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Fruits and Fruit-Trees, Home and Foreign ; by Leo Hartley Grindon (1885)


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Fruits and Fruit-Trees, Home and Foreign ; by Leo Hartley Grindon (1885) >>>>An index to the kinds valued in Britain, with descriptions, histories, and other particulars …

Fruits and Fruit-Trees, Home and Foreign ; by Leo Hartley Grindon (1885) >>>>An index to the kinds valued in Britain, with descriptions, histories, and other particulars

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  • 6. FRUITS ^ FRUIT-TREES, HOME AND FOREIGN. ta tlj liin&s Hahwib in Urttain, WITH DESCRIPTIONS, HISTORIES, AND OTHER PARTICULARS. BY LEO. H. GRINDON, " Aiithor of Country Rambles," "Manchester Banks and Bankers" " The " The Little Shakspere Flora," Things of Nature," and other works. " To know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom." Paradise Lost. MANCHESTER :PALMER & HOWE, 73, 75, AND 77, PRINCESS-ST. LONDON : SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & CO. 1885.
  • 8. PREFACE. volume claims to be no more than anTHIS amateurs contribution to the literature ofthe very large and varied subject of Fruits andFruiting-plants. To exhaust the subject wouldrequire folios : the difficulty in dealing with evena portion of it is not to find material, but to selectsuch as may be likely to prove most generallyuseful and interesting. In the following chaptersthose fruits only have been dealt with which areeither produced in Great Britain, or which are
  • 9. vi. Preface.imported from foreign countries as establishedarticles of commerce. So many novelties fromabroad now make their appearance in the shops,that it is hoped that a book giving exact informa-tion, at all events respecting these last, may meeta want without question often felt. No attempt has been made to deal with the artsof Culture. They require special treatises, andhappily such works have already been publishedby experienced practical gardeners. Neither hasendeavour been made, except briefly, to describe " "the very numerous varieties of the garden fruitscommonly cultivated. Particulars respecting theseare given at length in the Catalogues issued everyyear by the leading fruit-growers. Three of thelatter the author here begs to thank very sincerelyfor supplying him with the names of the sorts theyconsider supreme : Messrs. Thos. Rivers & Sons,Sawbridgeworth ; Messrs. R. Smith & Sons, Wor-cester ; and Messrs. R. P. Ker & Sons, Liverpool.
  • 10. Preface. vii. The information brought together in these pageshas been gathered from very various sources, allesteemed authentic. Everything that has neededonly a carefully observant life passed in the BritishIslands is, so far as regards the authors ownresponsibility, purely and wholly original. LEO. H. GRINDON.Manchester, October, 1885.
  • 15. fiJW Chapter INTRODUCTORY. " much My fruit is better than gold ; yea, than fine gold." Prov. viii. 19. HERE are words which touch the imagination with peculiar force, the very sound of which is agreeable, and which in their compass and immortal charm remind us of the "infinite variety" of Cleopatra. Such are Home, Spring, Truth, Friendship, Sunshine. Tothis excellent list belongs simple but very that othermeaningful one, FRUIT. The mention of fruit never failsto inspire thoughts of classic form, artistic hue, fragrance,delight of palate, healthful service to the body. It invitesalso, in the pleasantest manner, to contemplation of the
  • 16. Fruits and Fruit- Trees.delightfulness of a well-kept promise, since fruit of everykind begins with Flowers : not such as lilies, which comeand go, casting their brightness on the world for only anhour; but flowers that are prophets as well, sending themind forward into generous autumn. No one ever refuses fruit. Every man who has theopportunity of eating fruit, makes the best use of hischance. We are invited to fruit by the pleasantconsciousness that here is something upon which Nature,in providing for our sustenance, has concentrated herrichest and most useful powers. Fruits give us all theirvirtue at the first solicitation. We may bake if we please,or boil, or stew, but very few indeed are the fruits whichare not eatable just as they come from the tree or theplant, charged with wooing nectar, and that dissolvealmost upon the instant ; or if not juicy, then of thecapital substance of the filbert and the chestnut. Theircharm does not wait, like that of dinner-vegetables, forbringing forth under the influence of fire. A little sugarnow and then, or a touch of salt, adds a certain chastefelicity to the flavour. In the aggregate they are stillindependent of any artifices we may call to our aid.Matured in the sunshine, they are themselves like thesunbeams of heaven, which ask nothing from mankindbut grateful reception and perennial enjoyment. Becauseso useful to us and this not simply as aliment, butvery generally as sustainers and restorers of health,"good physicians" really and truly Nature has endowedfruits with all sorts of pretty wiles and persuasions to
  • 17. The Fruit-Shop.approach "Come and eat." The things that are lessgood for us, though still salutary, have to make theirclaims heard in some indirect and merely suggestiveway. Fruit speaks a language that needs no teaching,and no effort to learn and understand. The eye and theheart interpret simultaneously, and every portion of ourfabric reaps the benefit. "What beauty," says Leigh Hunt, "as well as otheragreeablenesses, in a well-disposed fruiterers window !Here are the round, piled-up oranges, deepening almostinto red,and heavy with juice the apple, with its brown ;red cheek, as if it had slept in the sun the pear, swelling ;downwards, and provocative of a huge bite in the side ;thronging grapes, like so many tight little bags of wine ;the peach, whose handsome leathern coat strips off sofinely ; the pearly or ruby-like currants, heaped in light,long baskets; the red little mouthfuls of strawberries,ditto ; the larger purple ones of plums ; cherries, whoseold comparison with lips is better than anything new;mulberries, dark and rich with juice, fit to grow overwhat Homer calls the deep black-watered fountains ; theswelling pomp of melons ; the rough, inexorable-lookingcoco-nut, milky at heart; the elaborate elegance ofwalnuts ; the quaint cashew-nut ; almonds, figs, raisinsin short, Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields, " Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell.How much more refined a service, he might have con-tinued, the waiting upon a lady in a fruit-shop than in a
  • 18. Fruits and Fruit- Trees.pastry-cooks ! A white hand looks better on a basketof strawberries than on any sophisticated preparationfrom the oven. Man woman, whoever it may be, orthat renders the comely meed of ripe fruit, takes us,in that pleasant action, so much the nearer to nature,thus to the pure, upon which we can always rest infaith. Surely, too, it is because so good for us that Natureyields her fruits in abundance so vast. No niggard handis that which converts the orange-tree into an eldorado,and hangs the crimson clusters upon the currant-bushes.Happy the day when the munificent design of all thisshall be recognized by statesmen and every one inpower, and simple alimentary fruit, that costs little to "produce, be reckoned as one of the genuine rights ofthe people." Happy again when it is remembered thatGod sends fruit, as He sends flowers, not for personalpleasure only, but for employment in kindly charities,very specially in the hospital. A sound and large-hearted Christianity is better declared by the gift to apoor creature who has lain for weeks, perhaps months,on the couch of sickness, of a bunch of grapes, or a "basket of strawberries, the fruit of refreshing," than byany amount of aeriform benedictions. Here, indeed, itis "blessed to give." For the same reasons, how vastbecomes the practical importance of seeing that ourgardens and orchards contain the best varieties, thesweetest and the most prolific. Fruit-culture, fortunately,is no longer hap-hazard, but now conducted upon scien-
  • 19. Structure of Fruits.tific principles. The best kinds of fruit can be got quiteas easily as the inferior. No man is constrained nowa-days to put up with anything third or fourth rate. Notthat the procuring of good sorts from the nurseryman isthe all in all. Fruiting-plants require care, attention, andwatchfulness every bit as much as orchids. It is thesuccessful treatment of these which proves the gardenersability. That beautiful and far-reaching phrase, " Bytheir fruits ye shall know them," is not more true inmorals as a metaphor than in the literal sense when weare looking to those who dig and prune. The garden and market-place signification of the wordFruit is, after all, only a part of that in which it isemployed by the botanist, and this it becomes importantto consider, so that we may perceive how very limited isthe ordinary sense. The fruit of a plant is the seed-casewhen ripe the portion of the flower which in its earlieststatewas the " ovary," with anything, in special instances,that may have become adjoined to it. Many actual"fruits" are regarded as only "seeds," as corn of allkinds, and the fruits of such plants as sage, parsley, andthe sunflower. But every one of these consists of a seedwithin and a " pericarp," or enclosing case, though thismay be a simple shell or integument. Of this seed-likeclass of fruits there are probably, taking the wholeworld, quite twenty-five thousand. The beauty of verymany of them is happens with the embossed delectable, ascypseles of the hawkweeds, and the polished grains ofthe forget-me-not. Another twenty-five thousand of the
  • 20. Fruits and Fruit- Trees.botanical "fruits" come to the front as finished examplesof the capsule, the cone, the legume, and of the naturalurns, vases, cups, and goblets which Art has in all agesdelighted to imitate in gold and silver, marble and glass.A collection of the principal types of these compareswell with a cabinet of sea-shells. How beautiful thesculptured produce of the pine-tree; the round headof the poppy, with its ring of little apertures under theeaves for escape of the seeds ; the acorn in its tesselatedcup ; the three-fold pod of the moringa ; the ribbedhemisphere of the sand-box tree ! Another set, smallerin measurement, includes those charmingly pretty play-things of nature, the fruits of the common pimpernel,the rose lychnis, the wood-sorrel, the birdsfoot, thewillow-herb. They are little, it is true. Are they,then, insignificant? Little things belong to much moreelevated reaches of eyesight than big ones. Any onecan see big things. The perceiving of little onesdemands fine and assiduous culture of the best of thehuman faculties, the inner eyes as well as the outer.The minims of nature declare far more powerfully thanthe immense things that nature is "a lute that lieth still,"waiting only the skilful musician. " " Yet another great company of the botanical fruitspresents itself in the form of Berries. The scope forvariation is here much more restricted, seeing that a berrymust needs be more or less oval or spherical, and totallydevoid of carving or filagree. Never mind. There isalways a resource. Here the lack of diversity in figure is
  • 21. Poisonous Fruits.compensated by inexhaustible variety of bright coloursand endless fashion of cluster. Recall the spectacle pre-sented at Michaelmas by the opulus and the mountain-ash, the innumerable shining scarlet of the hedgerowbrier, the crimson of the dulcamara, the festoons of thecurling bryony, the deep-toned purple of the elder, theraven-wing thyrsi of the privet, and at Christmas thebracelets of Old Englands incomparable holly. As inthe field so in the garden, where the impearled snow-berry is challenged by the scarlet aucuba, the berbery,the Mahonia, the cotoneasters in their many kinds, thethorns, no fewer, the arbutus, the pyracantha, and thepassion-flower, with golden pendants as large as plums.Every good conservatory makes equal show in its plentyof scarlet Rivina, ardisias, and cherry-solanums, in itswhite leucobotrys, and azure-berried Billardiera andelaeocarpus. Berried plants, in the hands of the skilfuldecorator, stand abreast of the best examples of tintedfoliage, and often prove more valuable for enduring orna-ment than even the longest-blooming flowers. Before parting with them it is unwillingly that we areconstrained to remember that among fruits there aremany that are deleterious, malevolent, and even poisonous.That a should at any time prove false to its exalted fruitideal a disheartening discovery, and one rendered ismore lamentable by the traitors being detected amongthe Berries, since it is these which are most likely toseduce the unwary. Happily, the number of reallypoisonous berries is very small in comparison with the
  • 22. 8 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.harmless ones, and it is seldom that the flavour of theseis sufficiently inviting for much danger to accrue. InEngland we have the scarlet berries of the common "arum, or lords-and-ladies," and the shining black ones,not unlike cherries, of the belladonna, or "deadly-nightshade." There is again a very capital set-off. Theinfinite benevolence of nature has attached to everypoisonous plant some special mark or feature by whichit may be learned off-hand. It will be a good sign thattruly useful Botany is being taught in schools when thepupils are less heavily charged with abstractions regard-ing protoplasm and cell-formation, and are shown how todistinguish noxious plants from the innocent. No exact line can be drawn between fruits popularlyso called and those which are "fruits" only with thebotanist. The margins overlap, and not infrequentlythe idea of a changes with the latitude and the fruitpeople. Berries disdained in a wealthy country areprized where there is nothing better to be got, as whenthe Indians of North America resort to the Gaultheria.In warm countries, again, many become palatable whichin cold ones are harsh and insipid, as cornels in the southof Europe, the gay fruit of which Horace boasts when hesends to his dear friend Quintius that beautiful little "sketch of his Sabine country-seat : And did you but "see my hedges, rich with sloes and ruddy cornels ! So, " Ofagain, as myrtle-berries in the Levantine countries.the perfumed berries of the myrtle," says Miss Beaufort(now Lady Strangford) in one of the most lively and
  • 23. Tropical Fruits. 9 "picturesque books of Eastern travel ever printed, whilestaying at Damascus, I made my luncheon."* Thebotanical fruits also include various esculents commonly "counted with the vegetables," as kidney-beans, marrows,cucumbers, tomatoes, aubergines; with certain spices andcondiments, as capsicums, pepper-corns, pimento, andvanilla-pods. Confining the term to fruits commonly so understood,the total number in the whole world is small in propor-tion to the entire number of different flowering-plants.Probably the total is about five hundred. Many arepeculiar to tropical countries, as the mango, the mango-steen, the durion, the papaw, the sour-sop, the sweet-sop,the mammee, the anchovy-pear, the alligator-pear, thecherimoyer, the rose-apple, the bread-fruit, the guava,the carambola. Of these we never see examples inEngland (though a few may now and then be ripenedin some choice hothouse), because too perishable to beconveyed across the water. Others belonging to sub-tropical and the warmer temperate countries, thoughstaples or favourites at home, are equally unknown inEngland, for various reasons easily conjectured, such asthe water-chestnut of the south of Europe, the famousnelumbo-seeds of Asia, the Moreton Bay chestnut, theMay-apple of North America, and the kei-apple of Natal.In England, of indigenous fruits, growing wild and col-lected for market, we have six or seven the blackberry,the cranberry, the whortle-berry, the elder-berry, the * "Egyptian Sepulchres and Syrian Shrines," 1861, p. 318. C
  • 24. i o Fruits and Fruit-, and the hazel-nut. Of kinds more or lessprobably indigenous, plus many introduced from foreigncountries in bygone ages, and assiduously cultivated, wehave over twenty the apple, the pear, the quince, themedlar, the peach, the nectarine, the apricot, the plum,the cherry, the grape, the gooseberry, the currant, theraspberry, the strawberry, the walnut, the melon, the pine-apple, the fig, the mulberry, and others of less import-ance. Some of these present themselves under forms sodifferent the plum, for instance, when fashioned into agreengage that practically the number is perhaps nearerthirty. Of imported fruits few of them ever cultivated,and then chiefly as curiosities or for ornament the listruns again to about a score, including the orange, thelemon, the citron, the lime, the shaddock, almonds, chest-nuts, coco-nuts, juvias, sapucajas, opuntias, bananas,pomegranates, hickory-nuts, pecuan-nuts, souari-nuts,etc., all in the fresh condition, or just as they come fromthe tree, with various dried ones besides, as dates and " Frenchlitchis. Figs in the dried state, plums," prunes,raisins, and the currants of the grocers shops may bementioned for completeness sake, though belongingbotanically to the previous lists. Occasionally we maysee loquats, the custard-apple, granadillas, and a fewothers, the aggregate of all sorts thus amounting toabout sixty. The number of the strangers will probablyincrease year by year, owing to the more rapid oceancommunication now practicable, and to that laudable,not to say noble, interest in the productions of foreign
  • 25. History of Fruits. 1 1countries which always marks a highly civilized com-munity, and which has already filled our gardens andconservatories with the loveliest flowers and the greenestleaves played forth by nature. Two very interesting questions here present them-selves. Whence did England derive, in the first instance,the fruits not indigenous we now cultivate? and fromwhat countries do we receive the imported ones ? Thehistory of all the very ancient fruits, such as the fig, thegrape, the walnut, and the citron, and of some even ofthe comparatively modern ones, such as the orange,presents in many of the particulars the complexion of aromance, so curious is the blending of truth and fable.Dating, like the history of the cereals, and of language,from the earliest ages of which we have knowledge, oversome of the most interesting portions there hangs a veilthat will be lifted only when men behold the face of Isis.It is practicable, nevertheless, to trace what may betermed the middle history, or that which runs abreast ofthe diffusion of Christianity. As regards our own island,fruit-culture may be referred, for its beginning, to theRomans, that wonderful people to whom primitive Britainwas indebted for its first lessons in the useful arts, asroad-making and architecture. The Roman governorsand other magnates, of whose handsome and well-appointed villas vestiges still exist, brought into thiscountry the earliest practice of horticulture. It was the introduced " greens "Romans who and the onion, andamong fruit-trees, the chestnut and the vine, probably
  • 26. 1 2 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.also the apple and pear, the plum, the cherry, the fig,and the walnut. That some of these in their crude formare natives of Britain is quite true. But the harsh craband austere wild cherry are not to be confounded withimproved descendants fit for the orchard. Introducingthe eatable kinds, the Romans have as clear a title to beconsidered the founders of British apple and cherryculture as of the cultivation in our island of the vine.The six or seven indigenous British fruits, eatable just asthey occur in the wilderness, and never cultivated formarket, have been mentioned above. Two others onlyare palatable without cultivation, the wood strawberryand the raspberry, and these would be all the Romansfound on their arrival. Let us not forget, however, thatpleasant little fruit-substitute which Caractacus himselfmay not have disdained to eat, and which in anotherimmortal island was for certain not unknown to darlingMiranda "And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts."Though introduced by the Romans, the culture of severalof the fruits named above, after their departure, in alllikelihood, declined rapidly, and some of them may havebeen lost. With the Normans, that other great peopleto whom Britainowes so much, horticulture flourishedanew. In the gardens of the monasteries those grandold asylums of literature and religion when everythingaround was dark and rude along with medicinal plantswould certainly be cherished whatever good fruits were
  • 27. Fruit-Culture in England. 13procurable. The monks always sought to establish them-selves in situations favourable to the cultivation of goodfruit, just as they always had an eye to good fishing.Under ecclesiastical influence, during the old days ofmonastic splendour, when Tintern, and Fountains, andRievaulx, and Furness, were the centres of the localcivilization, therecan be no doubt that many excellentintroductions from the Continent took place. The periodof the revival of learning was also eminently favourableto fruit-culture. With the period of the Reformationmay be associated, very definitely, the original culture ofthe gooseberry and the currant; probably, also, of thestrawberry and the raspberry. Henry VIII., whateverhis short-comings in other respects, was a great patron offruit-growing. The troubles upon the Continent whichdrove the Flemings, with their auriculas, into oldEngland, refuge always of the destitute and forlorn,again proved serviceable to our gardens. Of substantialimportance even greater was the assiduity, with a view toimprovement of quality, which marked the seventeenthand eighteenth centuries. Fruit-culture at length becameone of the fine arts, and to-day there is no country in theworld in which the value of science, in many of itsdepartments, is so well demonstrated as by the Britishfruit-grower. The precise date of the introduction of anyparticular kind of fruit is thus in most cases indeter-minable. It can be conjectured, but no more. The history of the importation of gathered fruit fromforeign countries forms quite as interesting a chapter in
  • 28. 1 4 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.the annals of British commerce. Cherries and pearswere supplied from the Netherlands at a very earlyperiod. When the cathedrals were building, whenVenice was in its glory, there came from the ports in theMediterranean dates, oranges, lemons, almonds, chest-nuts, pomegranates. In the Elizabethan age, the bananaand the coco-nut made their appearance, only as curiosi-ties an item, nevertheless, of no little significance in therecord. The pine-apple was first seen in the reign ofCharles II. Which shall we put down as the latest intro-duction ? The fruit, it would seem, of the " tree-tomato,"Cyphomandra betacea, to be spoken of by-and-by. The aggregate of the present imports, until the actualfigures are seen, is almost inconceivable. According tothe Government Blue-book "Annual Statement of theTrade of the United Kingdom with Foreign Countriesand British Possessions," the quantities of the differentkinds of landed upon the shores of England, and fruitthe declared values, were in 1883 as follow : Value. Almonds ........................ 61,654 cwts. ... ^232,260 Apples (raw) ..................... 2,251,925 bushels... 553,488 Nuts .............................. ... 455.124 Oranges and lemons ............ 4,477,043 ,, ... 1,704,826 Various fruits, not specified ..................... J 2j66o>475 . 1,380,952 (raw; ) Do. do. (dried) ... 299,866 cwts. ... 303,337 , ... ,47,6,3 37, 168 cwts. ... .,4,088 Currants ........................... 1,026,584 ,, ... 1,423,062
  • 29. Import of Fruits. 1 5 Value. Figs and fig-cakes 128,434 cwts. ; 262 6 7 I > French plums and prunelloes 13,937 54>43 Plums (dried or preserved) ... 1,841 ,, ... 6,651 Prunes 25,343 ... 35 226 Raisins 588,309 ,, ... 1,057,934 7,741,672In addition to this enormous quantity, all destined forthe British mouth, there was an import of 61,262 tons ofvarious "nuts and kernels used for expressing oil," value^872,179. Apart from contemplation of the magnitude,how vast the amount of diverse industry implied ! Whatbreadths of land to supply it all ! What diligence in thegathering ! How many good ships to be freighted !How much enterprise and activity in the buying andselling ! No mean position in the worlds economyassuredly is held by flowers, since in flowers all fruitbegins. Who shall measure the annual fruit-commerceof the world ? Jamaica alone sent to the United States,in 1884, more than five millions of coco-nuts, and nearlyforty-two millions of oranges ! Now arises a third question. In what parts of theworld did our cultivated fruits originally grow? Whatcountries were their birthplaces? When and how forthat some have travelled far is very plain did they getdiffused In the beginning, the seeds of different sorts ?would be carried, as at the present day, by birds. In allages, streams of water and the waves of the sea have lenttheir aid in promoting dispersion, the sea very conspicu-
  • 30. i6 Friiits and Fruit- Trees.ously in the conveyance of the coco-nut to the islands ofthe South Pacific. Others would be carried by man, inthe course of his wanderings and migrations. But whoshall write the minute history ? No problems are moredifficult ; few are more fascinating than are wrapped upin the archaeology of the fruit-bearing plants. It is wellthat we are thus beset, since half the enjoyment of lifeconsists in the sense of being embosomed in enigmas.
  • 31. Chapter Second THE APPLE (Pyrus Malus). "For things we make no compt of, have in them The seeds of life, use, beauty, like the cores Of apples, that we fling away." Festus. OREMOST always among fruits interesting to an Englishman is the Apple. The apple is of more use and benefit to the people of England in general than all the other fruits put together. It remains longest in season, and can be used in the greatest variety ofways. No one ever objects to apples. Newly gatheredfrom the tree they are the most brisk and refreshingof all the common fruits of temperate climates. Forculinary purposes they are unexcelled ; even when dried, "as in Normandy pippins," their merit remains ; and wemust not forget that the most genuinely English beverage
  • 32. 1 8 Fruits and Fruit- cider. No one ever tires of the apple. It is to fruitsin generalwhat good wheaten bread is to other accus-tomed food. While it satisfies it never cloys. There isno time of life, either, when the apple becomes a super-fluity, or is no longer suitable as aliment. As for boysand girls in fair health, for them the apple would almostseem to have been primarily created. There is a periodin the life of children when they are hungry all over,voracious at every pore.Eat they must and will, flyingto cakes and mischievous sweets, candies, and confec-tions, unless judiciously supplied with what is reallywholesome. Bread is deficient in savour. Fruit, fullyripened and of simple kinds, is the happy medium, andin no shape is it better for them than that of the apple.The tree itself is recommended by its hardiness itthrives wherever the oak will flourish ; by the ease withwhich it accommodates itself to every diversity of soiland situation our island affords very good apples areripened in the Orkneys, and even in Shetland and bythe comparatively late season of the bloom, so that a faircrop can always be calculated upon. In Britain no fruitcan be brought to so high a degree of excellence with solittle trouble, though pains taken in apple-culture nevergo without plentiful reward the fruit is infinitely varied :in flavour, and in the comeliness that ensues upon changeof form and colour ; and to complete the pleasant list ofvirtues and good qualities, there is the longevity, and,increasing with age, the gracious fertility. The potentiallife of an apple-tree is quite a hundred and fifty years.
  • 33. The Apple of Mythology. 19Many shown at the great Congress of the best applesof 1883 came from trees a full century old, and com-paratively few were from trees less than fifty years ofage. No wonder that the apple appears so often in mythand fable ; that it serves the poet so well as a symbol atonce intelligible and picturesque; and that if in past "times there were apples of discord," to-day we have our" In love-apples." literature, as these phrases show, theword is not to be always taken in the strictly literal sense.In fiction it is apt to appear after the same manner as"rose" and "lily," the figurative image of somethingdelectable, even supreme, not a reality, but abundantlysignificant to the imagination. Not apples to be eatenwere those in the mind of the donor of the famous fableof Hippomenes and Atalanta, where the maiden losesthe race through stopping to gather up the too seductive"poma nor were they veritable apples in the aurea;"picture of the golden fruit of the Hesperides, in thatbeautiful story of the three chaste young ladies, far awayin the West, who kept them safe from intrusion andcuriosity. The meaning of the fable is easy to discern.Every particular has purpose ; it would be difficult to itsfind anything in the whole range of story and myth moredelicately expressed, or more in harmony with the bestprinciples of nature and virtue. No wonder, again, thatpainters of the Temptation of Eve, sustained by ParadiseLost, should employ the apple to represent the fruit ofthe Tree of Knowledge; and that in the A.V. of the
  • 34. 2O Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Old Testament, whatever the Hebrews understood by " "tappuach, we read upon six occasions of apples andthe "apple-tree." "Apples of gold in pictures of silver;""Stay ye me with raisins, comfort me with apples;" "Asthe apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is mybeloved among the sons : I sat down under his shadowwith great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."Not one of the Scripture references carries allusion to theapple of the English orchard. That the ancient Hebrewsever saw or knew anything of apples of any kind is in thehighest degree improbable. The Hebrew word simplydenotes something fragrant. The quince, the citron, theapricot, have all been suggested as the fruit in turnmeant. Conjectural the proper rendering must remain,and seemingly for ever, since the " Revised has allowed ""apple" and "apple-tree" to stand untouched. Theiridea of the words (apple and apple-tree) is very plainlythat they are to be understood as very elegant and intelli-gible figures of speech. The tree, as well known, is one of medium dimensions,disposed to be round-headed, but never lofty. The leavesare ovate, and fall in autumn. The flowers come at thesame time as the cowslips and the poets narcissus, inlittle umbels of three to six ; in figure, as in all the rest oftheir family, they are rosaceous, the five petals quite free,white, and delicately shaded outside with pale carmine.Hence the enchanting spectacle of an apple-tree in fullbloom a sight as lovely as the scarf of Iris* not simple * "Rich scarf to my proud earth." Tempest, iv. I.
  • 35. Structure of the Apple. 21snow, like a cherry or a pear, but roseate. The upper-most portion of the flower-stalk is deeply concave, thesepals of the calyx springing from the margin, as do thepetals and the numerous stamens, while in the centre arefive slender pistils. The curious should note this care-fully, since the apple, as regards structure, is one of themost remarkable productions of nature. The rule inplants is for the ripe fruit to consist only of the maturedovary. In the apple the matured ovary is the smallestportion of the fruit Soon after the petals drop, the !vase-like top of the peduncle becomes gradually dis-tended with juicy tissue. By degrees it adjoins itself tothe pistils within. These at last become completely " "embedded, and constitute the core French c<xur> theheart. A horizontal section of a ripe apple shows plainlywhere the adhesion took place, this being indicated bygreen fibres. A ripe apple is thus, in truth, imperium inimperio, a fruit within a Contemplated only in fruit.maturity, it would seem to be one of the class technically " and explained perhapscalled inferior," very numerous,on the same general principle that of the adhesion ofoutward parts to inner ones. The charm about the appleis that we can watch day by day how all progresses. Thelesson it gives is quite as salutary as pretty, since it isonly by studying and watching development, beginningwith infancy and youth, that we can ever properly com-prehend conclusions and the perfect. The five cells ofthe core contain (unless some of them fail) two brown " "seeds or pips apiece, so that every apple is designed
  • 36. 22 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.originally by nature to be the parent of ten moreapple-trees. This astounding fecundity in regard topossible offspring, shown also in most other plants,seems beyond the power of man to understand. Whenseed is distinctly the food of any of the lower classesof animal life, it speaks for itself as another disclosureof the divine munificence. By-and-by perhaps we mayknow: for the present the question goes with theenigmas. "Pippins" are properly apples that havebeen raised from these "pips" as distinguished fromgrafts, though the name is now restricted to particular " " are simply multiplications of an alreadysorts. Graftsexisting kind. The elder horticulturists thought thata tree was improved by re-grafting, Le. grafting uponitself. Hence the term rennet or reinette a corruptionof re-natus* The native countries of the apple cannot be said to becertainly known. According to Decandolle it appears tobe most truly indigenous in the district lying betweenTrebizond and Ghilan (North Persia). it to He believesbe a native also of the mountains of north-west India,and of Europe in general, excepting the extreme north,Britain included. Karl Koch, on the other hand, whoseviews and opinions are never to be treated lightly, whilehe allows the Asiatic claim, considers that the apple isonly naturalized in Europe, though the introduction mayhave taken place in pre-historic times. That it existed *" Grafted," the accustomed word, is a vulgarism, as bad as"drownded." See the A.V. of Romans xi. 17, 19, 23.
  • 37. Parentage of the Apple. 23in Europe at that remote period is proved by the remainsof apples found in the Swiss Lake-dwellings. When wetalk of the native country of a cultivated plant or tree,of course it means of the plant in its crude, original,rudimentary condition. Garden apples are not spon-taneous anywhere. All have come, in course of time,from simple and primitive forms represented in ourEnglish hedgerows by the Crab for this seems ; after allto be only one of three or four different species of Pyrus,each of which has played its own part in the origination.It is convenient to call the English Crab and all ourcultivated apples by the collective Linnaean name ofPyrus Mains. Still, however, we have to ask how much and character they may have inherited fromof their naturethe Pyrus pumila (or prcecox), the P. dasyphylla, and theP. prunifolia; the " crab" of England, a tree found all overEurope, receiving their various influence, just as ancientfamilies, though preserving their integrity, have been tinc-tured by their marriages right and left. At what periodand in what country the austere crab began to discloseits wonderful capacity for change to a better condition,and by what circumstances the tendency to improvewas first aroused, there is no possibility of finding out.Probably the change was contemporaneous with thedevelopment of the social and constructive instincts of to no particular spot and to no particularman, pertainingperiod. Good apples no doubt arose in the earliesttimes, as they constantly do at the present day, "byaccident." Nature has not two ways of working, nor did
  • 38. 24 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.the bees only begin to carry pollen from one flower toanother when men first observed them engaged uponwhat Virgil so " felicitously calls their studies." That thecrab grew into a sweet and pleasant thing at a very earlyperiod is shown by the ramification of the name, plainlyAryan (making allowance for dialectic changes), through-out the languages of the old Celtic and Northern nations,in whose legends and mythology the fruit also appearsvery generally. With our Saxon ancestors it was " aepl "or "seppel." That the ancient Greeks possessed it isshown by that charming picture in the Odyssey, so simpleand natural, where Ulysses reminds his aged father thatwhen a little boy he had given him, for his own garden,"thirteen pear-trees, and ten apple-trees, and forty fig-trees:" "I asked each of thee, being a child, followingthee through the garden, and thou didst name and tellme each."* How tenderly the words recall to mind thatfragment of early paradise our own first little plot, where, "in the golden days of lang syne," we first learned howto feel and see. Truly the great poets are for all the " the sun of Homer " Inages : shines upon us still !Roman literature references to apples are frequent. Yeteven in Plinys time good ones would seem to have been knew of apple-trees in villages nearscarce in Italy, for hethe imperial city which were more profitable to theirowners than small farms. The good wrought in Englandby the Normans has already been mentioned. It wasduring their time that apple-culture commenced in our * xxiv. 336-344.
  • 39. The Cider-Counties. . 25island the noble course which has never slackened. Cider-apples were introduced by the Normans, and though Kentled the way, it was while the earliest cathedrals were risingfrom the ground that the foundations were laid for thefuture fame of the "cider-counties,"* those beautifullands, beginning with Devon upon the south, and endingwith Hereford in the north, which form a semi-circleround the upper portion of the Bristol Channel, andwhich, when the orchards are in bloom often coveringmany acres are the loveliest in our country j becomingso again when the fruit is ripe, excelling even the corn-fields. For a short period in late autumn, the spectacle,in some parts at all events, is unique, one that in Englandonly apple-trees can supply. This is when the leaveshave mostly dropped, but the fruit still clings to theboughs, and, the sun shining on its loveliness, we arereminded of Paris on the top of Ida, and the rival god-desses who for a moment "The veil divine Cast unconfined, and gave him all their charms."The names of various old towns and villages in Englandwhich commemorate early apple-culture, as Applethwaite,Applegarth, Appleby, Appledurcombe, date, accordingto Isaac Taylor, from times anterior to the Conquest. * is said to have been first made in Cider England about the year1284. Coincidences are always curious the preparations were :just then in hand for the building of the nave of York Minster ;Caernarvon Castle, quite recently completed, was the scene, in thisidentical year, of the birth of Edward II. E
  • 40. 26 Fruits and Fruit- Trees."Appleton," the family surname, began just after it.In 1066, among the followers of William there was alady of the name of Mabilia. She fixed her residencein Kent, at one of the many places where apples, itwould seem, were already plentiful, and, commendingherself to the people by her virtues, became known asMabilia dAppletone, or Mabilia of the apple-orchards.Her descendants, the Appletons of Kent and theadjoining counties, like the Traffords of Lancashire,still, after eight hundred years, cling faithfully to theancestral soil. The heraldic crest became an apple-bough, with leaves and fruit, and continues such to thepresent day. This inestimable fruit-treehas been carried, during thelast three centuries, to every part of the world where it canthrive. Hot countries are unfavourable to it : the fruitis appreciated nevertheless, as in Alexandria, and evenCairo, where imported European apples never wait longfor a purchaser. It does admirably well in New Zealand,and in Australia, whence apples are now finding theirway to the English market, arriving, very opportunely,in the spring. In the park -like prairies of Chili it hasbecome quite plentiful;* it has reached even to Patagonia;and how grand has been its success in North Americaneeds no telling. What may be the dimensions of thelargest apple-tree in the Old World we do not know, but * In Chili there is made a good deal of cider, in Spanish calledchicha, and corresponding, and measure of popularity, to in its usethe vin ordinaire of the French.
  • 41. American Apples. 27in Cheshire county, Connecticut, U.S., there is one certi-fied by family tradition to be quite a hundred and fortyyears old, the trunk of which at a foot from the ground,above all the enlargements common to the base of trees,has a girth of over thirteen feet. The uppermost limbsof this wonderful tree reach to the height of sixty feet,and the lateral spread of the whole is a hundred feet.From five out of the eight branches there have beengathered crops varying from eighty-five to one hundredand ten bushels of perfectly good ripe fruit. The best ofthe New World apples now come from Nova Scotia,immensely to the credit of that little colony ; the nextbest from Canada. This helps to prove that it is notcold winters which are obnoxious to apple-trees. Theyare content to endure frost if it be balanced by hot sum-mers. American apples are now brought to England inprodigious quantity. In 1881 the import amounted to1,250,000 barrels. We receive plenty, also, from conti-nental Europe, the total from all parts amounting in 1882to 2,386,805 bushels. In our own island, according tothe Agricultural Returns for 1883, the number of acresplanted with fruit-trees is about 185,800. About 150,000are devoted, probably, to the culture of the apple, and asan acre will hold, on the average, about seventy, the totalnumber of orchard trees owned by old England willexceed ten millions. How many more exist in privategardens it is impossible to estimate. What comes of thiswonderful amount of apple-culture was illustrated at thegreat Apple Congress mentioned above (p. 19), Chiswick,
  • 42. 28 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.October, 1883, when two hundred and thirty-six exhibi-tors placed upon the tables no fewer than ten thousandone hundred and fifty dishes, illustrating two thousandand twenty different varieties, of which the judges allowedone thousand five hundred and forty-five to be truly dis-tinct. With a view to determining the best, a poll wastaken on the votes of a hundred and thirty of the exhibi-tors, the result being that among dessert apples " Kingof the Pippins" won the honours. "Coxs Orange" coming " Ribston "next, and the Pippin third. Of the culinaryapples in cultivation "Lord Suffield" was considered thebest; then "Dumelows Seedling;" and thirdly, "Keswick A "Codling." codling," it may be remarked, is any applethat requires cooking, as illustrated in Shakspere,* and inthe congenerate word "pease-cod," literally green orunripe pease. In reference to the judgments at theCongress, there was naturally considerable difference ofopinion, some apples being more popular simply becausebetter known in particular districts than others quiteequal in quality. Some kinds, moreover, excellent whenthe crop can be secured, are disappointing because aptto fall prematurely from the tree; or because, though " "they ripen well, they are of inferior keeping power.The apple perfect in all respects the best " all-round "sort has yet to be certified. The cultivator must besatisfied with a good percentage of merit, and any oneabout to plant a garden or orchard must consult growers * " Not a man, nor young enough for a boy, yet old enough foras a codling when tis almost an apple." Twelfth Night, i. 5.
  • 43. Best Varieties of Apples. 29of local experience, and consider what he himself particu-larly wishes to possess. By the kind permission of theeditor of the Gardeners Chronicle, we here reprint a listof the dozen varieties considered best in the six districtsof England marked out at the time of the Congress forthe sake of preliminary classification. The list was sup-plied by Mr. P. Grieve, of Bury St. Edmunds,* thenames following in the order of merit ascribed to thevarious kinds. Apple-names, like those of roses, do notpretend to be scientific. They are bestowed simply forconvenience of identification. GROUP I.
  • 44. Fruits and Fridt- Trees.GROUP IV.
  • 45. Culinary Apples. 31qualities are familiar, in truth, only to specialists andgreat cultivators ; and to the uninitiated, without actualsight of the fruit, words can seldom be much more thanwords. It may be useful, however, to mention a fewmore of the fifteen hundred sorts under cultivation asparticularly valuable, thus to be inquired for by theintending planter. For culinary use it is allowed thatthe old " Keswick Codling," though placed only third atthe time of the poll, still maintains an untouched repu-tation. "Lord Suffield," despite its blue ribbon, isacknowledged, per contra, to be one of the shortest-livedas to tree, and one of the worst keepers as regardsproduce. No such comment is made upon Grosvenor,Yorkshire Beauty, Echlinville Seedling, Peasgoods Non-such, all of them good early sorts. Capital kitchenapples, to succeed the above, are said to be Lord Derby,Mere de menage, Beauty of Kent, Warners King, NewHawthornden, Coxs Pomona, and Nelsons Glory.Excellent late varieties, also for the kitchen, are WinterGreening, Rosemary Russet, and Bringewood Pippin.Really it is upon these culinary or kitchen apples thatthe mind rests with the profoundest sense of thankfulnessand satisfaction. The germ of civilization is found inthe art and science of the kitchen. The apple, were itvalued and honoured as it deserves to be, would take itsplace upon the table as regularly as the potato. We donot use it half enough in our cooking. Happy the daywhen the illustrious old roasted apple not the unfortu-nate victim of the modern stove, simply softened, but the
  • 46. 32 Fruits and Fruit- and foamy, bubbling, fragrant one, full of comelinessand romance, fresh from the side or front of the fire,ipsissima and bond fide shall come back to the place italways ornamented and honoured, and the heart bemoved to ejaculate once again, " Blessed be the manwho invented roasted apples." Among dessert kinds of corresponding merit for generalpurposes may be specially recommended the ClaygatePearmain, Scarlet Pearmain, Worcester Pearmain, AdamsPearmain, Golden Reinette, Red Astrachan, Early Har-vest, Duchess of Oldenburgh, Devonshire Quarrenden,and Seek-no-further. Much depends, as regards success in apple-culture,upon the judicious care exercised in the original plantingof the trees ; remembering, at the outset, that apples likea dry subsoil, and that to hope for good results uponbadly-drained land is out of the question. Apple-treeshave no love for the banks of streams, nor for any kindof low-lying situation, since it is here that fogs and springfrosts are likely to be most harmful. A south-west aspect,with tendency to due south, is their delight as to point ofthe compass. be somewhat exposed, and If the situationanything of the nature of an orchard be intended, thetrees should be planted rather near together, say abouteighteen feet apart. In sheltered situations, and wherethe soil is kindly, the distance should be about thirty feetone from the other. In either case the lines of treesshould be planted not in such a way that every fourtrees shall make a square, but after the manner called
  • 47. Orchards. 33by mathematicians "quincunx," familiar in all kinds ofspotted muslin and other art patterns. The individualtrees have then more room, although the reciprocal dis-tances are no greater than when disposed rectangularly.A very good plan supplementary to the apple-tree plant-ing is to insert a plum-tree between every couple of apples,the plum beginning to bear sooner, and thus furnishingrevenue while the orchard itself, because of its youth, isnot yet productive. But do not plant too many kinds.A nicely graduated succession of sorts is far better thana multitudinous variety, to say nothing of the uncertaintyof a great number of different sorts doing well in any onespecific locality. No collection, even of moderate extent,can be depended upon for a certain crop every seasonin a climate like that of England, where so many perilsare identified with the period called Spring. Plentiful asapple-trees are already, there is room in England for anindefinite annual increase of the number. Every smallfarm ought to have its orchard, and its plot of bush-fruits as well, since, excepting .during hay-time, theowner generally has leisure enough to attend to all thatiswanted, and the return helps in no slight measure topay the rent. Apple-culture in England will not have attained itsproper status until another great fact is recognized andacted upon namely, the inexpressible value of fruit-treesin general as decorative or ornamental objects. Orchardslaid out with pleasant walks, provided with seats, and afair amount of flower-beds, so as to invite to quiet morn- F
  • 48. 34 Fruits and Fruit- and evening stroll, would then indeed be charming.They would double the enjoyment of May, and veryspecially of ripe October. To sever the ideas of fruitand flowers is to divorce things joined together in thebeginning by God who made them, and who intendedthem to be in nature, as the years evening approaches, " Like perfect music set to noble words."
  • 49. Chapter THE PEAR, THE QUINCE, THE MEDLAR, THE LOQUAT, AND OTHERS. " O Spring, of hope, and love, and youth, and gladness, Wind-winged emblem brightest, best, and fairest, ! Whence comest thou, when, with dark winters sadness, The tears that fade in " sunny smiles thou sharest ? Shelley. HE history of the Pear (Pyrus communis) corresponds, in some degree, with that of the apple. The original native countries would seem be the same, so far as regards the to typical or primitive form the district, that is to say, of the southern Caucasus and thenorth of Persia, extending therefrom, westwards, overall parts of temperate Europe, reaching even into thesouthern portions of Sweden, and somewhat doubtfullyinto our own island. To assert positively that it is
  • 50. 36 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.European as well as Asiatic would be somewhat bold.Many of the seemingly wild examples in Europe areprobably no more than descendants of ancient cultiva-tion; and not only so, for, as with the apple, it seemsquite likely that the pear, as we have it to-day, has comeof the intermarriage (in some of its varieties, at least) ofthree or four different ancestors. The primitive parent,the Adam of the race, may be correctly imagined, in alllikelihood, from the crude forms of the Pyrus communisstill to be found ; but there can be little doubt that werethe pedigree of the pear in its best existing form within reach, would show the names also of the Pyrus eleagri- itfolia of north-eastern Asia Minor ; the Pyrus Sinaica of Syria, whence this tree was conveyed to Italy contem-poraneously with the Damascus (or damask) rose; andspecially the Pyrus Achras of southern Russia, the beauti-ful species so much honoured in the country of the DonCossacks the tree there resorted to on all occasions offete and festival, and beneath which the villagers keep uptheir pretty annual custom of choosing a queen for theyear. It is not improbable, also, that crosses have takenplace between the crude Pyrus communis and certainspecies of Mespilus, and likewise with the quince. Thosewho care to explore the subject in all its complexity,must consult the writings of Decandolle, Godron, Leroy,Decaisne, and Karl Koch ; the last-named of whom con-siders thatEurope has no claim at all to the pear as anindigenous plant, and refers it to China. In any case the cultivation, though very early, did not
  • 51. The Pear. 37begin, it would seem, so soon as that of the apple. Inconstitution the pear is less hardy than the apple; it can-not accommodate itself so readily to varied soils; theuses of the fruit are less multiform, and very few ofthe sorts allow of being kept through the winter. Hencein early times it was not suited for a staple ; and finally,there is the certificate supplied by the names borne bythe tree in the northern languages, which point in everyinstance to the Latin pints as their common ancestor.*That the ancient Greeks were acquainted with it is shownin the lines above quoted from the Odyssey (p. 24), andin Theocritus, who introduces the pear in that beautifullittleelegy, the lament of Thyrsis (i. 134). Italy, in thetime of the Caesars, possessed, according to Pliny, thirty-six distinct varieties. The mural paintings uncovered atPompeii frequently represent both the tree and the fruit.Virgil speaks of the latter in his ninth Eclogue. When well developed, a mature pear-tree is one of themost pleasing objects in nature. The general figure ismuch handsomer than that of the apple; it attains a verymarkedly superior stature, this reaching to thirty, fifty,even seventy feet ; the diameter of the branchy head isoften greater than the height ; Mr. Edwin Lees, in his uentertaining volume, The Forest and Chase of Malvern,"tells us that at Borland, in Worcestershire, there are pear-trees "as big as oaks." The leaves resemble those ofthe apple, but have longer stalks, and are usually quite * Pirus, let it be noted, is the proper old Roman spelling of thename. It became " pyrus" only by mediaeval corruption.
