U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
IN THE COLLECTION OF THE
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
BY WILLIAM SAUNDERS.
PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.
WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. 1891.
Variant and obsolete spellings remain as printed. Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note, whilst more significant amendments have been listed at the end of the text. The oe ligature is shown as [oe].
CATALOGUE OF ECONOMIC PLANTS IN THE COLLECTION OF THE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Washington, D. C., June 5, 1891.
SIR: I have duly prepared by your direction a descriptive list of the more important economic plants at present contained in the collection of the Department, in such a form as will, in my opinion, most satisfactorily meet the wants of the numerous visitors and others interested in the work performed by the Department in this direction, and I beg to submit the same herewith for publication.
WILLIAM SAUNDERS, Superintendent of Gardens and Grounds. Hon. J. M. RUSK, Secretary of Agriculture.
DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE OF PLANTS.
1. ABELMOSCHUS MOSCHATUS.—This plant is a native of Bengal. Its seeds were formerly mixed with hair powder, and are still used to perfume pomatum. The Arabs mix them with their coffee berries. In the West Indies the bruised seeds, steeped in rum, are used, both externally and internally, as a cure for snake bites.
2. ABRUS PRECATORIUS.—Wild liquorice. This twining, leguminous plant is a native of the East, but is now found in the West Indies and other tropical regions. It is chiefly remarkable for its small oval seeds, which are of a brilliant scarlet color, with a black scar at the place where they are attached to the pods. These seeds are much used for necklaces and other ornamental purposes, and are employed in India as a standard of weight, under the name of Rati. The weight of the famous Kohinoor diamond is known to have been ascertained in this way. The roots afford liquorice, which is extracted in the same manner as that from the true Spanish liquorice plant, the Glycyrrhiza glabra. Recently the claim was made that the weather could be foretold by certain movements of the leaves of this plant, but experimental tests have proved its fallacy.
3. ABUTILON INDICUM.—This plant furnishes fiber fit for the manufacture of ropes. Its leaves contain a large quantity of mucilage.
4. ABUTILON VENOSUM.—This malvaceous plant is common in collections, as are others of the genus. They are mostly fiber-producing species. The flowers of A. esculentum are used as a vegetable in Brazil.
5. ACACIA BRASILIENSIS.—This plant furnishes the Brazil wood, which yields a red or crimson dye, and is used for dyeing silks. The best quality is that received from Pernambuco.
6. ACACIA CATECHU.—The drug known as catechu is principally prepared from this tree, the wood of which is boiled down, and the decoction subsequently evaporated so as to form an extract much used as an astringent. The acacias are very numerous, and yield many useful products. Gum arabic is produced by several species, as A. vera, A. arabica, A. adansonii, A. verek, and others. It is obtained by spontaneous exudation from the trunk and branches, or by incisions made in the bark, from whence it flows in a liquid state, but soon hardens by exposure to the air. The largest quantity of the gum comes from Barbary. Gum senegal is produced by A. vera. By some it is thought that the timber of A. arabica is identical with the Shittim tree, or wood of the Bible. From the flowers of A. farnesiana a choice and delicious perfume is obtained, the chief ingredient in many valued "balm of a thousand flowers." The pods of A. concinna are used in India as a soap for washing; the leaves are used for culinary purposes, and have a peculiarly agreeable acid taste. The seeds of some species are used, when cooked, as articles of food. From the seeds of A. niopo the Guahibo Indians prepare a snuff, by roasting the seeds and pounding them in a wooden platter. Its effects are to produce a kind of intoxication and invigorate the spirits. The bark of several species is extensively used for tanning, and the timber, being tough and elastic, is valuable for the manufacture of machinery and other purposes where great strength and durability are requisite.
7. ACACIA DEALBATA.—The silver wattle tree of Australia. The bark is used for tanning purposes. It is hardy South.
8. ACACIA HOMOLOPHYLLA.—This tree furnishes the scented myall wood, a very hard and heavy wood, of an agreeable odor, resembling that of violets. Fancy boxes for the toilet are manufactured of it.
9. ACACIA MELANOXYLON.—The wood of this tree is called mayall wood in New South Wales. It is also called violet wood, on account of the strong odor it has of that favorite flower; hence it is in great repute for making small dressing cases, etc.
10. ACACIA MOLLISSIMA.—The black wattle tree of Australia, which furnishes a good tanning principle. These trees were first called wattles from being used by the early settlers for forming a network or wattling of the supple twigs as a substitute for laths in plastering houses.
11. ACROCOMIA SCLEROCARPA.—This palm grows all over South America. It is known as the great macaw-tree. A sweetish-tasted oil, called Mucaja oil, is extracted from the fruit and is used for making toilet soaps.
12. ADANSONIA DIGITATA.—The baobab tree, a native of Africa. It has been called the tree of a thousand years, and Humboldt speaks of it as "the oldest organic monument of our planet." Adanson, who traveled in Senegal in 1794, made a calculation to show that one of these trees, 30 feet in diameter, must be 5,150 years old. The bark of the baobab furnishes a fiber which is made into ropes and also manufactured into cloth. The fiber is so strong as to give rise to a common saying in Bengal, "as secure as an elephant bound with baobab rope." The pulp of the fruit is slightly acid, and the juice expressed from it is valued as a specific in putrid and pestilential fevers. The ashes of the fruit and bark, boiled in rancid palm oil, make a fine soap.
13. ADENANTHERA PAVONINA.—A tree that furnishes red sandal wood. A dye is obtained simply by rubbing the wood against a wet stone, which is used by the Brahmins for marking their foreheads after religious bathing. The seeds are used by Indian jewelers as weights, each seed weighing uniformly four grains. They are known as Circassian beans. Pounded and mixed with borax, they form an adhesive substance. They are sometimes used as food. The plant belongs to the Leguminosae.
14. ADHATODA VASICA.—This plant is extolled for its charcoal in the manufacture of powder. The flowers, leaves, roots, and especially the fruit, are considered antispasmodic, and are administered in India in asthma and intermittent fevers.
15. AEGLE MARMELOS.—This plant belongs to the orange family, and its fruit is known in India as Bhel fruit. It is like an orange; the thick rind of the unripe fruit possesses astringent properties, and, when ripe, has an exquisite flavor and perfume. The fruit and other parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes, and a yellow dye is prepared from the skin of the fruits.
16. AGAVE AMERICANA.—This plant is commonly known as American aloe, but it is not a member of that family, as it claims kindred with the Amaryllis tribe of plants. It grows naturally in a wide range of climate, from the plains of South America to elevations of 10,000 feet. It furnishes a variety of products. The plants form impenetrable fences; the leaves furnish fibers of various qualities, from the fine thread known as pita-thread, which is used for twine, to the coarse fibers used for ropes and cables. Humboldt describes a bridge of upward of 130 feet span over the Chimbo in Quito, of which the main ropes (4 inches in diameter) were made of this fiber. It is also used for making paper. The juice, when the watery part is evaporated, forms a good soap (as detergent as castile), and will mix and form a lather with salt water as well as with fresh. The sap from the heart leaves is formed into pulque. This sap is sour, but has sufficient sugar and mucilage for fermentation. This vinous beverage has a filthy odor, but those who can overcome the aversion to this fetid smell indulge largely in the liquor. A very intoxicating brandy is made from it. Razor strops are made from the leaves; they are also used for cleaning and scouring pewter.
17. AGAVE RIGIDA.—The sisal hemp, introduced into Florida many years ago, for the sake of its fiber, but its cultivation has not been prosecuted to a commercial success. Like many other of the best vegetable fibers found in leaves, it contains a gummy substance, which prevents the easy separation of the fiber from the pulp.
18. ALEURITES TRILOBA.—The candleberry tree, much cultivated in tropical countries for the sake of its nuts. The nuts or kernels, when dried and stuck on a reed, are used by the Polynesians as a substitute for candles and as an article of food; they are said to taste like walnuts. When pressed, they yield largely of pure palatable oil, as a drying oil for paint, and known as artists' oil. The cake, after the oil has been expressed, is a favorite food for cattle. The root of the tree affords a brown dye, which is used to dye cloths.
19. ALGAROBIA GLANDULOSA.—The mezquite tree, of Texas, occasionally reaching a height of 25 to 30 feet. It yields a very hard, durable wood, and affords a large quantity of gum resembling gum arabic, and answering every purpose of that gum.
20. ALLAMANDA CATHARTICA.—This plant belongs to the family of Apocynaceae, which contains many poisonous species. It is often cultivated for the beauty of its flowers; the leaves are considered a valuable cathartic, in moderate doses, especially in the cure of painter's colic; in large doses they are violently emetic. It is a native of South America.
21. ALOE SOCOTRINA.—Bitter aloe, a plant of the lily family, which furnishes the finest aloes. The bitter, resinous juice is stored up in greenish vessels, lying beneath the skin of the leaf, so that when the leaves are cut transversely, the juice exudes, and is gradually evaporated to a firm consistence. The inferior kinds of aloes are prepared by pressing the leaves, when the resinous juice becomes mixed with the mucilaginous fluid from the central part of the leaves, and thus it is proportionately deteriorated. Sometimes the leaves are cut and boiled, and the decoction evaporated to a proper consistence. This drug is imported in chests, in skins of animals, and sometimes in large calabash-gourds, and although the taste is peculiarly bitter and disagreeable, the perfume of the finer sorts is aromatic, and by no means offensive. It is common in tropical countries.
22. ALSOPHILA AUSTRALIS.—This beautiful tree-fern attains a height of stem of 25 to 30 feet, with fronds spreading out into a crest 26 feet in diameter. These plants are among the most beautiful of all vegetable productions, and in their gigantic forms indicate, in a meager degree, the extraordinary beauty of the vegetation on the globe previous to the formation of the coal measures.
23. ALSTONIA SCHOLARIS.—The Pali-mara, or devil tree, of Bombay. The plant attains a height of 80 or 90 feet; the bark is powerfully bitter, and is used in India in medicine. It is of the family of Apocynaceae.
24. AMOMUM MELEGUETA.—Malaguetta pepper, or grains of paradise; belonging to the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The seeds of this and other species are imported from Guinea; they have a very warm and camphor-like taste, and are used to give a fictitious strength to adulterated liquors, but are not considered particularly injurious to health. The seeds are aromatic and stimulating, and form, with other seeds of similar plants, what are known as cardamoms.
25. AMYRIS BALSAMIFERA.—This plant yields the wood called Lignum Rhodium. It also furnishes a gum resin analogous to Elemi, and supposed to yield Indian Bdellium.
