Efforts are now being made to introduce this wonderful tree into Ceylon as an antidote to jungle-fever, and it is also being carried over in large numbers to the jungles of India. The English have given it great attention, but the most intelligent of English tree-growers believe it too delicate to stand the cold water of English springs. The eucalyptus seems destined to make the tour of the world, but it will be found to grow best in the La Plata states and in California. Referring to our own country, planters have met with the most wonderful success in cultivating it on the Pacific coast. One gentleman, who planted several thousand trees at "Wilmington, California, says: " "When set out they were only from three to five inches in height, and in one year they grew six and eight feet high." Another gentleman, the editor of the Kern County Courier, who owns a farm on which he is experimenting with eucalyptus-trees, wrote: " I have given the eucalyptus what I regard as a reasonably fair test on my own farm. This farm is cultivated by two Chinese families, one of the families near the north and the other near the south end of the land, about three fourths of a mile apart. The localities both parties inhabit are favorable to the development of malaria. The soil is rich, moist, and teeming with vegetable life, and the free sweep of the prevailing wind is obstructed by the intervention of dense thickets. As might be expected, they have every year, during the heated term, suffered from malarial fever. Last winter we determined to test the virtues of eucalyptus. In February we gave to the party at the north end two ounces of blue-gum seed, with directions that it should be planted near the house. It germinated finely, and produced thousands of young plants, but, unfortunately, most of them were killed by frost. About twelve hundred, however, survived. These, when the heated term had commenced, had attained an average height of about two feet, and emitted a strong aromatic or camphorous odor, perceptible at a distance of a hundred yards. In due time the party at the south end were visited by their usual mildly distressing fever, but, up to the present time (nearly the end of the fever season), we have looked in vain for the first symptoms to develop at the other end. They are all, to their own astonishment, in the most robust health. These trees now average more than three feet in height, and the atmosphere at their house is strongly impregnated with their odor. We have investigated in vain for some other cause to which to attribute the anomalous state of health of the inmates, and can find none but the reputed sanitary properties of this tree."
But not only has the eucalyptus-tree become a favorite in California for its well-known medicinal properties, but it grows so fast and to such an enormous size that it is now being planted for wood. The enterprising Cal-ifornians have thought it worth while to form a company for the purpose of raising eucalyptus. A gentleman writing of the company said:
Two hundred acres of choice land have been secured within a mile or two of Los Angeles, on which eucalyptus, only four years and a half old from the seed, are now growing, which measure sixteen inches in circumference and twenty-two feet in height. It is estimated each of these trees is worth one dollar for fuel and more than that for manufacturing purposes. Foresters calculate that six hundred can be grown to the acre, and it requires no great calculation to show how profitable such a business may be made. The company organized in Los Angeles propose purchasing land at thirty dollars per acre, and the cost of seed, planting, etc., will probably average twenty-five cents per tree. The total for six hundred trees and the acre of land will reach one hundred and eighty to two hundred dollars. At the end of four years, supposing the trees to succeed as the average do, the timber will be worth six hundred dollars.
" As these trees stump and sprout rapidly, another such yield of timber may be expected in four years more. Fuel, as is known, is very expensive in all the great valleys of California. But, with the eucalyptus-tree, the farmers seem to have the remedy in their own hands; beyond which it affords an opportunity of securing an income by the sale of timber for manufacturing purposes."
Farmers in California are generally availing themselves of the advantages to be derived from the eucalyptus. Mr. J. H. Byers, who has a farm near the town of Colusa, on the west bank of the Sacramento River, planted fifty thousand eucalyptus of the narrow-leaved, iron-barked variety, which he intends growing as an orchard, the trees being set out about ten feet apart. His reason, he says, for planting iron-bark instead of gum-tree, or blue-gum, is that they stand the frost better.
While I was at San Francisco Mr. W. A. Mathews came down from Sacramento to purchase fifty thousand eucalyptus, of the iron-bark variety, which he said he was going to plant on about one hundred acres of rich land that had never been broken. He said he would raise cotton the first year between the rows of trees, and the second year sugar-beets, after which the trees would be grown alone, as they would probably cast too much shade for the successful cultivation of crops with them.
Mr. Mathews in one season raised fifty thousand trees eight inches high from two and a half pounds of seed gathered from trees grown in Oakland, California. This is quite important, as it proves the native California seed will germinate quite as readily as the imported article. He used on one piece of land equal quantities of imported and California seed, and said he found the result so much in favor of the California seed that hereafter he would use no other kind.
It is unnecessary to discuss further the merits of the eucalyptus-tree; the evidence already adduced is so overwhelming in its favor that it must commend itself strongly to the favor of our farmers and tree-growers. It should be given a full and fair trial in all the states. I think it would thrive luxuriantly in the South. It should be planted at once in all our fever-and-ague districts; and if it will suck up and dissipate the poisonous vapors lurking in the swamps of Arkansas and other Southern states it will do service for America worth millions, and alleviate much suffering, as well as save many valuable lives. Let us by all means give the eucalyptus a fair trial.
The Wilmington Enterprise reports that Colonel D. B. Wilson planted a park of two thousand eucalyptus-trees on the 20th of March, 1875. " The trees, when set out, were from four to six inches in height, and many of the lower branches in a year grew over four feet in length. It is no exaggeration to say that these trees have grown four feet in five months. We have similar instances of the extraordinary growth of the eucalyptus in San Diego."
The eucalyptus has a tall, reddish, smooth stem, with ragged, hanging bark, and of a delicious, odorous, resinous, gummy smell. It grows to a diameter of from forty to forty-five inches. It is used as a scent for cigars, medicine, tonic, throat-lozenge, and, above ah, as a bath.
The leaves and small branches are put in hot water, and it is stated that such baths remove neuralgic pains, rheumatism, and the malaria incidental to the country. The flower of the eucalyptus tribe is very like the myrtle flower, is full of honey, and attracts a multitude of flies, bees, etc., and the birds naturally follow, for they find not only food, but thick, warm, leafy cover in winter, and shelter from the burning sun in summer.
Finally, our opinion is that the cultivation of the eucalyptus-tree will prove a most powerful climatizing agency towards the reclaiming of the uninhabitable malarious regions of our Southern and Southwestern States.