  • 52. 38 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.glabrous on both surfaces. The structure of the flowersis similar, but the petals are always pure white ; thestructure of the fruit is also similar, but the tissue usuallycontains some gritty matter ; the pips are black insteadof brown, and there never a concavity at the base. isWhen ripe the clusters are prone to hang in a peculiarmantling way, very beautiful, the pear being one of thetrees which always give an impression of easy grace ofcarriage as well as of opulence. In the latter respect, letthe season be favourable, the pear emulates the orange.The great pear-tree at Garmouth (near the mouth of theSpey) one of the variety called "Golden Knot," or"Golden Ball," not a large fruit, but very sweet hasborne, as a single crop, the incredible number of twenty-eight thousand six hundred. A curious fact respectingthe fruit is that while twin apples, i.e. two united, side byside, are very common, twin pears are almost, if not quite,unknown. Per contra (a profoundly interesting occur-rence for the botanist), pears are apt to present verysingular malformations, all going to prove that the originof the fruit is the same as that of the apple, as describedon p. 21, i.e. it comes of the adhesion of the distendedextremity of the flower-stalk with the five ovaries, andgradual fusion therewith, though in the pear the greenspots are not distinguishable. It is further interestingto observe that though the younger branches of pear-trees are apt to be spinous while in the wilderness,when cultivated thorns appear no more. Also that pear-trees, like the laburnum and the woodbine, are apt to
  • 53. The Pear. 39blossom anew in the autumn, but then abnormally, theflowers coming not according to pear-law, upon out," spurs," but at the extremity of long wood-shoots of thecurrent year. Seedling pears take a much longer time to becomefruitful than seedling apples; they require, it is said,fifteen to eighteen years. This may be connected, insome degree, with the long lease of life, the duration ofthe pear being equal to that of many timber-trees.Maturity established, it enters, more remarkably thanmost other trees, upon a kind of middle period, corres-ponding to that beautiful table-land of human existencewhich, by keeping up a cheerful heart, never descending "to envy, hatred, and malice," may be extended almostindefinitely, old age acquired without growing old. Thereis another curious point of likeness.Every one knows " "that the people best adapted to ornament Society areprecisely those who can most easily dispense with it, andwho find profound satisfaction amid the tranquillities ofhome. So with the pear. Many plants, as heather andthe bluebells, call for companions : they are never seenexcept as elements of huge assemblages of their ownkind. The peculiarity, on the other hand, of the pear,like that of thewayside agrimony, is that solitude suits itquite as well as the crowd, even more so. Yet undercultivation, rejoicing always where the amenities are, howit loves a sunny house-front ! one of those sweet old-fashioned country mansions with the ancient gables,where the fruit may be reached through the lattice. In
  • 54. 4O Fruits and Fruit- Trees.the wild state the pear is noted also for dislike of the and preferencehills, for the plains and valleys and theshadow of woods. In England the celebrity of the pear probably beganwith the uprise of the monasteries, and in all likelihoodin the county still famed for its perry. There is nohistoric mention of the pear-orchards of Worcestershireof earlier date than the time of Henry V. ; but as atAgincourt the men of Worcestershire, according to Dray- had for the device their banner "aton, upon pear-treeladen with its fruit," the culture must needs have beenlong established. The number of varieties now in culti-vation cannot be far from a thousand. Leroy aloneenumerates nine hundred and fifteen. Very many ofthese have been raised in Belgium, the country wherefruit-trees, pears especially, were first raised from seedon not hap-hazard, an art first prac- scientific principles,tised about the time of William III. France and theChannel Islands produce the best and the most astonish-ing the world has knowledge of. It is from Jersey thatthe marvellous pears arrive which in Covent Garden arepriced at fifteen guineas the dozen these last obtainedin some degree by artificial means. Many kinds of fruitacquire larger dimensions than ordinary if the plant is sotrained that the fruiting-branches are in close proximityto the earth. When, moreover, the power of the plant isconcentrated upon a comparatively small number byremoving the bulk of the possible produce, those allowedto remain for ripening almost certainly reach a much
  • 55. The Pear. 41more considerable size. In Jersey the trees destined toproduce the huge pears above mentioned are thinnedto a few fruits each, and the branches that are to bearthem are kept as low down as possible. What Francehas done for the pear is plainly told by the names borneby scores of the best descriptions, as Doyenne dete, thebest of the very early pears; Souvenir du Congres, weigh-ing,on the average, a pound and a half; Doyenne duCornice," superb both in quality and appearance; Duron-deau, rich and delicious ; Josephine de Malines, famed aroma; not to mention those universal favourites,for itsthe Jargonelle and the Marie Louise the celebratedpear raised by the Abbe Duquesne, and named incompliment to Napoleons empress. Among pears withEnglish names, none excel Clapps Favourite, very early;Lucy Grieve, that beautiful lemon-yellow one, with blushon the sunward side, very tender and melting Knights ;Monarch, sugary and perfumed ; Rivers Beacon, brightand handsome ; and for stewing, turning red duringthe process, that capital old sort, the Black Pear ofWorcester. This is the famous variety said by traditionto be the pear represented in the City Arms, or rather inthe second or more modern of the two shields belongingto Worcester Argent, a fess between three pears, sable.The date of this shield is uncertain, but in all likelihoodit coincides with that of the visit of Queen Elizabeth toWorcester. Returning to the subject of the best sorts for planting,while every one, of course, follows his own predilections G
  • 56. 42 Fruits and the matter, it must be remembered that the choice hasstill be regulated, in great measure, by the soil and toclimate of the locality, and by the aspect, many of thevarieties being sensitive in regard to one or other ofthese. Where the soil is clayey, wet, and cold, it is hope-less, at any time, to expect pears of first-rate quality. Toknow which to pick, when in want of just one or two forprivate pleasure, watch the movements of those excellentjudges, the wasps. THE QUINCE (Cydonia vulgaris)*THE Quince, like the apple and pear, is a fruit of veryancient fame, as sure to be the case with one so attrac-tive to the eye massive and golden, and that could notfail to be observed in the very earliest historical times,this because of its birthplace. The original seat, there isno reason to doubt, was the North of Persia, where itstill grows spontaneously in the woods, extending tothe shores of the Caspian, the region to the south of theCaucasus, and to Anatolia. That it moved westwards at * Hooker and Bentham, whose unflinching disposition to consoli-date is well known to botanists, include Cydonia in the genus Pyrus,under which comprehensive name they also place Mespilus andSorbus. (Genera Plantarum, i. 626, 1862.) While quite preparedto accept their judgment, I think it better, in the present volume,to employ the names under which the trees are generally knownand spoken of.
  • 57. The Quince. 43an exceedingly early period may be considered certain.There is good ground for belief that the ancient Hebrewswere acquainted with it, and with the ancient Greeksand Romans it was very plainly a favourite. Cultivatedextensively near Cydon, one of the chief cities of ancientCrete, it was natural that the Greeks, who first saw it inthat island, should call it the Cydonian melon melon,in the Greek language, denoting any large, round, succu-lent fruit not produced in clusters like grapes. Homer,indeed, applies the name to fruit in general. (Iliad, Ix.538.) Used by itself,melon probably denoted the appleipsissima, but there can be no doubt that it was essen-tially a generic or collective term for all fruits of the kindindicated. The congenerate Latin malum possessed pre-cisely the same broad significance.* Hence we find thefruit before us bearing with the Romans the name ofMalum Cotoneum Cotoneum being the same as " Cydo-nian," the spelling varied in conformity with Latin usage.This in itself is of no great moment, but the circumstanceacquires great interest from its showing the origin of themodern English word. In Italian, when that languagewas forming, the Latin name became codogno or cotogna.Subsequently, in French this was shortened to coigne.Chaucer spells it coine or coin, and at last we get quince,which is in reality the plural of the word, mistaken forthe name in its singular form. That the quince should * Melon is the word used in the Septuagint as the Greek represen-tative of the Hebrew tappilach, Wiclif following suit in the Englishversion, as the Vulgate had done with their malum.
  • 58. 44 Fruits and Fruit- identified with Cydonia was quite natural. In all agesmen have been prone to name things from the towns orcountries where they first saw them, or from which theywere first received. To day we ourselves speak of this" French beans" and "Turkey rhubarb," though in eachcase the epithet is altogether wrong and misleading. The tree yielding this celebrated fruit grows to theheight of fifteen or twenty feet. The branches, alwaysnumerous, are crooked and distorted; the leaves areoval entire, downy upon the under-surface, dusky greenabove, and deciduous ; the flowers, in figure resemblingapple-blossom, but larger and more open, are white, orsometimes pale pink, and produced singly at the extremi-ties of the twigs. The aspect of the tree when in bloomthus becomes very pleasing. In due time the quinceitself arrives, in shape a sort of irregularly oval apple ofgood size, when in perfection of a richdeep golden-yellowcolour, more or downy, and exhaling a powerful lessodour. When the entire crop is ripe, the display is oneagain of rare beauty familiar in the southern counties,and recommending the tree for decorative use, even whenthere is little care for the fruit. A horizontal section ofthe fruit brings to view a core of five large cells, consti-tuting an elegant pentagon. In every cell there are manyseeds, invested with a kind of mucilaginous pulp, so thatthe quince may always be told off-hand from an apple orpear by feature, the apple and pear, as said this oneabove, never having more than two seeds in each cell.Another distinction is supplied in the large and leafy
  • 59. The Quince. 45lobes ofthe calyx remaining permanently upon thesummit. In England the flavour of the quince, thoughapple-like, is austere ; it cannot be eaten as a dessertfruit. In warm countries, on the other hand, though stilldelicately bitter, it is bland. A certain dainty roughness,combined with aroma, constitutes, in fact, the grandcharacteristic of the quince, wherever it may be ripened.Because of this, and of the capital recommendation of itsgreat size, the quince has been esteemed for at leasttwo thousand years for the making of marmalade. TheRomans, for this purpose, boiled their quinces with " "honey, calling the preparation melimelum, mel beingthe Latin for honey. From this word, in course of time,was made the Portuguese marmelada, and thus in Englishwe get " marmalade." The extension of the name to thefamiliar conserve made of Seville oranges is quite modern,metaphorical, and complimentary. Three or four centuriesago marmalade was greatly esteemed in England muchmore so than to-day, as was natural to a period whenchoice of good things was limited. Miss Wood, in her" Letters of and Illustrious Ladies," relates an Royalamusing anecdote as to the fondness for it of fickle andnever-satisfied Henry VIII.In 1539 the new queen,Anne of Cleves, desired to engage a maid-of- honour.Lady Lisle, seeking to propitiate his majesty in favour ofher daughter Katharine, made him a present of somedamson-cheese, and some of this identical quince-jam,then called " cotiniac." Whether the object was attainedor not we are left in doubt. So acceptable, however, to
  • 60. 46 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.the royal epicure were Lady Lisles sweetmeats, thatAnne Bassett, by whose hand they had been conveyed, " Thewrites off-hand king doth so like the conserves :you sent him, that his grace commandeth me to send toyou for more, and that as soon as may be." To makemarmalade, the directions in the time of Elizabeth were " Take faireas follow : Quinces, paire them, cut them inpieces,and cast away the core, then put unto everypound of Quinces, a pound of Sugar, and to every poundof Sugar a pinte of water; these must be boiled togetherover a stil fire till they be very soft, then let it be strainedor rubbed through a strainer or an hairy Sive, which isbetter, and then set it over the fire to boile againe, untillit be stiffe, and so box it up, and as it cooleth put theretoa little Rose water, and a few graines of Muske mingledtogether, which will give a goodly taste to the Cotiniat.This way is the to make Marmalad."* Marmalade is still largely manufactured in France,particularly on the borders of the Garonne, and isimported thence as a luxury for the table. To peoplewhose health is improved by resort to astringent diet,it is considered very useful. The chief employment ofthe quince in our own country is to enliven apple-pie and"apple-pudding. When apples are flat, or of poor kinds,a quince sliced and diffused in the pie has a wonderfullyquickening effect, superior even to that of lemon-peel. In classical poetry, though melon and malum standingalone, without epithet, probably denote, in most cases, * Gerards Herbal, p. 1452.
  • 61. The Medlar. 47the apple, there are passages in which the words point,very significantly, to the quince. Virgil speaks of themala " whitening" as they become ripe. Quinces, too, areplainly referred to in a celebrated metaphor in Theocritus(xxvii. 48) which no doubt well pleased Boccaccio, forthe apple, though smooth, is not downy, whereas thequince, as said above, has a skin that in good examplesis quite velvety. This feature of the quince helps alsoto the understanding of the metaphorical "golden apples"of the Hesperides (p. 19). THE MEDLAR ( Mespilus Germanica).THE Medlar is a European fruit-tree, occurring wild inwoods and thickets in the southern portions of the con-tinent, and extending here and there into the centralparts. It is met with also in the southern Caucasus. InEngland it cannot be considered indigenous, thoughusually inserted in the Floras. In size and general figurethe tree corresponds with an ordinary apple. Few trees,however, present a more rustic, not to say uncouthappearance, the branches making fantastic elbows in alldirections. In the wild state it is spinous. The leavesare broadly lanceolate, four or five inches long, serrulate,dark green, more or less pubescent, and deciduous. Theflowers, an inch across, are pure white, nearly sessile,
  • 62. 48 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.and produced singly at the extremities of the shoots.The calyx-lobes are large and leafy, and remain until thefruit is ripe. This, when fully formed, is very curious,being almost globular, upwards of an inch in diameter,flattened at the top, and of a fine greenish -brown colour.Instead of a proper "core," there are five great stones orbony "seeds," the upper extremities of which slightlyprotrude. These " stones" correspond to the five cavitiesof the apple, the pear, and the quince. The difference issimply that the substance of the carpels is bony insteadof parchment-like. Similar ossification occurs in thepyrenes of the Thorns, the Pyracantha, and the Cotone-asters, which here again seem to be "seeds." Newly ripe, the medlar is not eatable, being hard,harsh, and astringent. The flesh is then greenish-white.In a few weeks it begins to soften, the flesh turningbrown and pulpy, and acquiring a peculiar vinous flavour,which to palates educated in medlar districts is always a though to many people distasteful.treat, The softeningmarks the first stage of decay, and hence it has come tobe charged upon the unfortunate medlar that it is not fitfor food until partially rotten. Partly, no doubt, becauseof its uninviting appearance at this time; partly becauseof the astringency, it has never held a high place amongthe garden and orchard fruits; and the same circum- stances may account for its never having kindly mention in literature. But the charge of partial rottenness is not quite fair. The very same may be said, and with equal truth, of the peach, the apricot, and the strawberry. All
  • 63. The Medlar. 49of these are ripe, in the genuine sense of the word, assoon as the seed is mature, capable of vegetating, how-ever hard and solid the fleshy part may be. Softening,in every one of them, is a stage beyond ripeness, andthe sign, rather, of incipient decay. A capital jelly maybe prepared from medlars, resembling that made of theguava. To this end they should be bruised, then boiledin a large stew-pan, with plenty of water, for half an hour.The semi-fluid product must then be strained through aflannel bag, and after adding a pound of lump sugar toevery pint of the clear escape, boiled again for twenty-five minutes. The medlars may be thus employed whilestill hard, but it is better to wait till they have begun tosoften. The medlar remains attached to the branch until verylate in the autumn. It is by no means apt to fall, and isbest not gathered till the leaves begin to drop. Thereare three distinct varieties, the Dutch, large but some-what coarse, the Royal, and the Nottingham, the lastnamed the best and the fittest for dessert. The etymology of the name is very curious. It occursfirst in the old Greek herbalists as mespile, then in Latinas mespilus, which in Norman French became meslier.After the same manner the Low-Latin misculare, tomix, became French mesler, whence the English into "meddle," or interfere in other peoples affairs, andthe substantive a "meddler." No wonder that beforeorthography was fixed meslier followed suit, and becamemedlar. H
  • 64. 50 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. THE LOQUAT, OR "JAPANESE MEDLAR" (Eriobotrya Japonica).LOQUATS are the beautiful little yellow fruits, the size ofplums, and usually four or five together in a loose cluster,which we occasionally see in the shops, as an import fromMalta. The golden and downy skin, tinged with red,seems to promise something that shall vie with theapricot. The fleshy portion, however, is but scanty, beingthe envelope only of one or two large stones five,indeed, when all are perfected that it is possible for thefruit to contain. The smallness of the quantity is com-pensated by the flavour, which is agreeably sub-acid,apple-like, and melting, and in good varieties, quiteluscious, while the odour is such as would tempt themost delicate Besides being so good for dessert, invalid.a very fine preserve may be made from this elegant fruit.In the markets of Hyeres, Toulon, and other places inthe south of Europe, loquats arecommon. In England,also, they might be raised as easily as indoor peaches.Excellent little crops have often been obtained;* it needsonly that the cultivator shall combine for them, arti-ficially, the climates of Malta and North China. Thereare several varieties, some of them superior to theordinary Maltese, and these seem but to wait intro-duction. The only real difficulty with any of thekinds and this has been surmounted by the gardeners * As at Stawell House, Richmond, three or four years ago.
  • 65. The Loquat. 5 1who have secured a harvest is that the flowering takesplace in mid-winter, long before even peaches begin toblossom. In its native countries, Japan and China, the treeproducing these desirable fruits is a handsome evergreen,attaining very considerable dimensions, and living to agreat age. was brought to Europe in 1784, and three Ityears afterwards direct from Canton to Kew, and in 1818first ripened fruit in England. Being by no meanstender, it stands the open air in the southern counties, atall if placed against a wall, and in the north is eventskept, not uncommonly, in "Winter Gardens." Undercultivation, the leaves are nearly a foot in length, broadlylanceolate, corrugated above, and curiously dressed withfur underneath. The flowers come out in dense clustersat the ends of the branchlets, individually resemblingthose of the hawthorn, creamy-white and deliciouslyfragrant. The peduncles and calyces are overlaid withthe same kind of fur as that upon the leaves, but paler.Hence the scientific name, Eriobotrya. Fully developedclusters of the fruit consist of as many as twelve or fifteen.Being easily raised from seed, or by grafting upon aquince-stock, the loquat is quite within reach as an orna-mental plant. It rarely makes any superabundant growth,needs no pruning, and is altogether a very interestinginmate of our gardens. A coloured drawing of theloquat, including foliage, flowers, and fruit, is given inEdwards Botanical Register, pi. 365 (1819), and anotherin the Trans. Hort. Soc., vol. iii., p. 299 (1820).
  • 66. 52 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. THE ROWAN, OR MOUNTAIN-ASH (Pyrus Attcuparia).THE Rowan claims a place among the fruit-trees becauseof the excellent jelly which, as in the case of the medlar,may be prepared from the so-called "berries" whenmellowed by autumn. Popularly this well-known fruitis supposed to be poisonous. But it is eaten by birds,field-fares in particular, with avidity ; the scientific appel-lation, Aucuparia, signifies the fowlers or bird-catcherstree; if thrown within their reach, the berries arespeedily gathered up by poultry ; and it is needful onlyto visit Arran, to say nothing of northern continentalEurope, to discover how they are esteemed for the usefirst named the preparation of jelly. That the jelly,however sweetened, is somewhat bitter must be con-fessed; nevertheless it is by far the nicest kind to eatwith venison. To make the jelly, boil the "berries" inwater (cold at first) till reduced to such a consistence thatthe fluid can be strained through a canvas bag ; to everyquart of the fluid add two pounds of loaf sugar, then boilagain for ten minutes. That in elegance of profile the mountain-ash is almostunrivalled scarcely needs mention. Attaining the statureof twenty or thirty feet,* it is one of the few trees which * Mr. A. D. Webster, of Penrhyn, mentions one, a giant of itskind, the girth of which, at a yard above the ground, is seven feet aeight inches, the spread of the branches covering space of forty-twofeet in diameter. This is probably the very largest in the country.
  • 67. The Mountain- Ash. 53are graceful from firstto last, never growing out ofshape, and to touch which with the pruning-knife wouldonly be to spoil. While young the growth is rapid.Hence in plantations it becomes an admirable nurse-treefor young oaks and other saplings of deliberate temper,quietly submitting, when it has done its work, to be over-topped, and even to be destroyed, by the shade anddrip of its foster-children. The mountain-ash speciallydeserves to be planted also where the harbouring ofsinging-birds is an object. It is one of the trees, again,not many, which have two distinct festal seasons. InMay and June the light green of the beautiful foliage isset offby cream-coloured bloom, more than exuberant.Then for a time it is unattractive, and we almost forgetit. In September it again becomes conspicuous, but nowwith glory of fruitage, first of a rich orange colour, whenripe lucid vermilion, such as attracts the most indifferentand incurious "The mountain-ash, No eye can overlook, when, mid a grove Of yet unfaded trees, she lifts her head Deckd with autumnal berries, that outshine Springs richest blossoms."In the wild state the Rowan occurs throughout Europeand Russian Asia, though unable in high latitudes tobecome more than a shrub. The northern habitation atonce suggests the meaning of the latter name. Rowanbeing connected etymologically with the Scandinavianruna, a spell or charm. The fame of the tree in ancientwitchcraft is well known ; it is not dissipated, in truth,
  • 68. 54 Fruits and Fruit-Trees .even yet. Its favourite haunts are woods and the banksof streams and rivers, where it can lean over the water.Very specially does it love the rocky sides of littlecascades. Still more congenial the exposed mountain- is "slope, where it may often be seen alone, a silent spiritof the solitude." Hence the common English name. InForfarshire it isfound at a height of two thousand fivehundred feet above the level of the sea, yet it nourishesequally well close to the shore. In England there arefew spectacles of the kind more striking than the Rowansalong the Trent Valley line of railway when the fruit isripe. In Scotland how charming, again, the slopes abovethe Crinan Canal, where these beautiful trees have fortheir handmaids the innumerable lady-fern. THE SERVICE, OR "WITTEN PEAR-TREE" (Pyrus domestica).THE Service, though little known, is a tree, like themountain-ash, of singular interest. In many points itclosely resembles the mountain-ash the leaves are simi- :lar, only that they have fewer and deeper serratures, andare more flocculent while young ; the flowers, also, aremuch the same. But the bulk and the stature it iscapable of attaining are considerably greater; it growsmore slowly while young ; it lives much longer, and thefruit is altogether different. In shape it resembles a littlepear, or sometimes a little apple. The skin is reddish or
  • 69. The Service. 55greenish brown, usually with a sprinkling of small whitespots ; and (in England) only two or three of the clusterusually remain to get ripe. They are mature about thesame time as the medlar, which they agree with alsoin being excessively austere until decay begins, say inDecember, and then they remind us, alike in substanceand flavour, of a brown Beurre pear. After eating,they leave in the throat a peculiar sensation of warmth. Being a native of the south of Europe (occurring also was well known to the people of twoin Algeria), the fruitthousand years ago. Virgil, in his description of the cus-toms of the Scythians, says that being unpossessed of thevine, they "joyously imitated the juice of the grape, withfermented cups of atidis sorbis" This rude beverage wasat a later period called cerevisia (the name, originally,of a drink something like beer), and being one that seemsnever to have gone out of fashion, cerevisia at last becamethe name of the tree, the spelling changed to "service."Evelyn, in the "Sylva," chap, xv., says that "ale and beer,being brewed with these berries, ripe, is being an incom-parable drink." The fruit is still a common article offood in Italy and France, where it is "preserved" andconsidered useful in cases of dysentery. It appears alsoin the markets of Wiesbaden, and is sold in the streetsof Constantinople under the name of kizilzicks, literally" little reds," the colour of the fruit while unripe, beingin Turkey, not far from ruddy. The warmer climatedoes not mitigate the intense acerbity. So acid andastringent is the Service even there, that a Turkish
  • 70. 56 Fruits and Fruit-Tree s.mother will call her peevish, crying baby a kizilzick.The Ottomans regard it as an infallible preventive ofdiarrhoea. The Service was introduced into Britain most probablyby the Romans, but it never became common. A age (being mentioned in thesolitary individual, of great"Philosophical Transactions" for 1678), stood in WyreForest, near Bewdley, up till 1862, when, through thecarelessness of some gipsies, was destroyed by fire. itOn the strength of this, the Service has been thoughtindigenous, but the Wyre Forest tree was no doubt adescendant of ancient cultivation. Though rare, it isnot difficult to find examples. One in the OxfordBotanic Garden fruited abundantly in 1884, as did thegreat Claremont tree, sixty feet high, and nearly eightin circumference at two feet from the ground. Two orthree venerable Services may be seen also at RibstonHall, Wetherby, Yorkshire. Unfortunately there is a good deal of misconceptionover the Service. The name is often misapplied to thecommon white-beam, Pyrus Aria. It is confoundedalso with the Pyrus torminalis, a tree occurring in southcountry hedges, but having leaves more like those of amaple. The fruit of the torminalis, called the "wildService," is sometimes offered for sale, threaded uponstrings, to the length of a yard, but is next to worthless.It is brought even to Covent Garden, and in some partsof Northamptonshire, where the tree is abundant, iscarried in procession at village feasts.
  • 71. The Siberian Crab. 57 THE SIBERIAN CRAB, OR CHERRY-APPLE ( Pyrus prunifolia).A VERY pretty little fruit, inside, and in colour also, like anapple, but in dimensions resembling a cherry, borne uponstalks quite as long and slender as those of cherries, andusually growing in clusters of three to six or seven. Itis one of those which occupy the border-land betweenthe uncivilized and the acknowledged garden fruits,among which it will probably some day be reckoned,when some pains have been taken with the culture. Foralthough called a "crab," in point of flavour it is alreadyfar inadvance of the wild apple; rather sharp, no doubt,but palatable and inviting, and when prepared withsyrup, always a welcome sight upon the table. The treeproducing one of quite moderate dimensions. The it isleaves remind one of the plum-tree. The white flowerscome out in profusion in early summer. As said above(p. 23) it may perhaps be one of the parents of ourmodern garden apples. As implied in the name, the native country is SouthernSiberia; it extends, however, into Tartary and NorthChina. When introduced is not quite certain, but itwould be shortly before 1758. In 1784 came anotherform of this interesting plant, which having smaller fruit,usually of a much deeper red, received the name ofPyrus baccata. Like the prunifolia, it is Siberian,reaching through the eastern districts of Lake Baikal I
  • 72. 58 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.and Dahuria, past the Amoor and through northernChina, into Japan. Whether to be considered a varietyof the prunifolia, or a distinct species, is matter ofopinion. The technical differences consist in the calyx-lobes being persistent in the prunifolia, while in thebaccata they are deciduous. In the former, moreover,the styles are connate below the middle, instead of free,as in the baccata. Coloured drawings of both may beseen in the Botanical Magazine, the baccata, pi. 6,112(1874), and the prunifolia, pi. 6,158 (1875). All the fruits mentioned, so far, are produced bytrees belonging to the Natural Order Pomifere, that onewhich furnishes everything of the apple kind. There areseveral others, altogether subordinate in merit and neverbrought to market, but which in course of time may, likethe Siberian crab, by cultivation perhaps be improved.Such are the fruits of the different species of Pyrus abovespoken of as ancestors in part, of the garden pear ; such,too, may be considered the possible future of that exceed-ingly beautiful and well-known shrub, common againstthe lower portions of the walls of dwelling-houses, oftenalso independent the crimson-flowered Pyrus Japonicatechnically Cydonia Japonica. In favourable seasons, inthe southern English counties, this ripens abundance oflittle pear-like fruits, said to serve well for preserving. A near ally of the Japonica, introduced from thesame country about 1872, and called Pyrtts Maulei, a
  • 73. Thorn- Fruits. 59very showy plant, produces a really handsome and verypromising fruit, yellowish, with red streaks and blotches,and sharply acid. Though not eatable in the raw state,made into jam the flavour becomes very distinct, and isthought superior to that of marmalade. Then come various species of the grand genus Cra-tcegus, familiarly represented in the common hawthorn ofthe hedgerows. As a rule, the fruits of these are uselessto mankind, but the produce of many may be comparedto little red, or more usually yellow, apples. They can-not be eaten fresh, but are serviceable for tarts, eitheralone or in combination with genuine apple. Such arethe fruits of the Cratcegus Azarolus, the Cratcegus Aronia,both from the south of Europe, and the North AmericanCratcegus coccinea. The Cratcegus tanacetifolia, one ofthe species with golden-yellow fruit, indigenous to themountains of Greece, appears to be the original mespile,as described by Theophrastus. Having so many excellent fruits ready made, as itwere, experiments in regard to the amelioration of thesehalf-dozen are perhaps hardly to be expected, except asscientific pastime. They are very interesting, neverthe-less, as illustrations, in all likelihood, of what all our best were in primaeval times, when their developmentfruitshad scarcely begun ; as illustrations, also, of the abun-dance of rude material there is around us, waiting onlyfor the enterprise and curiosity of man. They seemto hold the same position in Europe as that which inAustralia is held by the indigenous fruits not yet culti-
  • 74. 60 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.vated by the colonists ; and among which, judging fromwhat is known of the history of the apple, etc., theremay be lying latent an immense amount of capacity forbecoming rich and precious, by-and-by to be disclosed.Such may happen with yet another of the Pomiferae,that beautiful small tree, the Amelanchier, in Canadacalled the June-berry, the innumerable snowy flowers ofwhich are one of the delights of every good garden earlyin May. The natives of the vast district extending fromHudsons Bay southwards to Florida, and westwards toNebraska, collect the fruit when ripe, press it into squarecakes, and use it with their pemmican.
  • 75. Chapter STONE-FRUITS. Wisest of all to welcome and make ours Whateer of good, though small, the Present brings, Kind greetings, sunshine, song of birds, and flowers, With a childs pure delight in little things, " Knowing that mercy ever will endure. R. C. Trench. TONE-FRUITS " are those illustrated in the plum and the cherry the most remarkable of all the forty classes into which fruits in general are resolved. For it is among these that we have at once the utmost simplicity of fruit-structure and its beau-ideal. Theoreti- a " "cally, fruit when perfect consists of three distinct andeasily separable layers a skin, or " epicarp," under which "ispulp or flesh, called the mesocarp ;" with under thisagain a hard and bony one, called the " endocarp." In
  • 76. 62 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.the great majority of fruits these three parts are notdeveloped, and all there is to represent them is anenvelope such as we find in the shell of the nut, the podof the pea, and the bag which holds the juice of thegrape. In the apricot, the cherry, the peach, and therest of the stone-fruits, on the other hand, all three layersare present, and in the completest form. The fruit is "now called a drupe," and the family still only a smallone which illustrates it so well naturally receives thename of Drupiferse. Very interesting is it to observehow Nature reserves her perfections for select companiesof things. Theoretically, again, all fruits are referable to the ideaof a leaf in its simplest form, as found, for instance, inthe apple-tree or of several such leaves folded length-ways, so that the edges meet, and, uniting, fabricate alittle box, inside of which the seeds are contained. Thisis plainly the great principle which lies at the foundation :there are a thousand proofs and illustrations of it, and allthat there is besides in fruits consists of some curiouskind of appendix. The leaves thus metamorphosed aretermed the "carpels," and it hardly needs adding thata fruit consisting of only one carpel, as in the case ofthe plum and cherry, is the simplest. The five seed-chambers of the apple, constituting the core, comeof the combination of five such " carpels ;" pods likethose of the columbine and the larkspur, peas andbeans, consist, like "drupes," of only one carpel. Thegroove or furrow down one side of most varieties of
  • 77. The Drupiferce. 63the drupe indicates the line of junction of the two edgesof the carpellary leaf: in the almond, when ripe, theyfall asunder. The number of the Drupiferae altogether is about ahundred. All are trees and shrubs, with leaves alwaysalternate, usually ovate or lanceolate; flowers formed offive free which are seated, with about twenty petals,stamens, upon the upper part of an urn-shaped and five-lobed calyx, in the bosom of which is found the solitarypistil. The flowers are usually pure white, sometimes ofa cheerful rosy colour, the shade occasionally so deepenedas to approximate magenta. They are prone to expandvery early in the year, scarcely preceded even bythe celandine, and are never later than the month ofMay. Hence, more than any other trees of the fruit-bearing class, the Drupiferae are subject when in bloomto cruel storm-beating. The winds of March, however"taken" by the loveliness of Perditas daffodils, are merci- damson and the plum. The white petals areless to thewrenched away, and strew the ground as if with snow. The kernels of the fruit, and sometimes the leaves aswell, are noted for containing the basis of that deadlypoison, prussic acid. The bark, in many instances, yieldsa peculiar kind of gum, not soluble in cold water, dis-tinguished, accordingly, from acacia-gum by the name of"cerasin." Dr. Beijerinck, of Amsterdam, has shownthat the effusion of this curious substance, familiar in thetranslucent tears of the garden cherry, which hang fromthe boughs like amber icicles, even more so, perhaps,
  • 78. 64 Fruits and Fruit- the oozings from plum-tree sores, is referable, pri-marily, to the operation of a minute parasitic fungus,a species of Coryneum, which may be transferred forexperiment sake from one tree to another. Gumming isthus to be classed with the maladies that plants aresubject to. There are plenty of illustrations of it, but itis here perhaps, in the stone-fruit trees, that the studentof vegetable pathology finds his best opportunities forinvestigating the causes and the results.* Another verycurious and interesting occurrence for the student, seldomobservable except in the Drupiferae, is the superseding, attimes, of the solitary carpel, by two, three, four, and evenfive carpels, all of the same kind, an effort towards con-formity with the quinary perianth. Instances of thisoccur in certain species of cherry, in the double-floweredplum, and the double-flowered peach. These extracarpels stand side by side, unconnected if only two,partially united when more, and every one of themusually ripens. The native countries of the Drupiferaeare found almost exclusively in the temperate parts of thenorthern hemisphere. Carried into the tropics, thesepriceless trees are apt to become evergreen, and cease tobear fruit. Where the date and the banana flourish wemust never look for the cherry, though the apricot is quitehappy in the oases of the North African deserts. It is important not to confound with the genuine stone-fruits the somewhat similar olive, litchi, cornel, andothers, these belonging to quite different families, as will * Feb. 23rd, 1884. For particulars, see the Gardeners Chronicle,
  • 79. The Plum. 65be described by-and-by. The genuine stone-fruits arethe plum, including the greengage and the damson; thecherry, the peach, the nectarine, the apricot, the almond,and the produce of the cherry-laurel. THE PLUM (Prunus domestica).THE early history of the plum, like that of the apple andpear, is remote and complicated. In the abstract, theplum idea, so to speak, is represented by no fewerthan three fairly distinct typical forms, and these, for "convenience sake, it is best to treat as species," andto call by distinct names. They are (i) the commonSloe, sloe-thorn, or black-thorn, of every hedge andthicket, well named Prunus spinosa; (2) the Bullace,Prunus insititia; and (3) the form which, from its appear-ing to be the more immediate source of the gardenplums, is called Prunus domestica. By some botanists allthree are run together under the single name of P.domestica. Theoretically there is no objection to this ;in any case we know what Latin name to give the gardenplums, (i) The P. spinosa is a shrub, usually not manyfeet high, though capable of becoming a tree of fifteenor twenty feet. It is densely branched, the branchesspreading almost angles, terminating in stout at rightthorns, and sointricately interwoven as to be absolutelyimpenetrable by man, and by all but the smaller quad-rupeds and birds, the latter finding it a safe refuge and K
  • 80. 66 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.asylum. The shoots while young are downy; in earlyspring long before the appearance of the leaves,which, when mature, are ovate and sharply serratedthere is a beautiful out-flow of immaculate white blossom,the flowers growing singly, or two or three together, halfor three quarters of an inch across, and presenting a mostremarkable contrast to the dark-hued bark; the fruit,when ripe, is the size of a large pea, spherical, darkviolet, and covered with glaucous "bloom;" the pedi-cels are glabrous, and the fruits, individually, are erect.Some individually are astonishingly productive, othersseem to be absolutely barren, owing probably to somedefect in the reproductive organs. In flavour these littleplums or "sloes," are intensely harsh. In France theboys call them sibarelles, since to whistle after eating "them is impossible. Well is the name of " sloe applied,the signification being that which sets the teeth on edge.The spinosa occurs all over Europe, Britain included, alsoin Russian Asia. The second form, P. insititia, is atall shrub or small tree, less thorny than the spinosa,sometimes thornless, and having larger leaves, which arealready expanding when the flowers appear. These alsoare larger. The young shoots are covered with velvetydown; the pedicels are either downy or glabrous; thefruit is pendulous, globular, or slightly elliptical, muchlarger than the sloe, usually purple-black, occasionally when ripe, moderately sweet.reddish or yellowish, andThis form grows wild in the south of Europe, in theregions south of the Caucasus, and in European Turkey.
  • 81. The Plum. 67When met with north of the Alps, as in English hedges, it "is probably naturalized from cultivation. Bullace," likesloe, is an old northern word, the etymology uncertain.The third, P. domestica, is again a tall shrub or smalltree, the branches glabrous while young, and withoutthorns. The flowers, contemporaneous with the leaves,have downy peduncles; the fruit is pendulous, ovoid,blackish-purple, and sweet. This form of the plant,admittedly the principal one, is very doubtfully indigenousin Europe. It occurs in woods and hedges, but has allthe appearance of a plant naturalized only in part. Thegenuine native countries seem to be Anatolia, the regionto the south of the Caucasus, and northern Persia. Whether these three forms are to be regarded asabsolutely distinct or not, is an open question. The lateMr. Bentham considered that the insititia and thedomestica may be only varieties of the spinosa, producedby long cultivation. If so, the common sloe will havebeen the original parent of everything of the plum kind.The sloe, however, is not a plant that seems likely ever tohave invited cultivation. It is very different also fromthe others in its root-habits. The probability is that allour modern garden plums began with the insititia and thedomestica, and this either independently or by commix-ture. The garden forms have, in every case, much largerleaves and stronger shoots. They blossom later, theflowers are larger, and the fruit, as well known in the" e SS plum " and the " magnum bonum," attains a lengthsometimes exceeding two inches.
  • 82. 68 Fruits and Fruit-Trees. When andwhere, as in the case of the crab-apple, theimprovement of the plum began, it is impossible todetermine. The ancient Greek writers speak of theKOKKVfjrjXov* probably referring to the damson. Theyalso mention the /3pa/3vXov, but what the latter worddenoted is doubtful, seeing that Theocritus applies itboth to a palatable fruit in that pretty passage in theseventh Idyll when the people are enjoying the harvest-festival in the island of Cos, " all things breathing theincense of fruit-season . . . pears . . . and apples . . .and boughs weighed to the ground with plums," andcontrariwise, to one that would be quite the antithesis ofthe apple "as much as the apple is sweeter than the/3pd/3vo/, much have you gladdened me by your soreturn." In Roman literature the plum is frequentlyreferred to, now under the name of prunus, as in thecharming lines where Virgil describes the old Corycian his " in hiswho, cultivating little garden, equalled,contented mind, the wealth of kings,"! and when Ovidnarrates the story of Acis and Galatea. J The identifi-cation of the name of the damson or damasin, properly" damascene," with the famous Syrian city of Damascus,we owe to Pliny. The development of the plum in England has corres-ponded with that of the apple, though the varieties areless numerous. France also has distinguished itself in * Literally the cuckoo-melon another interesting illustration ofthe broad sense, anciently, of melon, tGeorgic iv. 125-146. J Met. xiii. 817.
  • 83. The Plum. 69 " "plum-culture. The Orleans plum was brought fromthe neighbourhood which witnessed the heroism anddeath of Joan Dare, when the English were mastersthere, temp. Henry V. To France we are indebted alsofor the greengage, called in that country, in complimentto the Queen of Francis I., La Reine Claude. It wasbrought to England from the monastery of La GrandChartreuse about the middle of the eighteenth century, " one John Gage," brother of the owner ofHengrave Hall, near Coldham, Suffolk, and thencereceiving hisname it soon got diffused over England.In Paris, in 1789, when all allusions to royalty wereforbidden, "La Reine Claude" had to go, and was "superseded pro tern, by Prune Citoyenne !" Karl Kochregards the greengage as representative of a distinct andvariable species of Prunus, native of the Caucasus. The black and deeply corrugated dessert fruit importedfrom France, to the extent of two hundred tons annually,under the name of " French plums represents two or "three different sorts. The inferior varieties are from thePrune dAst; the better ones are the produce of theCatherinea. They are gathered by hand, dried partly inthe sun, partly by fire-heat, the treatment changed day by "day until the fruit is fit for packing. Brignolles," thedelightful little sweetmeats in fancy boxes edged withlace, prepared from some kind of yellow plum. areThey are shaken from the trees, when quite ripe, uponcloths spread to receive them; then carefully skinned, andplaced in the sunshine for a few days. When dry enough
  • 84. 70 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.they are impaled upon osier-sticks, and again exposed tothe sun. Then comes the removal of the stones, pressureinto a round form, and deposit in the boxes. The manu-facture, of these dainty receptacles, the pretty colouredfrills and ornamental lace edgings, coloured pictures forthe lids almost always superadded, has become quite animportant branch of art-work, one welcome inventionalmost always suggesting another, which latter, as in thepresent instance, contributes immensely to the pleasingappearance of the commodity dealt with. Prunes are the fruit of a kind of plum called Juliana,and by the French Prunier de St. Julien. These aregrown largely in the valley of the Loire, especially aboutBourgueil, a small town between Tours and Angers.They are prepared by simple drying, chiefly in the sun-shine, and are then packed The import for market.into this country, including a few of inferior qualityreceived from Germany, is about four hundred tonsannually. The value of French plums, and of prunes,the latter when stewed and sweetened, is well known.They are much more wholesome than the fresh fruit,nutritious and demulcent. They are also esteemed inmedicine, especially as furnishing an ingredient of laxa-tive confections. In England the most valuable of all the innumerablevarieties of the plum is unquestionably the damson.Very hardy, easily cultivated, and usually yielding anabundant crop, it well deserves its accustomed placein cottage gardens and the hedges about farmhouses.
  • 85. The Damson. 71There are several varieties, some of them scarcely distin-guishable from varieties of the Bullace, except by theirripening about a month earlier. A very good one, withlarge fruit, but not so sure to yield a full harvest as thecommon English or round damson, is called the Shrop-shire. A still larger fruit, and better flavoured, is given " " "freely by the Frogmore damson. The Crittenden,"raised near Maidstone by Mr. Crittenden, is another The " "excellent damson. Farleigh is perhaps the mostproductive fruit, and the most repaying, of any kind incultivation. The fruit is small, but produced in thickclusters, and unsurpassed for preserving. A year or twoago one Kentish grower alone sent to market threethousand bushels, and received for his trouble fourteenshillings per bushel, or ,2,000. The yellowish varietyof the Bullace is the fruit sold in London as the " whitedamson." In the neighbourhood of Colchester a varietyis largely grown which fruits so plentifully that the clustersresemble bunches of black Hamburgh grapes. Most, ifnot all, of the Bullaces are of good flavour, and excellentfor culinary purposes. Among the superior sorts may bereckoned the "Essex" and the "Royal." Of selectdessert plums the best are considered to be BelgianPurple, Coes Golden Drop, Golden Esperen, Jefferson(yellow, spotted with red), and Kirkes (purple). Thebest greengages are Bryanston, Denniston, Superb, ReineClaude de Bavay, Reine Claude du Comte Hathem,Transparent, Guthries Late, and Oullins Golden.