26. ANACARDIUM OCCIDENTALE.—The cashew nut tree, cultivated in the West Indies and other tropical countries. The stem furnishes a milky juice, which becomes hard and black when dry, and is used as a varnish. It also secretes a gum, like gum arabic. The nut or fruit contains a black, acrid, caustic oil, injurious to the lips and tongue of those who attempt to crack the nut with their teeth; it becomes innocuous and wholesome when roasted, but this process must be carefully conducted, the acridity of the fumes producing severe inflammation of the face if approached too near.
27. ANANASSA SATIVA.—The well-known pineapple, the fruit of which was described three hundred years ago, by Jean de Lery, a Huguenot priest, as being of such excellence that the gods might luxuriate upon it, and that it should only be gathered by the hand of a Venus. It is supposed to be a native of Brazil, and to have been carried from thence to the West, and afterwards to the East Indies. It first became known to Europeans in Peru. It is universally acknowledged to be one of the most delicious fruits in the world. Like all other fruits that have been a long time under cultivation, there are numerous varieties that vary greatly, both in quality and appearance. The leaves yield a fine fiber, which is used in the manufacture of pina cloth; this cloth is very delicate, soft, and transparent, and is made into shawls, scarfs, handkerchiefs, and dresses.
28. ANDIRA INERMIS.—This is a native of Senegambia. Its bark is anthelmintic, but requires care in its administration, being powerfully narcotic. It has a sweetish taste, but a disagreeable smell, and is generally given in the form of a decoction, which is made by boiling an ounce of the dried bark in a quart of water until it assumes the color of Madeira wine. Three or four grains of the powdered bark acts as a powerful purgative. The bark is known as bastard cabbage bark, or worm bark. It is almost obsolete in medicine.
29. ANDROPOGON MURICATUS.—The Khus-Khus, or Vetiver grass of India. The fibrous roots yield a most peculiar but pleasing perfume. In India the leaves are manufactured into awnings, blinds, and sunshades; but principally for screens, used in hot weather for doors and windows, which, when wetted, diffuse a peculiar and refreshing perfume, while cooling the air.
30. ANDROPOGON SCH[OE]NANTHUS.—The sweet-scented lemon grass, a native of Malabar. An essential oil is distilled from the leaves, which is used in perfumery. It is a favorite herb with the Asiatics, both for medicinal and culinary purposes. Tea from the dried leaves is a favorite beverage of some persons.
31. ANONA CHERIMOLIA.—The Cherimoyer of Peru, where it is extensively cultivated for its fruits, which are highly esteemed by the inhabitants, but not so highly valued by those accustomed to the fruits of temperate climates. The fruit, when ripe, is of a pale greenish-yellow color, tinged with purple, weighing from 3 to 4 pounds; the skin thin; the flesh sweet, and about the consistence of a custard; hence often called custard apple.
32. ANONA MURICATA.—The sour-sop, a native of the West Indies, which produces a fruit of considerable size, often weighing over 2 pounds. The pulp is white and has an acrid flavor, which is not disagreeable.
33. ANONA RETICULATA.—The common custard apple of the West Indies. It has a yellowish pulp and is not so highly esteemed as an article of food as some others of the species. It bears the name of Condissa in Brazil. The Anonas are grown to some extent throughout southern Florida.
34. ANONA SQUAMOSA.—The sweet-sop, a native of the Malay Islands, where it is grown for its fruits. These are ovate in shape, with a thick rind, which incloses a luscious pulp. The seeds contain an acrid principle, and, being reduced to powder, form an ingredient for the destruction of insects.
35. ANTIARIS INNOXIA.—The upas tree. Most exaggerated statements respecting this plant have passed into history. Its poisonous influence was said to be so great as not only to destroy all animal life but even plants could not live within 10 miles of it. The plant has no such virulent properties as the above, but, as it inhabits low valleys in Java where carbonic acid gas escapes from the crevices in volcanic rocks which frequently proves fatal to animals, the tree was blamed wrongly. It is, however, possessed of poisonous juice, which, when dry and mixed with other ingredients, forms a venomous poison for arrows, and severe effects have been felt by those who have climbed upon the branches for the purpose of gathering the flowers.
36. ANTIARIS SACCIDORA.—The sack tree; so called from the fibrous bark being used as sacks. For this purpose young trees of about a foot in diameter are selected and cut into junks of the same length as the sack required. The outer bark is then removed and the inner bark loosened by pounding, so that it can be separated by turning it inside out. Sometimes a small piece of the wood is left to form the bottom of the sack. The fruit exudes a milky, viscid juice, which hardens into the consistency of beeswax, but becomes black and shining.
37. ANTIDESMA BUNIAS.—An East India plant which produces small, intensely black fruit about the size of a currant, used in making preserves. The bark furnishes a good fiber, which is utilized in the manufacture of ropes. A decoction of the leaves is a reputed cure for snake bites. The whole plant is very bitter.
38. ARALIA PAPYRIFERA.—The Chinese rice paper plant. The stems are filled with pith of very fine texture and white as snow, from which is derived the article known as rice paper, much used in preparing artificial flowers.
39. ARAUCARIA BIDWILLII.—The Bunya-Bunya of Australia, which forms a large tree, reaching from 150 to 200 feet in height. The cones are very large, and contain one hundred to one hundred and fifty seeds, which are highly prized by the aborigines as food. They are best when roasted in the shell, cracked between two stones and eaten while hot. In flavor they resemble roasted chestnuts. During the season of the ripening of these seeds the natives grow sleek and fat. That part of the country where these trees most abound is called the Bunya-Bunya country.
40. ARAUCARIA BRASILIENSIS.—The Brazilian Araucaria, which grows at great elevations. The seeds of this tree are commonly sold in the markets of Rio Janeiro as an article of food. The resinous matter which exudes from the trunk is employed in the manufacture of candles.
41. ARAUCARIA CUNNINGHAMII.—The Morton Bay pine. This Australian tree forms a very straight trunk, and yields a timber of much commercial importance in Sidney and other ports. It is chiefly used for house building and some of the heavier articles of furniture.
42. ARAUCARIA EXCELSA.—This very elegant evergreen is a native of Norfolk Island. Few plants can compare with it in beauty and regularity of growth. The wood is of no particular value, although used for building purposes in Norfolk Island.
43. ARDISIA CRENATA.—A native of China. The bark has tonic and astringent properties, and is used in fevers and for external application in the cure of ulcers, etc.
44. ARECA CATECHU.—This palm is cultivated in all the warmer parts of Asia for its seed. This is known under the name of betel nut, and is about the size of a nutmeg. The chewing of these nuts is a common practice of hundreds of thousands of people. The nut is cut into small pieces, mixed with a small quantity of lime, and rolled up in leaves of the betel pepper. The pellet is chewed, and is hot and acrid, but possesses aromatic and astringent properties. It tinges the saliva red and stains the teeth. The practice is considered beneficial rather than otherwise, just as chewing tobacco-leaves, drinking alcohol, and eating chicken-salad are considered healthful practices in some portions of the globe. A kind of catechu is obtained by boiling down the seeds to the consistence of an extract, but the chief supply of this drug is Acacia catechu.
45. ARGANIA SIDEROXYLON.—This is the argan tree of Morocco. It is remarkable for its low-spreading mode of growth. Trees have been measured only 16 feet in height, while the circumference of the branches was 220 feet. The fruit is much eaten and relished by cattle. The wood is hard and so heavy as to sink in water. A valuable oil is extracted from the seeds.
46. ARISTOLOCHIA GRANDIFLORA.—The pelican flower. This plant belongs to a family famed for the curious construction of their flowers, as well as for their medical qualities. In tropical America various species receive the name of "Guaco," which is a term given to plants that are used in the cure of snake bites. Even some of our native species, such as A. serpentaria, is known as snake-root, and is said to be esteemed for curing the bite of the rattlesnake. It is stated that the Egyptian jugglers use some of these plants to stupefy the snakes before they handle them. A. bracteata and A. indica are used for similar purposes in India. It is said that the juice of the root of A. anguicida, if introduced into the mouth of a serpent, so stupefies it that it may be handled with impunity. The Indians, after having "guaconized" themselves, that is, having taken Guaco, handle the most venomous snakes without injury.
47. ARTANTHE ELONGATA.—A plant of the pepper family, which furnishes one of the articles known by the Peruvians as Matico, and which is used by them for the same purposes as cubebs; but its chief value is as a styptic, an effect probably produced by its rough under surface, acting mechanically like lint. It has been employed internally to check hemorrhages, but with doubtful effect. Its aromatic bitter stimulant properties are like those of cubebs, and depend on a volatile oil, a dark-green resin, and a peculiar bitter principle called maticin.
48. ARTOCARPUS INCISA.—This is the breadfruit tree of the South Sea Islands, where its introduction gave occasion for the historical incidents arising from the mutiny of the "Bounty." The round fruits contain a white pulp, of the consistence of new bread. It is roasted before being eaten, but has little flavor. The tree furnishes a viscid juice containing caoutchouc, which is used as glue for calking canoes. In the South Sea Islands the breadfruit constitutes the principal article of diet; it is prepared by baking in an oven heated by hot stones.
49. ARTOCARPUS INTEGRIFOLIA.—The jack of the Indian Archipelago, cultivated for its fruit, which is a favorite article among the natives, as also are the roasted seeds. The wood is much used, and resembles mahogany. Bird-lime is made from the juice.
50. ASTROCARYUM VULGARE.—Every part of this South American palm is covered with sharp spines. It is cultivated to some extent by the Indians of Brazil for the sake of its young leaves, which furnish a strong fiber for making bowstrings, fishing nets, etc. The finer threads are knitted into hammocks, which are of great strength. It is known as Tucum thread. The pulp of the fruit furnishes an oil. In Guiana it is called the Aoura palm.
51. ATTALEA COHUNE.—This palm furnishes Cahoun nuts, from which is extracted cohune oil, used as a burning oil, for which purpose it is superior to cocoanut oil. Piassaba fiber is furnished by this and A. funifera, the seeds of which are known as Coquilla nuts; these nuts are 3 or 4 inches long, oval, of a rich brown color, and very hard; they are much used by turners for making the handles of doors, umbrellas, etc. The fiber derived from the decaying of the cellular matter at the base of the leaf-stalks is much used in Brazil for making ropes. It is largely used in England and other places for making coarse brooms, chiefly used in cleaning streets.
52. AVERRHOA BILIMBI.—This is called the blimbing, and is cultivated to some extent in the East Indies. The fruit is oblong, obtuse-angled, somewhat resembling a short, thick cucumber, with a thin, smooth, green rind, filled with a pleasant, acid juice.
53. AVERRHOA CARAMBOLA.—The caramba of Ceylon and Bengal. The fruit of this tree is about the size of a large orange, and, when ripe, is of a rich yellow color, with a very decided and agreeable fragrance. The pulp contains a large portion of acid, and is generally used as a pickle or preserve. In Java it is used both in the ripe and unripe state in pies; a sirup is also made of the juice, and a conserve of the flowers. These preparations are highly valued as remedies in fevers and bilious disorders.
