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REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF GARDENS

AND GROUNDS.

SIR: Having prepared, by your direction, as stated on page 44, a descriptive list of the more important economic plants at present contained in the collection of the Department, I beg to offer the same in place of the usual report of work done in my Division, believing it to be of sufficient interest to justify its publication in your Annual Report. Very respectfully,

WILLIAM SAUNDERS,

Superintendent of Gardens and Grounds. Hon. J. M. RUSK,

Secretary

DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE OF PLANTS.

1. ABELMOSCHIUS MOSCHATUS.—This plant is a native of Bengal. Its seeds were

formerly mixed with hair powder, and are still used to perfume pomatum. The Arabs mix them with their coffee berries. In the West Indies the bruised seeds, steeped in rum, are used, both externally and internally, as a

cure for snake bites. 2. ABRUS PRECATORIUS. - Wild liquorice. This twining, leguminous plant is a

native of the East, but is now found in the West Indies and other tropical regions. It is chiefly remarkable for its small oval seeds, which are of a brilliant scarlet color, with a black scar at the place where they are attached to the pods. These seeds are much used for necklaces and other ornamental purposes, and are employed in India as a standard of weight, under the name of Řati. The weight of the famous Kohinoor diamond is known to have been ascertained in this way. The roots afford liquorice, which is extracted in the same manner as that from the true Spanish liquorice plant, the Glycyrrhiza glabra. Recently the claim was made that the weather could be foretold by certain movements of the leaves of this plant, but experimental

tests have proved its fallacy. 3. ABUTILON INDICUM, This plant furnishes fiber fit for the manufacture of ropes.

Its leaves contain a large quantity of mucilage. 4. ABUTILON VENOSUM.—This malvaceous plant is common in collections, as are soon hardens by exposure to the air. The largest quantity of the gum comes from Barbary. Gum senegal is produced by A. vera. By some it is thought that the timber of A. Arabica is identical with the Shittim tree, or wood of the Bible. From the flowers of A. farnesiana a choice and delicious perfume is obtained, the chief ingredient in many valued " balm of a thousand flowers.” The pods of A. concinna are used in India as a soap for washing; the leaves are used for culinary purposes, and have a peculiarly agreeable acid taste. The seeds of some species are used, when cooked, as articles of food. From the seeds of A. Niopo the Guahibo Indians prepare a snuff, by roasting the seeds and pounding them in a wooden platter. Its effects are to produce a kind of intoxication and invigorate the spirits. The bark of several species is extensively used for tanning, and the timber, being tough and elastic, is valuable for the manufacture of machinery and other purposes where great

others of the genus. They are mostly fiber-producing species. The flowers

of A. esculentum are used as a vegetable in Brazil. 5. ACACIA BRASILIENSIS.—This plant furnishes the Brazil wood, which yields a red

or crimson dye, and is used for dyeing silks. The best quality is that received

from Pernambuco. 6. ACACIA CATECHU.—The drug known as catechu is principally prepared from

this tree, the wood of which is boiled down, and the decoction subsequently
evaporated so as to form an extract much used as an astringent.
cias are very numerous, and yield many useful products. Gum arabic is pro-
duced by several species, as Å. vera, A. Arabica, A. Adansonii, A. verek, and
others. It is obtained by spontaneous exudation from the trunk and branches,
or by incisions made in the bark, from whence it flows in a liquid state, but

The aca

strength and durability are requisite. 7. ACACIA DEAL BATA.-The silver wattle tree of Australia. The bark is used for

tanning purposes. It is hardy South. 8. ACACIA HOMOLOPHYLLA.—This tree furnishes the scented myall wood, a very

hard and heavy wood, of an agreeable odor, resembling that of violets.

Fancy boxes for the toilet are manufactured of it. 9. ACACIA MELANOXYLON.--The wood of this tree is called mayall wood in New

South Wales. It is also called violet wood, on account of the strong odor it has of that favorite flower; hence it is in great repute for making small

dressing cases, etc. 10. ACACIA MOLLISSIMA.-The black wattle tree of Australia, which furnishes a

good tanning principle. These trees were first called wattles from being used by the early settlers for forming a network or wattling of the supple

twigs as a substitute for laths in plastering houses. 11. ACROCOMIA SCLEROCARPA.—This palm grows all over South America. It is

known as the great macaw-tree. A sweetish-tasted oil, called Mucaja oil,

is extracted from the fruit and is used for making toilet soaps. 12. ADANSONIA DIGITATA.—The baobab tree, a native of Africa. It has been called

the tree of a thousand years, and Humboldt speaks of it as “the oldest organic monument of our planet." Adanson, who traveled in Senegal in 1794, made a calculation to show that one of these trees, 30 feet in diameter, must be 5,150 years old. The bark of the baobab furnishes a fiber which is made into ropes and also manufactured into cloth. The fiber is so strong as to give rise to a common saying in Bengal, “ as secure as an elephant bound with baobab rope.” The pulp of the fruit is slightly acid, and the juice expressed from it is valued as a specific in putrid and pestilential fevers. The ashes of

the fruit and bark, boiled in rancid palm oil, make a fine soap. 13. ADENANTHERA PAVONINA.-A tree that furnishes red sandal wood. A dye is

obtained simply by rubbing the wood against a wet stone, which is used by the Brahmins for marking their foreheads after religious bathing. The seeds are used by Indian jewelers as weights, each seed weighing uniformly four grains. They are known as Circassian beans. Pounded and mixed with borax, they form an adhesive substance. They are sometimes used as food.