  • 86. 72 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. THE CHERRY (Prunus Cerasus).To the cherry that sweet and simple, old-fashioned, butever-welcome summer fruit, so grateful at dessert, socapital for pies, and other useful and elegant addenda tothe dinner-table pertains, as to the apple, the pear, andthe plum, the old uncertainty as to beginning. Thoughwe are accustomed to hear and speak of the "wild "cherry as if the cultivated one were the same, directlydescended from it, changed only in quality, in realitythere are two wild cherries ; two forms, at all events, arerecognized by authors in general. Each of these mayhave truly lineal descendants, but the whole question isfor the present an open one. The most conspicuous of the two forms is the queenlytree wellnamed by Ray, Cerasus sylvestris* tall, risingto the height of thirty or forty feet, destitute of branchesfora considerable distance above the ground, especiallyfond of the brows of steep, over-hanging banks, where itcan tower in its snowy pride, no production of naturebeing more exquisitely white with bloom in the earliestdays of summer; and in August loaded with its innu-merable little globose, red or black, and sweetish fruitsnot, however, for long, if there are birds anywhere near. * name Usually called, in recent books, Cerasus Avium; a leadingto confusion with the Bird-cherry Prunus Padus, a plant quitedifferent.
  • 87. The Cherry. 73The leaves are ovate-lanceolate, two to four inches inlength, serrate, and somewhat pendent. The flowers issuefrom leafless buds, in umbellate clusters of two or three,on peduncles usually exceeding an inch in length, thepetals arising from the edge of a very prettily urn-shapedcalyx j and, a very important feature, no suckers arisefrom the root. Another important character is that theflesh of the fruit clings to the stone. Favourably circum-stanced, the sylvestris will attain the stature of nearlyeighty feet. Near Wragley, in Lincolnshire, there is oneseventy-six feet high, the trunk, at four feet from theground, eight and a half feet in circumference. Severalof equal dimensions exist in Hampshire. At Stedalt,Balbriggan, twenty-two miles N.N.E. of Dublin, there isone over eleven feet in circumference, four feet from theground ; and even this is surpassed by the renowned treeupon Old Conna Hill, the girth of which is nineteenfeet! The huge proportions of these marvellous Irishcherries are well matched in their aspect, which is atonce patriarchal and picturesque, as indeed is alwaysthe case with trees where the former epithet falls well.The identification of our native British trees by meansof their leaves, independently of the flowers and fruit, isone of the most pleasing occupations of the young fieldbotanist. The cherry (among trees with ovate andserrate leaves) is at once told by the presence of twoor three little red glands, often bright as holly-berries,at the upper part of the petiole, just where the bladebegins. They occur also in the peach and some other L
  • 88. 74 Fruits and stone-fruits, and are probably to be regarded asrudimentary indications of the pinnate leaf of rosaceousplants. To what degree the sylvestris may be accounted agenuine native of the British Islands is, after all,uncertain. Essentially it belongs to the northern partsof Persia, the Russian provinces to the south of theCaucasus, and to Armenia, extending thence to themountainous parts of Greece, Italy, and Spain, and overcontinental Europe in general, as far as the south ofSweden. It occurs also in Algeria. The stones beingcarried to long distances by the birds, it has becomenaturalized in north-west India, and, at the other ex-treme, sparingly, in Madeira. To the same circumstanceis probably owing also the wide diffusion of the tree incontinental Europe, a diffusion beginning in prehistorictime, when the birds, we may be sure, were in manyways providing for the future welfare of mankind. Ifmighty geological changes took place in the primitiveages, all planned prospectively for the benefit of thecoming occupants of the earths surface not forgettingthose which have helped to fill the world with gloriousscenery one of the inestimable aliments why shouldnot the birds also have rendered there own little innocentservice? In contemplating the outcome of the divineinstitutes for the happiness and welfare of man, we denyourselves half the enjoyment which arises thereon, ifthe eyes are not let rest quite as often upon the "trifles"as upon the majestic. One of the natural varieties of
  • 89. The Cherry. 75the sylvestris is that which the French call merisier* "The same occurs in England, producing merries," fruitslarger than those of the normal form, sweet, and deepblack instead of red, sometimes very pale, so that inCheshire the last-named is called the -white merry."In Hampshire the merries are collected for sale. Theyare the earliest of the fruits that ripen in England tomake their appearance in the markets. The blossom ofthe merry is finer and larger, and rather later than that ofthe typical sylvestris. The leaves are shorter and theclusters are not so large, and the peduncles, also, areshorter. The "geans" of the northern counties appearto be much the same. This name, also, is French,representing the Norman gutgne, a word which seems tohave been originally gutsne. The second form, named by Miller Cerasus vulgaris^the ceVisier of the French, is a plant of very differenthabit, often a mere shrub of six or eight feet in height,fond of the sunny borders of woods and glades, andespecially attached to grassy slopes, which it some-times covers with dense thicket. This comes of theabundance of the suckers thrown up from the spreadingroots or rhizomes the sylvestris, it will be remembered,has no suckers. Another great distinction is that theflesh of the fruit, which is sour or bitter, separates readilyfrom the stone. The original habitations appear to havebeen much the same, the most ancient extending from * The etymology of this word is obscure. Dr. Prior says it is"from mericea, adjective of merica, a berry mentioned by Pliny."
  • 90. 76 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.the borders of the Caspian to those of the Bosphorus,whence it became diffused over Europe, but not so widelyas the sylvestris, and more slowly, being of weaker con-stitution. In Europe italways presents the aspect of aforeign plant, settling, but not completely naturalized.When Theophrastus, the old Greek writer on plants,speaks of the cherry-tree he plainly refers to the sylvestris,the height being one of the features he mentions. Virgil,on the other hand, as plainly speaks of the vulgaris : " Pullulat ab radice aliis densissima silva Ut cerasis ulmisque."The differences above indicated may still be no greaterthan would be consistent with original singleness of" botanists consider that they are essen- species." Manytially the same thing. The question holds some practicalimportance from the bearing it has upon the workof cultivators, who have always to think of the inheritedconstitution of plants as well as of their merits andutility. Whatever the measure of relationship, they arethe parents of all the cultivated cherries, and these, it isinteresting to observe, foretell the variety of their fruitin the beautiful and curious diversity of the flowers, asregards both the petals and the form of the calyx. When the cherry was first made an object of culturethere is no evidence to show. Cherry-stones occur in theLake-dwellings of western Switzerland. The Romans,Pliny tells us, had eight varieties. That it was firstbrought to Italy by Lucullus, from Cerasus, a town ofCappadocia, the story a thousand times recited, is not
  • 91. The Cherry. 77true. The voluptuous consul simply introduced a finevariety, unknown to the imperial city before his time.The interesting fact remains that while the old townin Pontus got its name from the cherry-trees roundabout, in "cerasus" we have the parent, first, of theFrench ceVisier and cerise, and eventually of the English" cherry," which, by the way, ought by rights to be speltcherris or cheris. The established spelling came of ourforefathers confounding the s with the sign usuallyemployed in English to mark plurals. The very samemistake was made over the name of the vegetable inLatin called pisum, French pois, properly in English a" " " peas," plural peasen " He talked of turnips and of peasen, And set good seed in proper season. " England probably owed its earliest garden cherriesto the Romans. When the Romans quitted the country,the culture would be continued by the Anglo-Saxons,and subsequently it would be in favour with the Nor-mans. History is silent, nevertheless, in regard to thispleasant fruit up to the time of Henry V., when cherries,as shown by some old verses in Warton, were criedfor sale in the streets of London. The famous cherry-orchards of Kent appear to date, historically, from thetime of Henry VIII., but, had we the record, they wouldprobably be found to have had a very much earlierbeginning; and the same would probably prove to be truein regard to the celebrated cherry-orchards of Bucking-hamshire, where the beech-woods also abound with the
  • 92. 78 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.wild form of the tree. In the Elizabethan age the fruitwas so common that the boys had a game they called" cherry-pit," played with the stones. Shakspere gives ita worthier place than is allowed to any other. The allu-sions to fruits are almost always found in lines writtennot from his own rich heart these we always know onthe instant by their wisdom and grace but in such asstage necessities demanded, the lines required by thatmean section of mankind which cares only to be madelaugh. Not so when we come to the cherry. Here he isjocular no longer, but in every instance delicate if notpoetical. How lovely the picture painted by Helena, inthe Midsummer Nights Dream, when delineating themutual love between herself and Hermia in the days oftheir girlhood, now so sadly discomposed. If one senti-ment more than another was specially dear to Shakspereit was the sanctity of friendship : "O, and is all forgot ? All schooldays friendship, childhood innocence ? We, Hermia, like two artificial* gods, Have with our neelds created both one flower, Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, Both warbling of one song, both in one key, As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds Had been incorporate. So we grew, together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, But yet a union in partition ; Two lovely berries moulded on one stem ; So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart, *" Artificial," here curiously employed in the sense of skilful,ingenious.
  • 93. The Cherry. 79 Two of the first, like coats in heraldry, Due but to one, and crowned with one crest. And will you rend our ancient love asunder To join with men, in scorning your poor friend ? not friendly, tis not maidenly ; It is Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it, Though I alone do feel the injury."The simple but pretty song "Cherry Ripe" is very slightlyaltered from one written by Herrick, the clergyman poet, " Fair Daffodils."temp. Charles I., to whom we owe Numerous varieties of this pleasant fruit are nowcultivated in England, many of them understood tohave come originally from Holland and Belgium. Thebest are considered to be the common Bigarreau, theBigarreau Napoleon, the late black Bigarreau, the BedfordProlific, the Royal Duke, the Early Rivers, the Early RedGuigne, the Elton, the Black Tartarian, the Early Lyons(or Rose de Lyons) ; and, specially adapted to thenorthern counties, Florence, Governor Wood, KnightsEarly Black, and the good old well-known May-duke*and Morello, the last-named doing well against a northwall. When the plantation is a large one, the treesshould be so disposed as to form a square, not put inlines, since the birds, never slow to discover cherry-trees,can then be more readily challenged ; whereas when inlines, the never-failing blackbirds in particular, on beingdisturbed, simply chuckle and go to the other end. Anykind of soil will do for cherry-trees, except the very wetand clayey, thought they thrive best in sandy loam. * Corrupted from Medoc, the name of part of the Gironde.
  • 94. 8o Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Cherry-trees should be planted also as ornaments. Torelegate fruit-trees to the kitchen-garden and orchard isnot far from a mistake. If apple and pear-trees hadvarieties like the double-blossomed cherry, they, too,would be allowed a place, perhaps, near the roses andlilies. In some parts of the continent, cherry-culture asin Kent is one of the principal sources of wealth. Thisis specially the case with the villages at the foot of thehills which fringe the valley of the Rhine. When thecherry-crop is ripe, the schools are all closed for a fort-night ; young and old, master and servant, all set to workto get in this luscious harvest of the trees. Italy and theislands of the Greek Archipelago export some of theircherries to Egypt. They are carried to Alexandria, wherethe pleasant tartness always secures for them an imme-diate and profitable market. THE PEACH (Amygdalus Persica)*ONE of the poets has a passage beginning 4 Whether or not the blushing peach Was Edens once forbidden fruit, " I cannot tellThe question may be unhesitatingly answered for him, * Hooker and Bentham, in the "Genera Plantarum," i. 610,adopt the same course with the stone-fruit trees as that which theyhave followed in respect of the apple and pear, the quince, etc., asmentioned on page 42 ; they place the whole, that is to say, in thesingle comprehensive genus Prunus.
  • 95. The Peach. 81and in the negative, though the epicure may be forgivenshould his fancy rest for a moment, while scanning the upon this queen of the stone-fruits a gift ofpossibilities,nature at all events more pleasant to associate with thegarden of the four rivers, than the great, pale yellow, andnot very shapely cousin of the orange and lemon com- "monly called the forbidden fruit." The peach is oneof the fruits which, like many flowers, imitating the sunat noonday, have their meridian. There is just an hour,not much more, when the odour and the taste of thisregal fruit are at the highest pitch. Fortunate is he whothen secures it ! That hour is like the day it must beone of brightness overhead when the horse-chestnutkeeps festival, dressed to the topmost pinnacle withbouquets fit for princesses. The meridian passed, thefruit is still delicious, the tree imposing, but now it isthe afternoon. Accustomed, as most people are, to seepeach-trees nailed to a garden wall, or trained and tied,limb by limb, finger by finger, to a trellis under glass,their singular beauty, when living a life of freedom, is ingeneral unknown. A standard peach-tree in bearing fullis a spectacle, once beheld, never to be forgotten. Inour own country it cannot often be hoped for, and thenit be found only in the southernmost counties. At willStrood, on the Medway, some years ago, there were treesquite ten feet high, and eight feet through, bearing threeto five hundred really good fruit apiece. Still, for theperfect realization of the standard peach, it is needful tovisit the Continent, Italy in particular. Peaches do not M
  • 96. 82 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.prefer to grow against walls ; it is that the exigencies ofour climate enforce resort to them. The peach neveracquires any great bulk or stature, nor does it live to bevery old. In these respects it corresponds with thequeen of flowering-plants, the rose. The blossom, veryabundant, appears in early spring, before the leaves,seated closely upon the branches, the petals usually deepcarmine, occasionally white. The leaves, when mature,are lanceolate, three or four inches in length, acute andglabrous; the peculiarities of the fruit are its almostglobular form, a groove down one side, and compositionso exquisitely sub-liquid, that while enjoying a peach wehardly know whether we are eating or drinking. Thestone inside is curiously wrinkled and furrowed, andcontains a very large kernel. The skin is either downy,and then soft as velvet, as in peaches emphatically socalled, or it is destitute of velvet, but still soft, and thenwe have the variety called the Nectarine. The specificidentity of the two fruits is well established. Darwin, inthe "Variation of Plants and Animals under Domestica-tion," adduces plenty of proof, including that supplied bypeaches and nectarines growing side by side upon thesame tree. The nectarine is not found even apparentlywild. There can be no doubt that it is a variety ofpurely garden origin, and from the peach that it differsonly in the way that the smooth-skinned gooseberrydiffers from the hairy one. When the stone lies quiteloose, except at the point of basal attachment, in either " free-stone " orcase the fruit is called a Pavie. When
  • 97. The Peach. 83 " "the flesh adheres to it, we have a cling-stone orBrugnon. The difference seems to have existed eversince peaches were cultivated, being mentioned by theoldest horticultural writers. The " free-stone " conditionarises simply from the natural decay of the fibrous cordswhich connect the pulp with the surface of the endocarp.Why it should occur not yet explained that the differ- is :ence consists in no more than this natural decay is shownby the existence of intermediate forms, by the French The ordinary complexion is wellcalled semi-cling-stones.known, yellowish green on the side that has been ratherless exposed to the sun, lively red upon the other, verymuch the same as in many kinds of apple, the colourchastely softened, in the peach, by the silky velvet pile "which covers the entire surface. Peach-colour," said ofribbons, etc., it may be useful to remark, does not meanthe colour of the fruit, but of the flowers; just as when" almond " is in similar connection, the refer- spoken of,ence is to the roseate hue of the tree when in bloom.Many varieties in the colour of the ripened peach havearisen under cultivation. In one of them the skin isof a uniformly soft pale greenish white. Another maybe described as pink. A third, called the St. Helenapeach, is of a bright golden colour. The flesh also pre-sents beautiful tints. The radiation of crimson lines andveins a very familiar enrichment in the variety called is :the Sanguinole (an excellent kind for preserving) theentire substance is of a richly tempered blood-colour.An extremely singular variety, in respect of shape, is
  • 98. 84 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.known as the "flat peach ;" this on account of its seem-ing as if compressed vertically, so as to be converted intoa ring of flesh, the stone in the middle, like the boss ofan ancient round shield. Common with the Celestials,it constantly appears in Chinese drawings : in England itis grown as a curiosity. The peach has, until quite recently, always beenconsidered indigenous to Persia. That in some inferiorform this fruit was conveyed from south-western Asiato Rome during the reign of the emperor Claudius,say some time during the first half-century of theChristian era, as stated by Pliny, making at that periodits first appearance in Europe, there is no reason todoubt. It was in consequence of this transit that thename of malum Persicum was bestowed upon it, orperhaps Persicum arbor, whence, by slow degrees, andafter many vicissitudes, represented in pesca, pesche,peshe, peche, etc, our own word "peach." That thepeach-tree grows apparently wild, and in great profu-sion, in and about northern Persia is also undeniable.The researches of Decandolle go to prove, however,that the veritable native country is China, where the treehas been cultivated from the remotest antiquity, andfrom which it would, in process of time, move west-wards. Had it and Armenia, existed originally in PersiaGreece and Rome would assuredly have known of itsooner, and references to it would have occurred in theliterature of the last-named nations, whereas they areperfectly silent.
  • 99. The Peach. 85 When first made an object of culture in westernEurope is unknown, though very certainly it was in Francethat this fruit, at a very early period, found not only acongenial climate, but admiration such as led to Francebecoming the most famous scene of high-class peach-growing in the world. North America may claim theascendancy perhaps, in regard to the quantity produced,but France is still unrivalled in respect of quality. Thespecial scene of French peach-culture is Montreuil, nearParis, which place annually supplies about twelve millionsof the fruit, the earliest and latest selling at two and threefrancs apiece. It is to this celebrated locality that almosteverything of importance connected with peach-culture isultimately referred, and from this it would seem that thebest of modern varieties have been received. In England peach-growing is believed to have begun,under French example, as early as the eleventh century ;but no great move was made till the period so notedin connection with several other fruits the time ofHenry VIII. It was then, also, that the nectarine wastaken into English favour. Numerous varieties of bothdescriptions of fruit are named in the catalogues issuedby the nurserymen; and as new ones always appear whenpeaches are raised from the kernel, though many of thesorts thus procured are worthless, there would seem to bein this fruit, as in the apple, an indefinite latent capacityfor change. Where outdoor ripening cannot be looked for,the climate being unfavourable, no department of indoorfruit-culture is more interesting as well as profitable than
  • 100. 86 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.that which covers the peach and the nectarine, especiallyas no two varieties attain maturity at the same time ; noris any spectacle, except that of ripe grapes, more ravishingthan the well-managed peach, when the house is chargedwith its delightful perfume. All the resources of art arewell devoted to it, and aid is sometimes sought from thelittle wizards of the honeycomb. Cultivators whosetemperament is of the anxious type are accustomed toplace a hive of bees in the peach-house, with a view totheir assisting the fertilization of the flowers. That beesthus introduced render some service is likely enough.But the confining of them within limits so narrow seemsto involve an amount of cruelty which the humane wouldbe unwilling to When bees are brought into the inflict,peach-house, their well-known habit of soaring upwardsin a spiral manner, as soon as they find themselves innew quarters, to take their bearings before flying awayin quest of honey and pollen, results in the death ofmany through exhaustion. They beat against the glass,fall, and die. Fertilization is quite as successfully pro-moted by sweeping over the flowers a plume of pampas-grass, or a bunch of soft, downy feathers tied to a rod ;and even this seems called for only in the case of certainshy-setting varieties, such as Noblesse and CrawfordsEarly. The varieties generally held in highest esteemare Bellegarde, Grosse Mignonne, Hales Early (thefinest early peach), Late Admirable, Princess of Wales,Royal George, Walburton Admirable, Alexander, StirlingCastle (very hardy), Galande, Early Beatrice, and Sea
  • 101. The Peach. 87Eagle, the finest of the late sorts. The best nectarinesare Violet Hative, Byron, Humboldt, Lord Napier (veryearly), Newton, Spenser, and Elruge. The peach is now established in all parts of the worldfavourable to its existence. Captain Head told us longago of the beauty and productiveness of the peach-treesin the neighbourhood of Mendoza, on the eastern side ofthe Andes the extent of the culture in North America, :incredible without, is declared by the figures publishedunder authority. Between the Delaware and the Chesa-peake, and the Brandywine and Cape Charles, it is esti-mated that there are growing at this moment no fewerthan five millions of trees, young and old, covering aboutfifty thousand acres of land. In New Jersey orchards con-taining ten to twenty thousand trees are not uncommon.In the season special trains are chartered to carry theproduce to the great cities. In California, also, the annualyield is The tinned peaches, now becoming well known in England, are received chiefly fromCincinnati. Not that the whole of this vast yield corres-ponds in quality with the English peach. Much of itis useful only as the basis of "peach-brandy," and nosmall proportion is thrown to the hogs. The beginningof this great industry dates only from 1680, before whichyear the peach had not crossed the North Atlantic. Thekernels, it should be added, with those of some of theother stone-fruits, contribute to the flavour of ratafia,maraschino, and other liqueurs, and pre-eminently to themost pernicious of all, the too-famous noyau.
  • 102. 88 Fruits and Fruit-Trees. THE ALMOND ( Amygdalus communis)*THE almond, like the apple, is one of the very ancientfruits. The history of it is bound up with that of eventsrecorded in connection with the nations of over threethousand years ago, as in the touching old story narratedin Genesis xliii., when Jacob directs his sons to " carrydown the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey,spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds," articles, all ofthem, at that period no doubt greatly esteemed in theland of the Pharaohs. The tree producing this fruit is sovery nearly allied to the peach, the general figure andthe foliage corresponding almost exactly, that by somebotanists the last-named is thought to be no more thanan immensely improved descendant of the almond.Plenty of support may be found for this conjecture if weset out predisposed in its There seems, however, necessity to assume the identity. A very marked dis-tinction found in the circumstance already mentioned isin regard to the bursting open of the husk when ripe.The native countries of the two trees are also geographi-cally so farasunder as to imply, it would seem, a specificdifference from the very beginning. The primitive homeof the peach appears to have been China : the almondseems to belong to those parts of Europe, warm and dry,which are bathed by the Levantine Mediterranean, reach-ing thence into western temperate Asia. Upon Hermon * Prunus Amygdalus. In the Hooker and Bentham classification,
  • 103. The Almond. 89and the Lebanon it ascends to the height above the sealevel of five thousand feet it occurs also in Gilead and :in Moab. Whether truly wild in the north of Africa, andeven in Sicily, is uncertain. The nuts from cultivatedtrees germinate, like those of the peach, with so muchreadiness, that the last-named places may hold it only asan ancient colonist. That it was known to the Greeksis shown by the references in Theophrastus, in whosewritings we first meet with the name amygdalus ; andthat it was familiar in Italy in the time of the Romans isproved by the frescoes found at Pompeii. Pliny speaksof it with the delight at once of a naturalist and a poetat heart, dwelling upon the spectacle of the early bloomas one of the loveliest that trees afford. It was this samecircumstance the early bloom, decking every branchwith the most delicate pale rose-colour long beforethe leaves expand that recommended the almond foremployment not only in the figurative language of Scrip-ture, but in the classical myths and fables, as in the oft-told tale of unhappy Phyllis. Phyllis, queen of Thrace,gives welcome to Demophoon while on his way homefrom the Trojan war. He remains at her court awhile ;it is not difficult to guess what happens : when he goes, itis with many promises tocome back, sincerely spoken,but not easy to keep : word is brought to her, in alittle while, untruly, that Demophoon is unfaithful : shedies of grief; the gods, in pity, change her body into analmond-tree : the prince returns, now for the first time tolearn what has happened j he embraces the tree, the N
  • 104. 9O Fruits and Fruit- Trees.spirit of Phyllis is still alive in it, and, conscious of theclasp, comes forth in the shape of a thousand flowers. Isthis to be relegated to the domain of the absurd ? Neverpronounce a thing to be meaningless because on theinstant you do not perceive the secret of its significance.Phyllis has lived and died a thousand times, in every ageand country; the wanderer, on his return, has neverfailed to find the poets almond-tree, womans faithfullove, awaiting him.* When the almond-tree was brought to England is. firstnot known. Probably in the Plantagenet times; possiblymuch earlier, since, in an Anglo-Saxon Catalogue of theeleventh century, it has the name of "eastern nutte-beam." Chaucer alludes to it in the Canterbury Tales " And almandres " . gret plente ;but does not imply that he had seen the tree in thisEngland, though very possibly he had met with it uponthe continent, since the poets are allowed to employ suchnames not only as metaphors, but for the sake of pictu-resque effect in their descriptions. In any case the treehad become common in the gardens in and aroundLondon by the time of Elizabeth. The interest of theChaucerian line consists in the light it throws upon thehistory of the spelling of the name, which is no otherthan a curious modification of the original Greek amyg- * In " " Ovid has bequeathed us one the Epistles of the Heroinessupposed to when in her deepest grief be written by Phylliswithout question the most tender and beautiful composition of itskind extant in any language.
  • 105. The Almond. 91dalus. Wiclif (1388), in Genesis xliii. u, has almmindis,and in Eccles. xii. v., almaunder. The current English almond, appearsspelling, first in the 1 61 1 version of theOld Testament. The cultivation of the tree in England may be said tobe purely for the simple purpose insisted upon by Bacon,"the royal ordering of gardens" so that there may bebeauty in them at all seasons. The blossom comesimmediately after that of the mezereon and the goldenForsythia, captivating, in its far-visible roseate, the mostincurious all three plants delicious in their bringing tomind those sweet little souls who, like Mary WortleyMontagu, pet and plaything of a whole circle of witsand scholars, come into bloom, smiling and sparkling,while barely twelve years old. The stature attained, whenfullgrown, about twenty feet, but flowers come in isprofusion while the tree is not yet more than a third ofthat height. Fruit, and even then not worth gatheringfor table, is only in exceptionally fine, hot ripenedsummers, preceded by mild and uninterrupted springs.A singular merit of the tree, as regards decorative value,is and laburnum, it consents to live in that, like the lilacthe suburbs of cities. For the highest decorative pur-poses, the variety called macrocarpa should, if possible,be procured, the flowers being twice as large as those ofthe accustomed one, often pure white, and remaininglonger in perfection. The fruit of this, as expressed inthe name, is also larger. In either form of the plant itprovides a very curious object for examination, the
  • 106. 92 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.mesocarp, or portion of the fruit which in the peach isjuicy, being in the almond dry and leathery. The almondis subject to a singular malady, which at midsummer,when the tree is viewed from some little distance, gives thespectator an idea of large bright red flowers or fruits, veryodd and perplexing, till examined. Then it is found thatcertain of the leaves have been attacked by a parasiticfungus, called Ascomyces deformans. The fungus livesinside the leaf, and bursts through the skin, the entireleaf being at the same time most curiously bulged andcurled. Peach-trees are subject to attack by the sameenemy. The only cure for it, or method of preventingrecurrence, is to pick off the infected leaves and burnthem. The almonds of the shops are brought chiefly from thesouth of France and Spain. Great quantities are ripened,in particular, in Provence, the blossoms being thereseldom injured by frost. A few are received also fromItaly and from Barbary. Those used for culinary pur-poses, the dingy-brown, flattish, and somewhat dustyones the poorer sort called "Valencias," came origi-nally from the province of that name. The moreelongated, rounder, and clear-skinned variety used for thetable, are "Jordan" almonds. Not that they haveanything to do with the renowned river of Palestine, allbeing received from Malaga. The epithet came intoexistence through a mistaken understanding of the nameby which this fruit is called in the Promptorium Parvu-lorum, the celebrated old English -Latin Dictionary
  • 107. The Almond. 93 "compiled in 1440 by Geoffrey the Grammarian," viz.,"Jardyne almaunde, amigdalum jardinum," literally acultivated or garden almond.* How much older than " "1440 Jardyne may be, there is at present no evidenceto show. In tracing the history of words it is importantto remember that all words were spoken before they werewritten, and that the occurrence of a given word in litera-ture simply proves, at all events as a rule, that the wordwas already established, and known to people in general.How many words in our own colloquial have yet to berecognized by authors The corruption took place !before the Elizabethan age, Gerard saying of this variety, " "that it is vulgarly called a Jordan almond," vulgarly"meaning colloquially, as when Scripture is ordered to beread in the "vulgar tongue." The most delicate of allthe known varieties is that one called in France LaPrincesse, the shell of which is so thin that it yields to theweakest fingers. None of these come to England, unlessas curiosities. When almonds are shelled before exporta-tion, the trouble and cost of the process is covered by thevalue of the refuse, which serves excellently for domesticfuel. Bitter almonds are the produce of a variety called,because of their flavour, amara. In figure, leaf, and it does not differ from the sweet, or "blossom, dulcis."These are charged with amygdalin, the base of prussicor hydrocyanic acid. Great care has to be exercisedin dealing with them, no vegetable poison being more * Camden Societys Edit, 1843, ? 2 S7-
  • 108. 94 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.energetic. The oil is especially dangerous. Sweet-almond a very different substance quite harmless, oil isand hence put to varied uses, among which is the manu-facture from it of Kalydor, and the famous "RowlandsMacassar." The abundance of the oil renders almondsrather difficult of digestion, at all events with peoplewhose digestive powers are weak. Eaten in moderationthey are nutritious and demulcent. When placed uponthe table ready shelled, as when mingled with raisins fordessert, they should always be previously blanched, thebrown skin being possessed of irritant properties. In 1880 the total quantity of almonds of all descrip-tions brought into this country, was 86,763 cwts.,valued at .334,713. The bitter ones were chieflyfrom Mogador. THE APRICOT (Armeniaca vulgaris)*THE Apricot is that beautiful yellow stone-fruit, nearlyglobular, fully an inch and a half in diameter, and furrowedon one side, the complexion of which moved Mr. Ruskin "to describe itshining in sweet brightness of golden asvelvet." Excepting in the southernmost counties, inEngland it does not ripen successfully unless the tree betrained, like the peach, against a wall facing the sun.The gloriousness of the spectacle presented by the tree * " Prunus Armeniaca of Linnaeus and Genera Plantarum," see p. 80.
  • 109. The Apricot. 95when in its natural condition, and in full bearing, com-pares well with that even of the peach. Not far inferior,after all, is the sight of a first-class apricot, even incaptivity, when in full harvest. So few fruits raised inEngland are literally of "golden" hue, that the tree isthen little less precious as an ornamental one. Thestature attained, when growing in the open, is twenty orthirty feet. After infancy it never loses time, soon reach-ing maturity, but the lease of existence is short. Inspring and summer it is told at once from all other fruit-trees by the shape of the leaves, these being roundishcordate. They are glabrous, also, on both surfaces. The coming in March and April,flowers precede the leaves,and presenting the accustomed rosaceous symmetry ofform pertaining to the Drupiferae in general; the petalsare white, or lightly touched with pink. The apricot canstand a good deal of cold, provided the tree be kept dry.While the fruit is in its early stages, a capital protectionfor supplied by a shield of pine-tree branches. it is As expressed in the Latin generic name, this admirabletree isbelieved to be a native of Armenia, though Koch,who spent so long a time in exploring that country,and the regions adjacent, says that he never met with itthereabouts truly wild. Upon the Caucasus, it ascendsthe mountain sides, almost to the summit; it occurs also and Japan. The move-in Thibet, Afghanistan, China,ment westwards would seem to have been slow andrather late. No mention, either of the fruit or of thetree, is made in classical literature before the time of
  • 110. 96 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Dioscorides. The Romans themselves seem to havebeen imperfectly acquainted with it, though it is to theirlanguage that the name is finally traceable. What mayhave been the repute during the middle ages is altogetherunknown. In England it appears to have been first seenabout A.D. 1524, temp. Henry VIII., whose chief gardener,one Wolfe, a catholic priest, is said to have procured orbrought it from Italy. Rather too tender for northernEurope, in Egypt and in Syria all disasters encounteredelsewhere are fully compensated. No place in the worldis more famous for its apricots than the neighbourhood ofCairo. The gardens thereabouts contain, it is estimated,not fewer than sixty thousand trees, standards, like theapples in English orchards. The price of the fruit in themarkets is what would be represented in English coinby a penny or three-halfpence per pound. Such of itas does not get consumed while fresh is made into aluscious paste, by then rolling the mass slightly drying,till quite flat, incorporating almond kernels, and thendrying again. Damascus is almost as well provided asCairo. Here, also, a large portion of the produce is driedfor winter use, but chiefly after the manner of figs. Thestones are collected for exportation, the kernels to beused in the manufacture of noyau. Bokhara seems tobe in no degree behind. In Dr. Lansdells very interest-ing new work upon Russian Central Asia, in which somethirty-five pages are devoted to the Flora of this little-known region, "the first thing that struck me," says theauthor, "was the enormous size of the apricot-trees,
  • 111. The Apricot. 97standing like avenues of old English pears, from thirtyto forty feet high, with a circumference of trunk, nearthe base, of four to five feet." The best kinds of apricot for cultivation in Englandare those called Large Early, Blenheim, Royal, andMoor Park. Hitherto thisfruit has not succeeded wellin the forcing-house, but the prospects, under Mr. Riversmodes of treatment, are decidedly encouraging, and inthis we may fruit, when ripened rejoice, the flavour of theunder glass, being immensely superior to such as itacquires in the open air. Being very perishable, yetfairly solid, the apricot recommends itself excellentlyfor preserving, and no less so for the method of dryingpractised in Italy, where the fruit is cut in half, thestone removed, and then spread out awhile in a spentoven. These dried halves are the " Italian apricots " ofthe shops. In the names borne by fruits, as already illustrated,we have many curious examples of the vicissitudes ofwords. The derivation of " quince " from Cydon hasbeen cited as one of the oddest. That of " apricot " isstill more remarkable. According to Professor Skeat, itbegins in the old Roman epithet applied to this fruit "prcecox, early,"meaning the fruit which precedes othersof its class. Another form of the word was pracoquus,having for its old neuter plural prcecoqua. Travellinginto Greece, prtzcoqua became TrpaiKOKtov, plural irpaiKOKia,and this being adopted by the Arabs, with whom thetree was now beginning to be planted extensively in o
  • 112. 98 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.northern Africa, and who prefixed their well-known defi-nite article a/, the result making allowance for theusual alphabetical changes was al-barquq. The last-named then got into the Portuguese language, and thespelling changed again. From the Portuguese it movedinto French, and so, at last, into our own, taking theshape, at first of "apricock," as found in Shakspere, andeventually, though not till 1782, of "apricot." The mostcurious circumstance is that the initial #, now indissolublyattached, should be the Arabic al abbreviated, certifyingthe ancient journey of the word eastwards and then backagain, like a tourist-ticket. THE CHERRY-LAUREL ( Prunus Lauro-cerasus ).THE Cherry-laurel, to call the plant by its proper name,is the well-known glossy evergreen ordinarily called thelaurel. Strictly speaking, it is not a laurel at all, this veryancient appellation belonging, legitimately, to the treesand shrubs which constitute the genus Laurus. Foremostamong the latter is the common Bay, Laurus nobilis, thetree always intended by "laurel" in mediaeval literature, " freshand in the poets, until quite recently. Chaucersgreen laurel" is the Bay, the scent corresponding with"the eglantere full well." So is the laurel which inanother place he associates with the wild honeysuckle " Some of and some full pleasantly, laurel, Had chapelets of woodbine."
  • 113. The Cherry-Laurel. 99The "laurel" always identified in story with honour andtriumph, and used as the emblem of victory, as whenchaplets are placed upon the brows of princes and con-querors, is also the Bay. The confusion or carelessnesswhich led, in the sixteenth century, to the extension of thename to the Prunus is much to be regretted. To restoreit to the Laurus nobilis, the rightful owner, isnow forever impracticable, considering all the circumstances ; theleast that could be done would be to call the usurperalways, as we do here, the C/^rry-laurel. To describe so common a plant is scarcely needful,except for completeness sake. Every one knows thelarge ovate-lanceolate yellowish green leaves, and thefine contrast they present to the foliage of other gardenshrubs. When old enough to bloom, every one who hasthe opportunity of contemplating the tree in April andMay, knows too, full well, how it covers itself withlong and erect racemes of white honey-scented flowers ;followed, in propitious seasons, by clusters of rich black- "purple fruit resembling damsons. A tree," by the way,though we speak of it as one, the cherry-laurel does notdeserve to be called. At the best, it is only a hugerambling shrub, disposed to be semi-prostrate. Thiscomes of the shoots elongating fast, but not increasingproportionately in thickness, so that they cannot helpreclining. Whenin full fruit, the appearance is verystriking, the bunches bearing no distant likeness to smallclusters of the variety of grape called " Lady Downes."Though the leaves are charged with poisonous matter,
  • 114. i oo Fruits and Fruit- Trees.corresponding with the amygdaline of the peach-tree,in which the kernels go shares, the pulpy portion ofthe fruit is perfectly innocuous, and not only so, butfairly palatable and nice. When large, plump, and well-ripened, it makes an interesting addition to the Octoberdessert. It supplies material, also, for a capital tart, agood jelly, and an excellent jam; but in making these,because of the poisonous matter, the stones should firstbe removed, a process quite easy, as they readily partfrom the flesh. The Cherry-laurel is a native of Asia Minor, theCrimea, and the northern parts of Persia, coming intoEurope barely three hundred years ago. From theaccount given by Clusius, the famous botanist of Vienna,in the sixteenth century, it would seem to have been firstcultivated in the neighbourhood of Constantinople. Itwas from that place that the original plant was sentto Clusius, in 1576, as one of many curious novelties,all of which, excepting the cherry-laurel and the horse-chestnut, perished on the way from the severity of the cold.The particulars related by Clusius as to the difficulty heexperienced in establishing his little protegee, have all thecharm of a romance of human life. It was six feet high,and bore the name on arrival of Trebison Cumani, " thedate of Trebisond." The Italians, to this day, call itLauro di Trabesonda. It was by Clusius, the originalrecipient, that it was named Lauro-cerasus. Parkinsonsays that inEngland it was first cultivated at Highgate,by a Mr. Cole, a London merchant, who used to cover it
  • 115. The Cherry -Laurel. 101in winter with a blanket. The susceptibility to damageby severe frost which in England, every ten or twentyyears, brings so much sorrow to the cherry-laurel, wouldseem to have been detected, or at all events foreboded,on its first arrival. By 1688, according to Ray, the cherry-laurel hadbecome quite common in English gardens ; and now wehave many beautiful varieties, the handsomest of which,and most distinct, for ornamental shrubbery purposes, isthe Colchican, introduced from Belgium in 1841. A very curious parallel exists between this plant andthe yew-tree, though they are in no degree related. Inboth, the kernels and the leaves are poisonous; in both,at the same time, the succulent portion of the fruit is freefrom anything deleterious, so strange is the associationsometimes indulged in by nature, of good and evil in thesame production, lifeand death walking arm in arm. Thefruit of the yew is never gathered, like that of the cherry-laurel, for table ; it is left to the thrushes, by which all issoon cleared away boys are apt to eat it, but then a boy :is an animal that will eat anything at any time. As with the Pomiferse, so in the plum-family thereappear to be several species which only await skill andenterprise to be lifted to the rank of acknowledged fruit-trees. First may be mentioned the Prunus cerasifera,the "cherry-plum" or "Myrobalan plum," the cerisette ofthe French, well so named, a dish of them more nearly
  • 116. i o2 Fruits and Fru it- Trees.resembling one of pale red cherries than of plums. Theflesh is yellowish, sweet, with a slight acidity, and juicy.Though pleasant to eat just as it comes from the tree,the fruit is better adapted for tarts, and for preservinglike ordinary plums and cherries. The production of itin England rare and scanty, owing to the exceeding isearliness of the bloom, and consequent exposure of thestill tender produce to the frosts only too frequent inMarch and The tree attains the height of thirty April.or forty feet, and when in flower, especially when placednear dark evergreens, is for beauty unexcelled. Thenative country is unknown. Whether or not it is to beconsidered a true "species" is also doubtful. Dr. Hookerthinks it may be referable to the Prunus insititia Kochconsiders it a form of the P. divaricata of the Caucasianprovinces. A coloured drawing is given in the BotanicalMagazine, pi. 5,934 (1871). Then comes the Prunus Pissardt, which itself may beonly a variety of the cerasifera, though received fromTauris, a town about two hundred and thirty miles fromTeheran. The specific name was bestowed in compli-ment to M. Pissard, gardener to the Shah of Persia.The foliage is remarkable for its deep claret-red colour;the ovoid fruits, produced in abundance, almost exactlymatch it, and, though small, have afairly good flavour. The "Mume" Prunus Mume, and the Prunus of Japan,tomentosa, from the same country, seem also to containelements of merit, waiting to be developed, though, intruth, the trees themselves are as yet very uncommon.
  • 117. The Mume. 103The fruit of the Mume is half-way between an apricotand a plum. The fruit of the tomentosa, figured inSiebold and Zuccarinis Flora Japonica, pi. 22, is of abrilliantred or scarlet colour, and in shape somewhatresembles a small apple. Lastly, there is the prettypink-flowered Chinese shrub called Prunus (or Amyg-dalopsis) triloba, the little round fruits, when mature,reddish-orange colour. Great botanical interest attachesto this plant, on account of there being several, usuallyfive or six, drupes to every flower.