54. BACTRIS MAJOR.—The Marajah palm, of Brazil, which grows upon the banks of the Amazon River. It has a succulent, rather acid fruit, from which a vinous beverage is prepared. B. minor has a stem about 14 feet high and about an inch in diameter. These stems are used for walking canes, and are sometimes called Tobago canes.
55. BALSAMOCARPON BREVIFOLIUM.—This shrub is the algarrobo of the Chilians. It belongs to the pea family. Its pods are short and thick, and when unripe contain about 80 per cent of tannic acid; the ripe pods become transformed into a cracked resinous substance, when their tanning value is much impaired; this resinous matter is astringent, and is used for dyeing black and for making ink.
56. BALSAMODENDRON MYRRHA.—A native of Arabia Felix, producing a gum resin, sometimes called Opobalsamum, which was considered by the ancients as a panacea for almost all the ills that flesh is heir to. B. mukul yields a resin of this name, and is considered identical with the Bdellium of Dioscorides and of the Scriptures. The resin has cordial and stimulating properties, and is burnt as an incense. In ancient times it was used as an embalming ingredient.
57. BAMBUSA ARUNDINACEA.—The bamboo cane, a gigantic grass, cultivated in many tropical and semitropical countries. The Chinese use it in one way or other for nearly everything they require. Almost every article of furniture in their houses, including mats, screens, chairs, tables, bedsteads, and bedding, is made of bamboo. The masts, sails, and rigging of their ships consist chiefly of bamboo. A fiber has been obtained from the stem suitable for mixing with wool, cotton, and silk; it is said to be very soft and to take dyes easily. They have treatises and volumes on its culture, showing the best soil and the seasons for planting and transplanting this useful production.
58. BAUHINIA VAHLII.—The Maloo-climber of India, where the gigantic shrubby stems often attain a height of 300 feet, running over the tops of the tallest trees, and twisting so tightly around their stems as to kill them. The exceedingly tough fibrous bark of this plant is used in India for making ropes and in the construction of suspension bridges. The seeds form an article of food; they are eaten raw, and resemble cashew nuts in flavor.
59. BEAUCARNEA RECURVIFOLIA.—This Mexican plant is remarkable for the large bulbiform swelling at the base of the stem. It is a plant of much elegance and beauty, resembling a drooping fountain.
60. BERGERA KOENIGII.—The curry-leaf tree of India. The fragrant, aromatic leaves are used to flavor curries. The leaves, root, and bark are used medicinally. The wood is hard and durable, and from the seeds a clear, transparent oil, called Simbolee oil, is extracted.
61. BERRYA AMMONILLA.—This furnishes the Trincomalee wood of the Philippine Islands and Ceylon, and is largely used for making oil casks and for building boats, for which it is well adapted, being light and strong.
62. BERTHOLLETIA EXCELSA.—This furnishes the well known Brazil nuts, or cream nuts of commerce. The tree is a native of South America and attains a height of 100 to 150 feet. The fruit is nearly round and contains from eighteen to twenty-four seeds, which are so beautifully packed in the shell that when once removed it is found impossible to replace them. A bland oil is pressed from the seeds, which is used by artists, and at Para the fibrous bark of the tree is used for calking ships, as a substitute for oakum.
63. BIGNONIA ECHINATA.—A native of Mexico, where it is sometimes called Mariposa butterfly. The branches are said to be used in the adulteration of sarsaparilla. B. chica, a native of Venezuela, furnishes a red pigment, obtained by macerating the leaves in water, which is used by the natives for painting their bodies. The long flexible stems of B. kerere furnish the natives of French Guiana with a substitute for ropes. B. alliacea is termed the Garlic shrub, because of the powerful odor of garlic emitted from its leaves and branches when bruised. These plants all have showy flowers, and the genus is represented with us by such beautiful flowers as are produced by B. radicans and B. capreolata.
64. BIXA ORELLANA.—Arnotta plant. This plant is a native of South America, but has been introduced and cultivated both in the West and East Indies. It bears bunches of pink-colored flowers, which are followed by oblong bristled pods. The seeds are thinly coated with red, waxy pulp, which is separated by stirring them in water until it is detached, when it is strained off and evaporated to the consistence of putty, when it is made up into rolls; in this condition it is known as flag or roll arnotta, but when thoroughly dried it is made into cakes and sold as cake arnotta. It is much used by the South American Caribs and other tribes of Indians for painting their bodies, paint being almost their only article of clothing. As a commercial article it is mainly used as a coloring for cheese, butter, and inferior chocolates, to all of which it gives the required tinge without imparting any unpleasant flavor or unwholesome quality. It is also used in imparting rich orange and gold-colored tints to various kinds of varnishes.
65. BLIGHIA SAPIDA.—The akee fruit of Guinea. The fruit is about 3 inches long by 2 inches wide; the seeds are surrounded by a spongy substance, which is eaten. It has a subacid, agreeable taste. A small quantity of semisolid fatty oil is obtained from the seeds by pressure.
66. B[OE]HMERIA NIVEA.—A plant of the nettle family, which yields the fiber known as Chinese grass. The beautiful fabric called grasscloth, which rivals the best French cambric in softness and fineness of texture, is manufactured from the fiber of this plant. The fiber is also variously known in commerce as rheea, ramie, and in China as Tchow-ma. It is a plant of the easiest culture, and has been introduced into the Southern States, where it grows freely. When once machinery is perfected so as to enable its being cheaply prepared for the manufacturer, a great demand will arise for this fiber.
67. BOLDOA FRAGRANS.—A Chilian plant which yields small edible fruits; these, as well as all parts of the plant, are very aromatic. The bark is used for tanning, and the wood is highly esteemed for making charcoal. An alkaloid called boldine, extracted from the plant, has reputed medicinal value, and a drug called Boldu is similarly produced.
68. BORASSUS FLABELLIFORMIS.—The Palmyra palm. The parts of this tree are applied to such a multitude of purposes that a poem in the Tamil language, although enumerating eight hundred uses, does not exhaust the catalogue. In old trees the wood becomes hard and is very durable. The leaves are from 8 to 10 feet long, and are used for thatching houses, making various mattings, bags, etc. They also supply the Hindoo with paper, upon which he writes with a stylus. A most important product called toddy or palm wine is obtained from the flower spikes, which yield a great quantity of juice for four or five months. Palm-toddy is intoxicating, and when distilled yields strong arrack. Very good vinegar is also obtained from it, and large quantities of jaggery or palm sugar are manufactured from the toddy. The fruits are large and have a thick coating of fibrous pulp, which is cooked and eaten or made into jelly. The young palm plants are cultivated for the market, as cabbages are with us, and eaten, either when fresh or after being dried in the sun.
69. BOSWELLIA THURIFERA.—This Coromandel tree furnishes the resin known as olibanum, which is supposed to have been the frankincense of the ancients. It is sometimes used in medicine as an astringent and stimulant, and is employed, because of its grateful perfume, as an incense in churches.
70. BROMELIA KARATAS.—The Corawa fiber, or silk-grass of Guiana, is obtained from this plant, which is very strong, and much used for bowstrings, fishing lines, nets, and ropes.
71. BROMELIA PINGUIN.—This is very common as a hedge or fence plant in the West Indies. The leaves, when beaten with a blunt mallet and macerated in water, produce fibers from which beautiful fabrics are manufactured. The fruit yields a cooling juice much used in fevers.
72. BROSIMUM ALICASTRUM.—The bread-nut tree of Jamaica. The nuts or seeds produced by this tree are said to form an agreeable and nutritious article of food. When cooked they taste like hazelnuts. The young branches and shoots are greedily eaten by horses and cattle, and the wood resembles mahogany, and is used for making furniture.
73. BROSIMUM GALACTODENDRON.—The cow tree of South America, which yields a milk of as good quality as that from the cow. It forms large forests on the mountains near the town of Cariaco and elsewhere along the seacoast of Venezuela, reaching to a considerable height. In South America the cow tree is called Palo de Vaca, or Arbol de Leche. Its milk, which is obtained by making incisions in the trunk, so closely resembles the milk of the cow, both in appearance and quality, that it is commonly used as an article of food by the inhabitants of the places where the tree is abundant. Unlike many other vegetable milks, it is perfectly wholesome, and very nourishing, possessing an agreeable taste, and a pleasant balsamic odor, its only unpleasant quality being a slight amount of stickiness. The chemical analysis of this milk has shown it to possess a composition closely resembling some animal substances; and, like animal milk, it quickly forms a cheesy scum, and after a few days' exposure to the atmosphere, turns sour and putrefies. It contains upwards of 30 per cent of a resinous substance called galactine.
74. BRYA EBENUS.—Jamaica or West India ebony tree. This is not the plant that yields the true ebony-wood of commerce. Jamaica ebony is of a greenish-brown color, very hard, and so heavy that it sinks in water. It takes a good polish, and is used by turners for the manufacture of numerous kinds of small wares.
75. BYRSONIMA SPICATA.—A Brazilian plant, furnishing an astringent bark used for tanning, and also containing a red coloring matter employed in dyeing. The berries are used in medicine, and a decoction of the roots is used for ulcers.
76. CAESALPINIA BONDUC.—A tropical plant, bearing the seeds known as nicker nuts, or bonduc nuts. These are often strung together for necklaces. The kernels have a very bitter taste, and the oil obtained from them is used medicinally.
77. CAESALPINIA PULCHERRIMA.—This beautiful flowering leguminous plant is a native of the East Indies, but is cultivated in all the tropics. In Jamaica it is called the "Barbados flower." The wood is sought after for charcoal, and a decoction of the leaves and flowers is used in fevers.
78. CAESALPINIA SAPPAN.—The brownish-red wood of this Indian tree furnishes the Sappan wood of commerce, from which dyers obtain a red color, principally used for dyeing cotton goods. Its root also affords an orange-yellow dye.
79. CALAMUS ROTANG.—This is one of the palms that furnish the canes or rattans used for chair bottoms, sides of pony-carriages, and similar purposes. It is a climbing palm and grows to an immense length; specimens 300 feet long have been exhibited, climbing over and amongst the branches of trees, supporting themselves by means of the hooked spines attached to the leaf stalks. C. rudentum and C. viminalis furnish flexible canes. In their native countries they are used for a variety of manufacturing purposes, also for ropes and cables used by junks and other coasting vessels. In the Himalayas they are used in the formation of suspension bridges across rivers and deep ravines. C. scipionum furnishes the well-known Malacca canes used for walking sticks. They are naturally of a rich brown color. The clouded and mottled appearance which some of these present is said to be imparted to them by smoking and steaming.