The plant belongs to the Leguminosæ. 14. ADHATODA VASICA.- This plant is extolled for its charcoal in the manufacture

of powder. The flowers, leaves, roots, and especially the fruit, are considered antispasmodic, and are administered in India in asthma and intermit

tent fevers. 15. ÆGLE MARMELOS.-- This plant belongs to the orange family, and its fruit is

known in India as Bhel fruit. It is like an orange; the thick rind of the unripe fruit possesses astringent properties, and, when ripe, has an exquisite flavor and perfume. The fruit and other parts of the plant are used for

medicinal purposes, and a yellow dye is prepared from the skin of the fruits. 16. AGAVE AMERICANA.- This plant is commonly known as American aloe, but it

is not a member of that family, as it claims kindred with the Amaryllis tribe of plants. It grows naturally in a wide range of climate, from the plains of South America to elevations of 10,000 feet. It furnishes a variety of products. The plants form impenetrable fences; the leaves furnish fibers of various qualities, from the fine thread known as pita-thread, which is used for twine, to the coarse fibers used for ropes and cables. Humboldt describes a bridge of upward of 130 feet span over the Chimbo in Quito, of which the main ropes (4 inches in diameter) were made of this fiber. It is also used for making paper. The juice, when the watery part is evaporated, forms a good soap (as detergent as castile), and will mix and form a lather with salt water as well as with fresh. The sap from the heart leaves is formed into pulque. This sap is sour, but has sufficient sugar and mucilage for fermentation. This vinous beverage has a filthy odor, but those who can overcome the aversion to this fetid smell indulge largely in the liquor. A very intoxicating brandy is made from it. Razor strops are made from the leaves ; they are

also used for cleaning and scouring pewter. 17. AGAVE RIGIDA.—The sisal hemp, introduced into Florida many years ago,

for the sake of its fiber, but its cultivation has not been prosecuted to a commercial success. Like many other of the best vegetable fibers found in leaves, it contains a gummy substance, which prevents the easy separation of the

fiber from the pulp. 18. ALEURITES TRILOBA.

The candleberry tree, much cultivated in tropical countries for the sake of its nuts. The nuts or kernels, when dried and stuck on a reed, are used by the Polynesians as a substitute for candles and as an article of food; they are said to taste like walnuts. When pressed, they yield largely of pure palatable oil, as a drying oil for paint, and known as artists' oil. The cake, after the oil has been expressed, is a favorite food for cattle. The root

of the tree affords a brown dye, which is used to dye cloths. 19. ALGAROBIA GLANDULOSA.--The mezquite tree, of Texas, occasionally reaching a

height of 25 to 30 feet. It yields a very hard, durable wood, and affords a large quantity of gum resembling gum arabic, and answering every purpose of that

gum. 20. ALLAMANDA CATHARTICA.--This plant belongs to the family of Apocynaceae,

which contains many poisonous species. It is often cultivated for the beauty of its flowers; the leaves are considered a valuable cathartic, in moderate doses, especially in the cure of painter's colic; in large doses they are violently

enetic. It is a native of South America. 21. ALOE SOCOTRINA.-Bitter aloe, a plant of the lily family, which furnishes the

finest aloes. The bitter, resinous juice is stored up in greenish vessels, lying beneath the skin of the leaf, so that when the leaves are cut transversely, the juice exudes, and is gradually evaporated to a firm consistence. The inferior kinds of aloes are prepared by pressing the leaves, when the resinous juice becomes mixed with the mucilaginous fluid from the central part of the leaves, and thus it is proportionately deteriorated. Sometimes the leaves are cut and boiled, and the decoction evaporated to a proper consistence. This drug is imported in chests, in skins of animals, and sometimes in large calabashgourds, and although the taste is peculiarly bitter and disagreeable, the perfume of the finer sorts is aromatic, and by no means offensive. It is common

in tropical countries. 22. ALSOPHILA AUSTRALIS.---This beautiful tree-fern attains a height of stem of 25

to 30 feet, with fronds spreading out into a crest 26 feet in diameter. These plants are among the most beautiful of all vegetable productions, and in their gigantic forms indicate, in a meager degree, the extraordinary beauty of the

vegetation on the globe previous to the formation of the coal measures. 23. ALSTONIA SCHOLARIS. –The Pali-mara, or devil tree, of Bombay. The plant

attains a height of 80 or 90 feet; the bark is powerfully bitter, and is used in

India in medicine. It is of the family of Apocynaceae. 24. AMOMUM MELEGUETTA.-Malaguetta pepper, or grains of paradise; belonging

to the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The seeds of this and other species are imported from Guinea; they have a very warm and camphor-like taste, and are used to give a fictitious strength to adulterated liquors, but are not considered particularly injurious to health. The seeds are aromatic and stimulating, and form, with other seeds of similar plants, what are known as car

damoms. 25. AMYRIS BALSAMIFERA.—This plant yields the wood called Lignum Rhodium.