  • 118. BERRIES. " In her days, every man shall eat in safety Under his own vine, what he plants, and sing The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours ; God shall be truly known, and those about her, From her shall read the ways of perfect honour, " And by those claim their greatness, not by blood. King Henry the Eighth, v. 4. TRICTLY speaking, or in the precise and technical sense of the term, as understood by botanists, a "berry" is a fruit of the kind illus- trated in grapes and currants a thin-skinned bag of juice, or of very soft pulp, containing several seeds, or at times only a single seed.The word is of very ancient extraction, belonging to thenorthern nations, and coming proximately from the Anglo-Saxon berige or berga, with the primitive sense, it would
  • 119. The Grape. 105seem, of "edible fruit." Hence, no doubt, the broad useof it in the names strawberry, raspberry, blackberry,mulberry, all of which designate fruits quite different instructure from true, or botanical berries, as will appearby-and-by. Genuine berries are very common, thoughthe number of eatable kinds comparatively small. They isbelong almost exclusively to the plants of temperatecountries, tropical sunshine being too powerful for them,and are very generally of bright and attractive colours.The grape, the currant, the gooseberry, the berbery, thewhortle-berry, the cranberry, the elder-berry, are in Britainthe chief representatives. THE GRAPE (Vitis vinifera).OTHER fruits, it may be conceded, are more generally ormore variously useful, but it remains true that the mostillustrious is the Grape. The grape is a kind of "GoodSamaritan;" it is the source of that which "maketh gladthe heart of man;" the plant producing it holds thehighest place in scriptural metaphor allowed to any indi-vidualmember of the vegetable kingdom. The historycan hardly be said to have a beginning ; it is lost uponthe horizon of the remotest past. The oldest literature inthe world, and the oldest monuments in the world, alikedeal with the vine as with something long since familiar,an inheritance from days yet older. The fig-tree was thefirst to be made useful by mankind the leaves supplying
  • 120. 1 06 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.apparel, the first factor in human uprise ; and the first tocome into view after the subsidence of the waters was theolive; but the first of the fruit-trees planted with a viewtoconsuming the produce was the vine. Noah seems tohave come direct, as it were, from the sublime covenantof the Rainbow, when "he began to be a husbandman,and planted a vineyard." Among the drawings upon thewalls of the tombs in ancient Egypt are representationsof every circumstance connected with the culture of thevine; the treading of the grapes for wine-making is alsopictured, and the storing of the wine in earthen jars.Homer, when he bestows epithets upon cities of renown,and wishes to make them appear enviable and joyous,employs the epithets a//7reXoete and TroXvora^vXoe, literally"rich in vines," and "possessed of many clusters ofgrapes." The same poet introduces the vine upon theshield of Achilles. In every other classical author wefind some allusion that similarly declares the primaevalfame, Virgil again referring to the imitation of it inworks of Art. How beautiful the description of thebeechen cups carved by Alcimedon, "round which acurling vine, superadded by the easy-moving graver,mantles the bunches diffused from the pale ivy." Ivy-trails, he means, surrounded the upper portion, whilevine-trails rose under each handle, the leaves blending insuch a way as to leave lateral spaces for the figures whichhe then proceeds to mention. It is nothing less thanconsistent with its noble nature that this incomparableplant, the Vitis vim/era, should always be foremost in
  • 121. The Grape. 107design. All miniatures and dainty little pictures wereoriginally encircled with representations of the foliage.Hence, the French word being vigne, we still call suchminiatures vignettes. The native country of the grape-vine was long a matterof uncertainty and dispute. It is now tolerably welldetermined that the original locality was the tract whichstretches from the hills on the southern border of theCaspian, in latitude 37, to the shores of the Persian Gulfand the Indian Ocean, and eastwards, through Khorassanand Cabul, to the base of the Himala3 as. At the present Tday, in the Caucasus of Cashmere, it climbs to the tops ofthe tallest trees, disporting itself with all the luxuriantcarelessness of a tropical passion-flower, and producingfruit inabundance, especially when near streams of water.That these seemingly wild vines are the absolute descend-ants or posterity of the primaeval plants must not be toohastily or certainly concluded. They may possibly beno more than mementoes of ancient cultivation in thoseparticular spots, just as in England at the presentdaywe often find memorials of gardens and orchards longsince extinguished. The pathetic lines, " Near yonder copse, where once a garden smiled, And still where many a garden flower grows wild,"supply a text, we may be sure, illustrated in every countrywhere man has tilled the soil. Birds, too, would carry theseeds far and wide. The vines apparently wild in someparts of southern Europe, as in Greece and Italy, arealmost certainly by derivation from the primitive vine-
  • 122. 1 08 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.yards. Doubts exist, indeed, as to whether the vine, aswe have it to-day, may not be, after all, like the cultivatedpear, the outcome of the intermarrying, in the firstages, of two or more ruder species. These, it is thoughtpossible, may be the Indian forms of Vitis named byRoxburgh lattfolta, parvifolia, and lanata. The phrase "wild vine,"important here to indi- it iscate, has in the A.V. of the Old Testament a verydifferent signification. Nothing could be more naturalduring the up -growth of language than that the word" vine " should pass on from the grape-producing plant toany other of similar habit constituted, that is, of long,limp, and pliant shoots, and prone to mount into treesand tall shrubs, either by spiral twining, after the mannerof the hop and the wild honeysuckle, or by means of the" " little strong embrace of tendrils, as shown in passion-flowers, the bryony, the melon, and the cucumber, whichlast are by nature arboreal plants, and when cultivated inframes, and prostrate upon the ground, are like the birdsof the woodland when imprisoned in cages. It is inreference to a plant of the same family as the cucumbernamely, the colocynth that the phrase "wild vine" occursin the A.V., being applied to it in the famous narrativeof the gathering of the bitter fruit in 2 Kings iv. Apart altogether from its value as a source of fruit, thevine a singularly elegant plant. The height to which isthe slim shoots can ascend has an image in the tree-mantling ivy of old England. One of the branches ofthe celebrated vine at Hampton Court reaches to the
  • 123. The Grape. 109distance, from the root, of a hundred and fourteen feet.Many shoots always run in company, as imaged again in "the wild clematis, or Travellers joy." When trained, asit easily may be, so as to climb into a Lombardy poplar,or even into a laburnum, assisted a little at first, thenallowed to do as pleases,it soon presents a wonderfully itcharming appearance. After a few years growth, thegreat arms swing themselves in the most fantastic mannerfrom bough to bough, throwing out graceful pendants andfestoons, such as are within the power of no otherligneous plant of temperate latitudes. Throughout thesummer it is dressed with the large, broad leaves, five toten inches across, so loved and admired by Art, andwhich, though substantial, are yet sufficiently thin, andthough plentiful, sufficiently far apart, to allow easy andpleasant passage to the sunlight. Their long slim stalks,and the great angular spaces in the blade, again givehelp, so that a use for the vine even more delightful yetmay be secured, and that is for the summer-roofing of anarbour. Looked at from below, the idea they give thenof lucid green has counterpart only in the translucent itsverdure of a grove of young beeches in the month ofMay. In autumn, before they drop, they turn deepyellow, clouded or veined with crimson, and in somevarieties become purely and wholly crimson, rivals thenof the sugar-maple, more brilliant in death than in thefull vigour of existence. The climbing is accomplishedby means, as said above, of the "tendrils," those inno-cent green fingers which in their general history, many
  • 124. 1 1 o Fruits and Fruit- Trees.other plants producing similar ones, are so wonderful asto provide a distinct subject of botanical study. Theyare not new organs. Every one of the tendrils representswhat might have been a bunch of grapes. They area kind of supernumerary foundations or beginnings ofbunches, developed in the form we find them, to compen-sate the weakness of the shoots, and to enable them totake their well-deserved place aloft. That such is thetrue nature of the tendrils of the vine is quite evidentfrom their arising from the leaf-axils, and being oftentuberculated with rudimentary flower-buds. The flowersmake no show. Like those of the oak, they can affordto be unpretentious. But how curiously formed The !five petals cohere at the tips, but are free at the base.The opening takes place by their detaching themselvesfrom the receptacle ; they are then carried upwards bythe elongation of the stamens, and finally they drop offin the shape of a pretty little five-rayed star. Theflowers have the merit, also, of being honey-scented theattribute alluded to in the delicious picture in the Song " The her greenof Solomon : fig-tree putteth forth figs,and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. "* As forArise, my love, my fair one, and come away ! * The Hebrew word employed in this passage, semadhar, is quitedifferent from the term which denotes ripened grapes. It occursalso in ii. 15, and in vii. 12, but nowhere else in Scripture. The " "amended version in the Revised is : "The fig-tree ripeneth her green figs, And the vines are in blossom, They give forth their fragrance."
  • 125. The Grape. 1 1 1the fruit, the variety it affords, under cultivation, alike inform, colour, and flavour, is inexhaustible. The latter wecan always depend upon as sure to be elevated, generous,dulcet, unalloyed. By rights, every berry should containfive seeds. It is seldom, however, that more than threecome to maturity. The potential longevity of the vine is unquestionablyvery great; some think it can live for centuries. So is theattainable bulk of the principal stem, feeble and attenu-ated as the branches are. History furnishes examples ofbulk even prodigious. The statue of Jupiter, made forthe ancient Etrurian city of Populonia, so Pliny tells us,was of vine-wood. So were the architectural ornamentsof the temple of Juno, at Metapontum in Lucania. Ina later age the doors of the cathedral of Ravenna wereconstructed of vine-wood, the planks twelve feet long andfifteen inches wide. These statements, taken in connec-tion with the well-known hardness and compactness ofthe wood when old, are rendered perfectly credible bywhat is certain in regard to the great Californian vine, now no longer in existence, having been cutunfortunatelydown because of ill health in 1875. It stood at Monte-cito, near the sea, in Santa Barbara county, with aromantic incident for the very beginning. A youngSpanish lady was presented by her lover with a riding-whip, the handle of which was made of a vine-cane. Sheplanted it, by his request; it is to be hoped that thecurrent of their own happiness moved part passu : in anycase, it grew so wonderfully, that when cut down the
  • 126. 1 1 2 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.diameter of the trunk at the base was eighteen inches,and at a yard above the ground fourteen inches. Thebranches, which by training spread themselves in alldirections to the number of about twenty, covered overfour thousand square yards of ground. The yearlyproduce varied from seven thousand five hundred to tenthousand bunches, the aggregate weight running fromfive to six tons. The entire plant, sawn into pieces,and reconstructed, complete in everything save life, wassent to the great Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876.On the close of this, the trunk was returned to SanFrancisco and deposited in the museum at Woodwards(a sort of miniature "Crystal Palace"), where it willprobably be preserved after the manner of an ancientGreek statue. The largest and most celebrated vinein England is the famous old Black Hamburgh atHampton Court, planted in 1768, a slip from one atValentines, Ilford, Essex. Originally it was intendedsimply to cover a piece of bare wall. The protectingwith glass was an afterthought, by no means immediate.In ordinary years the produce has been from twelve orthirteen hundred up to eighteen hundred bunches. Invery favourable ones it has ripened no fewer than twothousand two hundred, every bunch well coloured, and fitfor table. This grand old plant is now somewhat on thewane. When all is over, it will be said truthfully thatmore human beings, from first to last, have stood underitsshadow than under any other vine in the world.Possessed of features and qualities so glorious, it seems
  • 127. The Grape. 1 1 3curious that the vine is not more used as a purely decora-tive plant. Poor as the fruit may be, compared with thatof the hothouse, how beautiful the spectacle, common inthe southern counties, occasional in the north, of the vinecovering the cottage-front. Remembering what the vinestands for, metaphorically, in Scripture, one of the goodsigns of the growth in our country of pure taste in mattersof church-ornament, which, when dealt with lovingly, asby the Plantagenet architects, is shown outside as well asinside, will be planting a vine beside the porch, andtraining it so as to form an archway to the House ofGod. Any attempt to trace the history of the original diffu-sion of the vine must needs be hopeless. Nothing,probably, will ever be ascertained of earlier date than thetime of Julius Caesar, who, after his subjugation of ancientGaul, B.C. 55, took possession of the Valley of the Rhine,and soon introduced many kinds of fruit from Italy.From Ausonius we learn that the banks of the Mosellepossessed this plant by the middle of the fourth century,at which period, also, grapes were grown in the neigh-bourhood of primitive Paris, but it was not for quite acouple of centuries afterwards that the cultivation becamegeneral either in Germany or France. Charlemagne, thatadmirable patron of the useful arts, horticulture in parti-cular, gave grape-growing his warmest encouragement.The introduction into England took place under the laterRoman governors. Vineyards would seem to have beenfirst planted in our island about A.D. 280. They are Q
  • 128. ii4 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.mentioned in the earliest Saxon charters, and plainly ashaving been found in the country by the Saxons, notmade by them. The religious fraternities of the darkages, spreading out of Italy in all directions, helped todisseminate useful vegetables and fruits. Vineyards,under their influence, as well as gardens and orchards,became customary adjuncts to the monasteries. Theyare mentioned in Domesday Book as existing in Kent,Middlesex, Hampshire, Wilts, Dorset, Hertfordshire, Nor-folk,and Suffolk, and continued to be common for manycenturies after the Conquest. During the wars of theRoses all the best of them seem to have been utterlyruined, excepting such as pertained to the ecclesiasticalinstitutions, and these likewise perished at the time ofthe Reformation. Since then, the culture of the vine inEngland has been carried on with regard chiefly to the an elegant addition to the table.fruit as There is noreason, however, why the ancient cultivation out-of-doorsfor the sake of wine-manufacture should not in somemeasure be restored. There are plenty of sunny slopeswhere the plant would thrive just as it did of old. Itis certain that there has been no deterioration in the would hinder if any change, it haslocal climate such as :been one of improvement, such as is promoted by thedrainage of moor and fen. What is wanting to ensuresuccess is not another climate, but care and pains in thecultivation. The beginning of the now universal system of forcing,or accelerating the production of grapes, by means of
  • 129. The Grape. 1 1 5artificial heat, dates from in or about 1705. Lawrence,in his "Fruit-Gardener," 1718, informs us that the firstto attempt was the Duke of Rutland, who, at Belvoir itCastle, "kept fires constantly burning behind slope walls,"whereby he was rewarded "even with the best Frontig-nacs, in July." These "slope walls" were at first opento the weather. The protection of the vines with glasswas a later idea. How grand the achievements of themodern grape-grower needs no telling. The finest grapesin the world are those now produced in English hot-houses. A more interesting sight is nowhere presentedthan where there are several houses in succession, thegrapes in all stages, from bloom to approaching maturity.Very interesting, too, is the fact that while England im-ports grapes from continental Europe in quantities so vastthat they are sold in the streets like apples, England alsoraises grapes for export. not generally known, but It isnone the less one of the curiosities of modern commerce,that Copenhagen and St. Petersburg are largely suppliedwith grapes from Yorkshire, grapes grown in the greatvineries at Corwick Hall, near Goole. For safe transitto those cities, the bunches are wrapped separately intissue-paper, then placed endways in boxes about sixteeninches square, with a good layer of cork-dust underneath.Nothing could more curiously illustrate the broad prin-ciple that England manufactures some of everything, andmore or less, for all the world. The imported grapescommonly sold in the markets, as well known, arechiefly of the so-called "white" description, the berries
  • 130. 1 1 6 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.large and oval. These are brought principally fromAlmeria, in Spain, Portugal, and Sicily. The round-berried "black" ones, not so common, but very good,are mostly from Hamburg. The magnitude of the bunches often produced inEnglish hot-houses sometimes prodigious. is At theInternational Fruit Exhibition, held in the ManchesterBotanical Gardens, at the close of August, 1881, therewas shown a cluster of "Black Hamburgh" from LambtonCastle, Durham, the weight of which was 13 Ib. 4 oz. Itrecalled to mind the famous bunch brought from Eshcolby the spies, with their other samples of the productsof the Promised Land, and which was borne "on a staffbetween two." From these words we must be carefulnot to infer more than is really meant. There is noneed to exaggerate in the way that has often beendone in pictures. The two men slung it, in all likeli-hood, not because the weight taxed their strength, butto prevent damage and bruising, simply anticipatingthe precautions adopted by modern gardeners and allfruit-dealers. Huge bunches, after all, are objects morefor wonder than desire. They are not so satisfactoryas good medium clusters. The grape-growers triumphconsists in a nice evenly-finished and well-ripened crop,free from anything sensational. A bunch of inordinatesize cannot have a portion removed without the appear-ance, if the whole be not just then wanted, beingspoiled; two or three comparatively small bunches,side by side we speak of dessert give a far pleasanter
  • 131. The Grape. 1 1 7impression of beauty ; and if all three, or even half, arenot required for immediate consumption, no harm isdone to the symmetry of what is left. The choice of the varieties to be selected for cultiva-tion in the vinery is, of necessity, like that of the choiceof apples and pears for the garden, a matter that mustbe very much ruled by circumstances and personal con-siderations. Early grapes are wanted, intermediate ones,and late. Black grapes also, and white; with all thatpleasant change of sort which is supplied in the varieddetail of taste and substance, some kinds being moreremarkable for juiciness, others for lusciousness, aroma,or superb colour. Potential size of cluster and of indi-vidual berry, and time of endurance in nice condition,are also features of different sorts which give them claimsto preference in regard to the special objects withwhich the fruit is cultivated. Among the most generallyesteemed, the varieties over the merits of which there islittle no difference of opinion are the or sorts called bythe following names : BLACK GRAPES.Black Hamburgh. Universally known, and deservedly the highest in repute for general cultivation.Black Alicante. That excellent grape which, if left on the vine, goes on steadily improving, even up to Christ- mas, by which time it becomes almost a sweetmeat.Gros Maroc. The berries of this are very large, and distinguished for their fine "bloom."
  • 132. 1 1 8 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Gros Colman. The berries of this one also are very large. It is one of the varieties noted for keeping well.Madresfield Court. For the development of its best qualities this one should have a house to itself. The bunches then hang for many months without shrivelling.Lady Downed Seedling. The clusters of this may be kept on the vines until Easter. WHITE GRAPES.White Muscat of Alexandria. Of all grapes at present known, this one is unquestionably the queen. The vines are unsurpassed in good constitution and fecundity. When perfectly ripe, the size of the bunch, the complexion, and the taste leave nothing to be desired.Early Muscat. Excellent in being the earliest of the class.Tokay Frontignan. Also very early, and, like the first- named, very prolific.Buckland Sweet-water. Another of the very generously productive sorts, and well adapted for a cool vinery.Chasselas de Fontainebleau. Very juicy, and remarkable for its aroma.Ferdinand de Lesseps. The colour a charming amber; the flavour peculiar, a mixture of muscat and straw- berry.The last-named is one of the sorts obtained by "crossing,"the vine being one of the plants which submit themselves
  • 133. The Grape. 119readily to the practice of artificial fertilization, or thetransfer by hand of the pollen of the flowers of onevariety to the blossoms of another and different kind, thepractice to which we owe the greater portion of our fancyroses and rhododendrons, modern in the carrying out,but foretold in the immortal dialogue in the WintersTale: "This is an art, Which does mend nature change it rather, but The art itself is nature."What stores of unexpected wealth have yet to be broughtto the front by means of human skill and enterprise it isimpossible even to conjecture. The undiscovered secretsof nature, we may be sure, are not less wonderful anddelectable than the disclosures already before us. Mean-while there is enough to do in making the best of thematchless sorts we are possessed of, and in working outnew and elegant devices in regard to the use of the vineas an ornament even for our dwellings. How classic andrefreshing when grown, a pot, as a little for instance, instandard, and trained to dimensions such as adapt it forthe centre of the table, the seven or eight bunches offruit,then quite easily at command, depending frombeneath the broad green leafy crown. The appearanceof a little vine thus trained is so exceedingly rich as toelicit warmer admiration than even the loveliest epergneof flowers. The best sort to employ for this purpose isthe common Black Hamburgh. A different set of varieties should be resorted to forcultivation in the open air. There are several sorts which
  • 134. 1 20 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.yield capital crops of fruit in seasons at all complacent,at all events in the southern counties, and if care betaken to plant these, there is, on the average, a veryplentiful reward. Not that to attempt grape-growing ona large scale out-of-doors, except for the manufacture ofwine, is worth while, perhaps, as a commercial under-taking, the seasons being so uncertain, and the supply of from abroad being so large and so cheaplytable-fruitobtained. But there is so much beauty and interest inconnection with the fruiting of a vine in ones owngarden as a source of enjoyment that not to secure it isa pity. The best kinds for outdoor culture are, takingfirst the purple-fruited, Esperione, Muscat Lierval, andBlack Cluster; and among the amber-tinted, or "white,"Muscat St. Laurent, Chasselas Vibert, Chasselas de Fon-tainebleau, and Tokay Frontignan. The above-mentionedFerdinand de Lesseps also seems to do well. Once again like the apple, the vine has found its wayto all countries where the climate allows of the ripeningof the In very cold regions it refuses to grow, and fruit.within twenty-five or even thirty degrees of the equatorit seldom flourishes, too much solar heat being no lessunwelcome than the reverse. The special interest of thecircumstance consists in the prelude this wide diffusionforms to the manufacture by the various countries of theirown wines. Wine has long been made at the Cape ofGood Hope. Australia is rapidly developing this newindustry. One of the most promising of the wines ofthe future is that which is made in large quantities at
  • 135. Raisins. 121Cincinnati and St. Louis, and sold under the name of" Florida and California are in no Sparkling Catawba."degree behind. It was only in 1860 that wine-makingbecame an occupation in Algeria, yet in three years thequantity produced was no less than one million fivehundred thousand imperial gallons, and by 1884 it hadrisen, to over nineteen million seven hundred thousandgallons. Renowned as Egypt was in the days of thePharaohs and the Ptolemys for its wine, none at all isnow made there, the use of it being forbidden by theKoran. There are plenty of vines. The number is esti-mated at two hundred and twenty-five thousand, of whichthere are near Alexandria fifty-five thousand, and nearCairo fifty thousand, but the yield of these is employedsimply for repast. It is melancholy to reflect that a plantofutility so vast, and capable of cultivation so extended,should have enemies so dire as the oidium and thephylloxera. In this respect, after all, it is by no meansexceptional, the apple, the cereals, the potato, being, aswell known, assailed, all in their turn, by some kind ofdestructive malady. In countries where the processes which begin withdrying the fruit can be put into successful practice,certain kinds of grapes are converted into Raisins, thepleasant form of the sweet gift of the vine which inEngland is always bound up so specially with thoughtsof Christmas. The manufacture is exceedingly ancient,several references to raisins occurring in the historicalbooks of the Old Testament, as in the celebrated story R
  • 136. 122 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.of David and the pretty and discreet Abigail, i Sam. xxv.1 8, also in i Sam. xxx. 12, 2 Sam. xvi. i, and i Chron.xii. 40. In all these passages the phrase employed in " bunches of raisins or " clusters of "the A. V. is eitherraisins," the Revised reducing all to the uniformity of"clusters." There is reason to believe that, although"clusters" is the term approved by the Revisers, theoriginal Hebrew word, tsimmuqim, denotes, rather, com-pressed masses or cakes of the dried fruit, such as arestillprepared for winter consumption. The etymologyallows of either view, the sense of tsimmuqim beingsimply that which has been desiccated. These cakes arealsospoken of in the Old Testament under the name ofashishah, this latter term involving, perhaps, the addedidea of dried figs. It occurs in 2 Sam. vi. 19, in i Chron.xvi. 3, in Hosea iii. i, where the article in question ismentioned as one of the offerings made to idols; and verycuriously, in the Song of Solomon, when the Bride, feelingfaint, cries out, "Stay me with ashishah; comfort mewith apples." The early translators thought that ashishahmeant "flagons of wine" the phrase employed in the " raisin "A. V. The genuine sense, cakes," or cakes of has long been familiar to scholars.raisins," Happily theRevised has now placed it distinctly before the world, " "giving us, in place of Stay me with flagons " Stay ye me with raisins, Comfort me with apples."All the other passages in which ashishah occurs havebeen similarly corrected.
  • 137. Raisins. 123 The classical authors likewise allude to raisins, as whenthe nymph in Theocritus, who prefers maidenhood toan ill-assorted marriage, and who knows that age has itsblessedness as well as youth, uses the happy metaphorthat grapes, though dried into raisins, are still delicious,(xxvii. 9.) Just as at the present day, so is it plainthat there were loveable "old maids" long before two " "thousand years ago. Many an old maid among thoselaughed at by the pert, the ignorant, and the vulgar, iswhat we find her because too high-minded, too recherchein her gentle and educated tastes to have been satisfiedwith any one of the opportunities of marriage she had inthe bygones. She has never, in a word, condescended tomarry. Happiness does not consist in being married,but in a contented frame of mind. Whatever their socialposition, men and women are capable only of a certainamount of happiness, and to imagine that marriage is thesovereign cure for all disquietudes is to imagine that itcan change ones nature. Theocritus was quite right inhis doctrine, though the nymph is made to deal with it "sportively grapes they must be grapes : dried intoraisins are still delicious." Virgil recommends raisins asproper for the bees, when suffering from the casualtieswhich at times befall their useful little lives. It is in hislanguage that we name, which is a find the origin of thecurious derivation from the Latin racemus, "a bunchof grapes," the meaning it held as late as the time ofChaucer : " For no man at the firste stroke, Ne may not fel adoune an oke ;
  • 138. 1 24 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. Nor of the reisins have the wine Till grapes be ripe and well afine."*Widely dispersed over the world as the vine is in itself,there are very few localities where the preparation ofraisins can be accomplished successfully. Particular kindsof soil are necessary for the vines, and the conditions ofclimate where the fruit can be cured are rare and limited.For perfect results, the grapes must be dried in theopen air, in contact with a dry and heated soil, in anatmosphere void of all dampness, secure from rain anddew, and saturated, for the time being, with the hottestsunshine. These conditions are combined in certainparts of Spain ; at their best, it would seem, exclusivelynear Malaga. Round about that celebrated city thecountry is very rugged. Beyond about six miles fromthe town, every spot where it is possible to insert a vineis utilized. Every hill is covered, especially near the sea,and every bunch is converted into the admirable sort weimport under the name of " muscatels." Muscatels are "often called Raisins of the Sun," because originally, itwould seem, after the stalks of the bunches had beenpartially severed, so as to interrupt the natural flow ofthe sap, they were left upon the tree to dry in the sun-shine before gathering. In Spain, at the present day,the more usual practice is to cut the bunches whenproperly ripened, then to dry them in the sun, upon hardearthen floors, specially prepared, and which can becovered in case of rain. Two or three other parts of the * " Arine," i.e. in perfection. (" Romaunt of the Rose," 3690.)
  • 139. Raisins. 125world have latterly become important as producers ofraisins similar to muscatels. Very good ones are pre-pared Fresno county, California, by cutting and inlaying the bunches to dry in the sun, in shallow trays,for about a fortnight. Near Huasco, in Chili, there is alittle valley where many tons of first-rate raisins areannually prepared, the seeds so small as to be hardlynoticeable. Excellent raisins are prepared also in someparts of northern Persia and Bokhara. Valentia or pudding raisins are imported, like themuscatels, from Spain. But while the latter attain perfec-tion only near the sea, the Valentias are raised in theinterior of the country, and from an inferior descriptionof grape, with a thicker skin. The bunches when cut areeither hung upon lines or laid out upon the groundseparately, turned over once, any of the berries thathave spoiled being then picked out, and in fifteen daysgathered up again. A lye of wood-ashes and barilla,medicated with salt and oil, is then prepared, and intothis the bunches are dipped. The action of the lyecauses the saccharine element of the fruit to exude in partto the surface; hence the peculiar brown and varnishedappearance of the pudding raisin, as well as the stickinesswhich distinguishes it from the aristocratic muscatel.The Spaniards are well recompensed for the pains andtrouble they bestow, since their fruit-trade with Englandalone, all sorts included, is worth annually no less a sumthan;i, 500,000 sterling. The very sweet and nice little raisins called Sultanas,
  • 140. 126 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.light in colour, and destitute of stones or seeds, arereceived from Smyrna, in the vicinity of which town theyappear to have been cultivated for between two andthree hundred years. There is no essential differencebetween the vine which yields them and many othervarieties producing small and seedless grapes. Thespecial character of seedlessness seems to be correlativewith the diminished size of the berry, and may have beenoriginally induced by special circumstances of soil andclimate, leading to partially abortive flowers. The vinesare planted in rows six or seven feet apart, and atintervals of three or four feet, and so trained as to formirregularly branching little bushes, which seldom attainthe height of a yard. They are grown almost exclusivelyupon the hippurite limestone of the neighbourhood, upto an elevation of about four hundred feet above the sea.The harvest commences about the middle of July, andoccupies nearly a month in the gathering. The bunchesare dipped, like those of the Valentia raisins in Spain,into a lye made of wood-ashes, to which has been addeda small quantity of oil. They are then dried upon theground, a process occupying nearly a week, after whichthe berries are stripped or shaken from the stalks, andpacked in the drums in which they arrive for the shops.The quantity brought to England is about ten thousandtons annually. Another variety of the vine furnishes the inestimablefruit so familiar, in the dried state, under the name ofGrocers Currants, or, when we are speaking of their uses
  • 141. Currants. 127for cakes and puddings, simply as Currants. Little ornothing is known of its earliest history, though the plantwas certainly in cultivation before the time of QueenElizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh being said to have hadsome sort of monopoly of the importation into this These are the and "country. genuine original currants,"the word being a corruption of the epithet in uvcz Corin- "thtactz, Corinthian grapes," by which name they werecalled when first brought from Greece, the native country.The geographical range of the successful culture, likethat of the muscatel raisin, is very limited, and fromsimilar causes. The metropolis of the district in whichthe plant flourishes is Patras, whence the fruit has some-times the appellation of the Patras currant. Of theeighty-six thousand five hundred tons exported fromGreece in the thrice-famous currant-year, 1876, when allthe vegetable products of Greece were exceptionallyabundant, seventy-one thousand were the produce of theMorea, including a few grown in the neighbourhood ofMissolonghi. The balance of fifteen thousand five hun-dred was despatched from the southern Ionian islands,including Zante and Cephalonia. Corinth, singular tosay, produces none at all, though the grape is successfullycultivated there for wine-making. The actual localitiesof the cultivation are confined to a narrow belt of countrynear the coast. The vineyards are mostly within a hun-dred and fifty feet of the sea-level j they rarely exceedfour hundred feet ; the elevation is thus markedly lowerthan that to which ordinary grape-culture may be carried.
  • 142. 128 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.The vineyards best cared for present a quite unusual airof neatness and finish. The vines are planted in rowssix feet apart. A single shoot is trained to a stake ayard in height. As soon as it is strong enough to standalone, the stake is removed; the training of the branchesis then so conducted as to give six or seven beautifulradiations of leafy shoot, which collectively produce, indue season, from fifty to ninety bunches. If an occa-sional prop should be needed, owing to the weight of thefruit, this is supplied, but nothing more. Towards the end of July the fruit is ripe. The gatheringextends over three or four weeks, the bunches upon thesecondary shoots being somewhat later than those on theprimaries. In six or seven days after being laid to dry,the berries begin to loosen themselves from the stalks,and in ten or twelve days all are free. Originally thebunches were laid outupon the bare ground, a piecebeing specially smoothened and cleaned for the purpose.Now the bunches are laid in wooden trays, six feet longby a yard wide, and just deep enough, say three inches,to hold a single layer. When the stalks have beenwinnowed out, the fruit is trodden into barrels ready forshipment. The botanical origin of this most interesting little fruitwould seem have corresponded with that of the Sul- totana. The diminution in the size of the berry ensued,we must suppose, upon some special local conditions,which led in the first instance to partially abortive flowers,accompanied by failure of perfect seeds. The seedless
  • 143. Currants. 129character of the great mass of the annual produce is,after all, by no means without exception. Individualberries often contain one or two seeds that will grow.In some localities there is a decided tendency to the pro-duction of perfect seeds. When, a few years ago, currant-culture was attempted at Leghorn, it failed throughthe plants, after three or four seasons, producing berriesas well charged with seeds as the typical grape. Simi-lar disappointment has been experienced in Sicily andin Malta. In any district at all exposed to storms andheavy night-dews troubles from which the localities ofthe best Greek cultivation are quite free the currant-vinecan never be expected to flourish. We have it in Eng-land, as a curiosity, in the southern counties, and fruitingabundantly out-of-doors if placed against a sunny wall.The delicate little purple-black thyrsi then remind one ofthose of the privet, only that they are pendulous insteadof erect. To quit the subject of currants, taken in connectionwith the country producing them, without a thought ofthe condition of modern compared with ancient Greece,is impossible. The land of old Homer, of Plato, ofPhidias, of Aristides, " Clime of the unforgotten brave, Whose land from plain to mountain-cave " Was freedoms home, or glorys grave,looks now, for its reputation, to what it may achieve, yearby year, in the production of a little berry. The foreigncommerce of Greece depends almost entirely upon the s
  • 144. 1 30 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.success of the annual currant-harvest. Its people do notask what our opinion of the literature that first lived isupon their classic soil ; they are content to know that welook wistfully at their little vineyards. A recent travellerin Greece, who tarried awhile at one of the convents, tellsus that even the monks, in the currant districts, can talk "of nothing but their staple fruit. How many inmates arethere in this monastery?" we asked. "Three hundred," " and how much dothey replied ; you think the grapeswill fetch this year in England?" England, it shouldbe here interposed, consumes just about one half of theentire produce. "Is your library in good order?" "No; "but our grapes are of excellent quality." May we see "your church?" Certainly; but we hope you will recom-mend us to your merchants at Patras." And so on.Quite right. Anything that shows that the dry boneshave begun to live again is to be contemplated with satis-faction. If their pursuits do not call forth the morebrilliant faculties of the mind, the modern Greeks, intheir pleasant contribution of currants to the wealth ofthe world, do a good work which must needs, little bylittle, initiate a well-deserved prosperity. The total imports of raisins and currants, takentogether, into England, in 1880, amounted to 1,215,436cwts., of the value of ;i, 801,860. The interest pertaining to the botanical family namedafter its chief member, the vine ipsissima, by no meansends with that illustrious plant. There are many otherspecies belonging to various countries, some of which,
  • 145. Cissus and Ampelopsis. 1 3 1specially those of North America and of PortugueseGuinea, seem to promise well as sources by-and-by ofgood fruit. But most of them are valuable only as orna-mental plants ; sometimes for the gorgeous hues of theirautumnal foliage, well illustrated in the common Virginiancreeper, and in that incomparable house-front plant, theJapanese Vitis tricuspidata, commonly called AmpelopsisVeitchii; now and then for the inexpressible beauty oftheir berries. A more lovely fruiting shrub for a garden-wall than the Vitis humulifolia, again Japanese, it isimpossible for the world to supply; only that for per-fection it needs a good old-fashioned hot summer. Thenits pretty foliage that of the grape-vine in miniaturebecomes a foil to crowds of clusters of little berries ofthe most exquisite Italian sky-blue, a spectacle unimagi-nable till the eye has feasted upon it. To the Vitacesebelong, also, the various ornamental climbers which goby the generic name of Cissus. This latter, except forgarden convenience, is not wanted, since, according to "the Genera Plantarum," between Cissus and Vitis thereis not even sectional difference. Hooker and Benthamalso discard Ampelopsis ; they use it, rather, merely as asub-generic name. Profound interest pertains to all theselast-named plants in regard to the hold-fasts by whichthey attach themselves to whatever they cling to. Theirstrong thousand hands branch into irregular fingers, littleevery one of which has at the tip a peculiar gland. This,in due course, secretes a sticky substance of extraordinaryadhesive powers. So tenacious is it that the hand will
  • 146. 132 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.break off at the wrist rather than the finger-tips let go.Furthermore, instead of turning towards the light, afterthe manner of most other aerial parts of plants, they turnaway from it, thus affording a conspicuous and verywell-marked example of "negative heliotropism." Underglass there are found, also, of this family, various speciesof Leea, differing in their pinnate leaves, and in beingdestitute of tendrils.
  • 147. Chapter Sixtfy* BERRIES CONTINUED.GARDEN CURRANTS (Ribes rubrum and Ribes nigrum). "To know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom." Paradise Lost. HE Currants of the English garden received this name because of their resemblance to the UVCR Corinthiacce, the little Corinthian or " Corinths described at the close " grapes, of the preceding chapter. , The fame of these pleasant fruits, the red currant, the white, andthe black, is comparatively modern, attention havingbeen first given to them only in the Tudor period. Nomention of any of the various sorts occurs in ancientGreek and Roman literature ; nor does there seem to beany record of currants having been cared for by the
  • 148. 134 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Anglo-Saxons or the Normans. The common RedCurrant, Ribes rubrum, grows spontaneously in rockywoods, throughout central and northern Europe andRussian Asia, extending to the arctic circle. It is foundwild also in Kamschatka and in North America, reachingfrom Canada and Vermont to the mouth of the RiverMackenzie. The Black Currant, Ribes nigrum, is morerestricted in distribution, being rarer in western Europe,though plentiful in the northern, the central, and theeastern parts of the continent, and in Russian and CentralAsia. In many of the localities where both the red andthe black now seem to be aboriginal, they certainly existbut as waifs of cultivation. In both species the leavesare alternate, petiolate, broad, with large angular lobesvine-leaves in miniature j in both, the little greenish orreddish flowers are borne in small pendulous racemes.The general habit of the plant is that of a deciduousbush or little shrub. The longevity appears to be con-siderable. In the wild state the Ribes rubrum presents itselfunder several different forms, regarded by the analytical " andschool of botanists as so many distinct species,"named Ribes spicatum, Ribes petrceum, etc. The littleberries, even when quite ripe, are then intensely acid.In gardens it varies still further, but now chiefly in thecolour of the fruit, as shown in the varieties called the"Normandy pink;" the common "white," that beautifullucid berry, the very perfection of the piano-spherical,with ten vertically curving lines, like the meridians of
  • 149. Red and White Currants. 135a globe, and less acid than the common red; and the "very pretty Austrian currant," the fruit of which is pale,with red stripes. How rich and beautiful the languageto the eye of the common red and the common white,when in full fertility, needs no telling. The commonred, when trained against a cottage wall, where the foliageoffers no impediment to full view of the brilliant clusters,hanging in companies often of half a dozen, presents apicture little inferior in charm to that supplied by thevines of Italy. Neither is it needful, except for pleasureof remembrance, to speak of its value for tart and pie,preserve, and jelly, and wine. Red-currant jelly, dissolvedin water, furnishes one of the most agreeable and mostsalutary of all cooling drinks for the parched palates ofinvalids laid low by fever. Though the ancient Romansseem to have been unacquainted with this useful littlefruit, it is interesting to note that in the markets ofmodern Italy there may be seen baskets of it, gatheredwild in the woods of the Apennines and the Alps. Thebest varieties for cultivation in our own country are,among reds, those called Fays Prolific, Red Dutch,Knights Early Red, Houghton Castle, and Raby Castle,an excellent late kind, and very prolific. The largestfruits are produced by Cherry, but the bunches are short,and the quality is inferior. Among the whites, WhiteGrape, large and sweet, is unquestionably the best;White Dutch, if distinct, is also very good, but theberries are comparatively small. Blanc de Versailles isexcellent.
  • 150. 136 Fruits and Fru it- Trees. A great merit with the Red Currant is that for thebushes to over-crop themselves is nearly impossible.Apple-trees, pear-trees, plum-trees, may, in favourableseasons, bear so profusely that the following year theyare almost powerless. No such failure ever interrupts theeven serenity of Red-currant life. Diffusing its roots nearthe surface of the ground, and a capital forager, the RedCurrant soon regains all that it gives. Like a liberalheart, which always fills as fast as it empties, let the cropbe ever so heavy, twelve months afterwards it is ready,like the lilies, to begin anew. The only particular needisjudicious pruning. The young shoots should always bethinned out during the summer; the best and largest fruitbeing always borne upon the shoots or "spurs" of thecurrent year, which, if they are to do their work well, mustbe vigorous and well ripened, a condition secured for themonly by clearing away the superfluity of young green twig.All kinds of ligneous fruit-plants are the better for havingthe summer-shoots well thinned out as soon as formed.The removal of them is useful to the crop in hand, whichis better reached by the sunshine, and the wood for theyear to follow is knit more strongly. In order to securevery large and handsome currants, either red or white, theyoung shoots, at the time of the usual winter-pruning,should be shortened to a length of about two inches, theappearance thus given being somewhat that of the stumpsin an osier-bed; not pretty, it must be confessed, buteminently conducive to the end in view. If beautifuleffect is specially wished for, it is obtained by training the
  • 151. The Black Currant. 137bushes into the form of pyramids, after the manner some-times practised with fuchsias. Sad havoc is often made ofthe buds in early spring by the birds. The best preserva-tive is a mixture of fresh lime, soot, and a small quantityof soft soap. Let this be run through a fine sieve, andapply with a syringe before the buds begin to swell.Birds desist, and grubs do not appear. The Black Currant is differentiated not alone by thecolour of the fruit, and its peculiar smell and taste,especially when baked, stewed, "preserved;" the orberries are individually much larger than those of theRed, the bunches contain fewer, and lastly there is thepowerful and characteristic odour of the leaves, though inthis last particular one or two other species of Ribes goshares. Therea very perceptible difference, also, in the iscomplexion of the plant. Like the Red Currant, it neverover-crops itself, every season giving the old accustomedrevenue. Another great comfort in the cultivation is thatthe currant-worm does not touch it. As a fruit suited fordessert, and for culinary purposes, it is inferior to the red.For preserving, especially with a view to eventual medi-cinal use, stands deservedly high in esteem, being tonic, it " Black-currant tea " is one ofstimulant, and soothing.the oldest, as well as one of the most valued, of domesticremedial drinks. These good qualities recommend it,also, for the manufacture of a simple kind of wine. Many varieties are in cultivation. Those particularlywell adapted for the northern parts of our island are theold "Black Naples" and "Carters Black Champion," an T
  • 152. 138 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.excellent feature of which last is that the fruit hangs per-fect upon the branches until with old age it must needs " Lees and very is a capitaldrop. Prolific," large sweet,sort. A curious variety is met with occasionally in whichthe berries are of a golden-amber colour, interesting tothe botanist, but of no economic value. No other currants yet discovered compare in valuewith the above-named. That inestimable spring-floweringshrub, the scarlet-flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum,introduced from the coasts of north-west North America,in 1826 raised from seeds, rather, sent home by theill-fated David Douglas produces abundance of berries,covered with greyish " bloom," but they are insipid andworthless. The fruit of the Ribes mebrians, also NorthAmerican, is said to possess narcotic properties; andseveral others may perhaps, by culture, be rendered valu-able to mankind. So far, reputation lies with the twofar-famed European species. THE GOOSEBERRY (Ribes Grossularia).THE Gooseberry is a native of central and southernEurope, also of western Asia, occurring in the Caucasus,and under different forms, in the Himalayas. As a rule,when wild, it dwells in thickets, especially where theground is rocky. In England, though often met with inthe recesses of sylvan dells, it is but doubtfully indigenous.All the seemingly wild examples are descendants probably
  • 153. The Gooseberry. 139of ancient cultivation. Like the sweet violet, and manyother flowers, it often wanders out of gardens. Way-farers, eating the fruit as they go along, cast the seedsrightand left, and these germinating readily, the plant issoon arm-in-arm with the aborigines. The ancient Greeksand Romans would seem to have had no knowledge of it.If known, it was disregarded, this doubtless because insouthern and south-eastern Europe the berries are smalland tasteless, which circumstance explains the neglectof the gooseberry, not only in the past, but at present, inthe south-west. Even in France it is little cared for.The climate which suits it is precisely that which is bestloved by the scented rose, the humid one of Britain ; andin this last-namedhappy land the perfection attained bythe one is reached in corresponding degree by the other.No country in the world excels Britain in regard to itsgooseberries. They ripen delightfully in every part, andfor the poor man as well as the rich. To say where thebest are produced is not easy. The district pre-eminentlyfavourable is reputed to be that one distinguished as theLothians. When first noticed, when first named, there is noevidence to show, unless indicated, in some measure, bythe etymology, which seems to be traceable to certain oldGothic words denoting crisp, curled, or frizzled, thus toindicate, at the same time, that the original gooseberrywas the hairy one, the Uva crispa of renowned oldFuchsius, who gives a drawing of it on page 187 of hisHistoria, published in 1537, temp. Henry VIII. Primi-
  • 154. 1 40 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.tive forms of the word are found in groise-berry andgrose-berry, with which may be compared the Frenchgroseille and the Scotch grozet or grosart The synonymfound in the eastern counties, " fea-berry," also written"feap-berry" and "fay-berry," though not yet satisfac-torily explained, is of much more recent date. Which-ever was the earliest form, the hairy or the hairless, theplants are essentially the same. Both conditions occuramong progeny obtained by sowing the seed of theeither, and this quite independently of soil or climate.The culture of the gooseberry appears to have been firstattended to at the period of the Reformation. It wasthen taken up both in England and upon the continent,say in Holland and in Germany; but the progress wasslow until within the last hundred years, during whichthe strides have been rapid. Whether our ancestors eversaw itany other form than the little round bush, some inthree or four feet in diameter, to which we are accustomedin modern gardens, no historian has put upon record.Perhaps it may be only within our own age that thegooseberry has shown itself able to rise, when trainedagainst a house-front, to the height of several yards,bearing plentifully to the very top, and presenting a beau-tifulspectacle when led abreast of jessamine and clematis.In one particular it never changes. The gooseberrynever forgets its prickles, which, by the way, comparedwith the thorns and spines of prickly plants in general,are very curiously exceptional, coming of a remarkabledevelopment of the pulvinus. Fond, in the wild state,
  • 155. The Gooseberry. 141of woods and sylvan dells, the gooseberry, under cultiva-tion, is always the better for a moderate amount of shade,though it suffers from too much. Hence it does welleven when planted against a north garden wall, and whenso placed, if covered up at the proper time with matting,fruit remains at command till the time even of damsons.The best way to grow gooseberries is unquestionablyupon trellises. The plants then occupy comparativelylittle space. Being more easily pruned, and the summergrowth cleared out of the way of the sunshine, the woodgets better matured, and heavier crops are the result;they can be netted with greater facility for protectionagainst the birds, and the can be gathered with fruitgreater speed and comfort than from bushes in theirnatural touch-me-not state. The sportiveness of the gooseberry is comparable withthat of the apple and the pear. Hence the distinction,not only of smooth and hairy sorts by some distin- " Esau "guished as the varieties but the four-fold classi-fication of red, yellow, white, and green. Tastes andpreferencesvary as usual, but upon the whole it isacknowledged that the yellows are the richest and mostvinous in flavour, and that the least meritorious, especiallywhen large, are the green sorts. The best for preservingare found among the hairy kinds. Smooth sorts, ornearly smooth, are preferred for vinegar, and for thatcapital old English domestic beverage, gooseberry wine,which, when skilfully manufactured, possesses the colourand the flavour of champagne, and mantles like the best
  • 156. 1 42 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Clicquot. The smooth sorts are the best adapted, also,for that admirable service one in which the gooseberry isvery nearly unique, and certainly unexcelled employment,while still green, for the tart, the pie, and the pudding ;and to which end, for refreshment even in winter, it maybe stored up in jars and bottles.* In this relationthe pie and pudding one, while the fruit is still unripethe value of the gooseberry can hardly be over-rated.To those classes in particular, of the working community,whose occupations keep them much indoors, in shopsand manufactories, nature, in early summer, supplies fewthings more healthful. Indoor workers require a largeramount of the description of acid such as fruits contain,than is needed by people who get plenty of fresh air,and for them the green gooseberry comes in abundantlyand cheaply. Let us not forget that other delightful " i.e.invention, gooseberry fool," literally foule, beaten, " "pressed, or trodden, as when grapes are trodden forwine. The ease and success with which gooseberry culturemay be practised by the cottager has led, in differentparts of England, to the institution of annual Gooseberryshows. Foremost among these are the celebrated exhibi-tions yearly held in Lancashire, and at Harborne, nearBirmingham, the "Society" at which latter place was * The only other fruit, growing in England, which can be eatenwhile unripe, is the red currant, sometimes brought to market as apoor substitute for the gooseberry. Cucumbers, marrows, peas,and beans, eaten while unripe, though fruits in the botanical sense,count popularly with the "vegetables."