80. CALLISTEMON SALIGNUS.—A medium-sized tree from Australia; one of the many so-called tea trees of that country. The wood, which is very hard, is known as stone wood and has been used for wood engraving. Layers of the bark readily peel off; hence it also receives the name of paper-bark plant.
81. CALLITRIS QUADRIVALVIS.—This coniferous plant is a native of Barbary. It yields a hard, durable, and fragrant timber, and is much employed in the erection of mosques, etc., by the Africans of the North. The resin that exudes from the tree is used in varnish under the name of gum-sandarach. In powder it forms a principal ingredient of the article known as pounce.
82. CALOPHYLLUM CALABA.—This is called calaba tree in the West Indies, and an oil, fit for burning, is expressed from the seeds. In the West Indies these seeds are called Santa Maria nuts.
83. CALOTROPIS GIGANTEA.—The inner bark of this plant yields a valuable fiber, capable of bearing a greater strain than hemp. All parts of it abound in a very acrid milky juice, which hardens into a substance resembling gutta-percha; but in its fresh state it is a valuable remedy in cutaneous diseases. The bark of the root also possesses similar medical qualities; and its tincture yields mudarine, a substance that has the property of gelatinizing when heated, and returning to the fluid state when cool. Paper has been made from the silky down of the seeds.
84. CAMELLIA JAPONICA.—A well-known green-house plant, cultivated for its large double flowers. The seeds furnish an oil of an agreeable odor, which is used for many domestic purposes.
85. CAMPHORA OFFICINARUM.—This tree belongs to the Lauraceae. Camphor is prepared from the wood by boiling chopped branches in water, when, after some time, the camphor becomes deposited and is purified by sublimation. It is mainly produced in the island of Formosa. The wood of the tree is highly prized for manufacturing entomological cabinets. As the plant grows well over a large area in the more Southern States, it is expected that the preparation of its products will become a profitable industry.
86. CANELLA ALBA.—This is a native of the West Indies, and furnishes a pale olive-colored bark with an aromatic odor, and is used as a tonic. It is used by the natives as a spice. It furnishes the true canella bark of commerce, also known as white-wood bark.
87. CAPPARIS SPINOSA.—The caper plant, a native of the South of Europe and of the Mediterranean regions. The commercial product consists of the flower-buds, and sometimes the unripe fruits, pickled in vinegar. The wood and bark possess acrid qualities which will act as a blister when applied to the skin.
88. CARAPA GUIANENSIS.—A meliaceous plant, native of tropical America, where it grows to a height of 60 to 80 feet. The bark of this tree possesses febrifugal properties and is also used for tanning. By pressure, the seeds yield a liquid oil called carap-oil or crab-oil, suitable for burning in lamps.
89. CARICA PAPAYA.—This is the South American papaw tree, but is cultivated in most tropical countries. It is also known as the melon-apple. The fruit is of a dingy orange-color, of an oblong form, about 8 to 10 inches long, by 3 or 4 inches broad. It is said that the juice of the tree, or an infusion of the leaves and fruit, has the property of rendering tough fiber quite tender. Animals fed upon the fruit and leaves will have very tender and juicy flesh.
90. CARLUDOVICA PALMATA.—A pandanaceous plant from Panama and southward. Panama hats are made from the leaves of this plant. The leaves are cut when young, and the stiff parallel veins removed, after which they are slit into shreds, but not separated at the stalk end, and immersed in boiling water for a short time, then bleached in the sun.
91. CARYOCAR NUCIFERUM.—On the river banks of Guiana this grows to a large-sized tree. It yields the butter-nuts, or souari-nuts of commerce. These are of a flattened kidney shape, with a hard woody shell of a reddish-brown color, and covered with wart-like protuberances. The nuts are pleasant to eat, and yield, by expression, an oil called Piquia oil, which possesses the flavor of the fruit.
92. CARYOPHYLLUS AROMATICUS.—This myrtaceous plant produces the well-known spice called cloves. It forms a beautiful evergreen, rising from 20 to 30 feet in height. The cloves of commerce are the unexpanded flower-buds; they are collected by beating the tree with rods, when the buds, from the jointed character of their stalks, readily fall, and are received on sheets spread on purpose; they are then dried in the sun. All parts of the plant are aromatic, from the presence of a volatile oil. The oil is sometimes used in toothache and as a carminative in medicine.
93. CARYOTA URENS.—This fine palm is a native of Ceylon, and is also found in other parts of India, where it supplies the native population with various important articles. Large quantities of toddy, or palm-wine, are prepared from the juice, which, when boiled, yields very good palm sugar or jaggery, and also excellent sugar candy. Sago is also prepared from the central or pithy part of the trunk, and forms a large portion of the food of the natives. The fiber from the leaf stalk is of great strength; it is known as Kittool fiber, and is used for making ropes, brushes, brooms, etc. A woolly kind of scurf, scraped off the leaf stalks, is used for calking boats, and the stem furnishes a small quantity of wood.
94. CASIMIROA EDULIS.—A Mexican plant, belonging to the orange family, with a fruit about the size of an ordinary orange, which has an agreeable taste, but is not considered to be wholesome. The seeds are poisonous; the bark is bitter, and is sometimes used medicinally.
95. CASSIA ACUTIFOLIA.—The cassias belong to the leguminous family. The leaflets of this and some other species produce the well-known drug called senna. That known as Alexandria senna is produced by the above. East Indian senna is produced by C. elongata. Aleppo senna is obtained from C. obovata. The native species, C. marylandica, possesses similar properties. The seeds of C. absus, a native of Egypt, are bitter, aromatic, and mucilaginous, and are used as a remedy for ophthalmia. C. fistula is called the Pudding-Pipe tree, and furnishes the cassia pods of commerce. The seeds of C. occidentalis, when roasted, are used as a substitute for coffee in the Mauritius and in the interior of Africa.
96. CASTILLOA ELASTICA.—This is a Mexican tree, which yields a milky juice, forming caoutchouc, but is not collected for commerce except in a limited way.
97. CASUARINA QUADRIVALVIS.—This Tasmanian tree produces a very hard wood of a reddish color, often called Beef wood. It is marked with dark stripes, and is much used in some places for picture frames and cabinetwork. This belongs to a curious family of trees having no leaves, but looking like a gigantic specimen of Horse-tail grass, a weed to be seen in wet places.
98. CATHA EDULIS.—This plant is a native of Arabia, where it attains the height of 7 to 10 feet. Its leaves are used by the Arabs in preparing a beverage like tea or coffee. The twigs, with leaves attached, in bundles of fifty, and in pieces from 12 to 15 inches in length, form a very considerable article of commerce, its use in Arabia corresponding to that of the Paraguay tea in South America and the Chinese tea in Europe. The effects produced by a decoction of the leaves of Cafta, as they are termed, are described as similar to those produced by strong green tea, only more pleasing and agreeable. The Arab soldiers chew the leaves when on sentry duty to keep them from feeling drowsy. Its use is of great antiquity, preceding that of coffee. Its stimulating effects induced some Arabs to class it with intoxicating substances, the use of which is forbidden by the Koran, but a synod of learned Mussulmans decreed that, as it did not impair the health or impede the observance of religious duties, but only increased hilarity and good humor, it was lawful to use it.
99. CECROPIA PELTATA.—The South American trumpet tree, so called because its hollow branches are used for musical instruments. The Waupe Indians form a kind of drum by removing the pith or center of the branches. The inner bark of the young branches yields a very tough fiber, which is made into ropes. The milky juice of the stem hardens into caoutchouc.
100. CEDRELA ODORATA.—This forms a large tree in the West India Islands, and is hollowed out for canoes; the wood is of a brown color and has a fragrant odor, and is sometimes imported under the name of Jamaica cedar.
101. CEPHAELIS IPECACUANHA.—This Brazilian plant produces the true ipecacuanha, and belongs to the Cinchonaceae. The root is the part used in medicine, it is knotty, contorted, and annulated, and of a grayish-brown color, and its emetic properties are due to a chemical principle called emetin.
102. CERATONIA SILIQUA.—The carob bean. This leguminous plant is a native of the countries bordering on the Mediterranean. The seed pods contain a quantity of mucilaginous and saccharine matter, and are used as food for cattle. Besides the name of carob beans, these pods are known as locust pods, or St. John's bread, from a supposition that they formed the food of St. John in the wilderness. It is now generally admitted that the locusts of St. John were the insects so called, and which are still used as an article of food in some of the Eastern countries. There is more reason for the belief that the husks mentioned in the parable of the prodigal son were these pods. The seeds were at one time used by singers, who imagined that they softened and cleared the voice.
103. CERBERA THEVETIA.—The name is intended to imply that the plant is as dangerous as Cerberus. The plant has a milky, poisonous juice. The bark is purgative; the unripe fruit is used by the natives of Travancore to destroy dogs, as its action causes their teeth to loosen and fall out.
104. CEREUS GIGANTEA.—The suwarrow of the Mexicans, a native of the hot, arid, and almost desert regions of New Mexico, found growing in rocky places, in valleys, and on mountain sides, often springing out of mere crevices in hard rocks, and imparting a singular aspect to the scenery of the country, its tall stems often reaching 40 feet in height, with upright branches looking like telegraph posts for signaling from point to point of the rocky mountains. The fruits are about 2 or 3 inches long, of a green color and oval form; when ripe they burst into three or four pieces, which curve back so as to resemble a flower. Inside they contain numerous little black seeds, imbedded in a crimson-colored pulp, which the Indians make into a preserve. They also eat the ripe fruit as an article of food.
105. CEREUS MACDONALDIAE.—A night-blooming cereus, and one of the most beautiful. The flowers when fully expanded are over a foot in diameter, having numerous radiating red and bright orange sepals and delicately white petals. It is a native of the Honduras.
106. CEROXYLON ANDICOLA.—The wax palm of New Grenada, first described by Humboldt and Bonpland, who found it on elevated mountains, extending as high as the lower limit of perpetual snow. Its tall trunk is covered with a thin coating of a whitish waxy substance, giving it a marbled appearance. The waxy substance forms an article of commerce, and is obtained by scraping the trunk. It consists of two parts of resin and one wax, and, when mixed with one third of tallow, it makes very good candles. The stem is used for building purposes, and the leaves for thatching roofs.
107. CHAMAEDOREA ELEGANS.—This belongs to a genus of palms native of South America. The plant is of tall, slender growth; the stems are used for walking canes, and the young, unexpanded flower spikes are used as a vegetable.
108. CHAMAEROPS FORTUNEI.—This palm is a native of the north of China, and is nearly hardy here. In China, the coarse brown fibers obtained from the leaves are used for making hats and also garments called So-e, worn in wet weather.
109. CHAMAEROPS HUMILIS.—This is the only European species of palm, and does not extend farther north than Nice. The leaves are commonly used in the south of Europe for making hats, brooms, baskets, etc. From the leaf fiber a material resembling horse hair is prepared, and the Arabs mix it with camel's hair for their tent covers.
