« PreviousContinue »
better than in an open field; both because they offer not to spread so much, but shoot up still in height; and chiefly because they are defended from too much sun and wind, which do check the growth of all fruit; and so, no doubt, fruit-trees, or vines, set upon a wall against the sun, between elbows or buttresses of stone, ripen more than upon a plain wall.
473. It is said, that if potado-roots be set in a pot filled with earth, and then the pot with earth be set likewise within the ground some two or three inches, the roots will grow greater than ordinary. The cause may be, for that having earth enough within the pot to nourish them; and then being stopped by the bottom of the pot from putting strings downward, they must needs grow greater in breadth and thickness. And it may be, that all seeds or roots potted, and so set into the earth, will prosper the better.
474. The cutting off the leaves of radish, or other roots, in the beginning of winter, before they wither, and coTering again the root something high with earth, will preserve the root all winter, and make it bigger in the spring following, as hath been partly touched before. So that there is a double use of this cutting off the leaves; for in plants where the root is the esculent, as radish and parsnips, it will maie the root the greater; and so it will do to the beads of onions. And where the fruit is the esculent, Ly strengthening the root, it will make the fruit also the greater.
4/5. It is an experiment of great pleasure, to make the leaves of shady trees larger than ordinary. It hath been tried for certain that a cion of a weechebn, grafted upon the stock of an ordinary elm, will put forth leaves almost as broad as the brim of one's bat And it is very likely, that as in fruit-trees the graft maketh a greater fruit; so in trees that bear no fruit, it will make the greater leaves. It would be tried therefore in trees of that kind chiefly, is birch, asp, willow; and especially the shining willow, which they call swallow-tail, because of the pleasure of the leaf.
476. The barrenness of trees by accident, besides the weakness of the soil, seed, or root, and the injury of the weather, cometh either of their overgrowing with moss, or their being hide-bound, or their planting too deep, or by issuing of the sap too ouch into the leaves. For all these there are remedies mentioned before.
Eiptriments in consort touching compound fruits and flowers.
We see that in living creatures, that have male and female, there is copulation of several kinds; and so compound creatures; as the mule, that is generated betwixt the horse and the ass; and some other compounds which we call monsters, though more rare; and it is held that that proverb, " Africa semper aliquid monstri parit," cometh, for that the fountains of waters there being rare, divers sorts of beasts come from several parts to drink; and so being refreshed, fall to couple, and many times with feral kinds. The compounding or mixture of iinds in plants is not found out; which, neverthe
less, if it be possible, is more at command than that of living creatures; for that their lust requireth a voluntary motion; wherefore it were one of the most noble experiments touching plants to find it out: for so you may have great variety of new fruits and flowers yet unknown. Grafting doth it not; that mendeth the fruit, or doubleth the flowers, &c. but it hath not the power to make a new kind. For the cion ever overmleth the stock.
477- It hath been set down by one of the ancients, that if you take two twigs of several fruit-trees, and flat them on the sides, and then bind them close together and set them in the ground, they will come up in one stock; but yet they will put forth their several fruits without any commixture in the fruit. Wherein note, by the way, that unity of continuance is easier to procure than unity of species. It is reported also, that vines of red and white grapes being set in the ground, and the upper parts being flatted and bound close together, will put forth grapes of the several colours upon the same branch; and grape-stones of several colours within the same grape: but the more after a year or two; the unity, as it seemeth, growing more perfect. And this will likewise help, if from the first uniting they be often watered; for all moisture helpeth to union. And it is prescribed also to bind the bud as soon as it cometh forth, as well as the stock, at the least for a time.
478. They report, that divers seeds put into a clout, and laid in earth well dunged, will put up plants contiguous; which, afterwards, being bound in, their shoots will incorporate. The like is said of kernels put into a bottle with a narrow mouth filled with earth.
479. It is reported, that young trees of several kinds set contiguous without any binding, and very often watered, in a fruitful ground, with the very luxury of the trees will incorporate and grow together. Which seemeth to me the likeliest means that hath been propounded; for that the binding doth hinder the natural swelling of the tree; which, while it is in motion, doth better unite.
Experiments in consort touching the sympathy and antipathy of plants.