  • 157. The Gooseberry. 143founded as far back as the year of Waterloo. Thegrowers, the arts of growing, and the shows themselvesfurnish illustrations of character alike original and enter-taining. The men who devote their energies to thework are almost exclusively of the same race as thosewho, towards the middle of the eighteenth century, beganto render South Lancashire so noted for its " naturalistsin humble life," and who, while occupied as hand-loomweavers, earned so much fame as cultivators of variouskinds of choice flowers. Their number has diminishedunder the influence of the Steam-engine, the introductionof which induced a change no less great in the socialcondition of the Lancashire operatives than in thecomplexion of their manufactures. There are plentyliving, nevertheless, who inherit the taste and theenthusiasm of the patriarchs, and as far as thescopepermits, the old spirit is keen as ever. In the bygonesthe pursuit before us carried with it no slight dignity.Southey, in the " Doctor," quotes an obituary notice inan old Manchester newspaper, of some one who "borea severe illness with Christian fortitude and resignation,and was much esteemed among the class of Gooseberry-growers^ (p. 348, ed. 1849). The prime object withthese cottage-cultivators is not refined flavour, nor yet aplentiful crop. The prizes go to the biggest and heaviestindividual berries. To secure triumph it is enough thata single fruit outweighs all rivals. Upon this one greatend the grower sets his whole heart; to the attainmentof this he devotes all histhoughts and energies; he
  • 158. 1 44 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.foregoes no labour, and cheerfully sacrifices personalcomforts. The treatment of the bushes is very similarto that above-mentioned as the practice of the Jerseypear-growers. Those designed to produce the show-fruitare kept quite small, and the branches, not more thanten or twelve, are trained so as to be almost horizontal,and not more than nine or ten inches above the surfaceof the ground, the entire plant being often under acouple of feet in diameter. Immense pains are takenwith the manuring; and in order to maintain congenialcoolness of the atmosphere immediately around thefruit, a luxuriant growth of chickweed is encouraged, thegreen sprouts almost touching the pendent berries. Thenearer they approach maturity, the more anxious becomesthe time, especially if there is prospect of heavy or con-tinuous rain, of all dangers to ripening gooseberries themost to be dreaded, since, if wetted over much, they arecertain to burst. To avert this misfortune, fatal to prize-winning, the show-fruit bushes are protected with littletents, admitting of easy removal. Every hour is nowmomentous. Men intent upon victory not uncommonlysit up all night in case of accident. The story is wellauthenticated of a Middleton silk-weaver who, a thunder-storm impending, lay awake as if for his life, and withthe first patter against the window-panes, rushed to therescue with his bed- quilt. The show is generally held inthe club-room of some country inn. A chairman isappointed. He takes his place at the head of the table,and, scales in hand, calls for the heaviest red, or the
  • 159. The Gooseberry. 145heaviest yellow, as required per programme. berry Aisthen produced, weighed with an accuracy of minutenessthat would have been rapture to old Shylock, and theweight carefully noted in writing by a secretary. Thisprocess is repeated until everything brought for competi-tion has been tested, the berry which lies quietly in thescale until defeated by a heavier one, taking the honourswhen all is over. At one of the recent Harborne showsfour hundred and fifty berries were weighed, and of theseninety-five took prizes, then suffering the usual decapi- "tation, topping and tailing," so as to be disqualified forcompetition anywhere else. The entire performanceoccupies three to four hours. The weights attained by the mode of culture describedare often astonishing. Among the largest gooseberriesshown Old Trafford Exhibition, August 4th, 1884, at thewere many which exceeded 25 dwts. In the " Goose-berry-growers Register" (for these enthusiasts have anAnnual of their own), examples are recorded of 30 dwts.,and of weights up even to 37, beyond which, it wouldseem, no grower has yet succeeded in going. This last-named prodigious weight was attained by one of the "celebrated red variety called London." Every atom ofthe kindly regard due to honest industry, indefatigableperseverance, and honourable emulation, is well deservedby these simple-hearted gooseberry-growers. Far betterthat their leisure and their powers should be devoted tothe production of big gooseberries than to pursuits which,if not actually demoralizing, can never be in any degree u
  • 160. 1 46 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.elevating. Still one cannot but wish that crude aim shouldbe superseded by aspiration, and quality be esteemedbetter than mere bulk always a very doubtful kind ofexcellence, and not infrequently, without any reference togooseberries, the only one that can be claimed as a meritby the vulgar, the coarse, and the unenviable. The bigprize gooseberries have their redeeming feature. Thoughunsuited for dessert, they are capital for tarts, and to thepeople by whom they are raised, this last is a substantialrecommendation. The best varieties of gooseberry for gardens in general,the fruit in every instance large, are the following: Red. Crown Bob, Hopleys Companion, Merry Mon- arch, Rifleman, Roaring Lion, Whinhams Industry, Guido, Ironsides, Prince Albert, Young Wonderful. Yellow. Broom-girl, Gipsy-queen, Marigold, Whitakers Two-to-one, Leader, Pilot, Surety Yellow. Green. Conquering Hero, Favourite, Green Walnut, Profit, Angler, Telegraph, Independent. White. Freedom, Smiling Beauty, Snowdrift, Snow- Whitesmith, Eagle, Lady ball, Wellingtons Glory, Delamere, Nailer, Mayor of Oldham.Among the capital old varieties with small berries, butof high flavour, may be named, Red Champagne, a fruitof unequalled richness, White Champagne, ChampagneYellow, Golden Drop or Early Sulphur, Greengage, War-rington Red, and Old Rough Red, an excellent one forpreserving.
  • 161. The Whortie- Berry. 147 THE WHORTLE-BERRY (Vaccinium Myrtillus).IN most parts of Great Britain and Ireland, the easternEnglish counties excepted, there is found upon hills andmoorlands such as sportsmen resort to for grouse, also indry and rocky woods, a hardy little shrub from which inAugust may be gathered purple berries the size of peas.They go by several different names, whortle-berries,whinberries, bilberries, blaeberries, hurtle-berries, and indistricts where the plant abounds, are brought to marketin considerable quantities. In the raw state they arescarcely palatable, but made into tart or pudding, theysupply a very agreeable change after currants and othercultivated fruits, though with the drawback of astringency,and the objection that the juice stains the lips. But thestain is soon effaced by the use of a lemon. Usuallygrowing in large patches, and often occupying immenseareas of moor and mountain surface, for, like the heatherand some among ourselves, it rejoices in great solitudesthat have never felt the plough, the bright green of thefoliage never fails to give pleasure. The flowers arepretty, being bead-like, almost globular, waxy in texture,and of a peculiar reddish green. The berries grow singlyand somewhat sparingly, and present upon the summita curious little crater, the floor of which is flat, thepersistent style standing like a pillar in the centre, andthe margin representing the remains of the calyx. Whennewly ripe, they are covered, like plums and grapes, with
  • 162. 1 48 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.a beautiful glaucous " bloom," and are filled with juiceresembling port-wine. The height of the plant seldomexceeds thirty inches, and is usually much less; thebranches are wiry, angular, and very tough. Not only inBritain is this interesting plant produced. It occurs, in and northern Europesimilar habitats, throughout centraland Russian Asia; also, but sparingly, in southernEurope, and then only upon lofty mountains, where, asoccasionally in Britain, it shelters itself in pine-woods.Under how many more names it is known in thosevarious countries we cannot tell; the etymologist haswork enough before him with the appellations employedat home, for over none of those applied to common fruitsis there still so much to be determined in the shape ofhistory. Vaccinium dates from the time of the VirgilianPastorals, though then applied, very evidently, not to afruit of any kind, least of all to the whortle-berry, towhich it was transferred only in the sixteenth century,but to some kind of purple or other dark-hued flower."Ah, comely one," cries Corydon, "trust not too much tocharm of complexion See how the white bells of the !bindweed fade away; how quickly depart the purplevaccinia !"* So in Claudian " Sanguineo splendore rosas vaccinia nigro Induit, et dulci violas ferrugine pingit."fWhat particular flower was before the mind of either poet,if either really intended anything definite, is indeter- * Eel. ii. 17, 18. Compare ii. 50 and x. 39. t Raptus Proserp. xxxv. 92, 93.
  • 163. The Whortle-Berry. 149minable. Probably the word was introduced after thesame manner as in a later age "asphodel," "iris," and" amaranth " were used was indebted, by Milton. Virgilperhaps, to Theocritus for his imagery, for he loved totread in the wake of the Sicilian, and in that case was "thinking of the beautiful figure of the inscribed hyacinth " "(x. 28). Whortle is said by Dr. Prior to be a mediaevalcorruption of myrtillus, which itself is supposed to referto the somewhat myrtle-like of the foliage. character" Hurtle" he considers to be another spelling of the sameword. Another explanation is found in the Anglo-Saxonwyrtil, a small shrub, diminutive of wyrt, the old Northernname for a plant of any kind, and preserved to this dayin fifty such appellations in the vernacular, as milk-wort, "salt-wort, star-wort, blush-wort, rib-wort. Hurts," Prof.Skeat reminds us, are in Heraldry blue or purple roundels,imitating and named from the berries, just as greenroundels are called pomes, or apples.* Bilberry is thoughtto be the Danish bollebaer, meaning round or ball berry.Blaeberry, or bleaberry, is equivalent to blue-berry, theepithet here carrying the original Scandinavian sense u be beatenretained in the phrase to black and blue."" would seem to mean the berry produced in Whinberry"waste places, where whins and heather grow, just as theCampanula rotundifolia, the "bluebell of Scotland," is "the heath-bell," literally the wilderness-bell. Berries of a dark-red colour, acid and austere, not fitfor eating, though available for the preparation of jelly, * Notes and Queries, Dec. 20, 1879, p. 495.
  • 164. 150 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.are yielded by another species of Vaccinium, called, fromsome doubtful association with the immortal mountain-ridge near ancient Troy, "Vitis Idaea" the vine ofMount Ida.In the vernacular they are "cow-berries."Growing abundantly on rocky moors, and on wild andairy slopes of sub-alpine hills, especially in the north ofEngland and in Scotland, the pretty little clusters, firstof light pink flowers, then of smooth-cheeked and shiningfruit, never escape the observant. These berries are saidto be sold in the markets of Aberdeen. Yet anotherspecies, also common in the Highlands, the Vacciniumuliginosum, produces fruit very similar to that of theMyrtillus, but not so juicy, and having the very ill reputeof being decidedly narcotic and injurious. THE CRANBERRY (Oxycoccos palustris).WHILE the true Vaccinia diffuse themselves over theelevated moorlands, where the soil is seldom saturated, inthe wet peat-bogs their place is taken by the cranberry,a very near ally, and differentiated in little beyond theshape of the flower, which is deeply four-lobed, the lobesbending back so as to disclose the stamens. Theseform a central cone of golden yellow that sets off thedelicate rose hue of the petals. As a flowering-plantthe cranberry justly claims a front place among Naturesbijouterie. So far as known, it is the smallest of fruiting-
  • 165. The Cranberry. 151plants, and, unless a better claim be preferred by thewild thyme, the smallest of flowering-shrubs, for the stemsand branches, though ligneous, are as fine as thread.They love to creep and trail among sphagnum and otherlittle bog -plants, and be near the glistening sun- todews. Then, running to the length of about twentyinches, at last they form densely entangled mats, closeupon the surface of the ground. When ripe, the redberries, mottled with yellow or purple, are collected bymeans of a kind of coarse wooden comb or small rake,and sent to market for tarts, though if put away in closelycorked bottles they will keep good for a considerablelength of time. This innocent little plant grows all over the BritishIslands, where the conditions are favourable, but is nowmuch less plentiful than formerly, and must needs stillfurther diminish in quantity, owing to the drainage andcultivation of the sodden moors and bogs upon whichalone it can extends also over every part of exist. Itnorthern Europe, Asia, and America. In the last-namedcountry it has a powerful rival in another and muchlarger and stronger species, more ascending in habit, andproducing berries more oval in figure, larger, and of abrighter colour, approaching even crimson. This one,the Oxycoccos macrocarpus, supplies the greater portionof the cranberries ordinarily offered for sale in the shops.Packed in small kegs, with a sufficiency of spring-water,the annual import is now very considerable, amounting tothousands of tons yearly. We might have it, if we cared,
  • 166. 152 Fruits and Fruit- a home fruiting-plant. Much swampy land still existsthat might be utilized for the culture. So easily is it culti-vated, and so pretty withal, in flower, that wherever a littlepeat-bog can be formed in a garden, resting on a bed ofporous material, and with free circulation of air above,success is certain, and the produce of blossom and fruitgreat and delightful. The cranberries imported fromNorth America and Newfoundland contain at times aslight admixture of the fruit of yet another species, theOxycoccos erythrocarpus. The derivation and meaning ofthe name cranberry are unknown. Gerard does not useit. With him it is the fen-berry. THE ELDER-BERRY (Sambucus nigra). .FEW trees are better known to people in general thanthe old-fashioned and homely Elder of every countryhedge, and of back-gardens and dull corners wherenothing else will grow, in the suburbs of probably everytown in England. Though in such localities as these,usually lumpish and ungraceful, under favourable condi-tions can become really handsome. An elder that till itrecently grew near Perth was thirty feet high, bearing afinely-balanced round head, upon the summit of a sub-stantial trunk twice as tall as a man and when covered, ;as the elder always midsummer, with its countless is atbroad clusters of cream -white bloom, and again in
  • 167. The Elder- Berry. 153October with heavy harvest of glossy purple, pre- itssented one of the most striking examples of tree-beautyto be found anywhere thereabouts. One even taller andmore majestic, and for the species singularly arboreal,stands at this moment in the grounds of Thorpe Perrow,Yorkshire. The universality of its occurrence comes ofthe ease with which the elder accommodates itself toevery diversity of situation and soil. By means of itan air of cheerfulness may be given to the darkest andgloomiest recesses ; it endures exposure on the bleakesthillside ; it grows well near the sea ; it thrives under theshade and drip of other trees; it will establish itselfeven upon old walls and crumbling ruins then usuallyspringing from casually scattered seeds, as indeed is verycommonly the case elsewhere. After all, whether inEngland truly wild or not is uncertain. Possibly it wasintroduced in the time of the monasteries as a medicinalplant, the fame of the elder in the hands of the herb-doctor being immemorial ; the frequent existence of veryold elders near the relics of ancient ecclesiastical build-ings gives encouragement to this opinion. On the otherhand, it is scarcely possible to imagine an aspect of moregenuine spontaneity than is presented by the grey andtattered representatives of past ages at Holdwick Scars,Upper Teesdale. Like the patriarchs of their kind uponthe eastern declivity of the Malvern Hills (the Hereford-shire Beacon), they seem to be part of the primitivevegetation, not a day younger than the parsley-fern andthe mosses at their feet. Wherever seen in Scotland, x
  • 168. 154 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.the elder has certainly been introduced.. Geographically,it extends over all parts of continental Europe, exceptingthe north-eastern. It reaches also into southern Siberia,the region of the Caucasus, and northern Africa. Notree is more remarkable for rapidity of growth whileyoung, or for preserving a more stationary character afterattaining full development. No tree, when green, is moreeasily identified, the odour of the bruised leaves (usuallyconsidered nauseous) being peculiar to it. When inflower it can be told from having similar all othersbloom, by the leaves being pinnate and opposite. Inautumn all is confirmed by the massive, almost sump-tuous bunches of deep-hued fruit, the only ones of theirkind. In winter, in case of need, we may discover it bythe abundance of light and spongy pith in every shootmore than a year old, and which is exceeded only inthe sunflower. Several varieties, as to foliage, occur ingardens, as the variegated, the golden, the ternate-leaved,and the parsley-leaved. Besides these, there are thewhite-berried and the green-berried, the flavour of whichis much milder than that of the purple. The colour,in this last, resides purely in the skin, the pulp beingtranslucent. The elder is embedded in folk-lore and superstitions,some of them very ancient. The vernacular name is theAnglo-Saxon ellen or ellern, a word of indeterminablesignification, with the same kind of accidental or careless "insertion of a d that we have in tender," Latin tener." Sambucus " name of the is the tree in Pliny ; yet, in
  • 169. The Elder- Berry. 155reality, a word far older than the time even of the Caesars.In the first instance it denoted a kind of small harp orlyre, invented, it would seem, by the ancient Chaldeans,since in Dan. iii. 5, et seq., this instrument is mentionedas the sabbekha, in the A.V. rendered dulcimer. TheGreeks gave it the shape of sambuke ; the Romans thatof sambuca, as in Persius v. 95. Then it was extendedto the tree, apparently because the Roman sambuca wasmade of the wood, which, when old and sound, is nopoor substitute for box. The bark, the buds, the leaves, the flowers, the fruit,of the elder, have all had their reputation in pharmacy,and the latter in some degree maintain it. Many tonsof the flowers are brought every year to Covent Garden by the herbalists. Elder-berry wine, spiced, andfor saledrunk warm, continues to this day a rustic winter cordial.A "rob" made from the berries is considered a safeand excellent domestic remedy in cases of catarrh andsimilar maladies. A very beautiful decorative species of elder, the Sam-bucus racemosa, may here be mentioned as deserving aplace in every shrubbery. It does not grow to quite thedimensions of the nigra, and the greenish flowers makelittle show, but the splendour of the tree when the fruitisripe almost compares with that of the mountain-ash.The clusters are of the brightest scarlet ; in figure theyresemble small bunches of grapes ; no wonder that theyare soon visited, destructively, by the birds. Thisadmirable plant forms in September one of the most
  • 170. 156 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.conspicuous vegetable features of the Bernese Alps.That it will flourish in every part of England is plainlydeclared by the luxuriance it attains in South Lancashireand in Staffordshire. THE BERBERY, OR BARBERRY (Herberts vulgaris).THE Berbery counts with the currant, the gooseberry, andthe raspberry, completing with these, in its produce, the "quartette of what gardeners call bush-fruits." Not thatit corresponds in value, or is even made an object ofcultivation for the sake alone of the The berbery fruit.serves merely as an elegant addition to the list ; it caneasily be dispensed with ; when absent, it is not missed,but whoever commands a good crop of the ripe fruit iscertainly fortunate. As usually seen, though not so tallwhen wild, it is a bushy shrub, three to six feet in height,with abundance of slender pale brown twigs that nearlyconceal the principal stem. Every part is studded withvery sharp prickles, from the axils ofwhich rise the obo-vate and serrated leaves, some of them singly, others inclusters. In May come the flowers, individually no largerthan peas, but disposed in pretty racemes that hang fromthe arching twigs like jets of gold. The odour of theseis powerful, and to many persons unpleasing. In duetime they are followed by long pendulous strings ofscarlet berries, shaped like grains of rye, but thrice as
  • 171. The Berbery. 1 57large, rounded at the extremities, slightly curved, andintensely but agreeably acid. Many curious botanicalparticulars pertain to the berbery. The growth, whileyoung, is rapid. After a few years there comes a suddenpause. Shoots and suckers from the base of the plantstill make their appearance, but no particular increasetakes place in the general dimensions of the plant, andin this remains indefinitely when undis- condition itturbed, it is thought for a possible two or three centuries.At Castle Howard, there is a berbery shaped like a littletree, with a trunk twelve to fifteen inches in diameter !The flowers are, for an exogen, remarkably exceptional,consisting of six sepals and six concave petals, each intwo sets, an inner and an outer ; the filaments of the sixstamens follow the curve of the petals, reclining againstthem languidly, but the instant they are touched at thebase, in front, they rise up as if animated ; finally, theanthers open by lateral valves, like those of the bay-tree.The spines themselves are of very curious nature, repre-senting what might have been leaves, as proved by manyof them, upon vigorous shoots, having the spaces moreor less filled up with a web of green tissue. In the wild state this very interesting plant occurs in and open woods, ranging over the greater portionthicketsof Europe and temperate Asia, and occurring upon theHimalayas. It is from Asia that the name seems tohave been originally received. In Britain it is but doubt-fully indigenous,though Gerard, temp. Queen Elizabeth, " two miles fromspeaks of a village called Iver, Cole-
  • 172. 158 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.brooke," "where most of the hedges are nothing elsebut barberry bushes." The present infrequency in eventhe semi-wild condition appears referable to the value,real or imaginary, of the bark, in the eyes of the herbal-ists, and to suspicions entertained by watchful farmers,who consider it prejudicial to neighbouring cornfields.In gardens it occurs under several different forms, onewith yellow fruit, another with white, and a third viola-ceous. There is also a variety called dulcis, the berriesof which are larger and less acid, said to be of Austrianorigin; and a very handsome one with foliage of thecolour of the copper beech, called purpurea. Upon oldplants the berries are apt to be stoneless. These indi-viduals constitute the form called asperma; and though worth collecting, it is the fruit ofin all the varieties wellthese which should always be sought for the preparationof jelly and preserving in general. Boiled with sugar, itis excellently palatable. from the asperma that the It isdelicious confitures tfepine vinette, for which Rouen is socelebrated, are most usually prepared. The same aresometimes employed in England for the cores of a verynice description of sugar-plum. Birds seldom touch theberbery, apparently because too acid for them. Several other species of Berberis, several, also, of thesub-genus Mahonia, distinguished by its pinnate leaves,produce fruit in great abundance, but it is rarely eat-able. The Mahonia Aquifolium loads itself with bunchesresembling little grapes, and in the highest degree orna-mental. The Berberis Darwinii is not more distinguished
  • 173. The Berbery. 159for the profusion of its golden bloom in early summerthan for the vast quantity of purple berries, the size ofpeas, which follow in August unfortunately useless toman, the seeds being so hard, and the flavour so poor,that even jam made from them is worthless. To someextent there is a set-off in the pleasant taste of the fruitof the JB. dulds, also round and black, an elegant littleevergreen from Magellan and Valdivia, where it is used,both green and ripe, just as in England we use goose-berries.
  • 174. Chapter Ser>entfy. THE ORANGE AND ITS KINDRED. " Thus was this place A happy rural seat of various view : Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm ; Others whose fruit, burnishd with golden rind Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, " If true, here only, and of delicious taste. Paradise Lost. NE of the most pleasing emotions possible to the human heart is that one called gratitude. When and where most fittingly rendered every man must judge for himself every man has plenty of opportunities; but assuredly among our benefactors none arebetter entitled to kindly thought than the unknown onesto whom we are indebted for the inestimable Orange. Tothe thirsty and appreciative west, India, in the orange,
  • 175. The Orange Family. 161sent indeed "a golden gift." Of all the fruits receivedfrom latitudes distinctly warmer than our own, the orangeis the most refreshing and the most healthful. It isinvaluable, among the exotic fruits, in the circumstanceof being as cheap as the commonest of the home-grown,so that the poorest labourer can without difficulty goshares with the patrician, to whom, despite the cheapness,it is equally welcome. It is fitted, before all others, tobe the universal fruit of commerce. No description ofjuicy fruit allows, in the same degree, of being packedin boxes, and then subjected to the close confinementof the hold of a ship for two or three weeks. Thearomatic oil in the leathery rind preserves it from theeffects both of heat and cold, and the acridity of theformer renders it proof against the attacks of insects.Apples get worm-eaten ; Queen Mab knew what happensto hazel-nuts ; the plum may harbour a grub ; the orangenever. In course of time, like all other juicy fruits, itmust needs decay, but no juicy fruit retains its goodnessso long or so well. People can have the orange assound and fresh as when newly gathered, in any part ofthe world, at almost every season of the year, and inalmost any quantity. For let the orange-tree only havethe warm and delicately moistened climate to whichby nature it is co-ordinated, with plenty of sunshine, air,and light; protect it from frost and the asperity ofstormy winds, which always try it sorely, and no plantin nature is more bountiful. A good orange-orchardliterally grows gold for its possessor. It presents, also, Y
  • 176. 1 62 Fruits and Fruit- of the most charming of botanical spectacles. Therefreshing verdure of the orange-tree, persistent all theyear round, places it in the front rank of decorativefoliage -plants. When in full bloom, the envelopingatmosphere is charged with odour; when the fruit isripe the golden spheres hang "like lamps in a nightof green." Both flowers and fruit have their highesttide of plenty and loveliness, yet both may usually befound side by side at all seasons, and in all stagesbetween the white-tipped opening bud and goldenmaturity. This is the reason why orange-blossom isemployed for the bridal chaplet. In the wreath oforange-blossom, a fair proportion of green leaf beingintroduced, the ideas are presented, emblematically, ofdelightful intrinsic qualities in the wearer, of perennialor evergreen happiness to come, and of a home or fire-side circle, by-and-by to arise, all in good time; thegraceful grown daughter, before long to be a brideherself, fulfilling the tender promise of the early spring,which itself has never departed, but is sweetly renewedagain and again, in the successive darlings that arefondled upon the rejoicing knee. The dedication seemsto date from the time of the Crusades, and to haveoriginated with the Saracens. By these it was introducedinto Spain. Thence it travelled into France, and so intoEngland. None of our old poets refer to the wreath oforange-blossom, so that as regards our own country theuse of it would seem to be comparatively modernanother proof that chaste and elegant poetic truths, like
  • 177. The Orange Family. 163discoveries in art and science, are unlimited in theirnumber, every age and generation awakening to newand exhilarating insights. The orange is one of the group of fruits in which wefind also the lemon, the citron, the lime, and the lessimportant, but still valuable, shaddock and kumquat.They belong to the botanical order Aurantiaceae, anassemblage of about sixty species of small but verycomely trees and shrubs, laurel-like, evergreen, nativesalmost exclusively of the warmer parts of Asia, andrecommended by rich variety of good qualities. Abouthalf a dozen of the sixty species constitute the genusCitrus, and it is among these that we find the famousfruit-bearers of the order ; though not the only ones thatare able to please the palate, several producing nice littleberries which perhaps would improve under cultivation.Nor, though pre-eminent as the fruit-bearing genus, mustwe take Citrus as the type of the order, or its bestrepresentative. It differs from most of the other generain several important particulars, and very notably in theleaves, the stamens, and the ovary, not to mention thefruit itself, which in all the other genera is fleshy insteadof juicy. The specialty in the leaves is that while therule in the Aurantiaceae is that these organs shall becompound, here in the genus Citrus there but a single isleaflet, so large, however, that it looks like a fullydeveloped simple leaf. That it is really the terminal what might have been aleaflet of a pinnate trifoliolate orleaf, is shown by the articulation of the blade to the
  • 178. 1 64 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.petiole a very curious condition, and well worthy ofobservation by the student. The petiole itself is oftenremarkably dilated. In all the species the leaves aredensely charged with oil-cysts. In all, the flowers, aboutan inch and a half across, consist of four or five free petals,either of a pure cream-white, or white flushed externallywith purple or violet, and more or less conspicuouslydotted with oil-cysts. The stamens, also free, vary innumber from ten to sixty, and are irregularly polyadel-phous; the ovary within supports a thick green style,crowned by a thick yellow stigma. The peculiarity ofthe fruit consists not alone in its being juicy, as opposedto fleshy. The juicelodged in innumerable little bags, isirregular in shape, and which must be regarded as peculiarcellular extensions of the faces of the carpels. The lattervary in number from seven to about fifteen. The rind,except in the tropics, where it is often grass-green, isalways some shade of yellow, internally spongy, almostdestitute of juice or sap of any kind, but covered onthe outside with a layer of different substance, whichagain is charged with cysts of volatile, fragrant, and veryinflammable oil. Technically, this very curious type of fruit, occurring "in no other family, is called the hesperidium," the namereferring to the mistaken fancy that oranges were thefamous aurea mala of the Hesperides. An additionallycurious feature consists in the presence, not infrequently,in the larger forms, of a secondary series of carpels, muchsmaller than the principal ones, but still in a distinct
  • 179. The Orange Family. 165whorl, and constituting a perfect little inner fruit of thesame form, an orange within an orange, or a lemon withina lemon, reminding one of a famous comparison inAretaeus, only that here there is nothing on the exteriorof the fruit to indicate the curious state of things within.Yet another singular occurrence, specially observable inthe citron, is spontaneous separation and protrusion ofthe carpels, so that they look almost as when pulledasunder for eating. Oranges in this odd condition aresaid to be "horned." Extraordinary specimens of "finger-citrons," with twelve to fifteen projecting carpels, eachseven or eight inches long, may be seen in the Museumof the Edinburgh Botanic Garden. It may be addedthat the little trees constituting the genus Citrus arealways glabrous in every part, and usually, in the wildand seedling state, spinous, the long green spines pro-ceeding from the leaf-axils. The lease of life is notknown, but there can be no doubt that, at all eventsin the case of the orange, it extends, in individualsfavourably circumstanced, to centuries. The origin ofthe name is still a puzzle to etymologists. By some ithas been referred to the Hebrew qetoreth, "incense,"or "perfume."* Most probably, it is referable tokedros, the cedar, the rind of the citron having beenanciently held in great esteem as a preservative againstinsects, which the odour of cedar-wood was also sup- "posed to drive away. Citrus," the Latin word, occurs As in Prov. xxvii. 9 " Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart * : :so doth the sweetness of a mans friend by hearty counsel."
  • 180. 1 66 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.for the first time in Pliny. In Greek it took the shapeof kitros and kitrea, but not until after the classicalperiod.* The great value to mankind of these admirable fruitsconsists in the abundance of citric acid which theycontain. Vegetable acids are invaluable, not to say indis-pensable, adjuncts to human food. Nearly every fruiteaten by man, and most of the parts of vegetables whichare eaten whole, contain more or less of some vegetableacid. When such acids do not exist in food, recourse isinstinctively made to vinegar, acetic acid, produced by thedecomposition of various vegetable substances, and whichsupplies the needful quantity. Of all the vegetable acidsknown, the citric appears to be the most valuable andefficacious. It exists in a considerable variety of fruitsand vegetables, but nowhere so remarkably as in thefruits before us, the lemon and the lime in particular.The exact mode of action of this acid is one of theproblems. So far as understood, it would seem to checkthose unhealthy conditions of the system which culminatein the disorder called scurvy, in bygone days so terriblea scourge to sailors. Not that citric acid is the only anti-scorbutic, either as a preservative or a curative. Largeand striking experience has proved, nevertheless, that * The Romans gave the name of citrus also to an extremelycelebrated kind wood, furnished by the Callitris of aromatic "quadrivalvis of Barbary, the same as the thyine-wood" of theApocalypse, xviii. 12. Allusions to this wood are frequent in theirliterature, and of course must be carefully distinguished from thosemade to the fruit.
  • 181. The Citron. 167lemon-juice and lime-juice, both heavily charged with it,are the most trustworthy prophylactics yet discoveredin regard to scurvy ; and as such, lime-juice is now con-stantly carried in stock by the ships both of the RoyalNavy and of the merchant service. A very curiousfact, not yet explained, is that the acid, which is easilyseparated from the juice by chemical process, is notnearly so efficacious as the juice itself. Ye that are wise,eat oranges, drink lemonade. THE CITRON (Citrus Medica).THE first of the fruits produced by a Citrus to becomeknown in Europe was the citron. When first broughtwestwards from India is indeterminable, but the periodwas early, since it spoken of by Theophrastus, three iscenturies B.C., under the name of the Median melon.The birthplace was then thought to be Media, the ancientkingdom of Cyrus the Great, and which commemorates,in its name, the sevenfold famous sorceress : "In such a night, Medea gathered the enchanted herbs Which did renew old JEson."Some think that the citron had reached Babylon beforethe return of the Jews from the great captivity, B.C. 536,and that it is intended by the Hebrew tappuach, in theA.V. translated "apple." The Jews themselves believe
  • 182. 1 68 Fruits and Fruit- to be the ets hadhar of Leviticus xxiii. 40, where thecommand is given as to keeping the Feast of Tabernacles :" Ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thicktrees, trees,and willows of the brook, and rejoice seven days." Forthis reason they stillemploy it when celebrating the annualFeast, which falls some time in August. "A citron," saysCanon Tristram, "is handed round, and smelt by theworshippers as they go out, when they thank God for allgood things and sweet odours given by Him."* Thatthere shall be no lack of the fruit when the time arrives,the citron is cultivated for this particular use at a placecalled Assats or Assat, about a days journey from Taru-dant, in Morocco, on the bank of the river Loos, nearwhich there are very ancient citron-orchards, known bythe names of Aaron, David, and others of the patri-archs. The shipment, which takes place from Mogador,amounted in 1883 to a hundred and ten boxes, containingover nine thousand of the fruit, the poorest of whichare worth four shillings each, while specially fine ones,without blemish, fetch as much as twenty shillings. Butalas for the pious belief Scripture supplies no ground !for it. The Hebrew phrase means nothing more than"goodly trees," as in the A.V., and as acknowledged inthe Revised ; the rest is simple tradition, and must be "put down to the ancient commentators. Targums," asthey are called, Chaldee paraphrases upon various OldTestament books, existed in an oral form among the Jews * Natural History of the Bible, p. 348.
  • 183. The Citron. 169for several centuries B.C. and A.D. Towards the end ofthe second century A.D., the most famous and valuableof them all, the so-called Targum of Onkelos upon thePentateuch, appears to have been committed to writing.In this one the Leviticus words are explained by otherswhich make them signify the citron, and here the vindica-tion of it ends. The Septuagint had rendered ets hadhar " "by goodly fruit of trees." The Vulgate has fruit of avery lovely tree." Luther "fruit of beautiful trees;"Kalisch "fruit of a beautiful tree." Whatever the history prior to the time of Virgil, say 40B.C., citrons had then reached Rome, as proved by thecelebrated lines in the second Georgic : "Media fert tristes succos, tardumque saporem Felicis mali,"tristis, or sad, denoting the flavour of the fresh rind, "while the " delayed taste neatly implies its long con-tinuance upon the palate, and felix, or "happy," theconsummate virtues of the fruit. These were consideredto be almost miraculously restorative, a circumstance notforgotten by those who think that the citron was the "tappuach Comfort me with apples." To this very daythe ladies of the Orient are accustomed to carry a pieceof the rind for use as a vinaigrette. Even when quiteripe, the citron is scarcely eatable as it comes from thetree. The supreme value of this famous fruit consists inthe suitableness of the thick and spongy rind for changeinto the candied sweetmeat so familiar in the shopstowards Christmas-time, the indispensable ingredient of z
  • 184. 1 70 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. "the national Mingled with fruits Christmas-pudding."that haveundergone no such conversion, the citron, whencandied and in perfection, adds also to the dessert afeature almost princely. The cultivation appears to havebegun in Europe towards the close of the third century,when the tree was established in Italy, a country which atthe present day sends to England an annual average ofthree thousand seven hundred and fifty tons of the rind,value ;6o,ooo. The principal seats of the culture arethe districts round about Florence and Genoa, after whichcome Sicily, Corsica, Madeira, and the Azores. Thecitron is a favourite fruit-tree also in Egypt, India, China,Jamaica, and the Brazils. Usually, the rind is candiedin the country of its production. When sent to Englandin the raw state it is pickled in brine. The tree is afrequent ornament of English conservatories, and withgood management ripens its fruit, as yearly at CherkleyCourt, Leatherhead, Surrey.* The fruit was well knownas far back as the time of Elizabeth, being minutely andaccurately described by Gerard, who calls it the pome-citron. The natural height of the citron-tree is about ten feetIt has no distinct trunk, but many short, thick, irregular,and straggling branches. The leaves are large, five orsix inches long, and almost always rounded at the * The seat of Abraham Dixon, Esq. , celebrated not only forthe richness of the collection of tropical fruit-plants in which theenthusiasm of the owner takes so much delight, but for the beauty,rarely equalled, of the exotic water-lily house, the Victoria regialeading the way.
  • 185. The Orange. 171extremity a very characteristic feature. The petioles arescarcely dilated. The flowers, produced in clusters ofthree to ten, are pale purple. The fruit seems animmense lemon, but without a nipple, often reachingeight or nine inches in length, and weighing severalpounds ; the rind isrugged and wrinkled, highly aromatic,and internally very thick and hard the pulp is scanty ;and pale; the juice is neither very abundant nor veryacid. Though undoubtedly Indian by birthright, singularto say, truly wild examples do not appear to have beenobserved. THE ORANGE.THE orange-tree is usually distinguished with ease andprecision. The leaves are pointed, and their stalks areso broadly winged, that in form they resemble little kites ;the flowers are pure cream-colour, the most delicate ofall the many shades of white ; the fruit is globular, orwith only a tendency to the oval, never elongated, anddestitute of a nipple ; the rind is comparatively free fromcavitiesand wrinkles, and usually adheres so lightly tothe pulp, that it can readily be torn away. Like theapple and the grape, this delectable plant shows awonderful tendency to sport, sometimes in the foliage,more particularly in the figure and flavour of the fruit, therind included. Some of the varieties are very stronglymarked, and hence it has been customary to regard
  • 186. 172 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. "them as species." Whatever they may be in respect oforigin, it is convenient to adopt the threefold nomen-clature which refers the whole to (i) Citrus vulgarisor Bigaradia, the Bitter or Seville orange; (2) Citrus the Sweet or " "Aurantium, China orange ; and (3)Citrus Bergamia, the Bergamot orange. Most of thevarieties fall under the head of No. 2, the C. Aurantium,these including, among other well-known kinds, theLisbon, the St. Michaels, the Red Maltese, and theTangerine. The original or primitive form, that whichall the varieties may claim as their common ancestor,the founder of the family, appears to be preserved inthe Bitter or Seville orange. Everything that can beadduced in shape the of evidence points to a laterbeginning of the Sweet, even in India; and to a stilllater beginning, comparatively recent, of the Bergamot.The tendency of seedling oranges of all kinds to revertto a ruder condition than that of their immediate parents,is very decided. Seedlings may thus be regarded asgiving a trustworthy intimation of what the primitive formmay have been. For the same reason, although oftenraised in parlours and greenhouses as pretty and engagingcuriosities, seedling oranges can never be depended uponas likely to yield fruit exactly resembling that from whichthe seeds were taken. To be sure of getting a particularsort, it is indispensable either to graft or to propagate bymeans of layers. It must be remembered also, in home-culture, that seedling fruit-trees do not flower and fruit,unless grafted, until they have attained a certain degree,
  • 187. The Orange. 173as it were, of manhood. Left to themselves, they have,like animals, to attain maturity before it is possible togenerate. The origin of the name, as with so many others appliedto fruits, is found in the earliest languages of which wehave knowledge. According to Max Miiller, it must besought in some primitive Aryan word, preserved in theSanscrit nagarunga or nagrunga, and which in Arabicbecame naranj or narenge. Passing through the mediumof the Moors when settled in Spain into mediaeval Latin, it became anarantium, arantium, and aran-in the lattergium. This was afterwards changed, apparently becauseof the golden hue of the fruit, so remarkable and sobrilliant, into aurantium, and from aurantium the tran-sition in France into orenge was easy and natural.Restorations of ancient spellings are never desirable." " How Orange is now fixed for ever. curiously inter-esting, nevertheless, is it to note this intensely vulnerablecharacter of words, and the mutilations that in thecourse of ages scores of thousands have undergone.The loss of the ancient initial n has a curious counter-part in the history of the name of the adder, whichshould properly, by derivation, though upon perfectlydifferent grounds, be "a nadder," Anglo-Saxon n&ddre,Latin natrix. No very peculiar characters pertain to the Bitter orangein respect of the foliage and the flowers, excepting thatboth are more distinctly aromatic than the correspondingparts of the Sweet, though not so when placed beside the
  • 188. 174 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Bergamot. The tree is perhaps usually somewhat smaller.The grand feature is the fruit, which is large, dark incolour, and rugged, the rind very thick, aromatic, andextremely bitter. The pulp, also, has bitterness super-added to the acidity. Whether or not justly consideredto be the best representative of the primitive orange, it iscertain that the western world became acquainted with itvery much earlier than the era of the Sweet. That theancient Greeks and Romans had no knowledge of theorange, in any of its varieties, is hardly necessary to say.Alexander himself does not seem to have penetrated sofar into India as to have met with it, or it may not thenhave been carried into the portions of territory wateredby the Indus, no reference to it being made by Alex-anders historian, Nearchus. The first conveyance of ittowards Europe stands to the credit of the Arabs, who,towards the close of the ninth century, striving on theone hand to diffuse their religious faith, and with theother to promote the useful arts, carried it back withthem into their own country, thence into Palestine, north-eastern Africa, Morocco, and Spain. Those mightycaliphs who from- the heart of southern Asia extendedtheir conquests to the foot of the Pyrenees, leaving traceseverywhere, as the Romans did, of their power andknowledge, made, during their occupation of old Granada,great plantations of the tree, especially around the famouscity of Seville, where relics of these plantations surviveto the present day, and from which place the fruit hasits duplicate name of Seville orange. The Crusaders
  • 189. The Orange. 175probably helped to give it further extension on thenorthern side of the Mediterranean. Their enterprises,though in some respects so futile and unprofitable,contributed greatly to the new birth of civilization inEurope, to the diffusion of the love of art, and of zest onbehalf of the beautiful in all its forms. With the historyof the Crusades is indissolubly bound up the entire ideaof Heraldry in its best intent and significance. Abreastof it runs the history of the uprise of Gothic Architecture,the purest and most romantic it is possible for the mindof man to conceive. Abreast of it, also, assuredly wouldbe found, were they written, the earliest records of theintroduction from the east of some of our most lovelyflowers and precious fruits, the Seville orange leading theway. The Seville orange is now extensively cultivated inthe warmer parts of the Mediterranean region, more par-ticularly, as of old, in Spain. The flavour of the rind "recommends it for marmalade " so called. It is in alsogreat request for the preparation of essential oil or ottoof orange, for flavouring extracts, various medicines, andliqueurs. Curagoa owes its enticement very largely tothe rind of the Bitter orange. This famous liqueur isprepared, not, as often supposed, in the island afterwhich it is named, but in Holland. It is simply thatCuragoa supplies the very finest description of peel. InAmsterdam there is a regular orange-peel mart, wheresaucers containing samples from various countries are setout upon long tables. Hither come the manufacturers ofthe liqueur, who can tell at once from the taste of the
  • 190. 1 76 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.peel from what part of the world it has arrived, and arealways glad to pay a higher price for that received fromCuraQoa. Orange-dulcamara, as it would be better called, seeing " "that marmalade it is not* once the pleasantest is atand most healthful conserve put on the table. Thatfound in the shops is manufactured principally in Scot-land. In a single establishment in Dundee, the quantitymade every day during the season of greatest activity,say the close of winter and the spring, is not less thantwo thousand five hundred pounds weight. After meet-ing the home demand, vast quantities are shipped toAmerica, Australia, and the East and West Indies.Much goes also to continental Europe, for even Spain,Portugal, and Italy are glad to get their Seville orangesback from England in the charmingly transformation "state of marmalade." The Sweet orange thought to have originated in iscountries farther to the east than those from which theBitter was received China, probably, and Cochin China,whence it would seem to have travelled into India aboutthe beginning of the Christian era. When first seen inEurope is uncertain ; probably it was some time aboutthe middle of the thirteenth century, five hundred yearsafter the appearance of the Bitter, and much more thana thousand after the coming of the citron. Opinionsdiffer as to the route by which it came. Some incline toPersia and Syria : perhaps it was introduced direct from * made from See Marmalade proper is quinces. p. 45.
