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been lost by drying or age, but in others, as in boiling and scalding, the action seems mysterious. However curious the subject, or inexplicable the mode, yet the pleasant fact remains, and, in lieu of disappointment, by some one of these modes, the careful experimenter is enabled to raise to successful culture, species of plants, the seeds of which he may have had in his possession for years, and been unable to excite to a growth.
In the case of the harder kinds of seeds, those covered with a very tough, or else with a very indurated shell or husk, for instance, the Acàciæ and Mimòsæ, it does not seem so surprising that the action of extreme heat should be so well sustained. The extremely hard-wooded shell of the Hawthorn seed, (Cratæ‘gus,) it is well known, enables that plant to resist vegetative influence for one, two or more years: and although, if sown as soon as ripe, many of the seed will appear on the next spring, yet straggling plants may be seen in the seed bed, rising from the original sowing, for successive seasons. So the seeds of the Honey locust (Gleditschia) are of the same character in process of vegetation. Subjected to boiling, the seeds of Acàcia lophantha will sustain no injury when boiled fifteen minutes, as we have repeatedly observed; nay, the young plants seem to grow the more rapidly from seed subjected to that length of the process, than those from seed not so long boiled. Many curious leguminous seeds are almost annually brought from tropical countries, either gathered from wild plants, or sent from botanical collections, which are thrown away by ignorant culturists, into whose hands they may chance to fall, or sown without any reference to these well known facts in vegetable economy, and are thus never destined to see the light. To the Acacia and Mimosa tribe especially, (of the great natural order Leguminosa,) our greenhouses and collections of living plants are very much indebted for rare elegance of foliage or exquisite beauty of flower, or fragrance of blossom, or general contour of shape; and in some such collections, some one species or variety may be rare.
To increase the chance of possessing some newer or rare kind, it surely would repay the amateur or common gardener for whatever trouble or patience he might exercise to insti.. tute many experiments founded on a little scientific knowledge to cause foreign seeds, which often fall into his hands, to germinate. No one is the loser by such operations: for even failure does not always detriment the general cause of culture; but the rather enables a further experiment to be better made. And patience, as well as experiment, is often found to be an excellent paymaster in the long run: not only, as many have known, in waiting for the blossoming of their rarer plants, but also in the waiting for the germination of their seeds, after months have elapsed since they ordinarily and normally should have appeared above the soil. In our own very humble and private experience, we have known the value of such a virtue connected with floricultural science: and before our eyes, at this moment, are some seedling Liliàceæ of rarer kinds, for whose appearance we waited more than a year; although, in the same sowing, were others, for aught we know, as difficult of vegetation, which appeared above the soil in a few weeks.
The most singular feature by far of the power seeds possess of resisting heat by boiling water (to return to our subject matter,) is to be noticed in the fact of seeds not furnished with strong and woody exteriors or shells; and of those of less durable envelopes; of this latter, for instance, the seeds of the Rubi, (Raspberry,) of which Lindley, in his Theory of Horticulture, p. 157, tells us that he was acquainted with the germination of some seeds of this fruit “picked from a jar of jam, and which must, therefore, have been exposed to the temperature of 230°, the boiling point of syrup.”
Induced, at several times, by these accounts, and similar found elsewhere in works of Horticulture, to institute some experiments on the vitality of seed, we tried to see what success one might have on four several sorts, which we subjected to hot water raised to the boiling point, and kept in that state for ten minutes. Of this lot, was a single seed of a Gleditschia, several of Robinia, which, however, did not appear above ground. The third kind of seed has escaped our memory, but it did not vegetate: the fourth seed was the Sida polyandra, brought several years ago from the Botanical Garden at Calcutta, by a friend of ours, and which we had in our possession ever since, and, failing to vegetate it by the common process of sowing, in desperation, we put it to the severe test of the water trial, and, to our gratification as well as surprise, several fine plants made their appearance above ground in a few weeks. The Sidæ are malvaceous plants, possessing soft seeds, that is to say, seeds with no indurated exterior, and which, one would naturally suppose, could not resist much of an elevation of temperature, especially in boiling water, which, permeating their tissue, might be thought capable of destroying their organization. But notwithstanding appearances seemed so much against them, yet something like a dozen plants came up and grew luxuriantly, of which we saved a couple by potting which have given us a few flowers, pretty as are any of that genus, but of little more ornament than that most common species now rejected from our gardens, viz., Sida abutilon, original from India, but now almost naturalized as a weed in gardens and on rubbish heaps. The entire genus, indeed, may be set down, in the words of Loudon, as "free flowerers of no great beauty ;' of which we have certainly a rare exception in Sida striàtum (Abutilon striatum) of the Catalogues. What Sida polyandra will prove in open culture, we can scarcely form any opinion from our present knowledge; if no better than the old and rejected S. abùtilon, thus much will it have proved, that, in its case at least, it will add its weight of testimony to the value and importance of a more experimental and scientific process of seed sowing, based on philosophical principles; and that the record of the most seemingly trivial facts in horticultural experience, may lead to results which will bear on the greater interests of the general subject. And so, Mr. Editor, should you deem this rambling and discursive essay of any value in the record of facts relating to a pursuit in which, with yourself, you are aware, we are interested, you are at liberty to insert it in some corner of your Magazine, that, perhaps, it may remind others of similar experiments, from which they may receive even greater reward in more successful results.