110. CHAVICA BETEL.—This plant is found all over the East Indies, where its leaf is largely used by Indian natives as a masticatory. Its consumption is immense, and has been said to equal that of tobacco by Western peoples. It is prepared for chewing by inclosing in the leaves a slice of the areca nut, and a small portion of lime. It is thought to act as a stimulant to the digestive organs, but causes giddiness and other unpleasant symptoms to those not accustomed to its use.
111. CHIOCOCCA RACEMOSA.—This plant is found in many warm countries, such as in southern Florida. It is called cahinca in Brazil, where a preparation of the bark of the root is employed as a remedy for snake bites. Almost every locality where snakes exist has its local remedies for poisonous bites, but they rarely prove to be efficient when truthfully and fairly tested.
112. CHLORANTHUS OFFICINALIS.—The roots of this plant are an aromatic stimulant, much used as medicine in the Island of Java; also, when mixed with anise, it has proved valuable in malignant smallpox.
113. CHLOROXYLON SWIETENIA.—The satinwood tree of tropical countries. It is principally used for making the backs of clothes and hair brushes, and for articles of turnery-ware; the finest mottled pieces are cut into veneers and used for cabinet-making.
114. CHRYSOBALANUS ICACO.—The cocoa plum of the West Indies. The fruits are about the size of a plum, and are of various colors, white, yellow, red, or purple. The pulp is sweet, a little austere, but not disagreeable. The fruits are preserved and exported from Cuba and other West India Islands. The kernels yield a fixed oil, and an emulsion made with them is used medicinally.
115. CHRYSOPHYLLUM CAINITO.—The fruit of this plant is known in the West Indies as the star apple, the interior of which, when cut across, shows ten cells, and as many seeds disposed regularly round the center, giving a star-like appearance, as stars are generally represented in the most reliable almanacs. It receives its botanic name from the golden silky color on the under side of the leaves.
116. CICCA DISTICHA.—This Indian plant is cultivated in many parts under the name of Otaheite gooseberry. The fruits resemble those of a green gooseberry. They have an acid flavor; are used for preserving or pickling, and eaten either in a raw state or cooked in various ways.
117. CINCHONA CALISAYA.—The yellow bark of Bolivia. This is one of the so-called Peruvian Bark trees. The discovery of the medicinal value of this bark is a matter of fable and conjecture. The name cinchona is derived from that of the wife of a viceroy of Peru, who is said to have taken the drug from South America to Europe in 1639. Afterwards the Jesuits used it; hence it is sometimes called Jesuit's bark. It was brought most particularly into notice when Louis XIV of France purchased of Sir R. Talbor, an Englishman, his heretofore secret remedy for intermittent fever, and made it public.
There are various barks in commerce classified under the head of Peruvian barks. Their great value depends upon the presence of certain alkaloid substances called quinine, cinchonine, and quinidine, which exist in the bark in combination with tannic and other acids. Quinine is the most useful of these alkaloids, and this is found in greatest quantities in Calisaya bark. The gray bark of Huanuco is derived from Cinchona micrantha, which is characterized by its yield of cinchonine, and the Loxa or Loja barks are furnished in part by Cinchona officinalis, and are especially rich in quinidine. There is some uncertainty about the trees that produce the various kinds of bark. These trees grow in the forests of Bolivia and Peru, at various elevations on the mountains, but chiefly in sheltered mountain valleys, and all of them at a considerable distance below the frost or snow line. They are destroyed by the slightest frost. Plants of various species have been distributed from time to time, in localities which seemed most favorable to their growth, but all reports from these distributions have, so far, been discouraging.
118. CINNAMOMUM CASSIA.—This furnishes cassia bark, which is much like cinnamon, but thicker, coarser, stronger, less delicate in flavor, and cheaper; hence it is often used to adulterate cinnamon. The unexpanded flower buds are sold as cassia buds, possessing properties similar to those of the bark. It is grown in southern China, Java, and tropical countries generally.
119. CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM.—A tree belonging to Lauraceae, which furnishes the best cinnamon. It is prepared by stripping the bark from the branches, when it rolls up into quills, the smaller of which are introduced into the larger, and then dried in the sun. Cinnamon is much used as a condiment for its pleasant flavor, and its astringent properties are of medicinal value. It is cultivated largely in Ceylon. The cinnamon tree is too tender to become of commercial importance in the United States. Isolated plants may be found in southern Florida, at least it is so stated, but the area suited to its growth must be very limited.
120. CISSAMPELOS PAREIRA.—The velvet plant of tropical countries. The root furnishes the Pareira brava of druggists, which is used in medicine.
121. CITRUS AURANTIUM.—The orange, generally supposed to be a native of the north of India. It was introduced into Arabia during the ninth century. It was unknown in Europe in the eleventh century. Oranges were cultivated at Seville towards the end of the twelfth century, and at Palermo in the thirteenth. In the fourteenth century they were plentiful in several parts of Italy. There are many varieties of the orange in cultivation. The blood red, or Malta, is much esteemed; the fruit is round, reddish-yellow outside and the pulp irregularly mottled with crimson. The Mandarin or Tangerine orange has a thin rind which separates easily from the pulp, and is very sweet and rich. The St. Michael's orange is one of the most productive and delicious varieties, with a thin rind and very sweet pulp. The Seville or bitter orange is used for the manufacture of bitter tincture and candied orange-peel. The Bergamot orange has peculiarly fragrant flowers and fruit, from each of which an essence of a delicious quality is extracted.
122. CITRUS DECUMANA.—The shaddock, which has the largest fruit of the family. It is a native of China and Japan, where it is known as sweet ball. The pulp is acid or subacid, and in some varieties nearly sweet. From the thickness of the skin the fruit will keep a considerable time without injury.
123. CITRUS JAPONICA.—This is the Kum-quat of the Chinese. It forms a small tree, or rather a large bush, and bears fruit about the size of a large cherry. There are two forms, one bearing round fruits, the other long, oval fruits. This fruit has a sweet rind and an agreeably acid pulp, and is usually eaten whole without being peeled. It forms an excellent preserve, with sugar, and is largely used in this form.
124. CITRUS LIMETTA.—The lime, which is used for the same purposes as the lemon, and by some preferred, the juice being considered more wholesome and the acid more agreeable. There are several varieties, some of them being sweet and quite insipid.
125. CITRUS LIMONUM.—The lemon; this plant is found growing naturally in that part of India which is beyond the Ganges. It was unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is supposed to have been brought to Italy by the Crusaders. Arabian writers of the twelfth century notice the lemon as being cultivated in Egypt and other places. The varieties of the lemon are very numerous and valued for their agreeable acid juice and essential oil. They keep for a considerable time, especially if steeped for a short period in salt water.
126. CITRUS MEDICA.—The citron, found wild in the forests of northern India. The Jews cultivated the citron at the time they were under subjection to the Romans, and used the fruit in the Feast of the Tabernacles. There is no proof of their having known the fruit in the time of Moses, but it is supposed that they found it at Babylon, and brought it into Palestine. The citron is cultivated in China and Cochin-China. It is easily naturalized and the seeds are rapidly spread. In its wild state it grows erect; the branches are spiny, the flowers purple on the outside and white on the inside. The fruit furnishes the essential oil of citron and the essential oil of cedra. There are several varieties; the fingered citron is a curious fruit, and the Madras citron is very long and narrow; the skin is covered with protuberances.
127. CLUSIA ROSEA.—A tropical plant which yields abundantly of a tenacious resin from its stem, which is used for the same purpose as pitch. It is first of a green color, but when exposed to the air it assumes a brown or reddish tint. The Caribs use it for painting the bottoms of their boats.
128. COCCOLOBA UVIFERA.—Known in the West Indies as the seaside grape, from the peculiarity of the perianth, which becomes pulpy and of a violet color and surrounds the ripe fruit. The pulpy perianth has an agreeable acid flavor. An astringent extract is prepared from the plant which is used in medicine.
129. COCOS NUCIFERA.—The cocoanut palm. This palm is cultivated throughout the tropics so extensively that its native country is not known. One reason of its extensive dissemination is that it grows so close to the sea that the ripe fruits are washed away by the waves and afterwards cast upon far-distant shores, where they soon vegetate. It is in this way that the coral islands of the Indian Ocean have become covered with these palms. Every part of this tree is put to some useful purpose. The outside rind or husk of the fruit yields the fiber from which the well-known cocoa matting is manufactured. Cordage, clothes, brushes, brooms, and hats are made from this fiber, and, when curled and dyed, it is used for stuffing mattresses and cushions. An oil is produced by pressing the white kernel of the nut which is used for cooking when fresh, and by pressure affords stearin, which is made into candles, the liquid being used for lamps. The kernel is of great importance as an article of food, and the milk affords an agreeable beverage. While young it yields a delicious substance resembling blanc-mange. The leaves are used for thatching, for making mats, baskets, hats, etc.; combs are made from the hard footstalk; the heart of the tree is used as we use cabbages. The brown fibrous net work from the base of the leaves is used as sieves, and also made into garments. The wood is used for building and for furniture. The flowers are used medicinally as an astringent and the roots as a febrifuge.
130. COCOS PLUMOSUS.—A Brazilian species, highly ornamental in its long, arching leaves, and producing quantities of orange-colored nuts, in size about as large as a chestnut, inclosed in an edible pulp.
131. COFFEA ARABICA.—The coffee plant, which belongs to the Cinchonaceae and is a native of Abyssinia, but is now cultivated in many tropical regions. It can not be successfully cultivated in a climate where the temperature, at any season of the year, falls below 55 degrees, although it will exist where the temperature all but falls short of freezing, but a low fall of temperature greatly retards the ripening of the fruit. Ripe fruits are often gathered from plants in the extreme south of Florida. The beans or seeds are roasted before use, and by this process they gain nearly one half in bulk and lose about a fifth in weight. Heat also changes their essential qualities, causing the development of the volatile oil and peculiar acid to which the aroma and flavor are due. The berries contain theine; so also do the leaves, and in some countries the latter are preferred.
132. COFFEA LIBERICA.—The Liberian coffee, cultivated in Africa, of which country it is a native. This plant is of larger and stronger growth than the Arabian coffee plant and the fruit is larger. This species is of recent introduction to commerce, and although it was reported as being more prolific than the ordinary coffee plant, the statement has not been borne out in Brazil and Mexico, where it has been tested. It is also more tender than the older known species.