  • 191. The Orange. 177eastern Asia by the Portuguese. The latter conjecture issupported by the fact of the orange being called in Niceand Italy Portogalie and Portogalli. When first conveyedto England is also unknown. The earliest mention ofit, as regards this country, appears to be in QueenEleanors household expense book for A.D. 1290, whereit is said that she purchased from a Spanish ship whichcame to Portsmouth, "vii. poma de orenge." By thetime of Elizabeth had become common, since Gerard itsays that "every circumstance belonging to the formeis very well known to all." So in Coriolanus, ii. i, foralthough the scene is laid in Rome, the allusion in the " "case of the litigant orange wife is to London ways.It was Shaksperean age that the fashion of carry- in theing "pomanders" was introduced. These were orangesfrom which the whole of the pulp had been scooped out,a circular hole being made at the top, then after thepeel had been thoroughly dried filled with spices, so asto constitute a sort of scent-box. The pomander wassuspended from the neck, or carried in the hand, accord-ing to the fancy of the owner. It is this, and not averitable orange, which may often be seen in old portraits,though the painters seem not always to have understoodwhat they were doing. It was in the Shaksperean age,also, that the orange-/r^ was in England, the first grownearliesthaving been cultivated by Sir Francis Carew,half-nephew, by marriage, of the unfortunate Sir WalterRaleigh, in his garden at Beddington, Surrey. Sir Francisbrought his young plants from Portugal, in or about 1595. 2A
  • 192. 178 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.They grew to be eighteen feet high, and being protectedduring the winter by means of moveable sheds, lived tobe nearly a hundred and fifty years old, or till killed bythe terrible frost of 1739-40. So greatly esteemed thence-forwards were orange-trees, that the desire to possessthem seems to have led the way to that capital invention,the Greenhouse. No plants were more cherished in theconservatories, such as they were, of the time of Williamand Mary, and Queen Anne. When decorative ever-green shrubs of any kind were but few, and tenderexotic plants of any description were scarcely known, itwas natural that orange-trees should be prized immensely,kept even in the banqueting-rooms of halls and palaces.They were imported from Genoa, when four or five feethigh, and placed in large tubs of earth, so as to beremovable during summer into the open air. The tastecontinued till the middle of the eighteenth century, ortill the beginning of that wonderful adornment of ourgardens with the best and loveliest vegetable productionsof foreign countries, some of the earliest to arrive beingthe camellia and the rhododendron, soon to be followedby the chrysanthemum and the fuchsia which has neverslackened the orange had then to take its place with the :crowd, and now it is less often conspicuous than halfconcealed. Yet the orange remains what it always was,the paragon of indoor leaf, flower, and fruit-trees all inone ; and charming is still the spectacle, occasionally metwith, of an orangery. The importation of oranges beingcheap and easy, there is no need to attempt to grow
  • 193. The Orange. 179them in England for market. That is no reason why thewealthy amateur gardener should not add to his otherrefined pleasures the very elegant one of orange-culture.To perceive what may be accomplished, no more is want-ing than a visit to Mr. Rivers orange-house at Sawbridge-worth, where a spectacle is presented that would servewell to illustrate a tale from fairy-land or the ArabianNights. The house is a hundred feet long and twenty-four feet wide. The path down the middle is an avenueof green and gold, the fruit upon a level with ones lips,and almost vocal with that irresistible Come, eat me ! thesilent utterance of which, in one sweet way or another,is the sign, ever and always, of what is best for us, andmost glorious. Many different varieties are grown atSawbridgeworth : the trees yield, upon the average, halfa bushel of fruit apiece. Trained against a south wall,and protected in winter with matting, the orange-tree hasbeen known to fruit even out-of-doors, in South Devon.In the Channel Islands it does so frequently. When we are cultivating a precious plant, just as indealing with our fellow-creatures, the question is not whatcan they endure, but what treatment will tend to developtheir best and most loveable qualities. In horticulture,nevertheless, the former must needs always be a con-sideration. So far as regards the orange-tree, the simplefact is that it can bear in winter, without injury, and hasto bear, for several months, in many places on thenorthern side of the Mediterranean, as at Mentone, anight temperature of 40, and a day temperature of 50 or
  • 194. 1 80 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.55. But then it has at the same time the heavenly privi-lege of a clear blue sky, with plenty of radiant sunshine.The amount of sun-heat required to ripen the fruit ismuch less than is demanded by peaches and grapes.The orange wants no more, at all events in the south ofEurope, in Spring, when the fruit is maturing, than isrequired to ripen the strawberry and to bring out theearliest roses. So thoroughly naturalized has the orange-tree nowbecome in the south of Europe, that in Italy, Spain, andPortugal it constitutes a very large element of the vegeta-tion. In France the orange country is chiefly Provence,or that part of the south which lies to the eastward of theRhone. Groves of orange-trees are especially abundantand beautiful in the environs of Nice. More to the west-ward, where the myrtle, the cactus, and the eucalyptusgrow as if natives, they cast an air of enchantment overthe scene which the pen only of a poet can describeverdure, fragrance, innumerable bright gold, uniting togive the luxury of the tropics without their troubles.The fruit takes from twelve to eighteen months to getperfectly ripe. Hence the overwhelming beauty of theorange-groves in winter, which seem converted by itsgolden presence into summer. The trees are in fullbloom again while still laden with the previous yearsproduce. Hence more the yet captivating spectaclepresented when this summer-like winter is followed byspring. It is from these countries, definitely Spain andPortugal, from Malta, Sicily, and the Azores, that we
  • 195. The Orange. 181derive our chief supplies of the fruit. The best are theValentias, so agreeably acidulous, from Spain; and theSt. Michaels, from the Azores, pale yellow, and rathersmall. About a hundred come annually from millionsthe former localities, and about double that number fromthe Azores; Fayal, Terceira, and St. Marys contributingtheir shares, though St. Michaels gives name to the whole.It has been computed that about twenty-five millions outof these three hundred are annually sold in the streets andplaces of public resort in the metropolis. In the Azoresthe plantations vary in extent from an acre to upwardsof sixty acres. The winds being vehement, and a salineatmosphere injurious to the very young buds in earlyspring, they are surrounded by tall hedges of camellia,loquat, Cryptomeria Japonica, and Cunonia Capensis.On account of the weight of the fruit, the branches aresupported by props, and underneath them are patches oflupines, which, after decay, are dug into the ground toserve as manure. The annual average yield of the treesis fifteen hundred fruit fit for export, not includingdamaged ones and failures. They are capable of fargreater individual fecundity ; the productiveness increaseswith age ; when at the tip-top of strength an orange-treewill produce the marvellous number of twelve to sixteenthousand. The gathering for the British market is madebefore the fruit is quite ripe, beginning in October andextending to the new year. To become perfectly ripeit would have to be left upon the trees till spring. Thevery best are those which, like Sir Isaacs apple, drop
  • 196. 1 82 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.quietly, in their own time, from the bough. Gatheredthus early, they " keep " better. The early plucking alsoensures a plentiful crop every year, trees which areallowed to retain the fruit till mature yielding good cropsonly in alternate years. So needful is shelter from thesea-breezes that in the Balearic Islands the orange-grovesare all found in the crater-like hollows among the rocks.In Valentia they are defended by belts of olive andcarob. Not only does the fecundity augment with age.The fruit of the older trees has a thinner rind, and morejuice, and fewer seeds than that of young ones. We mustnot forget the commercial value of orsuigeflowers. Theorange-tree is a mine of odours as well as of fruit-wealth.The perfumers draw from it no fewer than four distinctscents,one from the leaves, two kinds from the flowers,another from the peel. At Nice there is a regularmarket for the flowers, lasting for a month, during whichtime fifteen to eighteen tons weight are sold every day,the flowers of the Sweet orange fetching twopence perpound, and those of the Bitter threepence. A ton ofthe flowers yields by distillation about forty ounces ofNeroli, worth twenty guineas, and besides this there isfive guineas worth of orange-flower water. From Europe, chiefly, the orange-tree has been carriedto every part of the world where the climate allows of theripening of the Good oranges, of large size, some- fruit.what oval in figure, are now received every winter fromJaffa. What poetry in the very name What charm in !the associations To the rocky and foam-beaten harbour !
  • 197. The Orange. 183belongs the immortal fable of Andromeda and Perseus ;it was in Jaffa, literally The Beautiful,* that the maidenTabitha was restored to life by St. Peter. To-day theadjacent orange-orchards are as lovely and as prolificas those of Spain. We do not receive more from themfor want of direct steam communication. All consign-ments from Jaffa to England have at present to betrans-shipped either at Smyrna or Alexandria, with resultsdetrimental alike to the fruit and to the interests of themerchants. Jamaica has already been mentioned (p. 15)as exporting oranges to the United States on a scaleof great magnitude. The United States, by the way,annually import about three hundred and fifty millions ofthis fruit from the Mediterranean. Trinidad, after thesame manner as Jamaica, is bidding fair to become ascene of immense and most lucrative orange-culture, theannual crop of West Indian fruit being ready for gatheringat least two months before the crops in Europe are ready,a fact that should tell in regard to the English demand.Colonial oranges would be welcome indeed, especially asthe arrival would be so early. One of the very best fieldsfor the cultivation of this fruit is Brazil. Planted, in thefirst instance, on the River Plate, the orange soon multi-plied a thousand-fold, chiefly through the aid of theparrots,and now, in certain localities, it grows as if wild,sometimes forming veritable forests. The banks of thelower Parana, and the islands which form its delta, are * Yapheh. The word employed in the Song of Solomon, v. 4 :"Thou art beautiful, O my love."
  • 198. 184 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.absolutely covered with self-sown orange-trees. Here-abouts the fruit is somewhat bitter, but further north itbecomes by samples which deliciously sweet, as verifiedhave reached Covent Garden, and which have been noless remarkable for their firmness and large dimensions.So vast is the Brazilian production that the river-steamerswhich ply between Buenos Ayres and the inland townscarry, in the season, huge piles of the fruit upon theirhurricane-decks, free during the voyage to all who chooseto partake. The Brazilian oranges are usually of a fineruddy yellow, somewhat oval, like the Jaffas, and in one remarkably umbilicated onvariety, preferred to all others,the summit, whence the provincial name. Oranges arelikewise grown extensively in South Florida, where thereare orchards of a hundred to a hundred and fifty acres,twelve-year-old trees bearing fifteen hundred apiece. Thefruit from these has found its way to London, but untilthere are steamers direct to England, as from Jaffa, little,can be anticipated. Florida is the Italy of NorthAmerica, and before long will become one of the mostproductive fruit-countries in the world, emulating evensouthern California, that wonderful region in which asingle acre of ground can be made to yield as large aclear profit to the owner, by semi-tropical nut and fruit-culture, as twenty to fifty acres in the Eastern Statesdevoted to common farming. Australia is not behind-hand. In 1883 the orange-gardens of New South Walesproduced nearly a hundred millions of oranges, most ofwhich were equal to the finest fruit of southern Europe.
  • 199. The Orange. 185 Foremost among the remarkable varieties of the orangeoccasionally met with in the markets, are the Tangerineand the Maltese Blood-orange. Of the former there aretwo sub-varieties " : the large," about half the size of anordinary Valentia orange; and the "small," an elegantlittle fruit, scarcely exceeding the dimensions of a walnut.The pulp in both is very agreeable; the rind is sweetand perfumed. The Maltese Blood or Red orange hasthe pulp irregularly mottled with crimson. Uninformedpeople believe it to have originated through grafting anorange upon a pomegranate. Were the story true wereit possible the Maltese would graft all their orangesupon pomegranates, since these blood-stained fruits fetcha higher price than the plain yellow. In the flavour ofthe juice there is a trace of bitterness. The celebratedClove or Mandarin orange of China seems to have sprungfrom the Bitter. This one is so flattened as to be muchbroader than long ; in colour it is almost red ; in flavourit is rich and sweet ; the rind is so loosely attached thatit separates spontaneously. A picture of the Mandarin,under the name of Citrus nobilis, is given in that fine oldgallery]of rare-plant portraits, Andrews Botanists Reposi- A "tory, pi. 608. variety of the Bitter, called myrtifolia,"resembles the Tangerine in respect of its diminutive fruit,but the taste is displeasing. Greenhouses often retain itas a curiosity. It is figured in Edwards BotanicalRegister for 1819, vol. iv., pi. 346. The Bergamot orange, a result probably of cultivation,but of unknown history, is distinguished from the Bitter 2B
  • 200. 1 86 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.and the Sweet, by the smaller flowers, their peculiar andambrosial odour, and the pear-like figure of the fruit,which resembles that of the Bergamotte pear ; say, rather,of one of the several varieties of the pear so called.The pear takes its name from Bergamo, a city aboutthirty miles north-east of Milan. Some consider that theBergamot is more nearly allied to the Lime than to theoranges, and conjectures are not wanting as to its possiblyhaving a double parentage. In colour the fruit is pale ;the pulp is greenish, sub-acid, firm, and fragrant. Thevalue of the Bergamot consists in the oil contained in therind, from which it is extracted either by distillation orby heavy pressure. A hundred oranges yield about threeounces of the oil. Perfumers use it extensively, as do themanufacturers of eau-de-cologne. It is also employed byapothecaries to give an agreeable smell to ointments.The quantity imported into England is about 40,000 Ibs.weight yearly. But much of this, Mr. Piesse tells us, isadulterated with lemon otto. The principal scene of thecultivation of the Bergamot in Europe is southernCalabria, near Reggio. THE LEMON (Citrus Limonum).PLACED in its rightful botanical position the lemon wouldfollow the citron. Linnaeus, whose grasp of true affini-ties was usually sound, considered these two fruits to beessentially the same. So, at the present moment, doSir J. D. Hooker and Dr. Brandis, authorities next to
  • 201. The Lemon. 187absolute, Dr. Brandis in the Forest Flora of Central andNorth-western India. The last-named is the district towhich this fruit seems indigenous, wild lemon-trees, inmany varieties, occurring upon the mountains to theheight above the sea-level of four thousand feet. Thestature rather exceeds that of the citron, but the habit ofgrowth is similar, the branches springing from near theground, and spreading irregularly. The leaves are ovateand pointed the petioles are wingless j the violet-tinged ;white flowers are produced singly, or occasionally in twosor threes ; the fragrance they evolve is similar to that ofthe orange, but more delicate and not so clinging ; thefruit is specially characterized by the large nipple. When brought from India to Europe is not known.Not the slightest allusion to the lemon occurs in theliterature of antiquity, nor is there any certain mentionof it till towards the close of the fifteenth century.Being sour it may reasonably be conjectured that thisfruitwould receive less attention than the citron andorange, though some think that the conveyance westwardswas contemporaneous with that of the C. vulgaris. If so, " "the commerce of the time of Antonios argosies wouldprobably be the means of introducing it into Italy, sometime during the early middle ages. When first seen inEngland cannot be told. Gerard, temp. Elizabeth, speaksof the fruit as something quite familiar, saying "in theshops, limones." As a cultivated plant the lemon is now met withthroughout the countries bordering on the Mediter-
  • 202. 1 88 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.ranean, also in the Canaries, the Azores, and most sub-tropical countries both of the Old world and the New,and in numerous varieties. The lemons brought toEngland come chiefly from Sicily, being shipped fromMessina and Palermo. Malaga and Lisbon also fur-nish large supplies. During the twelve months endingAugust 3ist, 1884, there were imported into Liverpoolalone a hundred and twenty-one thousand packages, ofthe declared value of ,73,000. In constitution the lemon-tree is somewhat tender,decidedly more so than the orange, though upon theRiviera it better endures the sea-breezes. The excep-tional warmth of the winter climate of Mentone, evenfor the Riviera, is proved by the one simple fact of thepresence in that favoured spot of many groves of largeand healthy lemon-trees. They occupy every shelteredravine and warm hillside, provided there be a goodsupply of water; constant irrigation, both winter andsummer, being to the lemon peculiarly indispensable.The anxiety of the owners, in winters of unusual severity,compares with that of the Lancashire gooseberry-growerswhen there is threat of a thunderstorm. They sit upall night, watching the thermometer; for a few degreesfurther fall, when already low, means certain destruction.Warm and sheltered nooks are the special delight of thelemon : then it can live to a great age, and occasionallyattain dimensions truly surprising. A lemon-tree at thebottom of the quarry of Dionysius, at Syracuse, Sicily anexcavation sixty feet deep growing where not a breath
  • 203. The Lime. 189of wind can reach it, is (if not destroyed) as large as anoak a century old. Flowers may be found upon thelemon-tree all the year round : the fruit is developed andripened in much less time than that of the orange as a :rule there are four distinct annual crops. The value and economic uses of the lemon need nocomment. The juice ; the rind, both fresh and dried the oil, or essence, obtained from the latter ; all in turnsubserve excellent purposes in connection with food,medicine, and perfumery. Lemonade, the most familiar,is perhaps usually, prepared by pouring boiling often,water upon sliced lemons. This is wrong. By so doing,a strong infusion is made of the peel, and this, beingmingled with the juice, diminishes its refreshing propertiesand influence. The proper way is to squeeze the lemonsinto cold water, adding the cut-up rind of one, refinedsugar to the amount needed, and, when procurable, a fewcrushed strawberries. The name is traceable to theArabic limun or limu, and this, like the Arabic word forthe orange, represents, in all likelihood, an earlier Aryanterm. Seeing that both names are of oriental origin, itis curious that the Indian appellation of the citron nevermoved westwards. THE LIME (Citrus Medica, var. adda).THERE can be little hesitation as to the proper botanicalplace of the Lime, all the characters indicating very nearaffinity with the citron. The obtuse leaves, with wingless
  • 204. 1 90 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.petioles, the small flowers, and the irregular and stragglingmode of growth all point this way : the essential differ-ences are found only in the fruit, which is small and thin-rinded, and though variable in shape, often spherical.Attaining the height, in general, of not more than sevenor eight feet, though capable of rising to fifteen or twentyfeet, and the branches being crooked and spinous, itserves admirably for hedges, and is extensively so usedin the West Indies. We who by the wayside in England,gather only blackberries, have little idea of the goldenopulence and shining splendour of a hedge of limes.The application of the term is somewhat broad. Thelimes emphatically so called are intensely acid. Thesego also by the botanical names of Citrus Lumta, C.Lima, and C. Lintonellus. There are other varietiescalled "sweet limes," not that they are really sweet,being simply insipid. These have for their Latin nameCitrus Limetta. The immense value of the lime, as said at the begin-ning of this chapter, consists in the abundance of citricacid in the juice. The fruit is now seldom brought toEngland in the fresh state, or just as gathered, thoughin bygone days had great repute with those who itenjoyed the punch-bowl, the flavour communicated beingsuperior to that given by lemons. We see it, however, inthe preserved state, usually in syrup, when it contributesdelightfully to the witchcraft of the dessert. To thisend the fruit is gathered while still green, so that theexquisite aroma of the rind shall in no degree be lost;
  • 205. The Lime. 191then packed in small kegs of about seven pounds weight.The import is perhaps exclusively from Brazil. Anothervery elegant mode of preserving the lime is to removethe pulp, then dry the rind, and encrust it with sugar,thus creating a sweetmeat that the gods might envy. The Lime-tree gardens, par excellence, of the world arecontained in the little island of Montserrat, one of themost charming and salubrious of the British West Indiancolonies. The but forty-seven square miles, or area isconsiderably less than that of London, yet from thiscircumstance alone the seat upon it of the lime it maybe regarded as almost priceless. The plantations, tenyears ago, covered over six hundred acres of land, thetrees numbering about a hundred and twenty thousand.To what degree the cultivation has been extended thereis yet no report, but doubtless it has been steadilyprogressive, and there seems no reason why the entireisland should not be devoted to this most important andrewarding industry. No sight more beautiful can beimagined, so we are told by visitors to Montserrat, thanthese lime-tree orchards when laden with their brightfruit, the glow being, if possible, evenmore brilliant thanthat of the orange-groves of southern Europe. Theatmosphere, at the same time, is loaded with the lusciousfragrance of the bloom. Even the leaves of the lime areso aromatic that they are commonly used throughout theWest Indies to perfume the water in the finger-glasses ofthe dinner-table, and for toilet purposes of similar kind.The production of fruit is very large. When ripe, the
  • 206. 192 Fruits and Fru it- and finest are selected and cut into slices bymachinery moved by water-power. The mass is thenheavily pressed, and the juice at once placed in casksready for shipment. The inferior fruit, and the refusefrom the pressing, is made to yield, by other treatment,citric acid, almost as valuable in the arts as the juice isin medicine. Crops are gathered at intervals nearly allthe year round ; the heaviest harvest occupies all handsfor three months from September onwards. The limeexists in English conservatories, and has often bornefruit, as at Tortworth, Gloucestershire, the seat of EarlDucie, the tree there cultivated supplying the specimenfigured in the Botanical Magazine for 1884, pi. 6,745. It is to be regretted that through indifference orsomething worse, the English name of the celebratedtimber-tree, the Tilia Europaa, became corrupted aboutthe year 1700 from "line" into "lime." "Line" itselfis not the original, being a shortened form of the Anglo-Saxon lind, which is connected, in turn, with lentus,pliant, and refers to the usefulness of the inner bark as amaterial for string and cordage. All the old herbalshave "line;" it occurs also in early verse, where itrhymes to "thine": " Now me tell thy name, good fellow, said he, Under the leaves of lyne."The corruption, intrinsically, is a matter of no greatmoment. But unfortunately it sometimes leads to con-fusion of the lime-tree of the park and the Citrus whichsupplies lime-juice.
  • 207. The Shaddock. 193 THE SHADDOCK (Citrus decumana).DECUMANA signifies plump, massive, buxom, portly ;hence is well applied to the huge fruit in the vernacularcalled the Shaddock, the largest of the globular onesproduced by any species of Citrus, as the citron is thelargest of the elongated. The name is understood tocommemorate a certain sea-captain who conveyed it fromChina to the West Indies, a doubt resting at the sametime over the orthography, since at Bishops Lydiard,Somerset, with which village the family seems to havebeen connected, the spelling over the doors is Shattock.The tree producing be a native of Java it is thought toand Polynesia, carried thence to India, and from Indiadispersed to other countries near the tropics. Thestature about eighteen feet ; the very large leaves are isrounded, and have winged petioles, like those of theorange; the flowers are white; the rind is pale yellowand very bitter ; the pulp is either white or red, and thejuice sub-acid and sweet. A good mark of the growingtree is found in the pubescence of the young branchlets,and upon the undersides of the young leaves, all otherspecies of Citrus being perfectly glabrous. Of the fruit,which ordinarily about four times as large as an isorange, sometimes almost the size of a mans head, thereare many varieties, differing in flavour, and yet moremarkedly in substance, some being hard, others abound-ing in juice. The best kind seems to be that one called 2C
  • 208. 1 94 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.the "pomolo,"* afruit of less magnitude than the coarserones, and which, unless cut open very carefully whenserving at table, will quite flood any ordinary fruit-dish.The pomolo is a rather favourite fruit in the East Indies.The flavour reminds one of the muscatel grape: thethickness of the rind allows of its being preserved ingood condition for a considerable length of time ; henceit is that pomolos are brought to England even fromChina. The shaddocks imported from the Azores andthe West Indies are decidedly inferior. The somewhatpear-shaped "Forbidden fruit," sometimes distinguishedas a species under the name of Citrus Paradisi, appearsto be scarcely distinguishable from the pomolo. Therind is less bitter ; the flavour of the pulp is uncertain ;the value seems to reside chiefly in its ornamental char-acter. The so-called "Adams apple," when certainlyidentified, may perhaps resolve into the same. Bothnames, foolish at any time, have been applied vaguelyand inconsistently, and not uncommonly in the directionof some of the varieties of the citron, f Under one oranother of the forms the decumana is occasionally metwith in English conservatories, and fruiting well, as, forexample, the Duke of Devonshires at Chatsworth. * Also written pomeloe, pummelow, pompelmousse, and pompel-mouse, but these names are also given to the large varieties. t The fruit of the Citrus Limetta has also received these names.One of the bananas, the produce of the Musa Paradisi, is another"Adams apple." A third "Forbidden fruit" is produced by theTabermzmontana dichotoma of Ceylon, the side seeming to havebeen bitten.
  • 209. The Kumquat. 195 THE KUMQUAT ( Citrus Japonica).THE Kumquat is one of the prettiest and most gracefulof its genus. was originally introduced from China by Itthe late celebrated Mr. Robert Fortune, in or about 1842.Mr. Fortune found that it was cultivated over a consider-able extent of country, especially in the temperate parts.In winter it will bear ten to fifteen degrees of frost, sothat irrespective of its flowers and attractive little fruits,about the size of a large cherry, and gold-coloured, itrecommends itself as a most desirable glossy evergreenfor the Winter Garden. The rind is sweet and delicatelyflavoured, but the pulp is rather bitter. It has manytimes ripened fruit in this country, as at Syon andKnypersley. Preserved in syrup, kumquats make their " "appearance now and then in West-end shops. Amongst the minor species of the Aurantiacese whichfurnish pleasant and palatable fruits may be mentioned Limonia parviflora)the Glycosmis citrifolia (also calledand the Triphasia aurantiola, also called Limonia tri-foliata. The Glycosmis, a native of China, producesabundantly in greenhouses a very nice, sweet, and juicykind of berry, the size of a large black-currant, but of areddish-yellow colour. All parts of this desirable plant,leaves, flowers, and fruit, an agreeable perfume. diffuseThe Triphasia, also Chinese, covers itself in the same
  • 210. 196 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.way, with nice little orange-coloured fruits. Here, also,may be mentioned the little-known fruit supplied by theCasimiroa edulis, a Mexican tree belonging to the samegreat tribe as the Aurantiaceae, though technically in adifferent section. In figure and colour it resembles a St.Michaels orange, but is described as, when in perfection,in appearance more like a quince, whence the provisionalname of "Mexican apple." This most interestingaddition to our indoor dessert -fruits seems only to wantattention in order to become a general favourite. It hasripened successfully at Kylemore Castle, Galway.* * See, for further particulars, the Gardeners Chronicle, October1 3th, 1877.
  • 211. Chapter ET^RIOS; MULTIPLE, AGGREGATE, AND COLLECTIVE FRUITS. " Tis a long lane that has no blackberries in it." Old Proverb. " is the word, slightly altered in the spelling, and omitting the initial h, which the ancient Greeks used to denote com- munities, partners, colleagues, comrades, clansmen, etc. In Botany it has been in- geniously adopted as the technical name forsome very curious forms of fruit, which, although simplein appearance, are constituted, in reality, of a multitudeof little separate and independent fruits, every one ofthem perfect in itself, a pericarp containing a seed.Fruits of this description etaerios are produced bybuttercups, anemones, potentillas, and other members
  • 212. 198 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.of the Ranunculaceae and the Rosaceae, then resemblinglittleheaps of dry seeds. Sometimes, instead of beingdry and seed-like, the constituent elements of the etaerioare juicy: they then resemble tiny plums, and receivethe nameof drupeolae or drupels, literally "little drupes."Etaerios formed of drupels are seen in the ranunculaceousgenus Hydrastis, and in the raspberry and the blackberryamong the Rosaceae. Etaerios areproduced by simpleand solitary flowers, or such as occur in the two ordersthat havebeen named, and only by such. In other families it happens very frequently that scoresand even hundreds of minute flowers are closely packedtogether, side by side, upon the surface of a broad roundcushion, or upon the outside of some kind of column orconical pillar. The fruits which ensue from these areagain either dry and seed-like, as in the sunflower andthe scabious; or they may be juicy, as in the scarletcluster of the wild arum, the " lords-and-ladies " of thecountry children. Another curious condition is induced by the mem-bers of these little confederacies, when fleshy or juicy,coalescing so completely as to form a solid mass, tessel-lated upon the exterior. This occurs in the pine-appleand the Benthamia. In the hip of the rose (a solitary andindependent flower) there is found yet another curiouscondition. The part which in the raspberry is white andconical, the drupels resting upon the outer surface, isinverted,becoming a sort of urn, within which thenumerous little hard and stone-like fruits are completely
  • 213. The Rubi. 199concealed. Illustrations of the same general idea, thatof Community or Association, variously modified, aresupplied by the strawberry, the fig, and the mulberry. Itis further set forth, very elegantly, in maize or Indiancorn. Association of many little fruits must be care-fully distinguished from the idea of the Compound fruit."Compound" fruits come of the lateral adhesion of asmall fixed number of carpels, as shown in the orangeand the apple. There is no common bond of botanicalaffinity among the plants producing these various kindsof aggregated fruits. The eatable ones are broughttogether in the present chapter purely for the sake ofconvenience in classification. THE RUBI.THE etaerio has for its most interesting examples thefruits of the various species of Rubus, the genus ofRosaceae which leads off in point of excellence with theraspberry. The number of species is considerable. Theyare diffused, more or less, over the whole world, NorthAmerica claiming twenty-seven; Central America andthe West Indian islands, twenty-one; South America,twenty-three; Australia, New Zealand, and Polynesia,nine others. Asia has its share, and so has Europe.How many there are in Britain undecided, or depends, israther, upon the mental proclivities of the man who
  • 214. 2OO Prints and Fruit- Trees.counts them. He who loves unity, and to list the onesweet melody played in many keys, and with variationssuch as musicians delight in, finds, with the late Mr.Bentham, only five, really and substantially distinct.He who prefers to isolate, and likes a Latin name forevery new expression, finds, with Professor Babington,forty-frve. The large, rude, and very thorny ones are theBrambles of their respective countries, and in Britain "are the donors of the Blackberry. Bramble," in thebygones, had a wider signification than it holds to-day,denoting any kind of prickly shrub of the wilderness.In the A.V. of the Old Testament, in the famousapologue of the trees going forth to choose a king, itrepresents the Hebrew atadh, which probably denotesthe Christs thorn, Paliurus Spina-ChristL In the A.V.of the New Testament it represents the Greek /3dro e ,which, in addition to certain Rubi, certainly included thedog-rose, for Theocritus says that the flowers of the /Baroeare not to be compared with those of the genuine rose(v. 92, 93). Thislast is the sense in which the Englishword is employed by Chaucer : " And swete as is the bramble-flower That bereth the red hepe."All the brambles are ligneous, the shoots limp and pliant,often many feet in length, the leaves usually ternateor quinate, the flowers white or pink, with many stamensand many pistils, the ripened ovaries of the latterbecoming the drupels. A considerable number of thespecies appear to produce edible and palatable fruit,
  • 215. The Raspberry. 201which under cultivation allows of improvement. Thestudent of vegetable homology will find it well worth hiswhile to compare the cone of the etaerio of the Rubi(called the torus or thalamus) with the long shaft in themiddle of the geranium fruit, and with the spadix of thearum and the acorus. THE RASPBERRY (Rubus Idans).THE Raspberry, universally relished, alike as served withdessert, in combination with other fruits in pie andpudding, when converted into jam, and in the summerbeverage called Raspberry Vinegar, is remarkable notonly for the peculiar and delicate flavour and fragrancewhich recommend it for these uses, but for the exceed-ingly fleeting character both of the taste and the odour.These in a few hours very perceptibly diminish ; in threedays they are almost gone ; they endure scarcely longerwhile the fruit is still hanging upon the bush. To beenjoyed in perfection, gathering and eating should gotogether ; and assuredly, on a sunny afternoon, no gardenrecreation is more delightful than plucking and eatingraspberries, with kindly chat for the accompaniment. In the wild state the raspberry occurs throughoutEurope, from Norway and Sweden to Spain and Greece.It is found in Russian Asia ; also, it is said, upon theHimalayas and in the north of Africa. The naturalhabitats are woods and thickets, bushy and uncultivated 2D
  • 216. 2O2 Fruits and Print- Trees.recesses, rough-edged country lanes, where damp andsomewhat shady, but not such as are exposed to thedrip of rain. Exposure to the meridian sun is distastefulto it; of all known fruits the raspberry, in tastes andpreferences, is the most violet-like. The leaves sufficeto distinguish it, these being chiefly pinnate, thoughplenty are trifoliate, and white underneath. The whiteflowers are insignificant, the least conspicuous perhaps ofany found in its genus ; the incomparable crimson of theripe fruit is sometimes exchanged for the delicate shadeof amber so well known in gardens. An excellentfeature of the raspberry is, that although earlier to comein bloom than most Rubi, it is still so much later thanfruiting-plants in general, that the crop is rarely or neverspoiledby unfortunate weather. The mode of develop-ment of the stems is somewhat peculiar. The rootstockis perennial, but the stems are biennial; that is to say, anew young ones set of is thrown up every year, these tobear the flowers and fruit the following year. When theirwork is finished, they die away, and give place to theirsuccessors. Careful raspberry-culture in the gardenincludes the cutting out of all the old and spent stemsas soon as the fruiting is over, thus giving every advan-tage to the new ones. Certain varieties of raspberry canbe so manipulated as to secure abundance of good ripefruitas late even as November, when a dish placedupon table with dessert gives challenge even to thegrapes, and in the shooting season becomes, for onesguests, a very special treat. To obtain the late autumn
  • 217. The Raspberry. 203crop, remove, in spring, the stems that would fruit if theyremained. The energy of the plant in these varietiesthen goes into the young shoots, and they blossom andfruit at the tips. Sometimes this happens spontaneously.Under cultivation, it must be remembered, that beingfond of moisture, the raspberry revels in a heavilymulched border and an evening shower. It does notcare to be much wetted, but loves an atmosphere thatspares from perspiring. it The nature of the under-ground growth, which is always diffusive, prohibits theuse of spade and fork ; all environing weeds should beremoved by hand and not by hoe. The origin of the name has not been satisfactorilydetermined. The early form, raspis-berry or raspise-berry,seems to carry an allusion to the rough appearance of thefruit, at all events when wild, the drupels retaining thebristle-like styles for a considerable time. When theexact culture began is not known. In all likelihood itwould be about the same time as that of the currantand gooseberry. No fruit, probably, has so little taxedthe ingenuity of the gardener, since no other so nearlyapproaches, while in the wild state, the condition desiredfor the table. All the fine varieties now in gardens havebeen derived from the wild raspberry of the woods.The best are Baumforths Seedling, Carters Prolific,Fill-basket, Red Antwerp, Hornet, Yellow Globe, Fastolf,and White Antwerp. A very elegant mode of trainingraspberries is to attach them to a wire trellis.
  • 218. 2O4 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. THE BLACKBERRY (Rubus fruticosus).OF all our wild eatable fruits the Blackberry, thoughit may be somewhat plebeian, is unquestionably the mostinteresting to people in general. It holds the singularpre-eminence of being the only good fruit that is vexatiousin the gathering, every tenth berry costing a prick or ascratch, joy and grief going hand in hand : still it is thefruit of all others bound up with the golden days of langsyne, the time when, despite the crimson sap upon thetorn fingers, it was pleasantest of all, for was it not thefruit Not only does it live of travail and the holiday?in our ancient and most comfortable proverb "Tis along lane that has no blackberries in it" picturesqueparaphrase of the immortal truth that to the patient andthe hopeful all things worth having come some day; itre-appears in the pathetic old nursery ballad : "Their pretty lips with blackberries Were all besmeared and dyd, And when they saw the darksome night, They sat them down and cryd." The Children in the Wood. Roxburghe Ballads, ii. 220. "Falstaff, in Henry Give you a reason the Fourth, says,on compulsion? If reasons were as plenty as black-berries, I would give no man a reason on compulsion."Further on, in the same scene, while joking with PrinceHenry, the old knight exclaims, "Shall the blessed son
  • 219. The Blackberry. 205 "of heaven prove a micher, and eat blackberries ? To" mich " signifies to lurk out of sight, to hide ones self.Boys, playing truant from school, afraid to go home, andwho wander up and down the lanes to escape observation,are still, in the south-western counties, said to "mooch."If we care to ask was any note taken of the blackberryin the classical ages, there is the picture in Ovid of the" " golden world," when men were to fleet the time aptcarelessly."* Apart from the context, that morum, theword used in this fine passage, denoted with the ancientRomans the blackberry as well as the mulberry is shownby Pliny (xv. 27). The apothecaries of the middle agescalled blackberries mora rubi. The common Frenchname for them is mdres de hate or mtires sauvages. In "Suffolk, to this day, they are mulberries." The blackberry occurs in woods, thickets, and hedges,in tangled wildernesses and waste places, over nearly thewhole of Europe, and in Russian and Central Asia. Butit does not ascend to alpine heights, nor in regard tolatitude is it an arctic plant. Describing the productionsof the Riviera, "There is a friend of our childhood," " the commonsays Dr. Bennet, Blackberry, which we areglad to welcome even at Mentone. In the warmest,wildest, and rockiest regions it grows as vigorously, asjoyously, as in any quiet lane in England or Scotland ;only, in such situations, it becomes an evergreen in thissense, that it does not lose one set of leaves until it hasgot another. It is, in truth, a singularly hardy plant, with * Met. i. 105. Compare Fasti, iv. 509.
  • 220. 206 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.a most singular power of adapting itself to circumstances.All climates seem to agree equally well with it hot orcold, rainy or dry, maritime or inland, plain or mountain.I have never been to a spot in Europe where I have notfound it, from Sutherlandshire to Mentone. I must,however, confess to a certain degree of surprise when Isaw this favourite of our English shady lanes growing atMentone with wild and determined luxuriance, filling upthe beds of dry torrents, climbing up trees to a height oftwenty or thirty feet, and choking passages betweenlemon-trees on the mountain-side; and that in regionswhere it often does not rain in summer for six monthstogether, and under the glare of the fierce Mediterraneansun. Certainly it must have a mission to fulfil. Its sightis always welcome, as is all that reminds the sojournerin foreign lands of his native country, and of the hauntsand pleasures of his early days." * The is Blackberryreported even from northern Africa. The abundance of this plant in English hedges seemsto have come very much of the pains taken in the six-teenth century to multiply it for the express purpose ofuse in fences. Old Tusser emphatically urges the farmerto mingle brambles with hawthorn when laying down" " quicksets hedges, that is, of living as distinguishedfrom dead material. Once introduced brambles generallyhold their own, perhaps somewhat to the detriment ofthe hawthorns, which are liable to be overwhelmed, butthe advantage of their presence quite compensates the * "Mentone and the Riviera as a Winter Climate," 1861, p. 23.
  • 221. The Blackberry. 207hurt they may do : in any case were they now to bedestroyed, the loss would be heavy. They propagate notonly by seeds, but in a way very similar to that observ-able in the strawberry and the silver-weed. Most of thebrambles may be regarded as a kind of gigantic straw-berry, so far as regards power of self-extension. Inautumn, in any shaded wood where brambles and decay-ing leaves abound, the process becomes quite plain toones observation. The long shoots of the year burytheir extreme ends among the litter, and there form semi-bulbous knobs. These during the winter months throwout roots in all directions, and in the spring developstrong shoots, capable, if removed, of an independentexistence. We may learn from this how to propagatewith ease those beautiful garden varieties of the black-berry which have large double white and double rose-coloured flowers ; also that very interesting albino varietywhich has fruit of the colour of "white" raspberries,originally mentioned by Ray as growing near Oxford,and which has been noticed quite recently at Dundry,near Bristol, near Chelmsford, and near Penzance. "Imet with it to-day," says a lady friend of the author,"when, after rambling over Pradannack Downs, dream-ing delightfully among the waxen heath-bells, and musingover the ancient, time-worn cross, neared the coast, by Ia tamarisk-fringed lake, and perplexed over a botanicaldarling, dear to me, came upon more treasure-trove inthe shape of WHITE BLACKBERRIES ! white in the senseone speaks of white grapes, the ripe ones exactly resemb-
  • 222. 2o8 Fruits and Fruit-Trees*ling white raspberries. They were sweeter and richer inflavour than any of their ethiop brethren."* Wherever,in a large garden, the conditions and circumstances willpermit, especially in districts where the wild fruit is notplentiful, the blackberry should be allowed a place. Ithas the peculiar value of going on ripening till the adventof serious frost. The first crop of fruit is usually accom- " St. Martins littlepanied, during summer," by a secondflow of bloom, so that there is a succession of the shiningjet all through that peaceful time when the gossamer, "lefil de la tres-sainte Vierge," as the French prettily call it,flings its mimic barriers across our path. When no othersmall bush-fruit is to be had, the blackberry can still beheld in reserve. There is no occasion to let it wanderuntidily. A row of blackberries fixed to stakes, with aslight rail or wire upon each side to restrain would-bestragglers, is a pleasing rather than a distasteful object.Better still when the plants are so trained as to form alittle arcade. In a dry and sunny autumn the black-berry is a really excellent fruit. Those who would enjoyit in perfection should go to the hedgerows or thewilderness at mid-day, when the sun has been full upon " themthem for some hours, select the kings," and eathot. Not only is the fruit capital for pie and pudding, it makes anespecially with admixture of sliced apple :excellent jam, and a very delicate jelly ; the last-named,dissolved in warm water, gives a really delightful drink ;and blackberry wine, all those who know how to make it * Authoress of " Rostherne Mere and other Poems."
  • 223. The Blackberry. 209arightpronounce the most desirable after grape-wine.In sickness it is invaluable as a tonic, and nothing isfound more trustworthy in complaints of the diarrhoeaclass. The art of manufacture is simple enough :Measure your berries and bruise them, and to everygallon of the fruit add a quart of boiling water. Let themixture stand for twenty-four hours, occasionally stirring;then strain off the liquid, adding to every gallon a coupleof pounds of refined sugar, and keep it in a cask, tightlycorked, till the following October, when it will be ripeand " rich. Blackberry cordial," another preparation ofsingular merit, is made by expressing the juice, addinghalf a pound of white sugar to every quart, with half anounce each of nutmeg and cloves, then boiling for ashort time, and when cold adding a little brandy. Withso many substantial recommendations, how regretful itbecomes to see the blackberry left to decay, as it often is,to the extent of thousands of tons. Nowhere in the threekingdoms is it more plentiful or of finer quality thanin the southern parts of Ireland. Yet there, this natural of the " withoutgift soil, untaxed, uncharged for, moneyand without price," while it might be made a source ofimmense and permanent wealth to the poorer inhabitants,is left wholly untouched and this when we; are sendingmillions of money every year to foreign countries forfruits that have not half the intrinsic worth of the ill-requited Rubus fruticosus. In Hampshire the people arewiser. Owing to the great extent of Crown lands in thatcounty, allowed as they are to remain in a semi-wild con- 2E
  • 224. 2 1 o Fruits and Fruit- Trees.dition, and partly to the hedgerows being allowed morefreedom of growth than in most agricultural counties,brambles abound and produce very copiously. Manyof the poorer inhabitants of the towns, as soon as thefruit is ripe, gain their livelihood for weeks together bycollecting it for sale. THE CLOUDBERRY (Rubus Chamcemortis).AN inviting little fruit indeed is the Cloudberry, thoughknown to few except the inhabitants of high northerndistricts. It is met with, in the wild state, upon the loftymoors between Stalybridge and Huddersfield, whence itis occasionally brought to Manchester for sale also upon ;Ingleborough and in North Wales, rapidly increasing inquantity as we penetrate into Scotland, and becoming,in Scandinavia, one of the conspicuous elements of theFlora. It extends also into northern Asia and NorthAmerica. In order to thrive it requires plenty of moisture,but not in excess, and prefers a peaty soil, though quiteable to grow upon the face of a crag, in moist crevices, as " "upon the Breadalbane mountains. The epithet Cloudis generally supposed to refer to its elevated places ofgrowth, as among if Perhaps it may be an the clouds.application of the geographical term preserved in "ThorpeCloud," one of the two great mountain-sentinels at theentrance to Dovedale; and in "Cloud-end," the celebratedinland promontory in North Staffordshire
  • 225. The Cloudberry. 2 1 1 " Agreen and gentle hill, the last As twere the cape of a long ridge of such, Save that there is no sea to lave its base, But a most living landscape."In this case itwould simply mean " mountain-berry." A Rubus to all intents and purposes in flowers andfruit, this very interesting little plant has nothing aboutit in figure of the bramble, the ligneous portions beingchieflyunderground, and the flowering-branches risingabove the soil to a height never greater than six or eightinches, and usually less. The leaves are roundish orkidney-shaped, though often five, seven, or nine-lobed.The large white flowers are solitary and terminal, andusually of only one sex, the staminate and the pistillateoccurring in distinct patches, after the manner of therose-lychnis and the white evening lychnis. Occasionallythe two kinds are intermingled, the stems being unitedunderground, which shows that the plant is monoeciousas well as dioecious. It often covers expanses of manyacres in extent, growing without any intermixture of otherplants, a very pretty spectacle when in full bloom at theend of June. In the arctic regions it flowers imme-diately after the snows have passed away ; and scarcelyare the berries ripened, six weeks afterwards, before snowbegins to fall again. Covering only midsummer, these" short and " simple annals render the life-history of thelittle cloudberry the briefest of any among the fruit-bearing plants useful to man. When ripe, the appearanceof the great beds is again exceedingly pretty. The
  • 226. 2 1 2 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.drupels are large, green at first, then reddish and opaque,finally of a very delicate pink amber-yellow, and trans-lucent. Though large they are not so numerous as thoseof the raspberry and the blackberry; the etaerio is thusa very handsome one. In flavour the cloudberry is both sweet and moderatelyacid, with something of the taste of tamarinds. It is niceto eat just as gathered, but better when made into jam.The Laplanders bruise and eat it with the milk of thereindeer. Travellers in Norway, where the cloudberrygrows even by the roadsides, are regaled with molta,moltebser, or myrebaer, a very pleasant preparation ofit in cream. As an it has proved to be anti-scorbutic, In the "Voyage of thescarcely inferior to the lime.Vega," the two noble volumes in which Prof. Nordens-kiold has recorded his observations during a voyageround Asia and Europe by way of the north-east passage,a work of very different order from ephemeral books oftravel, the author testifies to its value in terms of thehighest praise. The entire ships company was preservedfrom that great scourge of arctic sailors, the scurvy, bythe sole use of it, or at most with the addition of a smallquantity of rum, which appeared to increase the efficacy.Prof. Nordenskiold expresses his belief that future polarexpeditions, should they avail themselves of the cloud-berry, will find it conduce more than anything else tohealth and comfort. A very interesting fact in botanicalgeography is that down in the antarctic regions, in theFalkland Islands and Terra del Fuego, there grows a
  • 227. The Dewberry. 2 1 3plant scarcely distinguishable from our northern cloud-berry, called, because of the likeness of the foliage,Rubus geoides. THE DEWBERRY (Rubus catsius).THE Dewberry, a common inhabitant of quiet waysidesand the borders of where the ground is lanes, especiallydry and somewhat stony frequent also upon the seaside ;sandhills ; is in some respects so like the blackberry asordinarily to be confounded with it. But the dewberryprefers to and keep below, rather than to mount trailinto hedges, and woods and forests it seems afraid of.The flowers are few, and never properly paniculate :the drupels are large but very few; often only two orthree are perfectly developed, or but a single one, thenimmense ; in any case they never present the beau-idealof the etaerio ; and lastly, so far from being jetty andlucid, they are covered, like some varieties of the plumand damson, with "bloom" "shining dim .... pow-dered with downy blue." The branches, instead ofbeing so terribly resentful to the touch of naked fingers,are but thinly clothed with prickles, and these are butweak. All parts of continental Europe, as well as of ourown country, are possessed of the dewberry. It extendsalso into Russian Asia, though not crossing the Arcticcircle. The flavour of the fruit is estimated very differ-ently. Some call it insipid ; others think it very good.
