-white. Leaves
nearly sessile, downy, white underneath, bright-green above ; obovate, coarsely
and bluntlv toothed,' entire near the base. Acorns in pairs, peduncles longer
than the petioles; nut long, dark-brown ; cup shallow, and fringed with short,
slender, thread-like processes

Geograph,/. — It is well distributed throughout the eastern and northeast-
ern United States.

Etymo!ogij. — Bicolor, the specific name of this oak, is from the Latin word
bicolor, two colors, and refers to the contrast in the colors of the two sides of
the leaf, one of which is a bright-green, and the other a silvery white. Sdver-
leaved arises from the color of the under side of the leaf. The name stcamp
ivhite oak- is due to its fondness for wet ground.

/■/sf. — The lumber is valuable for building purposes-, it is hard, durable,
and takes a good polish ; it also makes excellent fuel The bark is highly
charged wirli tannin, but is thin, and is not profitably obtained for markets
where thicker bark is available,

4. Q. coccinea. Wang. {Scarlet Oak.) Trunk 60 to 80 feet in height,
sometimes 4 feet iu diameter; bark thick, gray outside and red within.


Leaves divided into 3 to 4 pairs of lobes, much like the leaves of the Q. palus-
tris ; petioles louger than in Q. rubra, deep-green, shining on both sides ; lobes
cut, toothed and acute, turning scarlet with the early frosts. Acorn ovate,
half buried in the scaly top-shaped cup.

Geography. — Indigenous to southeastern North America; the northern
limit is southern New England ; commou in the middle and southern Atlantic

Etymology. — Cocclnea is from the Latin coccineus, scarlet, and has ref-
erence to the color of the leaves after frost.

Use. — The wood is largely used for making barrels, and the bark is a
favorite with tanners. The tree is also used in planted grounds.

Var, tinctoria. Gray. (Black Oak. Yellow-barked Oak. Dyers' Oak.)
Trunk 70 to 100 feet in height, and 3 to 4 feet in diameter; bark furrowed,
dark without, and yellow within. Leaves downy beneath, obovate, oblong,
broad-lobed, broadest near the end, sinuses not deep, lobes coarsely toothed,
teeth pointed. Acorn flat, globose, half buried in the fiat, thick cup.

Geography. — The Q. tinctoria is a native of eastern North America, and is
widely distributed throughout the eastern and middle States.

Etymology. — Tinctoria is from the Latin tinctor, a dyer, because the bark
furnishes a dye. The popular name, black oak, is due to the color of the bark.

Use. — The wood of this tree is sometimes used for cooperage and con-
struction, and is excellent fuel. The bark is largely used for dyeing ', it yields
the querciton, which is much used in calico printing, to give the yellow color
to cotton fabrics. It is also used for tanning.

5. Q. falcata, Mx. (Spanish Oak. Sickle-leaved Oak. Downy-leaved Oak.)
Trunk 60 to 70 feet high, 4 to 5 feet in diameter. Bark thick, black, and fur-
rowed. Leaves on long petioles, blade 6 inches long, downy beneath, obtuse
at the base ; in the northern limits of the tree the leaves take on a slender entire
form, widening towards the upper end, where they terminate in three lobes ;
further south the usual form of the leaf is in 1 to 2 pairs of pointed, mucro-
nate, scythe-like lobes, entire or irregularly and coarsely toothed sinuses, deep

Online LibraryOliver R. (Oliver Rivington) WillisA practical flora for schools and colleges → online text (page 29 of 43)