133. COLA ACUMINATA.—An African tree, which has been introduced into the West Indies and Brazil for the sake of its seeds, which are known as Cola, or Kola, or Goora nuts, and extensively used as a sort of condiment by the natives of Africa. A small piece of one of these seeds is chewed before each meal to promote digestion. It possesses properties similar to the leaves of coca and contains theine. These nuts have from time immemorial occupied a prominent place in the dietetic economy of native tribes in Africa, and the demand for them has established a large commercial industry in the regions where they are obtained.
134. COLOCASIA ESCULENTA.—This plant has been recommended for profitable culture in this country for its edible root-stock. It is cultivated in the Sandwich Islands under the name of Tara. The young leaves are cooked and eaten in the same manner as spinach or greens in Egypt. They are acrid, but lose their acridity when boiled, the water being changed. The roots are filled with starch, and have long been used as food in various semitropical countries.
135. CONDAMINEA MACROPHYLLA.—This plant belongs to the cinchona family, and contains tonic properties. The Peruvian bark gatherers adulterate the true cinchona bark with this, but it may be detected by its white inner surface, its less powerful bitter taste, and a viscidity not possessed by the cinchonas.
136. CONVOLVULUS SCAMMONIA.—This plant furnishes the scammony of the druggists.
137. COOKIA PUNCTATA.—A small-growing tree from China, which produces a fruit known as the Wampee. This fruit is a globular berry, with five or fewer compartments filled with juice. It is much esteemed in China.
138. COPAIFERA OFFICINALIS.—This tree yields balsam of copaiba, used in medicine. The balsam is collected by making incisions in the stem, when the liquor is said to pour out copiously; as it exudes it is thin and colorless, but immediately thickens and changes to a clear yellow. Like many other balsams, it is nearly allied to the turpentines; it has a moderately agreeable smell, and a bitter, biting taste of considerable duration. Distilled with water it yields a limpid essential oil.
139. COPERNICA CERIFERA.—The Carnuba, or wax palm of Brazil. It grows about 40 feet high, and has a trunk 6 or 8 inches thick, composed of very hard wood, which is commonly employed in Brazil for building and other purposes. The upper part of the young stem is soft, and yields a kind of sago, and the bitter fruits are eaten by the Indians. The young leaves are coated with wax, called Carnaub wax, which is detached by shaking them, and then melted and run into cakes; it is harder than beeswax, and has been used for making candles. The leaves are used for thatch, and, when young, are eaten by cattle.
140. COPROSMA ROBUSTA.—A cinchonaceous shrub. The leaves of this plant were formerly used in some of the religious ceremonies of the New Zealanders.
141. CORDIA MYXA.—This produces succulent, mucilaginous, and emollient fruits, which are eaten. These qualities, combined with a slight astringency, have led to their use as pectorals, known as Sebestens. The wood of this tree is said to have furnished the material used by the Egyptians in the construction of their mummy cases; it is also considered to be one of the best woods for kindling fire by friction.
142. CORDYLINE AUSTRALIS.—The Australian Ti, or cabbage tree, a palm-like plant of 15 to 20 feet in height. The whole plant is fibrous, and it has been suggested as good for a paper-making material. The juice of the roots and stem contains a small amount of sugar, and has been employed for procuring alcohol.
143. CORYPHA UMBRACULIFERA.—The Talipot palm, a native of Ceylon, producing gigantic fan-like leaves. These leaves have prickly stalks 6 or 7 feet long, and when fully expanded form a nearly complete circle of 13 feet in diameter. Large fans made of these leaves are carried before people of rank among the Cinghalese; they are also commonly used as umbrellas, and tents are made by neatly joining them together; they are also used as a substitute for paper, being written upon with a stylus. Some of the sacred books of the Cinghalese are composed of strips of them. The hard seeds are used by turners.
144. COUROUPITA GUIANENSIS.—The fruit of this tree is called, from its appearance, the cannon-ball fruit; its shell is used as a drinking vessel, and when fresh the pulp is of an agreeable flavor.
145. CRATAEVA GYNANDRA.—This West Indian tree yields a small fruit which has a strong smell of garlic, hence it is called the garlic pear. The bark is bitter and used as a tonic.
146. CRESCENTIA CUJETE.—The calabash tree of the West Indies, where it is valued for the sake of its fruits, which resemble pumpkins in appearance and occasionally reach a diameter of 18 inches. Divested of their pulp, which is not edible, they serve various useful domestic purposes, for carrying water, and even as kettles for cooking. They are strong and light.
147. CROTON BALSAMIFERUM.—This West Indian shrub is sometimes called seaside balsam or sage. A thick, yellowish, aromatic juice exudes from the extremities of the broken branches, or wherever the stem has been wounded. In Martinique a liquor called Eau de Mantes is distilled from this balsamic juice with spirits of wine. The young leaves and branches are used in warm baths, on account of their agreeable fragrance and reputed medicinal virtues.
148. CROTON ELEUTHERIA.—This plant furnishes cascarilla bark, used as an aromatic bitter tonic, having no astringency. It has a fragrant smell when burnt, on which account it has been mixed with smoking tobacco.
149. CROTON TIGLIUM.—A plant of the family Euphorbiaceae, from the Indian Archipelago, which produces the seeds from whence croton oil is extracted. It is a very powerful medicine, and even in pressing the seeds for the purpose of extracting the oil, the workmen are subject to irritation of the eyes and other casualties.
150. CUBEBA OFFICINALIS.—A native of Java, which furnishes the cubeb fruits of commerce. These fruits are like black pepper, but stalked, and have an acrid, hot, aromatic taste; frequently used medicinally.
151. CURCAS PURGANS.—A tropical plant cultivated in many warm countries for the sake of its seeds, known as physic nuts. The juice of the plant, which is milky, acrid, and glutinous, produces an indelible brown stain on linen. The oil from the seeds is used for burning in lamps; and in paints. In China it is boiled with oxide of iron and used as a varnish. It is also used medicinally.
152. CURCUMA LONGA.—A plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae, the roots of which furnish turmeric. This powder is used in India as a mild aromatic, and for other medicinal purposes. It also enters into the composition of curry-powder, and a sort of arrowroot is made from the young tubers.
153. CURCUMA ZEDOARIA.—This plant furnishes zedoary tubers, much used in India as aromatic tonics.
154. CYATHEA MEDULLARIS.—This beautiful tree fern is a native of Australia, where it attains a height of 25 to 30 feet, having fronds from 10 to 15 feet in length. It contains a pulpy substance in the center of the stem, of a starchy, mucilaginous nature, which is a common article of food with the natives. The trees have to be destroyed in order to obtain it.
155. CYBISTAX ANTISYPHILITICA.—A plant of the order of Bignoniaceae, called Atunyangua in the Andes of Peru, where the inhabitants dye their cotton clothes by boiling them along with the leaves of this plant; the dye is a permanent blue. The bark of the young shoots is much employed in medicine.
156. CYCAS REVOLUTA.—The sago palm of gardens. The stem of the plants abounds in starch, which is highly esteemed in Japan. A gum exudes from the trunk of the old plant, which is employed medicinally by the natives of India.
157. CYCAS CIRCINALIS.—A native of Malabar, where a kind of sago is prepared from the seeds, which are dried and powdered; medicinal properties are also attributed to the seeds.
158. DACRYDIUM FRANKLINII.—Called Huon pine, because of its being found near the Huon River, in Tasmania. It belongs to the yew family. It furnishes valuable timber, very durable, and is used for ship and house building; some of the wood is very beautifully marked, and is used in furniture making and cabinetwork.
159. DALBERGIA SISSOO.—A tree of northern India, the timber of which is known as Sissum wood. This wood is strong, tenacious, and compact, much used for railway ties and for gun-carriages.
160. DAMARA AUSTRALIS.—A singular plant of the Coniferae family, called the Kauri pine. It forms a tree 150 to 200 feet in height, and produces a hard, brittle resin-like copal, which is used in varnish.
161. DASYLIRION ACROTRICHUM.—A plant of the pineapple family, from Mexico. The leaves contain a fine fiber, which may be ultimately more extensively utilized than it is at present.
162. DESMODIUM GYRANS.—An interesting plant of the pea family, called the moving plant, on account of the rotatory motion of the leaflets. These move in all conceivable ways, either steadily or by jerks. Sometimes only one leaf or two on the plant will be affected; at other times a nearly simultaneous movement may be seen in all the leaves. These movements are most energetic when the thermometer marks about 80 deg.. This motion is not due to any external or mechanical irritation.
163. DIALIUM ACUTIFOLIUM.—The velvet tamarind, so called, from the circumstance that its seed-pods are covered with a beautiful black velvet down. The seeds are surrounded by a farinaceous pulp of an agreeable acid taste.
164. DIALIUM INDUM.—The tamarind plum, which has a delicious pulp of slightly acid flavor.
165. DICKSONIA ANTARCTICA.—The large fern tree of Australia. This plant attains the height of 30 or more feet, and its fronds or leaves spread horizontally some 20 to 25 feet. It is found in snowy regions, and would be perfectly hardy south. It is one of the finest objects of the vegetable kingdom when of sufficient size to show its true beauties.
166. DIEFFENBACHIA SEGUINA.—This has acquired the name of dumb cane, in consequence of its fleshy, cane-like stems, rendering speechless any person who may happen to bite them, their acrid poison causing the tongue to swell to an immense size. An ointment for applying to dropsical swellings is prepared by boiling the juice in lard. Notwithstanding its acridity, a wholesome starch is prepared from the stem.
167. DILLENIA SPECIOSA.—An East Indian tree, bearing a fruit which is used in curries and for making jellies. Its slightly acid juice, sweetened with sugar, forms a cooling beverage. The wood is very tough, and is used for making gun-stocks.
168. DION EDULE.—A Mexican plant, bearing large seeds containing a quantity of starch, which is separated and used as arrowroot.
169. DIOSPYROS EBENUM.—An East Indian tree which in part yields the black ebony wood of commerce, much used in fancy cabinetwork and turnery, door knobs, pianoforte keys, etc.
170. DIOSPYROS KAKI.—The Chinese date plum or persimmon. The fruits vary in size from that of a medium-sized apple to that of a large pear; they also vary much in their flavor and consistency, some being firm, and others having a soft custard-like pulp, very sweet and luscious. The Chinese dry them in the sun and make them into sweetmeats; they are sometimes imported, and in appearance resemble large-sized preserved figs. These plants are being quite largely cultivated in some of the southern States, and the fruit is entering commerce.
171. DIPTERIX ODORATA.—This leguminous plant yields the fragrant seed known as Tonka bean, used in scenting snuff and for other purposes of perfumery. The odor resembles that of new-mown hay, and is due to the presence of coumarine. The tree is a native of Cayenne and grows 60 to 80 feet high.
172. DORSTENIA CONTRAYERVA.—A plant from tropical America, the roots of which are used in medicine under the name of Contrayerva root.