  • 228. 2 1 4 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Shakspere would seem to have held the latter opinion,if the fruit of the c&sius be really intended, since hepossibly used the name as more euphonious than" blackberry," or equivalent to it, done by Lyte, in ashis old Herbal, a work which Shakspere would haveaccess to. Titania is giving her gracious behest to thefour fairies : " Be kind and courteous to this gentleman, Hop and gambol in his eyes in his walks, : Feed him with apricocks and dewberries, With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries." Midsummer Nights Dream, iii. I .The derivation of the name "dewberry" is uncertain.Certainly the not referable in any degree to first part is" dew," the morning moisture upon the grass. Nor doesitappear, as conjectured by some, to be from the Anglo-Saxon name of the dove, an idea founded upon thecolour of the ripened Dr. Priors researches point fruit. "rather to its being a sort of descendant of theve-thorn,"literally a low or inferior sort of bramble, the wordemployed by Wiclif in the apologue, Judges ix. 14. Overcasius there is no difficulty. Csesius is the Latin repre-sentative of the famous old Greek word yXavicoe, so richin association, and which is so happily preserved in oneof Kingsleys most delightful legacies to people who havelearned that first and finest of the fine arts, the art ofthankfulness to men of genius ; and in the appellation ofthat charming shore-plant, the Glaucium luteum, or "sea-side yellow poppy." The primary or fundamental sense
  • 229. The Dewberry. 215of the word would seem to have been a gleaming, as ifwith soft and silvery light. Then it became an epithetof the sea, as in Iliad xvi. 34. Then it moved on to theolive-tree ; then to living creatures, as to the Nereids, the" sea-green sisters of the deep," who had bright pearlsmingled with their beautiful hair, and whose sweet pro-vince it was to calm the waters when turbulent ; then itmoved on to eyes eyes of the lovely and inexpressiblehue which some poet has fittingly described as the" colour of " gladness that rare and subtle combinationof azure and grey which rejoiced men in Aphrodites,which helped to gain for the Muses that most picturesqueof descriptions, " Joves nine azure-eyed flower-producingdaughters," and which, thank God, has never been lostto the world. So delicious is the upgrowth in the signifi-cation of words that were cradled in poetic thought.And sweet is it to note how in the end they can fallback upon some simple object of wild nature, a termwhich transports the mind to the time of the brightfables of antiquity, settling down upon a little waysidefruit, our Rubus casius. The fruit of the one other distinct species of BritishRubus, the R. saxatilis, or Rock Bramble, correspondswith that of the dewberry in respect of the flowers andthe various sizes of the drupels, but in this one theyare scarlet, and in flavour agreeably acid. The habit ofgrowth is peculiar, a few prostrate branches running tothe length of a yard from the centre of growth, and afew others growing erect, to the height of ten or twelve
  • 230. 2 1 6 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.inches. In the axils of the upper leaves, mostly ternate,of the vertical branches, come insignificant greenish-whiteflowers, the aggregate forming little racemose clusters.The Rock Bramble grows in woods and stony ravines,also upon the stony banks of streams. It begins withSouth Wales, extends up the margin of the westerncounties to the northern ones, where it becomes common,and occurs also in Ireland and in Scotland. THE ARCTIC RASPBERRY (Rubus arcticus).LINNAEUS, in his fascinating first venture, the Flora Lap-ponica, in which he narrates all particulars connectedwith his celebrated northern tour, 1732, tells us that whensinking with hunger and fatigue his strength was recruitedby the nectareous juice of the berries of the arctic rasp-berry. The cranberry may rival this plant in delicacyof leaf and blossom, but the fruit is, without compare,the very choicest produced in Scandinavia. Not that itactually needs an arctic latitude. It thrives at Kew andin Warwickshire supplying yet another illustration of thewonderful constitutional elasticity which kind Nature hasbestowed upon the majority of her children and nowand then has even ripened fruit in the Botanical Gardenat Hull. There would seem to be no difficulty in thecultivation : upon a rockery the pretty flowers come outfreely, and give the idea of a miniature sweet-brier. It
  • 231. American and Asiatic Rubi. 2 1 7was one of the earliest plants figured in the BotanicalMagazine, the picture appearing as far back as September1790, vol. iv., pi. 132. Jam made of the fruit of the arctic raspberry is, withoutquestion, the most delightfully aromatic that can be con-ceived, the odour being that of strawberry and raspberrycombined. In England we know of it only as a singulardainty, sent by loving hands as a loving gift. Evenwhere the plant most abounds, in Norway, Sweden, andFinland, it is a luxury by no means at public command.The difficulty and labour involved in the collecting ofthe fruit will always prevent its becoming an article ofcommerce. The drupels, like those of the dewberry,never all reach maturity. Very often only one or two getripe, and as the plant grows only about three incheshigh, the collecting is like that of the scattered shellsupon the sand. The arctic raspberry grows also in themost northerly parts of North America. AMERICAN AND ASIATIC RUBI.SOME of the native Blackberries of North America andof the far East bid fair to count with the " fruits of thefuture." America has set an example with regard to theculture of her own that in itself proves their independentvalue; and though little has yet been attempted inEngland, there is reason to believe that varieties superior 2F
  • 232. 2 1 8 Fruits and Fruit- any yet possessed on either side of the Atlantic mayin course of time be brought into existence by skilfulcrossing of the best that grow wild in their respectivecountries. In New Jersey the native Blackberry has formany years been grown for market on a very extensivescale. In 1878 the crop yielded by the single townshipof Vineland, near Delaware Bay, was not much shortof sixteen thousand bushels, with the market value of;6,2oo. In Burlington county an acre of ground hasyielded a hundred and fifty bushels, the fruit selling for 120. Indifferent as we are in England to the black-berry, these figures may to many people be incredible,but the facts remain, and the returns appear to augmentevery season. One of the finest sorts is the Kittatinny, sonamed from its native region, the Kittatinny mountainsin New Unfortunately it would seem not to Jersey.have quite enough of the ironclad about it to stand theseverest winters. But in reference to this we have onlyto remember what has resulted from the crossing of thecomparatively tender Indian Rhododendron arboreum withthe almost impregnable Ponticum of Asia Minor. TheRubus laciniatus, or American cut-leaved Bramble, a veryornamental plant, is now common in gardens, fruitingwith freedom every year. For cultivation as a fruit-plant, especially in the man-ner recommended on p. 208, there is no blackberry, afterall, equal, so far, to the "Wilson Junior," figured inGarden Work for March 7, 1885, an American varietybrought out by Messrs. Viccars, Collyer, & Co., of
  • 233. American and Asiatic Rubi. 219Leicester. be a seedling from " Wilsons It is stated toEarly," already in high repute. In 1884 the crop in Eng-land was in the ratio of over a hundred and ten bushelsper acre, and this year (1885) it is plainly going to be ahundred and fifty bushels. The robustness, the marvel-lous fecundity, and the ease with which plantations of the"Wilson Junior" may be established, leave nothing towish for. The fruits are as large as mulberries, of thebest of colours, and the best of blackberry flavours. Some of the American Rubi lead off with distinguishedbeauty of blossom. Conspicuous among these is theodoratus, introduced about the year 1700, under the nameof the Virginian Raspberry, a good town-plant, thorn-less, or nearly so, with great palmate leaves, and rosy-purple flowers the size of a florin. The red fruit, thoughnot often seen, ripens in Cheshire. The white-floweredNutkanus, from Nootka Sound in 1826, is another verydesirable species, the fruit yellow or reddish, and excel-lent for tarts. One of the very handsomest is the Rubusdeliciosus of theRocky Mountains, the snow-white flowerstwo inches across, and resembling single roses. The name,unfortunately, is misleading, for the fruit, in reality, is poorand mawkish. The plant was originally discovered duringthe celebrated expedition of 1821. The stories relatedby explorers of inhospitable regions with regard to thefruits they have met with must always be receivedcautiously. Everything tastes good to the hungry man,and it is very plain that the description given to Torrey,who bestowed the name, told of the relish rather than
  • 234. 2 2O Fruits and Fruit- Trees.the actual value. The fruit of the leucodermis, fromIndia, in 1818, that curious plant which seems to havehad its stems whitewashed, is really good : so is thatof the pk&nicolasius, recently from Japan. Trained toa stake, this noble Rubus rises to the height of twelve orfifteen feet : the young shoots are covered with brightred setae; the under-surfaces of the leaves are white assnow; the fruit, when ripe, is of many shades, from brightorange up to coral, and so abundant that the weight ofthe clusters gracefully bends down the shoots in a wayalmost fountainrlike. Whether in cultivation or not we do not know. Ifnot, may be worth while to look after the Rubus itnubigenus, var. macrocarpus, from Bogota, described inL Illustration Horticole, 312, as having red fruits twoinches long, and of nearly the same width. The single-flowered form of the common double white roscefolius ofthe Moluccas produces red fruits resembling raspberries. THE STRAWBERRY.THOUGH it has powerful rivals, still among the fruitsof latitudes which will ripen anywhere without the aid ofartificial heat, in respect of beauty, delicate flavour, andhealthful service to the body, the Strawberry, were thematter put to election, would probably win. It hasthe rare merit of consisting almost wholly of matterwhich is soluble in the stomach, and does not undergo
  • 235. The Strawberry. 221acetous fermentation. Under cultivation it requires butlittle shelter ; even in bleak and elevated places it is stilla success. The odour is like the dappled pink of thetip-top sky at sunset ; it comes, we must be quick, or ithas faded away a slight : shower is often enough to spoilthe promise of days. Like the raspberry, to be enjoyedin perfection, the strawberry should be the accompani-ment of lingering and chatty stroll about the garden,eaten where it grows. In one form or another, it is dif-fused over many lands, growing wild throughout Europeand Russian and Central Asia, and northern America,and extending, both in the old world and the new, to thearctic circle. One of the varieties occurs as far away asChili. It is found also in the island of Madeira. Socalmly does the plant accommodate itself to varied sur-roundings, that near Malaga strawberries grow besideoranges and citrons, and there they are ripe by the endof April. Open woods, where dry, and especially uponmountains; green banks, weedy and turf-topped walls,are its delight. So fond is it of craggy slopes, that itmight almost be called a rockery plant the wood, never- :theless, is the chief scene of association : " One as they all three together went day Into the wood to gather strawberries." Faery Queene, vii. 34. The ancient Greeks seem not to have noticed eitherthe plant or the fruit the ancient Roman writers speak :only of the fruit, not of the plant, and of the former onlyin the plural, fraga, as when the Cyclop woos Galatea,
  • 236. 222 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.piling up imagery in a way scarcely paralleled before orsince, every word a picture, every simile a petition : "Ipsa tuis manibus silvestri nata sub umbra Mollia fraga leges."*When first established as an English garden fruit isnot known. The name is the Anglo-Saxon streowberige,the first part referring to the resemblance of the runnersto straws, or anything "strewed." "Straberry ripe" wasone of the cries of London in the time of the Tudors,but all the fruit then offered for sale was doubtlesscollected, after the manner of blackberries, from wilder-ness plants. Botanically regarded, this fruit is one of the mostcurious known to science. It corresponds to the white " "cone of the raspberry, being the receptacle immenselyenlarged, cells upon cells innumerable. The seed-likespecks upon the surface are the genuine pericarps; everyone of them contains a seed, and began life as a distinctand independent ovary. The strawberry is in a certainsense a raspberry reversed. In the raspberry the torus isdry, and the ovaries become drupels; in the strawberry itis the torus which becomes the soft and semi-juicy part,while the ovaries remain as they were. The name of" " An etserio applies equally to both conditions. honestand painstaking effort in the same direction is made by * Met. xiii. For other classical allusions to the strawberry, 815.vide Met. i.and Virgil, Eel. iii. 92. All the allusions are to 104,the wild fruit. There is no reason to suppose that the strawberrywas ever cultivated by the Romans.
  • 237. The Strawberry. 223that very interesting pond-side plant, the water septfoil,Comartim palustre, sometimes called the water-strawberry.But in this the great torus never advances beyond thespongy and insipid stage, and the seed-like pericarps arepacked so closely upon the surface as to form a perfectcoat to it. Another very interesting and more successfulaspiration towards the idea of the strawberry is seen inthat lively little rockery plant, so well adapted for ahanging basket in the greenhouse, the yellow-floweredIndian strawberry, Duchesnea Indica, round crimson fruitsabounding upon the pendulous branches almost always.The fruit of the so-called Strawberry-tree, Arbutus Unedo,is quite a different thing, as will be described by-and-by.The pretty little crimson beads of the strawberry-blite,Blitum virgatum, are strawberries yet more remotely, thejuicy portion consisting simply of the perianth, whichbecomes succulent as the minute black seed-like fruitsapproach maturity. In no genus of plants are the so-called "species" morelike one another, thus more doubtfully genuine. "Thegreat facility," says Mr. Bentham, "with which fertilecross-breds are produced gives reason to suspect that thewhole genus, including even the Chilian Pine-strawberry,may prove to consist but of one species." To refer anyparticular garden form to its proper "species" is nowvery difficult, and often impossible. Nearly all of thebest cultivated strawberries are of double or hybridparentage, and the utmost that can be done is to groupthem somewhat conventionally. M. Jacques Gay, who
  • 238. 224 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.has made the genus an object of long-continued andvery minute study, classes all the known forms under theeight following specific names : THREE EUROPEAN : 1. Fragaria vesca. The common English wood-straw- berry. The most widely diffused of all, extending from Iceland to Spain, Sicily, and Greece. On the Alps bearing fruit at an elevation of over five thousand feet, and in Scandinavia beyond 70 N. Occurs also in Asia, in the north-east of the United States, upon the north-western coast of North America, and upon the highlands of Mexico. Many varieties exist, the sempervirens including the "alpines," so valuable as supplying an autumnal crop of fruit. 2. F. elatior. The old "Hautboy" of continental Europe. Generally more or less staminate only, or pistillate, and even dioecious, so that individuals are often sterile. 3. F. collina. The Green Pine. Widely distributed over Europe, and extending into Asia. THREE AMERICAN : 4. F. Chiloensis. The Chili Strawberry, native of Chili, Valdivia, and elsewhere on the Pacific shores of South America. Said to have been originally brought to France and cultivated in the Royal Gardens at Paris, in 1715, whence it would be conveyed to England.
  • 239. The Strawberry. 225 " 5. F. Virginiana.^te Old Scarlet." Introduced from North America about 1620. The best of all the primitive forms of strawberry. 6. F. Gay ana. Nearly allied to the Virginiana. A variety with shining leaves is called F. lucida. Two ASIATIC OR NORTH INDIAN : 7. The F. Daltoniana, and 8. The F. Nilgherensis, neither of them in cultivation. Another classification, by Franz Goschke, in a muchesteemed German work upon the Strawberry, Das Btichder Erdbeeren, etc. (Berlin, 1875), places the garden formsunder the names of 1. The Forest Strawberry, Fragaria vesca. 2. The Monthly, F. semperflorens. 3. The Hautboy, F. elatior. 4. The Scarlet, F. Virginiana. 5. The Chili, F. Chiloemis. 6. The Pine-apple or Large-fruited, F. grandiflora.All of these have contributed more or less to theproduction of the inestimable modern strawberry ofEnglish, French, Belgian, and American gardens. Thehistory of the various developments is not now withinreach : we may be thankful that whatever calamities maybefall other fruits,must be something sad indeed that ithinders the strawberry from deserving every year thematchless appellation of a fail-me-never, and, practically,our wisdom is to inquire which of the hundred sorts will 2G
  • 240. 226 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.please best and be most prolific. The following are themost generally approved, and the most suitable for simplehome-gardens : Early Varieties. Amy Robsart, Keens Seedling, Sir Joseph Paxton, Vicomtesse Hericart de Thury (also called Garibaldi and Duchesse de Trevise). Very good early sorts are found also in Early Prolific, La Grosse Sucree, Pauline, Black Prince, and Laxtons King of the Earlies. Mid-Season Varieties. British Queen, Dr. Hogg, Mar- shal MacMahon, Pioneer, President, Sir Charles Napier. To these may be added, when large assort- ments are desirable, Duke of Edinburgh, James Veitch, Lucas, Sir Harry, and The Countess. Late Varieties. Frogmore Late Pine, Enchantress, Souvenir de Kieff, Elton Pine, Rifleman, Oxonian. The very best is Aberdeen Favourite, distinguished as good crops giving as late as the middle of August, by which time, in the South, strawberries are generally "over." It was brought out in 1883 by Messrs. Connon & Reid, nurserymen, of the northern granite city.Which of all these sorts are the best for forcing, gardenersare not agreed, so many of them answer well. Opinionsseem to run chiefly in favour of President, Black Prince,La Grosse Sucree, and Vicomtesse Hericart de Thury.The best kind of fruit for preserving is the Elton Pine,and after this comes Eleanor. The cost of forcing, and
  • 241. The Dog-Rose. 227the profits,are kept secret. They may be imagined,perhaps, from the fact that in Covent Garden, in March,baskets of twelve berries apiece fetch four shillings, or atthe rate of fourpence per berry. The largest strawberry-gardens in the world are in theCray Valley, Kent, where the Messrs. Vinson, of Swanley,devote to this fruit about five hundred acres of land, andgather in the season about a thousand tons. The valueof the crop varies from 20 to ;6o per ton for the bestfruit, and from ^15 to ^"20 for the inferior, used forpreserving. THE DOG-ROSE (Rosa canina).LIKE the berbery and the mountain-ash, the Dog-roseclaims a place among the fruiting-plants, not because ofthe eatableness of the produce as it comes from thebough, but for its when some way preserved. value inEvery one knows the tremulous sprays and archingwreaths of this beautiful hedgerow plant, covered atmidsummer with little pink calathi, their young heartsgolden, and so fragrant withal ; so charming again, inlate autumn, when the scarlet hips cast those magicalpoints of bright colour amid the frosted browns and theoverworn and fading green, keeping company in their deep-hued Tamus, and made even brighterlustre with theby the contrast of the feathered silver-grey of the wildclematis. When fully ripe, mellowed and softened by thetouch of early frost, the hips of the dog-rose, after removal
  • 242. 228 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.of the hard seeds within, plenty of sugar being added,make a very nice conserve or confection. The Swiss andtheGermans place it on table as an article of dessert.It makes also an agreeable substitute for tomato-sauce.In the time of Elizabeth, when certainly, good obtainablefruits were fewer in kind, the prepared pulp of these wild " Ithips was held in no slight esteem. maketh," says " most meats and banqueting dishes, asGerard, pleasanttarts and such-like." At the present day it is valued inEngland by the apothecaries, who employ it as a pill-basis,and in the making of electuaries. The hip of the rose, like the strawberry, in its curiousbotanical nature, is almost without parallel. Here wehave the thalamus, or receptacle upon which the ovariesare seated, shaped like an urn. The veritable fruitsare the hard and hairy stones discovered in the interiorof the hip upon tearing it open. Strange, yet perhapsnot so strange, that the queen of flowers should thusmodestly conceal from public gaze the little atoms thatare to carry her loveliness abreast of Time. THE FIG (Ficus Carica).THE fig-tree, in all likelihood, supplied the fruit withwhich mankind has been longest acquainted ; of which,at all events, mention is made very early in the oldestliterature the world possesses. As an article of food itwas probably resorted to at quite as early a period as the
  • 243. The Fig. 229date, and perhaps as the banana. Requiring scarcely anycultivation, it would certainly take precedence of any ofthe aliments obtained by tillage of the soil : the associa-tions carry us back to the very dawn of civilized humanexperience upon our planet, to the days that precededeven the myths and the oldest traditions it is the fruit of ;all others that deserves to be called the archaeological.Antiquity so profound would seem to have ensured forthe fig some kind of consecration. But of all fruits, withthe inconsiderable modern exception of the medlar, itis the one which is referred to least frequently in litera-ture. It is scarcely ever employed in symbolic art; itrarely appears in classical poetry; the place it holds isindifferent at the best; the traditions associated with itare uninviting. Romulus and Remus suckled by the wolfunder the shadow of a fig-tree; the conveyance of the aspto Cleopatra in a basket of figs ; the carrying of the figin procession at the feasts of Bacchus ; the employmentof the wood manufacture of impure idols, are for theincidents, true and false, which have nothing in them toexcite pleasing emotions. It is left for Scripture to dealpleasantly with the fig. Taking the Old and the NewTestament together, this fruit is mentioned in more thanthirty different places. The possession of the tree is amark of joyful opulence ; the appearance of the young " the time of thefruit is in singing of birds ;" in parableand emblematically, the fig is cited again and again."Whoso keepeth the fig-tree shall eat the fruit thereof;so he that waiteth on his Master shall be honoured."
  • 244. 2 3O Fruits and Fruit- Trees. The native countries of the fig reach from the steppesof the eastern Aral, along the southern and south-westerncoasts of the Caspian, through Kurdistan to Asia Minor.At the present day it grows apparently wild over the vastregion of which Syria is the centre that is to say, fromthe east of Persia, or even from Afghanistan, across thewhole of the Mediterranean region, as far as the Canaries,though not ascending far up the mountains. As a rule,in Asia it Caucasus; and in stops at the foot of theEurope, at the foot of the rising grounds which limit thebasin of the Mediterranean. But it has long since beenconveyed to numerous distant parts of the world. In thesouthern United States eastern Florida in particularthere are trees that yield twenty to thirty bushels of fruitevery year. In Alabama the fig is considered to be themost prolific of fruit-trees. It holds the same reputationin Texas and in California. Plantations have alreadybeen made in some parts of Australia. The AtlasMountains, in North Africa, are still noted for figs suchas those praised by the elder Cato, when he threw them "down in the Senate, saying, The country where thisfine fruit grows is only three days voyage from Rome,"uttering in these, the famous words which were the begin-ning of the downfall of once-glorious Carthage. When first brought to England is not known, but in allprobability, the original introduction took place under theRoman governors. Cardinal Pole, temp. Henry VIII. , isaccredited with the gift; what is related of him refers mostlikely to some new or superior kind. Almost as common,
  • 245. The Fig. 231at the present day, as the cherry-tree, in gardens in thesouth of England, usually under the shelter of a wall; upon the extreme margin of the island, wherestill it isbathed by the English Channel, that the fig is seen, asregards our own country, in its highest perfection. Itflourishes where the salt-laden atmosphere renders theculture of other fruits precarious, and where, because ofthe constant wind-beating, many other kinds of tree areshort-lived. This helps to explain the vast abundance ofthe fig Greek Archipelago, and upon the shores in theof the adjacent mainlands. Near Gosport there are figswith trunks a foot in diameter, and that are probably theoldest ligneous plants in the parish. In the neighbour-hood of Worthing, Sussex, there are orchards of fig-trees,grown as standards, all of large dimensions and greatage. In an orchard at Tarring, there are not fewer thana hundred and twenty of these noble standards, theproduce of which, in good seasons, amounts to upwardsof two thousand dozen of fruit. A goodly sight, in sooth,is that of the luscious, blue-black harvest hanging aloftand around as one walks, as through a bower, below thegreen roof made by the interlacing boughs. The trees atTarring are more than a century old ; they represent, intheir generation, orchards of much earlier date, and theorigin of which, according to tradition, was illustrious, theprimitive one dating from the time of Thomas a Becket.Figs ripen well and plentifully also at Shoreham, Hastings,Arundel, Margate, etc. In good seasons they lie uponthe ground, dropped from the tree, as thick as the apples
  • 246. 232 Fruits and Fruit- a cider-orchard. No circumstance connected with thebeautiful Tarring orchards is more interesting than thatthey are annually visited by the little fig-bird of theRoman Campagna. This pretty migrant arrives fromItaly at the beginning of every September, enjoys itself,to the prejudice of the owner, and when satisfied, say,shortly before the first frost gives notice of winter, spreadsits wings and goes home. The sorts grown in Sussexand Hampshire appear to be chiefly the capital old onesknown as Brown Turkey, White Marseilles, and GreenIschia. In the northern counties, when good fruit is theobject, the fig is grown under glass, though it ripens out-of-doors even in Fifeshire. At Balmuto, three miles fromthe sea, and three hundred and fifty feet above the sea-level, yields a fairly good crop every year without any itprotection save that of a south wall. The fig is a hardierplant, indeed, than is generally imagined. To dwellersin towns it has the great recommendation also of beingable to endure smoke and confinement among houses.Like the elder, it grow in the hard-trodden soil of a willback-yard ; the growth under such conditions cannot beexpected to be very luxuriant; still, like the VirginianCreeper, it can make itself quite happy. Wise plants arethose which after the manner of the wise among mankind,ifthey cannot always have what they would like, adjustthemselves to the liking of what they have. No town-gardener should ever forget to plant his fig-tree. The dried figs of the grocers shops are importedchiefly from Smyrna, whence their commercial name of
  • 247. The Fig. 233"Turkey figs." The better qualities are distinguished asEleme figs. Inferior sorts arrive under the name of"Greek figs." Smaller quantities are sent from Spain,Portugal, and other countries ; with, in addition, abun-dance of " fig-cake," manufactured from the very poordescriptions of fruit, sometimes with intermixture ofalmonds, and wrought into the shape of small cheeses.The drying accomplished either by exposure to the issun, or in ovens constructed for the special purpose.The average yearly import, of all descriptions, fig-cakeincluded, about 150,000 cwts. In 1883 it was 128,434 iscwts., valued at ^"262,671. The Customs received, inthe shape of duty upon figs, during the year endingMarch 3ist, 1884, the sum of ^33,990. The botanical features of the fig are, as regards fruit-bearing plants, unique. The stature of the tree is fifteento twenty feet, branches proceeding almost from thebase, somewhat distorted, and exuding, when wounded, amilky juice. The leaves are petiolate, as a rule coarselypalmate, the lobes obtuse, about a span in length andbreadth, and rough upon the upper surface. The pear-shaped body which, when ripe, becomes the fig, is aleathery receptacular bag, in some degree resembling thehip of the rose, but the latter is part of a single flower,whereas the fig is a hollow cushion, the inner surfacelined with innumerable flowers. These flowers are sominute as to seem a mossy carpet; but every one ofthem has a little its own, and in the perianth of ordinaryeatable fig, every one of them, except near the summit, is 2H
  • 248. 234 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.possessed of an ovary, with style and stigma. The ovariesbecome the yellow grains found so plentifully in the figwhen mature. Ripening consists in the conversion ofthis leathery green bag, milky at first, into one that is soft,succulent, pulpy inside, usually purple or bronze-greenupon the outside, and of delicious flavour. The softportion contains grape-sugar, to the amount of 60 or 70per cent., and this, when the fruit is dried, partiallyeffloresces upon the surface. So far, good. But whereare the staminate flowers? The fig is very evidentlydioecious; probably to some extent monoecious also.The staminate flowers appear to be contained in the figswhich drop off while still small, green, and milky ; andwhich (or the trees producing them) are in continental " Thecountries called caprifigs." history of the processof "caprification," the fertilizing of the pistillate flowers,insect-agency having its place, and the general natureof the sexual apparatus of the fig, is far too large asubject to be dealt with in the present chapter. Here itmust suffice to say that " " is not necessary, caprificationmuch less indispensable, to the ripening of the fig, andthat all figs which grow to be large and eatable areemphatically those containing female flowers wholly orchiefly.* The variety in the complexion of the ripe fig is veryconsiderable. So is the flavour, when properly matured.The dried fig of the shops gives no idea of it, especially * Vide, for the particulars, the Gardeners Chronicle for April 28,1883, and subsequent communications from correspondents.
  • 249. The Mulberry. 235as enjoyed at breakfast-time in Italy, where the fig seemsindeed a fruit of Paradise. The spicy odour of ripeningfigs, as perceived in the English orchard-house or vinery,is in its way no less delightful. The best kinds for forcing are Negro Largo (the finestin cultivation), Brown Turkey, Black Marseilles, WhiteMarseilles, White Ischia, and Early Violet. THE MULBERRY ( Morus nigra).THE Mulberry supplies another example of the aggregateor collectivefruit, every one of the purple bags of juicerepresenting what was once a distinct and independentflower. The perianth consists of four pieces ; these, asthe ovary within progresses to maturity, become greatlyenlarged, juicy, and finally confluent Though so similarin appearance to the blackberry, there is thus no actuallikeness, the grains of the blackberry being drupels ; thoseof the mulberry, flowers transformed. It is produced bya tree which seldom exceeds thirty feet in height, thebranches thick and rude, the general figure close androunded. The rough, coarsely serrated, and dark greenleaves, though usually cordate, are prone to curiouschanges, often becoming irregularly three or five-lobed.The staminate flowers are produced in separate clusters,yellowish green in colour, and, like the globular greenheads of female flowers, contemporaneous with the youngfoliage. The tree is of great durability, and seems to be
  • 250. 236 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.wonderfully tenacious of life. It is tolerably hardy,deciduous, and one of the last to come into leaf.Afterwards remarkable for the density of the shade. it isCapable of enduring the smoke of towns, it is a capitaltree for suburban gardens, and will thrive even in littlecorners among warehouses. The fruit, quite familiar in the southern Englishcounties, more sparingly produced in the northern, isdistinguished for its sweet sub-acid taste, with a veryagreeable aroma superadded. It is excellent for dessert;makes a very nice, though rather cloying preserve, andsupplies material for a pleasant light wine. The quantityproduced is often prodigious. Being apt to drop as soonas ripe, and very tender in skin, the tree should always beplanted upon a lawn or other grassy surface, where thedamage received will be of the slightest. The native country of the mulberry is uncertain. Butthat the original seat was south-western Asia is eminentlyprobable. At the present day found apparently wild it isin the Caucasus, also in Persia and Asia Minor. Thenceit would be conveyed westwards at a very early period,but there is no exact knowledge of the time or by whatmeans. No reference to it occurs in the Old Testament,though mentioned in the New, under the Greek name of" sycamine."(Luke xvii. 6.) The ancient secular Greekwriters speak of it both as the sycamine and the moron,as Dioscorides, B.C. 25. With the Romans the latterword became morus, the tree having reached Italy sometime prior to, though not very long before, the Christian
  • 251. The Mulberry. 237era. Horace praises mulberries as immensely conduciveto health if gathered before the heat of the day, andeaten as dessert after dinner. In Virgil, ^gle, theplayful shepherdess of the sixth Eclogue, paints theeyelids of the sleeping poet with the purple juice. When originally brought into England is also unknown.Seeing that the Anglo-Saxons had a name for it mor-beam, literally morus-tree, it may have been introducedby the Romans, whose appellation would have in theSaxon a lingering echo. Or as Charlemagne, that greatpatron of the useful, ordered it to be grown upon all theimperial farms, it may have been during his reign, sayabout A.D. 812, that this tree was first carried across theEnglish Channel by Saxon visitors to the Continent."Mor" got changed into "mul" by a process of permu-tation of sounds exceedingly common in the annals of " "language ; and beam would very naturally, in the caseof a fruit-tree, give place to "berry," though the Saxon isretained to this day in horn-beam and in white-beam. The object with Charlemagne in planting his mulberrieswas to establish the home-production of silk, by providingplenty of food for the worm. The effort was imitated byHenry IV. (of France), and then, immediately, by EnglishJames I., who imported ship-loads of young mulberry-trees from the Continent, and caused them to be diffusedall over the country. The scheme, like many other planslaid by the unfortunate first of the Stuarts, died in itsinfancy. Praiseworthy, and for a time promising, in theend it proved utterly unsuccessful. A certain pathetic
  • 252. 238 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.interest clings to the record of it, since of the hundredthousand young trees said to have been planted inEngland, under the royal patronage, it is believed thatsome few are still in existence, though decrepit, at Syon,to wit, and at Oxford. Compared with other edible fruits,the mulberry is remarkable for the large quantity of itssugar, being excelled in this respect only by the fig, thegrape, and the cherry. The yield of the fig has just beenmentioned as 60 to 70 per cent The grape contains10 "6 to 19, and the cherry 1079. Then comes themulberry with 9-19, followed by the currant, 6i, thestrawberry 57, and the raspberry with no more than 4per cent. THE PINE-APPLE (Ananas sativa).THE Pine-apple, like the mulberry, comes of the verycurious coalescence and amalgamation of a large numberof separate and independent fruits, understanding by thisterm the ripened ovary, with its adjuncts, of a perfectand independent flower. As many different flowers go tothe foundation of it as there are "pips" or projectionsupon the surface of the mass when mature. The flowersare three-parted, lavender-blue in colour, and lodged inthe axils of great scales or " bracts," so disposed upona fleshy axis as to form a kind of spiral girdle. Whenthey wither, the ovaries, the bracts, and all other partsgradually acquire a condition of extreme succulence, andat last the entire mass becomes consolidated into the great
  • 253. The Pine- Apple. 239juicy so-called "apple." In the wild state, seeds are pro-duced, but under cultivation, owing, it would appear, tothe yet intenser degree of succulence then induced, noneof the ovules ripen. The spiral arrangement of the bracts,with their flowers, is almost exactly similar to that of thescales of a fir-cone; spiral flower-girdles, not unlike, occuralso in various Australian Myrtacese, but in the lattereverything remains permanently dry, and there is noconsolidation. The vegetative part of the plant consistsof a great tuft of radical leaves, in substance thick andleathery, two or three feet long, and two or three inchesbroad, edged with short close prickles, sharply pointed,and in colour somewhat glaucous. The flower-stemproceeds from the centre of the tuft, and after developingits spiral girdle of flowers, goes on growing vertically, soas to produce the elegant tuft or crown of smaller leavesupon the summit of the fruit. The crown when wrenchedoff, and planted in the ground, takes root like the leafyextremities of shoots called "cuttings." Propagationmay be effected, and very generally is, by means of it,though more extensively by means of the suckers whichemerge from near the base of the plant, these correspond-ing, in a certain degree, with the little round progeny thatcreep out from the rosette of the houseleek. It happenssometimes that two crowns are produced j also that thesuckers produce fruit while still attached to the parent ;and far more curiously that instead of flowers, followed by" an out-growth of a crowd of miniature pips," there issuckers. A very beautiful variety with variegated leaves
  • 254. 2 40 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.isgrown for decorative use. The name of the fruit wasmost naturally suggested by the resemblance it bears infigure, dimensions, and sculpture, to the cone of thePinus Pinea, before the scales have begun to fall asunder.It had already been given to different kinds of pine andfir-cones, as in the old verse : " Stormes rifest rende The sturdy, stout pine-apple tre."The first instance of the current application seems tobe in ParkinsonsTheatrum Botanicum, 1640, p. 1626.Previously was known as the " ananas," a Portuguese itmodification of the Brazilian or Peruvian " nana." It wasfrom Brazil that the was brought to Europe, the fruit firstnative countries being tropical South America, Mexico,and the West Indies. Oviedo was the first to describeit, in 1535. After him, we find it mentioned in everysuccessive writer upon the vegetable productions of SouthAmerica. Holland possessed it long before England,apparently about the middle of the seventeenth century.Accounts differ as to the time of the exact appearancein our own country, but it was probably some fifty orsixty years afterwards. In 1716 Lady Mary WortleyMontagu, dining at a great house in Hanover, saw, she what she had never even heard of before, atells us,pine-apple for the first time. Long since carried to Asia, in some parts of India thepine-apple has become widely naturalized, and presentsall the appearance of an indigenous plant. Happy onlywhere the temperature is very high, almost equatorial,
  • 255. The Pine- Apple. 241and requiring a good deal of moisture, the area of thesuccessful outdoor culture is still somewhat limited.Hence we hear little or nothing of it from countrieswhich, although they may be warm enough for it, arecomparatively dry, such as Spain. It does not care,either, to live above the level of the sea, and mountainsit have nothing to do with. In the Malayan Archi- willpelago, where all the conditions are favourable, the fruitattains a prodigious size; the pine-apples of Java andSumatra are reputed the best in the world. The cultiva-tion in the western tropics is now something enormous.In San Salvador there are fields of pine-apples extend-ing from twenty-five to sixty acres, every acre yielding,in good seasons, about eight hundred dozen. In theBahamas spots where as many as twelve there arehundred thousand growing plants can be seen at a singleglance, the ground being covered with them just as inEnglish farms often with turnips. Great pains are nowtaken with the cultivation, because so lucrative an articlefor export, and the same in the Azores. The produce ofthe islands named has realized very considerable profitsin the English markets, and henceforwards it would seemthat this grand fruit will be placed within the reach ofthe poorest of the people. " Pine-apple a penny a slice"is a cry that carries more than a simple statement of factfor the time being. The enormous importation has evennow profoundly affected the home-culture. The wealthyamateur will no doubt continue to grow his own pine-apples for private pleasure, especially as the imported 21
  • 256. 242 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.fruit, having to be cut before it is quite ripe, so as tosustain the voyage, can never become a successful rivalof the hothouse product in respect of richness. Butthose who raise pine-apples for sale, the dealers and thefruiterers, find the competition press very heavily. First-class home-grown pine-apple is still worth five shillingsper pound, but nothing like as many pounds of it arewanted as in days gone by. Slicing is all well enough forthe streets, but it spoils the fruit when before us on thetable. The legitimate way to eat a pine-apple is to graspthe stem in the left hand, remove the crown, then, with asilver fork, to dig out the constituent fruits, as severallyindicated by the sculpture outside, and enjoy them, likestrawberries, without losing a single drop of the juice.The most approved varieties for English culture areQueen, Enville, Charlotte Rothschild, and Montserrat. THE MONSTERA ( Monstera delidosa).MINGLING, nowadays, with the special favourites of thewarm conservatory, are constantly seen examples ofplants remarkable less for their flowers than for thegrandeur or the rich colouring of their leaves. In theleaf-beauty of nature as a whole we have a featureconsummately charming, and in variety exhaustless. Stillthere are leaves which in artistic qualities eclipse allothers. These, of late years, have come distinctly intofashion, for there is fashion in gardening as well as in
  • 257. The Monstera. 243dress, and the complexion they give at all seasons is,without question, one of the highest finish, as well asintensely suggestive to the philosophic mind. One very " "marked set of these foliage-plants comprises differentspecies of Anthurium, Pothos, Alocasia, Caladium,Dieffenbachia, etc., the huge leaves reminding oftenone of the shields of the time of the tournaments;or they are arrow-shaped, and dappled with brightcolours. They represent the great family called theAracese, illustrated England by the little "lords- inand-ladies" of the hedge-bank and shady wood, buthaving its chief development in tropical countries. Theflowers, individually, are insignificant, but being aggre-gated in great numbers into a finger-shaped body calleda " spadix," the latter becomes, usually, conspicuous,especially if coloured. While young, the spadix isenclosed in a huge leaf-like cover called the "spathe,"green, scarlet, purple, or white, and which gradually rollsback, so as to disclose the "spadix." The fruits areberry-likeand densely crowded; they are often acrid andpoisonous, and must always be regarded with distrust. Many of the Aracese, denizens of tropical forests, livea kind of aerial life, scrambling up the trees, and sendingout from their cord-like stems, snaky roots, the thicknessof telegraph wires, and that run to the length of manyyards in search of food and drink. One of them, singularto say, belongs to the company of the fruiting-plants anextraordinary Mexican, common in hothouses, and oftenintroduced into large ferneries. The older catalogues
  • 258. 244 Fruits and Philodendron pertusum and Scindapsus pertusus ; itthe newer ones, Tornelia fragrans and Monstera delidosa.The leaves, a yard in length and two feet across, are fullof great holes, quite natural and proper to them, but withthe appearance of having been designedly cut out withknife or scissors.The spathe is simply astounding, beingquite a foot in length, a beautiful oval cradle, copied,one might suppose, from some glorious Indian shell,cream-white, and externally as smooth and soft as satin.The spadix inside, corresponding in colour, is composedof several hundred little flowers, spirally disposed, andthat when in perfection become viscid. Coalescing asthey approach maturity, the ovaries form the "fruit,"which when ripe is twelve or fourteen inches in length, acouple of inches thick, slightly curved, deep sage-green,changing to creamy yellow, and giving the idea of a cobof Indian corn, only that instead of grains there arehexagonal meshes. The time taken to swell and ripen isabout twelve months. When ready to eat, it diffusesodour and wide, not very different from that of farpine-apple; and when placed upon table, behaves like anenchantress. The meshes, which are the heads of theovaries, are easily removed, and then, underneath, thereis a delightful, soft, vinous, aromatic pulp, supportedby the somewhat woody axis of the original "spadix."Unfortunately the pulp abounds with raphides, littleacicular crystals which cause a pricking sensation in themouth and throat; at first not worth mention, but thatdoes not pass away for several hours. These little
  • 259. The C^t,stard- Apple. 245needles would seem to be lodged chiefly just under themeshes, and to be less troublesome the riper the fruit,so that by careful removal of the meshes, and not eatingtoo soon, the annoyance is much lessened. Barring thisdrawback, the Monstera makes a very interesting additionto our list of hothouse fruits. The plant presents, at anytime, a very curious spectacle, alike in the foliage and inthe long-extended searching of its roots for water. Itwill grow almost anywhere, but the true place for itsprosperity is over or near a tank, to which the rootsdart as if gifted with instinct. Once in the water, theyproduce great circular radiating brushes of rootlets, afterthe manner of many true aquatics, then recalling thebeautiful old picture of the thirsty hart. THE CUSTARD-APPLE (Anona squamosa).IN the winter there is found in the shops, imported fromMadeira, a curious green fruit resembling an artichoke,only that the scales are as closely compacted as those ofa young pine-cone. It is about three inches long, andthe same in diameter. Every scale, as in the pine-apple,represents a distinct ovary. Internally it is a mass ofrather solid pulp, with many rather large black seeds :the taste is like that of raspberries and cream. This " " is the celebrated Custard-apple," Sugar-apple," " " of the tropics.or Sweet-sop It is produced by a treegrowing about fifteen feet high, with laurel-like foliage,
  • 260. 246 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.and greenish flowers an inch across. A very old inhabi-tant of our hothouses, with careful management there isno difficulty in getting it to ripen, if kept in a small pot,and in a constantly high temperature, with exposure toall the sunshine that may be possible. THE BENTHAMIA (Benthamia fragifera ).THE Benthamia is an evergreen tree of the order Cor-naceae, introduced in 1825 from Nepal; in Cornwall andthe south of Ireland attaining the stature of twenty toforty feet, and both when in bloom, at midsummer, andwhen the fruit is ripe, in October, presenting one of theloveliest sights the garden affords. The leaves are oppo-site, and of a peculiar silvery-grey narrow-elliptical, entire,colour. The flowers grow in dense round heads, and inthemselves make no show. But, as in many species ofCornus, they have an involucre of about five cream-whitebracts, strikingly ornamental, not only from the width,over two inches, but the profusion. The fruits, whenripe, coalesce into a nearly spherical succulent mass, aninch and a half or two inches in diameter, of a delicateyellowish strawberry colour, and elegantly tessellated.Inside there are as many rather large stones as therewere flowers. The taste is insipid, and not such a.s torecommend the fruit for table. But it may be susceptibleof improvement. In the presence of objects so beautifulas a Benthamia in full bearing, one cannot but reflect
  • 261. The Benthamite. 247with admiration on that excellent feature of vegetablelife its willingness to submit to the authority of man.There is often a sweet and pretty make-believe of delayand But seeing what has been accomplished converting the crab into the apple, there may bereason to hope that here too, by-and-by, there will betranslation into graceful and loyal compliance, and theBenthamia become as good to eat as it is charming incountenance. At St. Austell the boughs seem as if theywould break down under the weight the tree thirty-six feet in height and as much in diameter, the lowerbranches resting on the turf.