There are many ancient and received traditions and observations touching the sympathy and antipathy of plants; for that some will thrive best growing near others, which they impute to sympathy; and some worse, which they impute to antipathy. But these are idle and ignorant conceits, and forsake the true indication of the causes, as the most part of experiments that concern sympathies and antipathies do. For as to plants, neither is there any such secret friendship or hatred as they imagine; and if we should be content to call it sympathy and antipathy, it is utterly mistaken; for their sympathy is an antipathy, and their antipathy is a sympathy: for it is thus; Wheresoever one plant draweth a particular juice out of the earth, as it qiialifieth the earth, so that juice which remaineth is fit for the other plant; there the neighbourhood doth good, because the nourishments are contrary or several: but where two plants draw much the same juice, there the neighbourhood hurteth, for the one deceiveth the other.
480. First therefore, all plants that do draw much nourishment from the earth, and so soak the earth and exhaust it, hurt all things that grow by them; as great trees, especially ashes, and such trees as spread their roots near the top of the ground. So the colewort is not an enemy, though that were anciently received, to the vine only; but it is an enemy to any other plant, because it draweth strongly the fattest juice of the earth. And if it be true, that the vine when it creepeth near the colewort will turn away, this may be, because there it findeth worse nourishment; for though the root be where it was, yet, I doubt, the plant will bend as it nourisheth.
481. Where plants are of several natures, and draw several juices out of the earth, there, as hath been said, the one set by the other helpeth: as it is set down by divers of the ancients, that rue doth prosper much, and becometh stronger, if it be set by a fig-tree; which, we conceive, is caused not by reason of friendship, but by extraction of a contrary juice: the one drawing juice fit to result sweet, the other bitter. So they have set down likewise, that a rose set by garlic is sweeter: which likewise may be, because the more fetid juice of the earth goeth into the garlic, and the more odorate into the rose.
482. This we see manifestly, that there be certain corn-flowers which come seldom or never in other places, unless thay be set, but only amongst corn; as the blue bottle, a kind of yellow marygold, wild poppy, and fumitory. Neither can this be, by reason of the culture of the ground, by ploughing or furrowing: as some herbs and flowers will grow but in ditches new cast; for if the ground lie fallow and unsown, they will not come: so as it should seem to be the corn that qualifieth the earth, and prepareth it for their growth.
483. This observation, if it holdeth, as it is very probable, is of great use for the meliorating of taste in fruits and esculent herbs, and of the scent of flowers. For I do not doubt, but if the fig-tree do make the rue more strong and bitter, as the ancients have noted, good store of rue planted about the figtree will make the fig more sweet. Now the tastes that do most offend in fruits, and herbs, and roots, are bitter, harsh, sour, and waterish, or flashy. It were good therefore to make the trials following:
484. Take wormwood, or me, and set it near lettuce, or the coleflory, or artichoke, and see whether the lettuce, or the coleflory, &c. become not the sweeter.
485. Take a service-tree, or a cornelian-tree, or an elder-tree, which we know have fruits of harsh and binding juice, and set them near a vine, or figtree, and see whether the grapes or figs will not be the sweeter.
486. Take cucumbers, or pumpions, and set them, here and there, amongst musk-melons, and see whether the melons will not be more winy, and better tasted. Set cucumbers, likewise, amongst radish,
and see whether the radish will not be made the more biting.
487. Take sorrel, and set it amongst rasps, and see whether the rasps will not be the sweeter.
488. Take common briar, and set it amongst violets or wall-flowers, and see whether it will not make the violets or wall-flowers sweeter, and less earthy in their smell. So set lettuce or cucumbers amongst rosemary or bays, and see whether the rosemary or bays will not be the more odorate or Hromatical.
489. Contrariwise, you must take heed how you set herbs together, that draw much the like juice. And therefore I think rosemary will lose the sweetness, if it be set with lavender, or bays, or the like. But yet if you will correct the strength of an herb, you shall do well to set other like herbs by him to take him down; as if you should set tansey by angelica, it may be the angelica would be the weaker, and fitter for mixture in perfume. And if you should set rue by common wormwood, it may be the wormwood would turn to be liker Roman wormwood.
490. This axiom is of large extent; and therefore would be severed, and refined by trial. Neither must you expect to have a gross difference by this kind of culture, but only farther perfection.