173. DRACAENA DRACO.—The Dragon's Blood tree of Teneriffe. This liliaceous plant attains a great age and enormous size. The resin obtained from this tree has been found in the sepulchral caves of the Cuanches, and hence it is supposed to have been used by them in embalming the dead. Trees of this species, at present in vigorous health, are supposed to be as old as the pyramids of Egypt.
174. DRACAENOPSIS AUSTRALIS.—Ti or cabbage tree of New Zealand. The whole of this plant is fibrous and has been used for paper making. The juice of the roots and stem contains a small amount of sugar and has been used for producing alcohol.
175. DRIMYS WINTERI.—This plant belongs to the magnolia family and furnishes the aromatic tonic known as Winter's bark. It is a native of Chili and the Strait of Magalhaens.
176. DRYOBALANOPS AROMATICA.—A native of the Island of Sumatra. It furnishes a liquid called camphor oil and a crystalline solid known as Sumatra or Borneo camphor. Camphor oil is obtained from incisions in the tree, and has a fragrant, aromatic odor. It has been used for scenting soap. The solid camphor is found in cracks of the wood, and is obtained by cutting down the tree, dividing it into blocks and small pieces, from the interstices of which the camphor is extracted. It differs from the ordinary camphor in being more brittle and not condensing on the sides of the bottle in which it is kept. It is much esteemed by the Chinese, who attribute many virtues to it. It has been long known and is mentioned by Marco Polo in the thirteenth century.
177. DUBOISIA HOPWOODII.—The leaves of this Australian plant are chewed by the natives of Central Australia, just as the Peruvians and Chilians masticate the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca, to invigorate themselves during their long foot journeys through the country. They are known as Pitury leaves.
178. DURIO ZIBETHINUS.—A common tree in the Malayan Islands, where its fruit forms a great part of the food of the natives. It is said to have a most delicious flavor combined with a most offensive odor, but when once the repugnance of the peculiar odor is overcome it becomes a general favorite. The unripe fruit is cooked and eaten, and the seeds roasted and used like chestnuts.
179. ELAEIS GUINEENSIS.—The African oil palm is a native of southwestern Africa, but has been introduced into other regions. It grows to a height of 20 to 30 feet and bears dense heads of fruit. The oil is obtained by boiling the fruits in water and skimming off the oil as it rises to the surface. It is used in the manufacture of candles. In Africa it is eaten as butter by the natives.
180. ELAEIS MELANOCOCCA.—A palm from tropical America which produces large quantities of oil.
181. ELAEOCARPUS HINAU.—A New Zealand tree, of the linden family. The bark affords an excellent permanent dye, varying from light brown to deep black. The fruits are surrounded by an edible pulp, and they are frequently pickled like olives.
182. ELETTARIA CARDAMOMUM.—This plant furnishes the fruits known as the Small or Malabar cardamoms of commerce. The seeds are used medicinally for their cordial aromatic properties, which depend upon the presence of a volatile oil. In India the fruits are chewed by the natives with their betel.
183. EMBLICA OFFICINALIS.—A plant belonging to Euphorbiaceae, a native of India. In Borneo the bark and young shoots are used to dye cotton black, for which purpose they are boiled in alum. The fruits are made into sweetmeats, with sugar, or eaten raw, but they are exceedingly acid; when ripe and dry, they are used in medicine, under the name of Myrobalani emblici. The natives of Travancore have a notion that the plant imparts a pleasant flavor to water, and therefore place branches of the tree in their wells, especially when the water is charged with an accumulation of impure vegetable matter.
184. ENCKEA UNGUICULATA.—A plant of the family Piperaceae, having an aromatic fruit like a berry, with a thick rind. The roots are used medicinally in Brazil.
185. ENTADA SCANDENS.—This leguminous plant has remarkable pods, which often measure 6 or 8 feet in length. The seeds are about 2 inches across, and half an inch thick, and have a hard, woody, and beautifully polished shell, of a dark-brown or purplish color. These seeds are frequently converted into snuff-boxes and other articles, and in the Indian bazars they are used as weights.
186. ERIODENDRON ANFRACTUOSUM.—The silk-cotton, or God tree of the West Indies. The fruit is a capsule, filled with a beautiful silky fiber, which is very elastic, but can not be woven, and is only used for stuffing cushions.
187. ERYTHRINA CAFFRA.—The Kaffir tree of South Africa. The wood is soft and so light as to be used for floating fishing nets. The scarlet seeds are employed for making necklaces. The Erythrinas, of which there are many species, are mostly remarkable for the brilliant scarlet of their flowers, and are known as Coral trees.
188. ERYTHRINA UMBROSA.—This is a favorite tree for growing in masses, for the purpose of sheltering cocoanut plantations, and inducing a proper degree of moisture in their neighborhood.
189. ERYTHROXYLON COCA.—The leaves of this plant, under the name of coca, are much used by the inhabitants of South America as a masticatory. It forms an article of commerce among the Indians, who carefully dry the leaves and use them daily. Their use, in moderation, acts as a stimulant to the nervous system and enables those who chew them to perform long journeys without any other food. The use of coca in Peru is a very ancient custom, said to have originated with the Incas. It is common throughout the greater part of Peru, Quito, New Granada; and on the banks of the Rio Negro it is known as Spadic. A principle, called cocaine, has been extracted from the leaves, which is used in medicine.
190. EUCALYPTUS AMYGDALINA.—The peppermint tree, a native of Tasmania. It produces a thin, transparent oil possessed of a pungent odor resembling oil of lemons, and tasting like camphor, which has great solvent properties. The genus Eucalyptus is extensive and valuable. The greater number form large trees, known in Australia as gum trees.
191. EUCALYPTUS GIGANTEA.—This stringy bark gum furnishes a strong, durable timber, used for shipbuilding and other purposes. E. robusta contains large cavities in its stem, between the annual concentric circles of wood, filled with a red gum. Many of the species yield gums and astringent principles and also a species of manna. The timber of these trees has been pronounced to be unsurpassed for strength and durability by any other timber known. The leaves of these trees are placed vertically to the sun, a provision suited to a dry and sultry climate.
192. EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS.—The blue gum, a rapid-growing tree, attaining to a large size. Recently it has attracted attention and gained some repute in medicine as an antiperiodic. The leaves have also been applied to wounds with some success. It produces a strong camphor-smelling oil, which has a mint-like taste, not at all disagreeable.
193. EUGENIA ACRIS.—The wild clove or bayberry tree of the West Indies. In Jamaica it is sometimes called the black cinnamon. The refreshing perfume known as bay rum is prepared by distilling the leaves of this tree with rum. It is stated that the leaves of the allspice are also used in this preparation.
194. EUGENIA JAMBOSA.—A tropical plant, belonging to the myrtle family, which produces a pleasant rose-flavored fruit, known as the Roseapple, or Jamrosade.
195. EUGENIA PIMENTO.—The fruits of this West Indian tree are known in commerce as allspice; the berries have a peculiarly grateful odor and flavor, resembling a combination of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon; hence the name of allspice. The leaves when bruised emit a fine aromatic odor, and a delicate odoriferous oil is distilled from them, which is said to be used as oil of cloves. The berries, bruised and distilled with water, yield the pimento oil of commerce.
196. EUGENIA UGNI.—This small-foliaged myrtaceous plant is a native of Chili. It bears a glossy black fruit, which has an agreeable flavor and perfume, and is highly esteemed in its native country. The plant is hardy in the Southern States.
197. EUPHORBIA CANARIENSIS.—This plant grows in abundance in the Canary Islands and Teneriffe, in dry, rocky districts, where little else can grow, and where it attains a height of 10 feet, with the branches spreading 15 or 20 feet. It is one of the kinds that furnish the drug known as Euphorbium. The milky juice exudes from incisions made in the branches, and is so acrid that it excoriates the hand when applied to it. As it hardens it falls down in small lumps, and those who collect it are obliged to tie cloths over their mouths and nostrils to exclude the small, dusty particles, as they produce incessant sneezing. As a medicine its action is violent, and it is now rarely employed. There are a vast number of species of Euphorbia, varying exceedingly in their general appearance, but all of them having a milky juice which contains active properties. Many of them can scarcely be distinguished from cactuses so far as relates to external appearances, but the milky exudation following a puncture determines their true character. E. grandidens is a tall-growing, branching species, and attains a height of 30 feet. The natives of India use the juice of E. antiquorum, when diluted, as a purgative. The juice of E. heptagona and other African species is employed to poison arrows; the juice of E. cotinifolia is used for the same purpose in Brazil. The roots of E. gerardiana and E. pithyusa are emetic, while E. thymifolia and E. hypericifolia possess astringent and aromatic properties. The poisonous principle which pervades these plants is more or less dissipated by heat. The juice of E. cattimandoo furnishes caoutchouc of a very good quality, which, however, becomes brittle, although soaking in hot water renders it again pliable. E. phosphorea derives the name from the fact of its sap emitting a phosphorescent light, on warm nights, in the Brazilian forests.
198. EUTERPE EDULIS.—The assai palm of Para. It grows in swampy lands, and produces a small fruit thinly coated with clotted flesh of which the inhabitants of Para manufacture a beverage called assai. The ripe fruits are soaked in warm water and kneaded until the fleshy pulp is detached. This, when strained, is of a thick, creamy consistence, and, when thickened with cassava farina and sweetened with sugar, forms a nutritious diet, and is the daily food of a large number of the people.
199. EUTERPE MONTANA.—The center portion of the upper part of the stem of this West Indian palm, including the leaf bud, is eaten either when cooked as a vegetable or pickled, but the tree must be destroyed in order to obtain it.
200. EXC[OE]CARIA SEBIFERA.—This Euphorbiaceous plant is the tallow tree of China. The fruits, are about half an inch in diameter, and each contains three seeds, thickly coated with a fatty substance which yields the tallow. This is obtained by first steaming the seeds, then bruising them to loosen the fat without breaking the seeds, which are removed by sifting. The fat is then made into flat circular cakes and pressed, when the pure tallow exudes in a liquid state and soon hardens into a white, brittle mass. Candles made from this get soft in hot weather, which is prevented by coating them with insect wax. A liquid oil is obtained from the seeds by pressing. The tree yields a hard wood, used by the Chinese for printing blocks, and its leaves are used in dyeing black.
201. EXOGONIUM PURGA.—This plant furnishes the true jalap-tubers of commerce. They owe their well-known purgative properties to their resinous ingredients. Various species of Ipom[oe]a furnish a spurious kind of this drug, which is often put in the market as the genuine article.
202. EXOSTEMMA CARIBAEUM.—This West Indian plant has become naturalized in southern Florida. It belongs to the cinchona family and is known as Jamaica bark. It is also known as Quinquina Caraibe. The bark is reputed to be a good febrifuge, and also to be employed as an emetic. It is supposed to contain some peculiar principle, as the fracture displays an abundance of small crystals. The capsules, before they are ripe, are very bitter, and their juice causes a burning itching on the lips.