January 27, 1847.
We are most happy to present an article so full of interest to every lover of rare plants : and we hope the minuteness
with which these experiments have been detailed will induce all who may have rare seeds placed in their hands to test their vegetative powers. Has our correspondent tried the boiling process on rose seeds, which often require a long period to vegetate, especially if not sown as soon as gathered ? We might name other kinds which are found difficult to make grow: but the hints here given are sufficient to induce all lovers of plants to institute experiments.-Ed.
Art. III. Additional Remarks on the Northern Spy Apple.
By J. H. Watts, Esq., Rochester, N. Y.
Amongst the strange things of the day, I find a very strong prejudice existing against the endeavors to introduce the Northern Spy apple;—not that it is not a superior fruit, but that the tree is not a fruitful bearer. Now in a country where fruit is so abundant of other kinds, suppose our Spy trees are not as prolific, does that militate against them entirely ? Surely not; and, as I have interested myself much in favor of the fruit, and not so much in the tree, I think it my duty to give you the particulars. You will find them in the copy of a letter which has been furnished me, and which I transcribe for your use :
“Mr. Oliver C. Chapin, of East Bloomfield, N. Y., says, under date of the 20th January, 1847,—that the first Northern Spy apple trees were raised from seeds brought from the Northwest part of Connecticut, about the year 1800, by Elijah Taylor. The original tree was set in an orchard by Heman Chapin, and some sprouts from it were taken up by Roswell Humphrey, and by him the fruit was first raised(an honor, by the way, equal and more so than that he had commanded-large armies)—as the original tree died before bearing.” “I believe there are nine of the trees first set out by Humphrey now living, and they are rather larger than the other trees in the orchard will average, of the same age, and treated in all respects the same.” “The trees have a handsome, upright top, are tolerably thrifty, and no indications of
being short-lived." They bear well every year, and a portion of the apples are as good as any that we have, and, under favorable circumstances, will keep till June." "I have no means of ascertaining the quantities raised, but should guess that four or five hundred bushels were raised annually in the north part of this town, and a few in other places."
“ The only objection that I know of to them is, that a large proportion of the fruit is small and scrubby, and of little valne, being more unequal, in size and flavor, than most others."
Mr. Chapin does not say that the apple was called the Northern Spy, in Connecticut. As you have correspondence, no doubt, with growers of fruit in that region, you will do well to learn more about it there, if you can.
You will see that the culture of the fruit has been mostly confined to the region it was first produced in, although it is fast wending its way west, and, generally, more or less all over the United States, as scions have been sent in every direction. Those I have had were raised fourteen miles east of Rochester, and, the season past, a gentleman within two miles of Rochester has raised some ten bushels, said to be very fine. As I am not a grower of fruit to sell, nor of trees, I cannot be said to be prejudiced for that purpose, but I agree with almost every one, that it is the best fruit of the apple kind I have ever seen, and hope to live to see it as plenty as other fruits which are now grown here in such abundance. I trust your patience will not be exhausted. The facts about the Northern Spy are what I have been seeking to find, and they are at your service.
I may have some other suggestions to make to you hereafter. Rochester, N. Y., January 22, 1847.
Art. IV. Some Account of the Cooper Apple and its History.
By T. S. HUMRICKHOUSE.
You request me, Mr. Editor, to send you a drawing, together with the history, &c., of the “Cooper apple." I can furnish you with the history but not the drawing. When I had the opportunity, last fall, from a specimen sent me by Rev. C. Springer, to have made a drawing, I neglected to do