The Cucumber-tree. — Its Range and Manner of Growth.—Its Attainable Height and Ornamental Character.—How Propagated.— Yellow Cucumber-tree.—Where Found. — Its Beauty and Ornamental Character. — Quality and Durability of its Wood. — A Reason for its Scarcity.—Small Magnolia, Sweet Bay.—Its Attainable Height.—Its Limited Range and Exceptional Ornament. —A Perfect Specimen Described.—How to Preserve its Seed and Young Plants.—Great-leaved Magnolia—Its Rarity and Remarkable Characteristics.—Umbrella-tree.—Its Resemblance to the Great-leaved Magnolia.—Its Range of Growth and Favorable Soil.— Its Usual Height.—Its Artistic Beauty, Odoriferous Qualities, and Peculiar Tendency.—Ear-leaved Magnolia, or Ear-leaved Umbrella-tree.—Where Found.—Its Height.—Its Pleasing and Distinguishing Features.— Yulan Magnolia.—Its Foreign Nativity and Recent Introduction into the United States.—Its Distinctive Character and Odoriferous Production.—The Foliage of Young Trees Described.— Recommended Specimens.—The Conspicuous-flowered Magnolia.—Its Distinguishing Difference.—The Empress Alexandria's Conspicuous-flowered Magnolia.—Date of Introduction into England.—Its Parallel of Thrift and its Floral Productiveness. Manner of Planting.—Magnolia Purpurea.— ts Nativity.—Color of Bloom.—How Grown, and Medicinal Properties.
This tree is found in western New York, through Ohio and Indiana, southern Illinois, and south to the Gulf of Mexico. It is about the largest of its species excepting the big laurel. It is of very rapid growth, fine shape, and of an ornamental character. Unlike any-other magnolia, the flowers of this tree add very little to its beauty, as they consist of six twisted, scraggy petals, without any beauty or special color. Its wood is of the same order as the linden, basswood, etc., and is seldom used for any purpose where other lumber can be obtained. The tree should be propagated by layers, and the seed sown while in a moist state, as it will not germinate if once dry. Shade the young plants from the sun when they first start to grow, and during the first period of cold weather.
This tree is found in Georgia and South Carolina chiefly; it is noted for the extreme beauty of its large yellow flowers, which form quite a contrast to its rich green foliage. It is one of the most ornamental of its genus, and is as hardy as any of its species, notwithstanding what Loudon says to the contrary, as it will withstand the Massachusetts winters. Its wood is on a par with that of the cucumber-tree, and is not used for building purposes.
This tree, which grows to the height of thirty or forty feet, is seldom found west of the Alleghany Mountains. It is one of the most ornamental of an ornamental species ; its leaves are large, of a dark-green glossy color on top, and of a creamy white underneath. In the South this tree is grown all the year round. The most perfect tree of this variety that I have ever seen was in the grounds of Girard College, Philadelphia. It rose to a height of about twenty-five feet, perfectly symmetrical, and it seemed as if there was not a branch or a leaf out of place; and I remember to this day how the air was perfumed for some distance around it. The seeds soon become rancid, and should be kept in some damp place or in rotten wood until they are ready for setting out. When young, the plants, which do not grow very fast, should be shielded from the sun.
This is one of the most uncommon of our American trees. It is not found in abundance anywhere, and is chiefly remarkable on account of the size of its leaves and flowers. Its leaves are two and three feet long, and its flowers from ten to twelve inches across; the wood is soft and of no practicable value. The tree is apt to be hurt by high winds.
This tree much resembles the great-leaved magnolia in the length of its leaves. It is found in deep, rich, cool soil, from western New York to the Gulf of Mexico. The usual height of the umbrella-tree is about thirty feet, which it seldom exceeds. The leaves are from two to two and a half feet in length, with a width of from six to eight inches, and form quite a beautiful and artistic curve, hence the name umbrella-tree. Its flowers are large and beautiful, and from six to eight inches in breadth. They have quite a sweet though rather heavy odor. The terminal buds of this tree are very tender and apt to be injured by the cold. It also has a tendency to throw out suckers at its base; these should be carefully trimmed off, or they will sap the body of the tree.
This tree is only found at the base of the Alleghanies. Its height is about forty feet, and it is distinguished for the beauty of its flowers. Cultivators prefer this species to any of its genus, on account of its pleasing fragrance. It is hardy around Philadelphia and farther south. It is not very plentiful anywhere. Its leaves are from eight to twelve inches long, heart-shaped at the base, and smooth on both sides. The branches are slenderer than the rest of its family. It bears a white flower, from five to seven inches in breadth.
This tree has but lately been tried in this, country, and can as yet hardly be pronounced upon. In all probability it will prove a success. It can hardly be called a tree, however, but only a shrub. It bears a beautiful white flower, which makes its appearance before the leaves, and has a very sweet, penetrating odor. It is found in greatest profusion about New York, where it is hardiest. In young trees the leaves are from six to eight inches broad, and three to four inches across the widest portion.
I would especially recommend the following for cultivation : Conspicuous - flowered magnolia and Empress Alexandrina's. In the conspicuous-flowered magnolia, though very closely resembling the other species, one accustomed to trees would distinguish the difference by the odor of the blossoms and in the thickness of the branches, the conspicuous - flowered magnolia having much the stoutest branches. The Empress Alexandrina's conspicuous-flowered magnolia was first brought into England by Sir James Banks about the year 1788, where, after a hard struggle, it at length, after eight or ten years, attracted attention, and became one of the leading hot-house shrubs. It flowers every year, and thrives best in the neighborhood and about the same parallel as London, New York, and Philadelphia. To give some idea of the immense number of flowers this tree bears, I will cite an instance from Browne's work on trees. He says: " An original imported plant, trained against a wall at Woombybury, in England, measured twenty-seven feet in height, and covered a space laterally of twenty-four feet, and had on it, in April, 1835, five thousand flowers.
This tree will thrive in any rich, free soil, properly drained and slightly enriched. As a background, it should have an ivy-covered wall, or some kind of evergreen shrub or plant, on account of its bearing flowers before leaves. Plant in pots after taking the small shrub from tree. Keep for first two years in pots, and then set out. By this means we may escape the danger from frost, as the young trees are very easily nipped.
"Magnolia purpurea." This plant, first introduced into England about the year 1790, is a native of Japan. Its flowers are purple without and white on the inside. It should be grown from the seed in loose earth slightly enriched. The bark is used medicinally, and emits a very pleasant odor when bruised. This plant is not well known in this country.