203. FERONIA ELEPHANTUM.—The wood apple or elephant apple tree of India, belonging to the family Aurantiaceae. It forms a large tree in Ceylon, and yields a hard, heavy wood, of great strength. It yields a gum, which is mixed with other gums and sold under the name of East Indian gum arabic. The fruit is about the size of an orange, and contains a pulpy flesh, which is edible, and a jelly is made from it, which is used in cases of dysentery. The leaves have an odor like that of anise, and the native India doctors employ them as a stomachic and carminative.
204. FEVILLEA CORDIFOLIA.—The sequa or cacoon antidote of Jamaica. It belongs to the cucumber family, and climbs to a great height up the trunks of trees. The seeds are employed as a remedy in a variety of diseases, and are considered an antidote against the effects of poison; they also contain a quantity of semisolid fatty oil, which is liberated by pressing and boiling them in water.
205. FICUS ELASTICA.—This plant is known as the india-rubber tree. It is a native of the East Indies, and is the chief source of caoutchouc from that quarter of the globe, although other species of Ficus yield this gum, as well as several plants of other genera. It is a plant of rapid growth, and from the larger branches roots descend to the earth as in the case of the banyan tree.
206. FICUS INDICA.—The famous banyan tree of history. Specimens of this Indian fig are mentioned as being of immense size. One in Bengal spreads over a diameter of 370 feet. Another covered an area of 1,700 square yards. It is one of the sacred trees of the Hindoos. It was known to the ancients. Strabo describes it, and it is mentioned by Pliny. Milton also alludes to it as follows:
Branching so broad along, that in the ground The bending twigs take root; and daughters grow About the mother tree; a pillared shade, High overarched, with echoing walks between. There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat, Shelters in cool; and tends his pasturing herds At loop-holes cut through thickest shade.
207. FICUS RELIGIOSA.—The pippul tree of the Hindoos, which they hold in such veneration that, if a person cuts or lops off any of the branches, he is looked upon with as great abhorrence as if he had broken the leg of one of their equally sacred cows. The seeds are employed by Indian doctors in medicine.
208. FLACOURTIA SEPIARIA.—A bushy shrub, used in India for hedges. Its fruit has a pleasant, subacid flavor when perfectly ripe, but the unripe fruit is extremely astringent. The Indian doctors use a liniment made of the bark in cases of gout, and an infusion of it as a cure for snake bites.
209. FOURCROYA CUBENSE.—This plant is closely related to the agave, and, like many of that genus, furnishes a fine fiber, which is known in St. Domingo as Cabuya fiber. These plants are very magnificent when in flower, throwing up stems 20 to 30 feet in height, covered with many hundreds of yucca-like blossoms.
210. FRANCISCEA UNIFLORA.—A Brazilian plant called Mercurio vegetal; also known as Manaca. The roots, and to some extent the leaves, are used in medicine; the inner bark and all the herbaceous parts are nauseously bitter; it is regarded as a purgative, emetic, and alexipharmic; in overdoses it is an acrid poison.
211. FUSANUS ACUMINATUS.—A small tree of the Cape of Good Hope and Australia. It bears a globular fruit of the size of a small peach, and is known in Australia as the native peach. It has an edible nut, called the Quandang nut, which is said to be as sweet and palatable as the almond.
212. GALIPEA OFFICINALIS.—This South American tree furnishes Angostura bark, which has important medical properties, some physicians in South America preferring it to cinchona in the treatment of fevers. Its use has been greatly retarded by bark of the deadly nux-vomica tree having been inadvertently sold for it. As this bark is sometimes used in bitters, a mistake, as above, might prove as fatal as cholera.
213. GARCINIA MANGOSTANA.—This tree produces the tropical fruit called mangosteen, a beautiful fruit, having a thick, succulent rind, which contains an astringent juice, and exudes a gum similar to gamboge. The esculent interior contains a juicy pulp, of the whiteness and solubility of snow, and of a refreshing, delicate, delicious flavor. The bark of the tree is used as a basis for black dye, and it has also some medicinal value.
214. GARCINIA MORELLA.—It is supposed that Siam gamboge is obtained from this tree, also that known as Ceylon gamboge. The juice is collected by incising the stems, or by breaking young twigs of the tree and securing the yellow gum resinous exudations in hollow bamboos, where it is allowed to harden. It is employed by artists in water colors and as a varnish for lacquer work.
215. GARCINIA PICTORIA.—A fatty matter known as gamboge butter is procured from the seeds of this tree in Mysore. They are pounded in a stone mortar, then boiled till the butter or oil rises to the surface. It is used as a lamp oil, and sometimes in food.
216. GARDENIA FLORIDA and GARDENIA RADICANS.—Cape Jasmines, so called from a supposition that they were natives of the Cape of Good Hope. The genus belongs to the cinchona family. G. lucida furnishes a fragrant resin somewhat similar to myrrh. The fruit of G. campanulata is used as a cathartic, and also to wash out stains in silks. G. gummifera yields a resin something like Elemi.
217. GASTROLOBIUM BILOBUM.—A leguminous plant, having poisonous properties. In western Australia, where it is a native, farmers often lose their cattle through their eating the foliage. Cats and dogs that eat the flesh of these poisoned cattle are also poisoned. G. obtusum and G. spinosum possess similar properties.
218. GENIPA AMERICANA.—This belongs to the cinchona family, and produces the fruit called genipap or marmalade box. It is about the size of an orange, and has an agreeable flavor. The juice of the fruit yields a bluish-black dye, called Canito or Lana-dye. This color is very permanent, and is much used by Indians in South America.
219. GEONOMA SCHOTTIANA.—A pretty Brazilian palm; the leaves are used for thatching huts, and other parts of the plant are utilized.
220. GOUANIA DOMINGENSIS.—A plant of the buckthorn family, known in Jamaica as Chaw-Stick, on account of its thin branches being chewed as an agreeable stomachic. Tooth brushes are made by cutting pieces of the stem to convenient lengths and fraying out the ends. A tooth powder is prepared by pulverizing the dried stems. It is said to possess febrifugal properties, and owing to its pleasant bitter taste it is used for flavoring cooling beverages.
221. GREVILLEA ROBUSTA.—The silk oak tree of Australia; a tree that attains a large size, and is remarkable for the graceful beauty of its foliage.
222. GREWIA ASIATICA.—This Indian tree represents a genus of plants of considerable economic value. This particular species yields a profusion of small red fruits which are used for flavoring drinks, having a pleasant acid flavor. The fibrous inner bark is employed by the natives for making fishing nets, ropes, twine, and for other similar purposes.
223. GRIAS CAULIFLORA.—The anchovy pear of Jamaica. The fruit is pickled and eaten like the mango, having a similar taste.
224. GUAIACUM OFFICINALE.—The wood of this tree is called Lignum Vitae. A resin, called gum guaiacum, exudes from the stem, and is otherwise obtained from the wood by artificial means. It is of a greenish-brown color, with a balsamic fragrance, and is remarkable for the changes of color it undergoes when brought into contact with various substances. Gluten gives it a blue tint: nitric acid and chlorin change it successively to green, blue, and brown. The resin is used medicinally as also are the bark and wood.
225. GUAZUMA TOMENTOSA.—This plant is nearly allied to the chocolate-nut tree, and yields fruits that abound in mucilage, as also does the bark of the young shoots. The mucilage is given out in water, and has been used as a substitute for gelatin or albumen in clarifying cane juice in the manufacture of sugar. The timber is light, and is employed for the staves of sugar hogsheads; it is known in Jamaica as bastard cedar. A strong fiber is obtained from the young shoots.
226. GUILIELMA SPECIOSA.—The peach palm of Venezuela. The fruits are borne in large drooping bunches, and their fleshy outer portion contains starchy matter, which forms a portion of the food of the natives. They are cooked and eaten with salt, and are said to resemble a potato in flavor. A beverage is prepared by fermenting them in water, and the meal obtained from them is made into bread. The wood of the old trees is black, and so hard as to turn the edge of an ax.
227. HAEMATOXYLON CAMPECHIANUM.—The logwood tree. This dyestuff is largely used by calico printers and other dyeing manufacturers. It is also used as an ingredient in some writing inks. The heart wood is the part used for dyeing. This is cut into chips which yield their color to water and alcohol. The colors are various according to treatment, giving violet, yellow, purple, and blue, but the consumption of logwood is for black colors, which are obtained by alum and iron bases.
228. HARDENBERGIA MONOPHYLLA.—An Australian climbing plant of the leguminous family. The long, carrot-shaped, woody root was called, by the early settlers in that country, sarsaparilla, and is still used in infusion as a substitute for that root.
229. HARTIGHSEA SPECTABILIS.—A New Zealand tree, called Wahahe by the natives, who employ the leaves as a substitute for hops, and also prepare from them a spirituous infusion as a stomachic medicine.
230. HELICONIA BIHAI.—A plant of the order Musaceae, from South America. The young shoots are eaten by the natives, and the fruits are also collected and used as food. It also furnishes a useful fiber.
231. HEVEA BRASILIENSIS.—A tree of tropical America growing in damp forests, especially in the Amazon valley, which, together with other trees called siphonia furnish the Para rubber, or American caoutchouc. The sap is collected from incisions made in the tree during the dry season, and is poured over clay molds and dried by gentle heat, successive pourings being made till a sufficiently thick layer is produced.
232. HIBISCUS ROSA SINENSIS.—The flowers of this malvaceous plant contain a quantity of astringent juice, and, when bruised, rapidly turn black or deep purple; they are used by the Chinese ladies for dyeing their hair and eyebrows, and in Java for blacking shoes.
233. HIBISCUS SABDARIFFA.—This species is known in the West Indies as red sorrel, on account of the calyxes and capsules having an acid taste. They are made into cooling drinks, by sweetening and fermentation. The bark contains a strong useful fiber which makes good ropes if not too much twisted. It is also known as the Roselle plant.
234. HIBISCUS TILIACEUS.—A plant common to many tropical countries. Its wood is extremely light when dry, and is employed by the Polynesians for getting fire by friction, which is said to be a very tedious and tiresome operation, and difficult to accomplish. Good fiber is also obtained from the bark.
235. HIPPOMANE MANCINELLA.—This is the poisonous manchineel tree of South America and other tropical regions. The virulent nature of the juice of this tree has given it a reputation equal to that forced upon the upas tree of Java. The juice is certainly very acrid, and even its smoke, when burning, causes temporary blindness. The fruit is equally dangerous, and from its beautiful appearance is sometimes partaken of by those who are unaware of its deleterious properties, but its burning effects on the lips soon causes them to desist. Indians are said to poison their arrows with the juice of this tree.