It also furnishes a gum resin analogous to Elemi, and supposed to yield In27. ANANASSA SATIVA.-—The well-known pineapple, the fruit of which was de

dian Bdellium. 26. ANACARDIUM OCCIDENTALE.--The cashew nut tree, cultivated in the West Indies

and other tropical countries. The stem furnishes a milky juice, which becomes hard and black when dry, and is used as a varnish. It also secretes a gum, like gum arabic. The nut or fruit contains a black, acrid, caustic oil, injurious to the lips and tongue of those who attempt to crack the nut with their teeth; it becomes innocuous and wholesome when roasted, but this process must be carefully conducted, the acrility of the fumes producing severe inflammation of the face if approached too pear,

scribed three hundred years ago, by Jean de Lery, a Huguenot priest, as being of such excellence that the gods might luxuriate upon it, and that it should only be gathered by the hand of a Venus. It is supposed to be a native of Brazil, and to have been carried from thence to the West, and afterwards to the East Indies. It first became known to Europeans in Peru. It is universally acknowledged to be one of the most delicious fruits in the world. Like all other fruits that have been a long time under cultivation, there are numerous varieties that vary greatly, both in quality and appearance. The leaves yield a fine fiber, which is used in the manufacture of pina cloth; this cloth is very delicate, soft, and transparent, and is made into shawls, scarfs, hand

kerchiefs, and dresses. 28. ANDIRA INERMIS.—This is a native of Senegambia. Its bark is anthelmintic,

but requires care in its administration, being powerfully narcotic. It has a sweetish taste, but a disagreeable smell, and is generally given in the form of a decoction, which is made by boiling an ounce of the dried bark in a quart of water until it assumes the color of Madeira wine. Three or four grains of the powdered bark acts as a powerful purgative. The bark is known as

bastard cabbage bark, or worm bark. It is almost obsolete in medicine. 29. ANDROPOGON MURICATUS.—The Khus-Khus, or Vetiver grass of India. The

fibrous roots yield a most peculiar but pleasing perfume. In India the leaves are manufactured into awnings, blinds, and sunshades; but principally for screens, used in hot weather for doors and windows, which, when wetted,

diffuse a peculiar and refreshing perfume, while cooling the air. 30. ANDROPOGON SCHÆNANTHUS.—The sweet-scented lemon grass, a native of

Malabar. An essential oil is distilled from the leaves, which is used in perfumery. It is a favorite herb with the Asiatics, both for medicinal and culinary purposes. Tea from the dried leaves is a favorite beverage of some

persons. 31. ANONA CHERIMOLIA.—The Cherimoyer of Peru, where it is extensively cultivated

for its fruits, which are highly esteemed by the inhabitants, but not so highly valued by those accustomed to the fruits of temperate climates. The fruit, when ripe, is of a pale greenish-yellow color, tinged with purple, weighing from 3 to 4 pounds; the skin thin; the flesh sweet, and about the consistence

of a custard; hence often called custard apple. 32. ANONA MURICATA.—The sour-sop, a native of the West Indies, which produces

a fruit of considerable size, often weighing over 2 pounds. The pulp is

white and has an acrid flavor, which is not disagreeable. 33. ANONA RETICULATA.--The common custard apple of the West Indies. It has a yel

lowish pulp and is not so highly esteemed as an article of food as some others of the species. It bears the name of Condissa in Brazil. The Anonas are

grown to some extent throughout southern Florida. 34. ANONA SQUAMOSA.—The sweet-sop, a native of the Malay Islands, where it is

grown for its fruits. These are ovate in shape, with a thick rind, which incloses a luscious pulp. The seeds contain an acrid principle, and, being re

duced to powder, form an ingredient for the destruction of insects. 35. ANTIARIS INNOXIA.—The upas tree. Most exaggerated statements respecting

this plant have passed into history. Its poisonous influence was said to be so great as not only to destroy all animal life but even plants could not live within 10 miles of it. The plant has no such virulent properties as the above, but, as it inhabits low valleys in Java where carbonic acid gas escapes from the crevices in volcanic rocks which frequently proves fatal to animals, the tree was blamed wrongly. It is, however, possessed of poisonous juice, which, when dry and mixed with other ingredients, forms a venomous poison for arrows, and severe effects have been felt by those who have climbed upon

the branches for the purpose of gathering the flowers. 36. ANTIARIS SACCIDORA.-The sack tree; so called from the fibrous bark being

used as sacks. For this purpose young trees of about a foot in diameter are selected and cut into junks of the same length as the sack required. The outer bark is then removed and the inner bark loosened by pounding, so that it can be separated by turning it inside out. Sometimes a small piece of the wood is left to form the bottom of the sack. The fruit exudes a milky, viscid juice, which hardens into the consistency of beeswax, but becomes

black and shining. 37. ANTIDESMA BUNIAS.-An East India plant which produces small, intensely

black fruit about the size of a currant, used in making preserves. The bark

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