  • 262. Chapter Htntlj. NUTS. " So rich a shade, so green a sod, Our English fairies never trod ; Yet who in Indian bower has stood, But thought on Englands good green wood ? And beneath the palmy shade, blessd, Her hazel and her hawthorn glade ; And breathed a prayer (how oft in vain !) To gaze upon her oaks again "! Bishop Heber. F all the terms applied to parts of plants having theirproximate origin in the flower, the most comprehensive is NUT. Fruits, in the full and perfect sense of the word, portions of fruits, seeds, kernels, all takeit in turn to be called Nuts; and when the esculent kindshave been counted, there are many more which are ""nuts only with the botanist. Strictly speaking, nuts
  • 263. Nuts. 249are only such fruits as the filbert and the chestnut.They are always seated in some kind of "cupule" orcup-like husk; the beau-ideal of the former presentingitself in the fruit of the oak-tree. Walnuts and coco-nuts, as placed upon the table, may be compared to plumand cherry-stones ; juvias and sapucajas are only seeds,with intensely hard integuments. Charged with carbonand with oil, nuts are highly nutritious, though with somepersons, on account of the abundance of the oil, noteasily digestible. In addition to their suitableness forfood, and their agreeable flavours, being insusceptible ofbruise or wound, and usually keeping good for a con-siderable length of time, they have the great advantageover most of the juicy fruits in allowing of easy transferfrom place to place. In England we are apt to thinkof nuts only as pleasant additions to the established bill-of-fare : many people would never miss them were theycast out of sight. Very different is it in foreign countries.No further away than in southern Europe, a staple isfound in the chestnut. The etymology of the word "nut" is not preciselydetermined. It seems to have come from the samesource as "knot," meaning a hard round lump, Latinnodus. Some botanists extend the name of nut to theseed-like fruits of the Labiatae, the Boraginaceae, theCyperaceae, and the Polygonacese. Popularly, it isapplied also, after the manner of the French pomme tothe potato, to various tuber-like parts of plants, as whenwe speak of pig-nuts, the tubers of the Bunium flexuosum. 2K
  • 264. 250 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.In North America the Apios tuberosa is called the earth-nut. The absurdly so-named " Zulu-nuts" of the shopsare the tubers of the Cyperus esculentus. THE HAZEL-NUT (CoryIns Avellana).THE simple mention of this pretty name brings with it anodour of bygone romance. It goes shares, in association,with that of the blackberry, carrying one back to dayslong since left in the rear, those shining ones when lifeseemed to offer no greater blessedness than the fillingones satchel with the brown gold the holidays, sweet ;September afternoons, which, after all, it is quite possible,though forty years have sped away, to renew to ones selfin other fashion. For holidays are not made by statuteor the time-table, but come from within tranquil realiza-tions to ones spirit of the much-contenting fact that joyand repose are found not in places, but in persons, thenuts now transmuted, perchance, into bryony, the black-berries into lotus or " listening wheat." No pleasures areso sincere and so enduring as those which come late inlifethrough renewal of ones youth under the agency ofa happy direction of heart, nor are any so thankfullyenjoyed. A moments pause, and then, like Disraeli, with themention of the hazel, we are back among our first-knownpoets, the inestimable friends from whom we learned howto feel and to see :
  • 265. The Hazel-Nitt. 251 "Kate, like the hazel- twig, Is straightand slender and as brown in hue, ; As hazel-nuts, and sweeter than the kernels."Are we to think of Baptistas shrewish daughter as gipsy- "faced ? Was she another Nut-brown mayde," that faith-ful creature to whom good fortune and evil were alikeindifferent, so that she could share the fate of the manshe loved, even in the wilderness ? Never mind. Weshould gain nothing if we knew. To Petruchio it wasenough that she was Kate. To the man who loves,whatever the colours, they are the right ones. The hazel-nut is diffused, as a wild and indigenousplant, all over Europe and Central and Russian Asia,growing spontaneously in woods and thickets, and fond,specially, of dingles and tree-clad ravines. Able tobecome a small seldom anything more than tree, still it isa great bush, many long and flexible stems arising fromthe base. The leaves are roundish ovate, deeply serrate,and usually provided with a point, developed not asusually in leaves, but suddenly and abruptly. The centreof the blade often bears an irregular purplish spot ; inautumn, before falling, the foliage changes to a fine lightyellow. None of our native fruit-trees are more interesting inregard to their flowers, these being monoecious, anddeveloped long before the leaves. The stamens arecontained in catkins, put forth as far back as September,while the nuts of the current year are scarcely ripe. ByChristmas they become conspicuous, and in February
  • 266. 252 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.they attain their full length, two or three inches, and thenhang from the bare brown branches in the most beautifulmanner, heralds of the coltsfoot and the crocus. On afine sunny forenoon, " While wheaten blade yet the Scarce shoots above the new-falln shower of snow,"a hazel-nut in a youthful wood presents one of theloveliest spectacles then afforded by awakening nature.Every catkin is ready with its pollen, and a slight shakebrings down a mist of glittering particles. The femaleflowers, contained in minute lateral buds, are indicatedby their tufts of protruding crimson stigmas. Shortlyafter fertilization a very curious change. there is Thebud grows out into a shoot, carrying the rudiments of thenut at the apex. The nuts are thus projected to adistance of several inches from the point where they weregenerated. While they are forming, the minute scaleswhich enclosed the pistils, enlarge, and at length we havethe husk or "involucre" of the nut. Another curiousfact in the history of the development of the nut is thatit seems to come impromptu. The infants never showthemselves. Under cultivation there have arisen many varieties.Foremost among these is the Filbert, Corylus Avellana,var. tubulosa, distinguished by the great elongation of thenut, with corresponding enlargement of the involucre.In one of the sub-varieties, called the Red filbert, thepellicle which covers the kernel is crimson-red; in another,called the Cosford, the shell is remarkably thin, and
  • 267. The Filbert. 253elegantly striated. The next best, the Cob-nut, CorylusAvellana, var. grandis, is marked by its short and ovoidfigure and very thick shell. To get good crops the treesmust not be left to themselves. An excellent mode ofculture, practised in Kent, is to rear the plant, in the firstinstance, from a sucker, allow it to grow without restraintfor three years, then to cut it down to within a few inchesof the ground. New and vigorous shoots are soon pro-duced; these are shortened to a third of their length, anda hoop placed inside, to which the shoots are made fast, isthe result being the formation of a goblet, seldom morethan six feet high, of the same diameter, and very fruitful.The cultivated varieties are apt to be deficient in catkins.Hence, when the bushes are in bloom, it is useful to cutbranches loaded with catkins from the wild hazel, and tosuspend them in such a way that the pollen may fallupon the awaiting stigmas. Both in the wild and thecultivated plant the catkins of the Avellana are proneto be ready to discharge their pollen before the pistilsmake their appearance. This would seem to indicatethat a degree of temperature lower than is needed by thefemale flowers suffices for the staminate ones. Whenthe spring becomes suddenly warm, it is very interestingto observe how much less time intervenes between the development of the two forms of flower, the staminatefulland the female, and how much heavier is the subsequentcrop of fruit. Besides the Avellana, we have in cultivation in Eng-land, as a curiosity, the Byzantine or Constantinople hazel,
  • 268. 254 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.Corylus Colurna^ a plant very different, since in theLevant it often grows sixty feet high. The leaves aresofter and more angular the catkins are longer and very ;handsome; the involucres are deeply laciniated andfringed, and the points are recurved. Fine old speci- "mens of the Colurna, the source of the Smyrna nuts "of commerce, may be seen at Kew, at Syon, and in theOxford Botanic Garden. Another species, the Algerianhazel, Corylus Algertensis, from the Atlas mountains,produces a singularly large, full, and well-flavoured nut,and well deserves to be made an object of culture. The best of the imported hazel-nuts are the " BlackSpanish." The "Barcelonas" have been submitted tothe operation of kiln-drying, and are thus much spoiledin flavour, though allowing of being kept longer. Thelatter come chiefly from Catalonia, a province of easternSpain. So prolific are the trees in that country, that anut-wood has been known to afford sixty thousand bushelsin a single season. Hazel-nuts are received also fromItalian and other Mediterranean ports, the total quantity,it is estimated, approaching three hundred thousandbushels annually. Over the derivation of the various names there hangsconsiderable uncertainty. "Corylus" occurs in Ovid,and the adjective derived from it, columns, in Virgil."Avellana" is from an ancient geographical name."Hazel" is Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian. "Filbert,"in the face of various conjectures, still waits satisfactoryexplanation.
  • 269. The Chestnut. 255 THE SWEET OR SPANISH CHESTNUT (Castanea vesca).THE Sweet Chestnut, called also the "Spanish" becausethe best of the imported fruit comes from Spain, countswith the worlds vegetable patricians ; it is noble in aspect,generous in deed, long-lived as Hope. One of the veryoldest trees in Britain of any description now existing isa chestnut that famous one at Tortworth, Gloucester-shire,which began to put forth its leaves in the Saxontimes, saw the Danes come and go, and the Normansarrive, and which to all appearance intends to maintain,formany years, the viridis senectus always so delightful tocontemplate alike in man and the forest monarchs. TheTortworth chestnut is called by this name in a boundarydescription of A.D. 1135. The trunk of the original treeis hollow and much decayed, but around it have sprung upso many stout suckers, that, like the phoenix of antiquity,itmay be said to have risen again out of its own ashes.The circumference, at three feet from the ground, is aboutfifty feet, or seventeen yards ; the spread of the branches,either way, is eighty-six feet. Flowers still come out onthe upper branches. We never grow too old to partakeof noble enjoyments : after the same manner, it seems asifnot only the chestnut, but the old tree of any kind,never becomes too weak to produce flowers bright as thoseof its youth. The Tortworth chestnut is probably the firsttree that was ever planted in this country by man. There
  • 270. 256 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.may be yews of greater age, and perhaps oaks, but thelatter would be self-sown, or the acorn would be hiddenin the earth by some provident squirrel; and the oldyews arose in all likelihood from berries eaten by Saxonthrushes the Tortworth chestnut came in any case from :a human hand, no trees of its kind having existed in ourisland before the time of occupation by the Romans. itsThere are plenty of other grand chestnuts in England.Throughout the whole of the charming tract of hill andvalley lying between Redhill and Guildford, chestnutsare quite at home. In that portion of the domain atGoodwood which once formed a separate park, attachedto Halnake House (now a ruin), there are chestnuts witha girth of eighteen to twenty feet. Similar trees may beseen at Dartington Hall, near Totnes in Windsor Forest:there is one that at a yard from the ground measuresover thirty-four feet. Asia Minor seems to have been the region from which,in ancient times, this tree was originally conveyed toEurope. Certainly it existed there in plenty in the timeof Xenophon, since chestnuts were the food of his entirearmy during the retreat along the borders of the Euxine.Possibly it may have grown spontaneously also in south-eastern Europe. How far westwards it may haveextended, there is no evidence to show. For centuriesit has now constituted entire woods in many of themountainous parts of southern Europe, reaching throughDalmatia, Italy, the south of France, and Spain, eveninto Portugal. In Germany, also, there are extensive
  • 271. The Chestnut. 257chestnut forests. Some again of the finest in the worldare found in the island of Corsica, where the rich andfertile central zone which reaches from the base of themountains to the coast, is known as La Castaginicia, orthe "chestnut-land." The highest elevation at which thechestnut occurs is upon Mount Etna, where there aresome fine trees at a point not much short of four thou-sand feet above the sea-level. It was from the ancientPontic city of Kastanea that the tree received its name. Northern China and Japan are also possessed of thechestnut, though in the last-named country the foliage isso variable that Blume considered it a distinct species,bestowing the name of C. Japonica. The markets ofHong Kong and Canton, near which city the tree islargely cultivated, are as well supplied with chestnuts asthose of London. Mr. Fortune tells us that there aretwo different sorts, a large one, quite equal in quality tothe Spanish, and a small one, about the size of a hazel-nut. Under a scarcely different form, the chestnut existsalso in North America, whence the fruit is sometimesimported in small quantities. No growing out-of-doors in England is more treeeasily distinguished than the chestnut. The leaves aresix to twelve inches long, symmetrically lanceolate,glabrous on both surfaces, and provided with strongveins that reach from the midrib to the margin, beyondwhich they extend as prickles. The flowers come atmidsummer, and, as in the hazel, are of distinct sexes.The staminate ones constitute those innumerable erect 2L
  • 272. 258 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.and slender clusters, six to eight inches in length, which,when the tree is in full bloom, make it seem overlaid withstraw-coloured lacework or embroidery, visible across thegreensward, and delightful to look at, as far as the eyecan reach, lovelier when seen beyond smooth water, stillas at Crewe Hall. The female flowers are green andsessile, and enveloped in filiform bracts, which, coalescing,form the husk or involucre. In course of time, the woodyfibres partially disengage themselves, gradually enlarge,and at last become those curious spiny tufts whichrender the chestnut a veritable noli-me-tangere. Manyovules are embedded in the ovary-cells while young,and sometimes as many as six or seven will grow ripe,but usually only two or three come to perfection, andfrequently there is only one, then of matronly fulness ofoutline. When three ripen, the middle one is flattenedupon each side. The withered styles remain upon thesummit, proving every individual chestnut to be a genuine" " fruit," and not a mere seed." nut-like seed is atAany time distinguishable from a genuine fruit, by havingonly one scar this, at the base, where it was attached tothe lining of the ovary : a true fruit is always told byhaving two scars, the basal, and another at the summit,the relics of the style or stigma. Omit not to pass thefinger over the lining of the involucre when the chestnutshave fallen out ; no satin was ever so soft : a very lovelyfeature of all the works of God is that they are finishedas exquisitely upon the inside as well as the outside, oftenmore so.
  • 273. The Chestmit. 259 The chestnut, when ripe, possesses a fine creamyflavour. Roasted, it becomes almost aromatic. The scentisthen the key to another of the treasured recollections ofthe lang syne, for now we have before us the Christmas ofthe olden time, the home-circle round the ruddy fire, thechestnuts, carefully crossed with the knife, so that theyshall not burst and tumble into the ashes, steaming intheir joyous rows upon the well-swept bars. Of allknown nuts, this one is the most farinaceous and theleast oily, hence more easy of digestion than any other.To mountaineers it is invaluable, serving where thecereals cannot be cultivated, as a capital substitute forwheat. On the Apennines and the Pyrenees, the chest-nut-harvest is the event of the year. Walk which wayyou will during October in their lofty woods, companiesof women and girls are busy, bags made of sack-clothslung around their waists, and in their hands roughwooden pincers, with which they open the thorny cases.Now comes to their aid some strong and friendly man,who mounts into the nearest tree, beating down the fruit,which falls in showers. All day the whole party keep atwork, then at eve move homewards, unsubdued by theirloads, carried often upon the head, for these peasantwomen of the mountain-forests have about them a richand almost Roman ease of strength, fascinating to con-template, and are proud of their powers. The chestnut-harvest lasts for about three weeks. When all has beengot indoors, the fruit is spread upon a frame of lattice-work overhead, and a fire kept burning underneath.
  • 274. 260 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.When dry it is boiled, or steamed, or roasted, accordingto taste and ground into a kind of flour, of desire, orwhich puddings are made, and an excellent descriptionof bread. A portion of the stock is kiln-dried, so as tobe kept in reserve in case of scarcity. Analysis of theItalian chestnut-cakes, called need, shows them to containno than 40 per cent, of nutritious matters soluble lessin cold water, a circumstance which seems to recom-mend chestnut-flour, properly prepared, as a very eligiblechildrens food. A very nice way to dress chestnuts isto boil themtwenty minutes, and then place them for forfive minutes more in a Dutch-oven, Our market supplies are drawn from Spain, Italy, andFrance, this to the extent of many thousands of tonsannually. The earliest to appear are usually English,but in England this fruit ripens well and plentifully onlywhen the summer is exceptionally warm. Edible nuts are yielded also by the Castanea chryso-phylla, from the Pacific coast of North America. Apartfrom its value as a fruit-tree, no plant of recent introduc-tion is more desirable for ornamental purposes, especiallyfor isolation upon the lawn. The leaves, four or fiveinches long, are covered on the under-surface with golden- " "yellow powder, reminding one of the golden ferns ofthe hothouse-fernery, thus presenting a combination ofcolours rarely seen in tree-foliage, and singularly effectivewhen the boughs are swayed by the wind. The chryso-phylla has the great merit, also, of being evergreen. In California it is often only a bush, but it can attain, as
  • 275. The Walnut. 261it does also in Oregon, the stature of thirty up toa hundred feet, In England the great merits of thisbeautiful tree are only beginning to be realized. Timewill show what it may become as regards chestnuts. THE WALNUT (Juglans regia).THE Walnut-tree, like the chestnut, is a forest-patrician,supplying not only an admirable fruit, but presenting inmien and figure the highest type of beauty, grandeurwithout ostentation, simplicity without defect, grace andtruthfulness intermarried. In the landscape the walnutis always a tree of mark. In substance and in crown itis a fit associate of oaks and elms. While the foliage isyoung it supplies, in the peculiar warmth of its hue, adelightful foil to that of other trees. The great pinnateleaves, formed of five to nine ovate leaflets, are sosmooth and glossy as to be washed clean by every shower.They abound in an aromatic secretion which rendersthem proof against the attacks of insects ; when slightlyrubbed they evolve a rich balsamic odour the quality,so excellent wherever found, which probably recom-mended the walnut to King Solomon, so distinguishedalike for his magnificence, his enterprise as a horticulturist, "and his love of perfumes. I made me," says the old " monarch, gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit" (Eccles. ii. 5). The "garden
  • 276. 262 Fruits and Fruit- Trees.of nuts," specialized elsewhere (Song, vi. 2), seems clearlyto have been one of walnuts, eghoz, the Hebrew word,anticipating the subsequent use by the Greeks andRomans, of mpvov and nux which terms, when employed }without an adjective, always meant the walnut, the nutpar excellence. The walnut has the further recommenda-tion of never giving a shade so dense as to do harm tothe grass below ; and of never being so thick in foliageas to hinder the descent of the rain, so that there is notree under which grass will grow more freely. The tap-root is usually strong, and gives the treea powerful holdupon the soil, so that it is less liable to be torn up bytempests than any other. The preacher who takes for "his text Prov. xii. 3, The root of the righteous shall notbe moved," could not do better than adduce the walnutas natures own illustration of perennial steadfastness.Prudent and wary as to frost, it is one of the last trees tocome in leaf; sensitive when the cold returns, it is soondismantled again. So weighty is the produce that theyield of fruit in good seasons enough to pay the rent isof the land in which the tree is anchored ; and with treesof four-score it would be possible to purchase the free-hold. Unlike almost all other fruit-trees, the walnut hasthe final merit of furnishing valuable timber. The native countries of the walnut begin with Persiaand Armenia, and extend thence to the Himalayas. Itabounds especially in Cashmere ; in Asia Minor and inGreece it looks like a native. When carried westwardsis not known. A tree in every way so worthy could not
  • 277. The Walnut. 263fail to attract the notice of the early cultivators of plants,and in all likelihood it had reached Italy long before thebeginning of the Christian era. The Romans called it bythe name still allowed to this tree by science faglans,literally "Jupiters Nut," under which appellation thereare allusions to the fruit in their literature^ though theusual terms are nux and mtces. Ovid has left us a " Nux " the Plaint of thecharming little poem, Elegia,"Walnut-tree," in which he represents it as protestingagainst mens unkindness, being pelted with stones andbeaten with sticks, in return for the munificence withwhich it bestows its milk-white produce. The introduction into Britain is almost certainly attri-butable to the Romans, though the name it has alwaysborne in this country is Germanic, coming from the "Anglo-Saxon wealh-knut, literally foreign-nut," i.e. theexotic or beyond-seas nut, in comparison with the indige-nous hazel. No exotic tree ever took more kindly toBritish soil and the British climate. In the south itoccurs not only in pleasure-grounds and gardens, but bythe waysides, especially in retired villages. In the northit is rather rare, and found chiefly near old halls. AtMentmore, the palatial seat of the late Baron Mayer deRothschild, now of Lord Rosebery, there is a walnutnearly seventy feet high, the girth, at four feet from theground, three yards, and the circumference of the spreadof the branches two hundred and seventy feet. One atDownland House, Liphook, Hants, has a circumferenceof spread exceeding three hundred feet. Very handsome
  • 278. 264 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.walnuts, of vast dimensions, may be seen also in Scot-land, as at Edmonstone, near Edinburgh; Gordon Castle,Banffshire; Blair Drummond, Perthshire; and Eccles,Dumfriesshire. Seedlings begin to bear at ten years old,and every year, as it approaches maturity, like the orange,this tree increases in fecundity. How long it can live isnot known, but the potential longevity is certainly verygreat. In the Baidar Valley, near Balaclava, in theCrimea, there is, or was recently, a walnut believed to bea thousand years old. The flowers of the walnut-tree, like those of the hazeland the chestnut, are of separate sexes. The staminateones form large, green, massive, very handsome, pendu-lous catkins; the females, two or four together, are sessileat the ends of young shoots, and have beautiful recurvingstyles. They accompany the young foliage, and are inperfection about the time of the blooming of the purplerhododendron. Who is there that has not noticed the singular love ofrooks for things that men like, and their neglect of thingsthat men neglect? The love of the nut-hatch for thefruit of the hazel is well known so is that of the cross- ;beak for the pine-cone; the rook has no less earnestan affection for the walnut. As soon as there is a kernelworth eating, the rook finds it out. While upon the treethe bird is powerless, so brings it to the ground. It hasnot the power, either, to break the shell when hardened ;it goes to those nuts only which are sufficiently soft to bepenetrated.
  • 279. The Hickory -Niit. 265 Many varieties of the walnut exist one, very orna-mental, with the leaflets finely laciniated ; another, calledfrom itsweeping In the fruit, also, there habit, diversity. The variety macrocarpa, or " double French,"ripening well near London, and fetching six shillings perdozen in the markets, furnishes the handsome shells usedin France for making and by the jewel- ladies glove-cases,lers for jewel-caskets. The " Titmouse walnut " is thatpretty tender-shelled one so greatly appreciated by thetitmice. Having either more skill or a lighter task thanthe rooks, they pierce the husks and shells while the fruitis still seated upon the bough, eating the contents thenand there, and leaving the residue behind. The titmousewalnut is the most delicate of all sorts ; it is more oilyand keeps longer, but the produce of the tree is lessabundant. The import of walnuts, which takes placechiefly from France and Holland, is believed -to be abouteighty thousand bushels per annum.THE HICKORY-NUT AND THE PECUAN-NUT.IN the shops are commonly seen the nuts produced bytwo other species of the Juglandaceae Hickory-nuts,furnished by the Gary a alba, and Pecuan-nuts, the fruitof the Gary a olivctformis. The Caryas, ten in all, aredeciduous trees of the banks of the Ohio, the Mississippi,and other great North American rivers, growing also 2M
  • 280. 266 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.throughout the Alleghanies, attaining the stature of sixtyto ninety feet j the trunks slender, though able to acquirea girth of twelve feet ; the pinnate leaves never less thantwelve,and often twenty inches long. Being very orna-mental, they may be met with now and then in parksand arboretums in the south. The Hickory-nut, as exposed for sale, is told at onceby its form and very light colour. It is smaller thaneven a moderately sized walnut, imperfectly globular,with three or four strong longitudinal ridges. The shellis extremely hard ; when got at, the kernel is remarkablysweet, the finest in flavour of any of its race. The Pecuan-nut, also called the pecan, pacane, andIllinois nut, and most inconsistently, in the shops, the"Japanese walnut," is oblong, not unlike a commonEnglish acorn, of a light reddish-brown colour, andwith a shell only just too hard and thick to be crushedbetween the fingers. The kernel of this one is also verygood. THE BUTTER-NUT.OF the genus Juglans there are six or seven NorthAmerican species, in addition to the renowned regia ofthe eastern world ; and some of these yield eatable butinferior nuts. The only one of which we ever see theproduce exhibited in England is the Black Walnut,Juglans nigra, the nuts being occasionally ripened in the
  • 281. Palms. 267southern counties, and sometimes, to a small extent,imported. Externally, the Black walnut is double thesize of the genuine, but the kernel is much smaller inproportion, and more oily, as expressed in the popularname " Butter-nut." The nuts of the Juglans cmerea,often sent to England as a curiosity, are oblong-ovoid,very rough with prominent and irregular longitudinalridges, and acutely pointed at the upper extremity. THE COCO-NUT (Cocos nucifera),THE number of coco-nuts now annually imported amountsto about three millions. They come chiefly from Jamaica,British Guiana, and Honduras; some, also, from the westcoast of Africa. Nearly all are retained for home con-sumption ; the confectioners use a few in the fresh stateno brought from a foreign country is destined so fruitemphatically, not for grown people, but for the children. The tree producing this famous nut is one of thesplendid order called the Palms, by Linnaeus styled thePrinces of the vegetable kingdom plants in the aggre-gate of their fine characters truly royal, and in theaggregate of their varied usefulness unrivalled. Insteadof possessing boughs, twigs, and innumerable leaves,usually small, the palm is a living pillar, slender, cylindri-cal, and erect, and capable of attaining, in one speciesor another, the stature of sixty, eighty, a hundred, even
  • 282. 268 Fruits and Fru it- Trees.a hundred and ninety feet. Not a single sideways shootever breaks the upward line till the summit is reached,and then at last we have the leaves leaves as large asbranches, and constituting a prodigious and evergreencrown. Usually they are pinnate, sometimes fan-shaped ;when pinnate, the exterior half-dozen are prone to archelegantly outwards and downwards. New leaves are con-stantly rising from the centre of the crown. The olderones die, though slowly, and the young ones take theirplaces, the column, under the hands of its green artificers,steadily ascending with measured and majestic pace. Toa European visiting any tropical country where palm-trees grow, the spectacle of a palm-grove, or even of asingle palm, is always one of supreme interest and attrac-tiveness. The great radiating coronet of leaves and thelofty pillar stand out so distinctly from all surroundingvegetation as to catch the eye at once. The flowers ofthe palm-trees are fashioned upon much the same planas those of lilies. Individually they are trifling andunattractive, but the abundance is so vast that a cluster many kinds, hundreds, and even thousands.contains, inThe bunches are developed from the very apex of thestem, sometimes standing erect, and constituting an im-mense thyrsus ; more usually hanging down from amongthe bases of the leaf-stalks. In respect of their fruit thepalms vary more than in any other particular ; the pre-vailing disposition is towards the hard and nut-like;sometimes it is soft andIn point of habita- succulent.tion they are essentially tropical plants, though a few
  • 283. Palms. 269 In hot countries they takeoccur in temperate latitudes.the place in the landscape which in cold countries isheld by the Conifers. The frontiers of their respectiveempires now and then overlap, but each race, in respectof the other, stands proudly aloof. Hence these splendidplants are in England seldom seen out of conservatories.One or two of the minor kinds, Spanish and Japanesespecies of Chamaerops, with fan-shaped leaves, are hardyenough to endure the open air north of the Channel,and many kinds do well in the temperature of thedwelling-house, but most of them require summer warmth.Even when sheltered by glass, as at Kew and Chats-worth, palms under cultivation give but a faint ideaof the grandeur they acquire in the lands where it is" always afternoon." The supreme comfort to the culti-vator is that they are cheerful at all seasons, and thatbeing strongly knit,and having leaves of dry and rigidtexture, they can live and thrive where many less gloriousthings would speedily perish. Not that all palms attainthe stature above-mentioned. In many species a stem isscarcely developed. These suggest the idea rather ofcertain kinds of ferns, and while young are consummatelybeautiful objects for indoor decoration. So, indeed, arethe loftiest, while striplings : a young palm well chosen asto kind, is an object never out of place, never incon-sistent or superfluous. Of all plants known to Botany,young palms compare the best with the white marblegoddesses that tell of the piety of twenty-five hundredyears ago.
  • 284. 2 7o Friiits and Fruit- Trees. The Coco-nut palm attains the height of sixty to ahundred feet ; the pinnate leaves are about twenty feet inlength, and sixteen to twenty in number. The floweringbranches are five or six feet long, enclosed while youngin a great sheath or " A bunch of nuts is pro- spathe."duced every month, so that ten or twelve are generally tobe seen upon the tree at once, every bunch consisting ofeight or nine up The production commences to twenty.when about eight years old, and continues the tree isfor seventy or eighty years. In its perfect state the fruitis a brown three-cornered lump, larger than a mans head,about half of it consisting of fibrous husk, in the heart ofwhich, nearer to the lower extremity, is lodged the nut.In the rudimentary state the ovary is three-celled. Amemorandum of this preserved in the corresponding isnumber of scar-like depressions at the extremity of theshell ; one of them soft, and allowing of penetration withthe knife, so that we can draw off the milk without crack-ing the shell; the other two hard and impervious. Thatsuch is the real history becomes quite plain on comparingthe coco-nut with its near ally, the coquilla-nut (the fruitof the Attalea funifera), this being either three-celled, ortwo-celled, or only one-celled. In estimating the so-called "uses" of natural productions, we should alwaysremember that the true idea of use is threefold. Firstthere is the animal use, in which the brutes go shareswith ourselves. Then the charming usefulness realizedonly by the heart and the intellect, the use of beauty.Lastly, there is the supreme usefulness subserved, as
  • 285. The Coco- Nut. 271in the present instance, by the coquilla-nut, i.e. that ofbeing an Interpreter, helping us to resolve problemsand enigmas. The three scars suggested the name borne by thecoco-nut. This is often said to be "derived from theSpanish name of the monkey, because of a fancied resem-blance to the head and face of that animal." But coco " The primary sense of theis not Spanish for monkey."word is that of an ugly bugbear, of any kind, adapted tofrighten children, the meaning it still holds in Portuguese.The application to the nut dates from the time of theoriginal visits to India by the Portuguese, as described "in the celebrated History of the Conquests of Portugalin Asia and Africa," by Joao de Barros, the first volumeof which was published in 1552.* The addition of afinal a, needless and improper, came of confusion of cocowith cacao, the native name of the beverage-plant, now "also corrupted into cocoa." The "milk," so called, is a portion of the naturalalbumen of the nut, unconverted into white kernel.During the germination of the embryo, which is lodgedin the soft scar, it becomes entirely absorbed, the cavityof the nut then becoming almost filled with a curiousegg-shaped body, spongy and uneatable. It is well,perhaps, sometimes not to know too much. Coco-nutmilk, as we have it in England, is little better than a weakmockery of the delicious crystalline liquor it is in thetropics. There it is called coco-nut water; it is resorted *Dec. III., book 3, chap. vii.
  • 286. 272 Fruits and Friiit- as the most refreshing of forenoon beverages, and (atall events in the West Indies) is employed by the ladiesas a cosmetic. They believe that bathing the cheeks inthismore than Castalian spring restores the freshness andbloom of youth. Alas for Rejuvenescence, if it is to befound only in the juice of a palm-nut ! The original seats of the growth of the coco-palmappear to have been the south of Asia and the islands ofthe Indian Archipelago. Thence it has made its way toevery part of the littoral of the tropics, conveyed, doubt-less, in great measure, by the waves. The peculiar natureof the fibrous envelope, and the thickness of the shell,enable the nut to remain in salt water for considerableperiods without any injury accruing to the germ. Thetriangular form, a keel always undermost, facilitates thesailing. Once afloat it never rests, tossing about untilcast ashore ; then, if the landing-place be congenial, it atonce takes root, and a new province is soon added to thebroad dominions. Let us not forget that this throwingashore comes of the intense and everlasting love ofcleanliness on the part of the ocean. Emblem of theInfinite, type of all that is supreme, it refuses to toleratethe least atom of impurity ; the simplest relic of weed orstraw is cast far as it can reach ; even the coco-nut isallowed only on sufferance, and must go. Like the sea-convolvulus and the eryngo, the coco-palm is essentiallya sub-maritime plant. It will grow inland and eventhrive ; but never is it so happy as when near the sea. Inthe Indian islands, the smaller and lower they are, thus
  • 287. The Coco- Nut. 273the more open to the sea-breeze, the more extensivelydoes and the more powerfully attract the it prevail,attention of approaching voyagers. In some parts ofTrinidad, all along the shore, in the very sand of thebeach, it constitutes an almost continuous fringe orborder. Ceylon is perhaps the most distinguished of themany abiding places of the coco-nut, in respect of theimmensity of the number of trees. Meyen tells us that" in the south of Ceylon there is a forest of the coco-palmwhich stretches along the sea-shore for twenty-six Englishmiles, is several leagues broad, and contains about elevenmillions of full-grown trees." * Here they grow so nearto the sea, as to be often washed by the surf. In thisloveliest of islands, the Isle of Wight of Hindostan, thecoco-palm is a domesticated tree. The natives have asaying that to ensure its prosperity, you must walk underit, and talk under it, the sense being that it needs guard-ing, since, otherwise, in the wilder parts of the country,it is sure to be thrown down by the elephants. InQueensland, on the Pioneer upon a low-lying sandy river,seaside deposit, there is a grove of planted coco-palms,so verdant and so promising that the colonists look uponit as if on the discovery of a new gold-mine. Eminently nutritious, it may be worth mentioning thatcoco-nut kernel, broken up small, makes not only verypalatable little biscuitsand macaroons, but the kind oftart that invites one to come again. *" Outlines of the Geography of Plants," Ray Society, 1846,P- 33 2 - 2N
  • 288. 2 74 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. The coco-palm exists in English hothouses, but,although easily raised from the nut, especially from onethat has begun to germinate while upon the voyage, it isdifficult to preserve beyond eight or ten years. Two fineyoung plants at Kew give better promise than usual. AtSyon, in 1863, a ripe nut was obtained, this by meansof hand-fertilization. JUVIAS (Bertholettia excelsa).JUVIAS, in the shops commonly called "Brazil-nuts,"sometimes " Para-nuts," and in their native country also" Castanha-nuts," are the produce of one of the mostmajestic trees of the South American tropical forests.The stature attained is from a hundred to a hundred andfifty feet ; the smooth and cylindrical trunk is two, three,or four feet in diameter, and nearly bare till near thetop, where it distributes its magnificent crown of boughs.The leaves, crowded at the extremities of the branches,are about two feet long, and six inches in width, brightgreen above, inclined to be silvery below. The cream-coloured flowers, formed of six unequal petals, arefollowed, not by the nuts, as exhibited for sale, but byglobular capsules, resembling cannon-balls, six to twelveinches in diameter. Inside of these, the so-called " nuts,"properly the seeds, are arranged after the manner of thecarpels of an orange, only that there are two distincttiers of them, an upper and a lower, the sharp extremities
  • 289. Jiivias. 275neatly dove-tailing, and the entire mass forming a sphere.There are about eighteen to twenty-four. generally, in all,When ripe, the capsules drop from the trees, and arecollected in heaps by the natives, who call themselvescastanheiros, and with whom the annual gathering is likethe harvest of corn-countries or the vintage of the wine-lands. They often tell of the dangers they run of afractured skull through the unlooked-for descent of oneof these vegetable aerolites. Laet, in a geographicalwork published in 1633, in which the first mention of thisfruit appears, says that when the falling is thick and fast,themen protect their heads with a sort of wooden helmet.The pericarps being intensely hard require to be brokenopen with an axe; the seeds are then despatched bycanoe to Para" (the chief city or port of the Amazon,seventy or eighty miles up the stream), and thence theyeventually get transmitted to Europe and the UnitedStates. The entire cargo of vessels of considerableburthen often consists wholly of juvias. The annualimport into our own country is about six hundred and fiftytons. The kernel of the juvia is a very wholesome one.When fresh, it is as good as the best Jordan almond, andmay be partaken of, in moderation, by the most delicate.Nothing in nature gives a better idea of the energy ofvegetable life in the tropics than is supplied by thesewonderful capsules, often casually imported with thenuts. In fifty or sixty days a shell is formed harderthan the hardest timber ever produced in temperatecountries in years.
  • 290. 276 Fruits and Fruit- Trees. SAPUCAJAS (Lecythis Zabucajo).IN the fruit-shops are often seen baskets of nuts, abouttwo inches in length, three quarters of an inch wide inthe middle, slightly curved, irregularly grooved, palebrown, and bluntly pointed. These are Sapucajas. Theshell is brittle, and easily broken, allowing of easyextraction of the pale-brown kernel, the flavour of whichis mild, mellow, somewhat creamy, very pleasant, and bymany persons considered superior to that of the juvia.The sapucaja is believed also to be more digestible it is ;certainly a much worthier fruit for the table. The tree producing the sapucaja is, like the Bertho-lettia, one of the forest-ornaments of tropical SouthAmerica, growing especially in Venezuela, Guiana, andBrazil. The trunk attains the height of eighty to ninetyfeet, and is covered with hard rough bark, like that ofthe oak; the flowers and the huge and glossy leaves infigure resemble those of the Bertholettia ; the seed-pod(for sapucajas, like juvias, are not "nuts," but onlyseeds) an extraordinary kind of urn, a foot in depth, isand in the middle six or seven inches in diameter thesubstance so hard as to be beyond the power of anyhammer When ripe, it opens naturally by to affect,cracking round near the summit, so that the upper allfourth or fifth portion of the urn drops off like a lid, andthe seeds, the sapucajas, tumble out. The idea is deli-cately anticipated in the seed-pods of several of our little
  • 291. The Cashew-Nut. 277English wild-flowers, as the scarlet pimpernel and thewayside plantains, so true is it that no marvel of the far-away is without a presignifying miniature in Old England.The sapucajas exposed for sale all come from Para". The first mention of the Lecythis and its wonderfulurn appears in Pisos "Account of the Medicinal andother Plants of Brazil," published at Leyden, in 1648.After that it seems to have been left unnoticed bytravellers tillthe time of Aublet, who, in 1775, gives "some particulars in the Histoire des Plantes de laGuiane Franaise," and names the tree " Lecythis grandi-flora." Another species, the Lecythis Ollaria, is in mostrespects similar to the Zabucajo, but the kernels are notso palatable, leaving in the mouth a sense of bitterness.Itwas upon this one that Linnaeus would seem to havefounded the genus, ollarius being the Latin word foranything made or kept in a " pot," the special feature ofthe plant as made known to him by the writings of Piso.Miers, in his monograph of the order to which thesetrees belong, the Lecythidacese, distinguishes the Bertho-lettia by the name of nobilis, and the sapucaja-tree asLecythis usitata. THE CASHEW-NUT (Anacardium occidental).THE Cashew-nut is produced by a tree usually aboutsixteen feet in stature, in general appearance not unlike awalnut, and growing spontaneously, in great abundance,
  • 292. 278 Fru its and Fru it- tropical South America, especially Guiana and Brazil,where occupies very large areas, preferring hot plains itin situations fully exposed to the blaze of the sun. Longsince conveyed to tropical Asia by the Portuguese, it isnow naturalized in the forests of British India. The nameis of Brazilian origin, as indicated by Piso and otherearly travellers in South America. In Jamaica it ispronounced kushoo. The leaves of the Anacardium are alternate, severalinches long, oval, obtuse, and entire ; the flowers, bornein panicles, are rose-coloured and fragrant, small, but verypretty ; the pedicels of a portion of them, as soon as theflowering is over, swell in a manner so remarkable that,excepting in the somewhat analogous expansion of thetorus of the strawberry, they seem, in this respect, to haveno parallel in nature. They assume the figure anddimensions of a small pear, the skin acquiring a finecrimson or yellow colour ; the ovary, meanwhile, ripens "into a kidney-shaped nut," an inch or more in length,nearly as broad,somewhat compressed, ashy-grey, smoothand polished, and which stands on end, as it were, uponthe summit of the pear. The shell is thin; below it thereis a layer of viscid oil, intensely caustic, and so highlyinflammable that when a cashew-nut is held by means ofa fork, in a candle-flame, it very soon ignites and burnsfuriously, fire jutting out spasmodically in all directions.The burning roasts the kernel, the flavour of which isthen very agreeable, though somewhat pungent, andrecommends it for use in the manufacture of chocolate,
  • 293. The Pistachio- Nut. 279and in the preparation of entremets such as epicures love.Broken up, and put into wine, especially old Madeira,roasted cashew-nuts impart to it a recherche and lingeringaroma ; the fumes produced by the roasting, it must beremembered, are dense and acrid, painfully affecting thenose and eyes, so that it must be managed by specialprocess and with due precautions. The pear-like pedicel,never seen in England, is eaten, both fresh and whenstewed. Candied and preserved, it is better still. THE PISTACHIO-NUT (Pis facia vera).THE nut called the Pistachio is the first of whichmention occurs in history. When, after the detentionof Benjamin by Joseph at the court of the Egyptianmonarch, Jacob despatches his elder sons to beg that the " "ladmay be released, Take," he says, of the best fruitin the land, .... and carry the man a present, a littlebalm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, botnlm, andalmonds" (Gen. xliii. 2). The A.V., as in the case ofeghoz (the walnut), contents itself with "nuts." TheRevised allows the marginal alternative "pistachio-nuts,"and in so doing is right. The tree producing them is ofthe same genus as the terebinth and the lentisk. Itgrows twenty feet high is well clothed with ; pinnateleaves, two or three inches in length, the three or fiveleaflets oval and entire ; and produces abundance of littleracemes of minute and brownish-green flowers. The fruit
  • 294. 280 Fruits and Fruit-Trees.isan ovoid drupe, about an inch in length, concave uponone side, of a rather deep red, the pulp of the samecolour, the stone brown and rugged. The kernel is large,fat, oleaginous, and yellowish green, the peculiar colourgiving to this nut the secondary commercial name of"green almond." The flavour is sweetish, and greatlyimproved by partial drying of the nuts. In England we see but little of the pistachio, theimport, chiefly from Sicily and Aleppo, being on behalfof the Greeks and Turks who reside in our country, andwho employ pistachios in their cookery. In southern, andmore particularly in south-eastern Europe, the consump-tion is immense : in Constantinople the ground of thenumberless open-air cafes and public gardens is literallystrewed with the broken shells. The native countriesextend from Syria to Afghanistan and Bokhara. Thename is in origin either Arabic or Persian. The pistachio-tree was introduced into this country in1770. Being tender it is scarce, even in the south, andthough it blossoms it never sets fruit. In the autumn thegreen of the leaves changes to a dark purplish red. THE KARAKA-NUT ( Corynocarpus lavigatus).BOTH the cashew and the pistachio belong to the orderAnacardiaceae. Another tree of this family, indigenousto New Zealand, produces the rather celebrated Karaka-nut, a fruit of no importance as regards our own country,
  • 295. The Souari-Nut. 281but interesting, at the present moment, in the circum-stance of its having ripened in the open-air, in the TrescoAbbey gardens. The height attained is thirty to fiftyfeet ; the leaves are oval, about four inches long, entire,and glossy; the small white flowers grow in terminalclusters ; the fruit resembles a small yellow plum. THE SOUARI OR SURAH-WA-NUT (Caryocar nudferum).THE Souari-nut is one of those very desirable additionsto the dessert which unfortunately reach this country inquantities so small that to the public in general theyare unknown. It never remains in the shops for manydays, being at once taken up by purchasers acquaintedwith the fine qualities. In dimensions the souari standsnext to the coco-nut, measuring about four inches bythree. The shape is peculiar, being somewhat that of awedge, rounded at the back, two flat sides, and a longstraight narrow base. The entire surface is covered withclose-set roundish protuberances; the colour is a deepreddish brown. Souari-nuts are, after all, only seeds,coming out of a pericarp the size of a childs head, andwhich usually contains four, though often only two orthree. The kernel is pure white, soft and fleshy, the mildflavour approaching that of almonds. The tree to whichwe are indebted for it is a native of tropical SouthAmerica, abounding especially in Essequibo and Berbice. 20
  • 296. 282 Fruits and Fruit- T