491. Trial would be also made in herbs poisonous and purgative, whose ill quality, perhaps, may be discharged, or attempered, by setting stronger poisons or purgatives by them.
492. It is reported, that the shrub called our ladies seal, which is a kind of briony, and coleworls, set near together, one or both will die. The cause is, for that they be both great depredators of the earth, and one of them starveth the other. The like is said of a reed and a brake: both which are succulent; and therefore the one deceiveth the other. And the like of hemlock and rue; both which draw strong juices.
493. Some of the ancients, and likewise divers of the modern writers, that have laboured in natural magic, have noted a sympathy between the sun, moon, and some principal stars, and certain herbs and plants. And so they have denominated some herbs solar, and some lunar; and such like toys put into great words. It is manifest that there are some flowers that have respect to the sun in two kinds, the one by opening and shutting, and the other by bowing and inclining the head. For marygolds, tulips, pimpernel, and indeed most flowers, do open and spread their leaves abroad when the sun shineth serene and fair: and again, in some part, close them, or gather them inward, either towards night, or when the sky is over-cast. Of this there necdeth no such solemn reason to be assigned; as to say, that they rejoice at the presence of the sun, and mourn at the absence thereof. For it is nothing else but a little loading of the leaves, and swelling them at the bottom, with the moisture of the air; whereas the dry air doth extend them; and they make it a piece of the wonder, that garden clover will hide the stalk when the sun showeth bright: which is nothing but a full expansion of the leaves. For the bowing and inclining of the head, it is found in the great flower of the sun, in marygolds, wartwort, mallow-flowers, and others. The cause is somewhat more obscure than the former; but I take it to be no other, but that the part against which the sun beateth waxeth more faint and flaccid in the stalk, and thereby less able to support the flower.
494. What a little moisture will do in vegetables, even though they be dead and severed from the earth, appeareth well in the experiment of jugglers. They take the beard of an oat; which, if you mark it well, is wreathed at the bottom, and one smooth entire straw at the top. They take only the part that is wreathed, and cut off the other, leaving the beard half the breadth of a finger in length. Then they make a little cross of a quill, longways of that part of the quill which hath the pith; and cross-ways of that piece of the quill without pith; the whole cross being the breadth of a finger high. Then they prick the bottom where the pith is, and thereinto they put the oaten beard, leaving half of it sticking forth of the quill: then they take a little white box of wood, to deceive men, as if somewhat in the box did work the feat: in which, with a pin, they make a little hole, enough to take the beard, Lnt not to let the cross sink down, but to stick. Then likewise, by way of imposture, they make a question j as, Who is the fairest woman in the company? or, Who hath a glove or a card? and cause another to name divers persons: and upon every naming they stick the cross in the box, having first pot it towards their mouth, as if they charmed it; and the cross stirreth not; but when they come to the person that they would take, as they hold the cross to their mouth, they touch the beard with the tip of their tongue, and wet it; and so stick the cross in the box; and then you shall see it turn finely and softly three or four turns; which is caused by the untwining of the beard by the moisture. You may see it more evidently, if you stick the cross between your fingers instead of the box j and therefore you may see, that this motion, which is effected by so little wet, is stronger than the closing or bending of the head of a marygold.
495. It is reported by some, that the herb called rosa solis, whereof they make strong waters, will, at the noon-day, when the sun shineth hot and bright, have a great dew upon it. And therefore that the right name is ros solis : which they impute to a delight and sympathy that it hath with the sun. Men favour wonders. It were good first to be sure, that the dew that is found upon it, be not the dew of the morning preserved, when the dew of other herbs is breathed away; for it hath a smooth and thick leaf, that doth not discharge the dew so soon as other herbs that are more spungy and porous. And, it may be, purslane, or some other herb, doth the like, and is not marked. But if it be so, that it hath more dew at noon than in the morning, then sure it seemeth to be an exudation of the herb itself. As plums sweat when they are set in the oven: for you will not, I hope, think, that it is like Gideon's fleece of wool, that the dew should fall upon that and no where else.
496. It is certain, that the honey dews are found
more upon oak leaves, than upon ash, or beech, or the like: but whether any cause be from the leaf itself to concoct the dew; or whether it be only that the leaf is close and smooth, and therefore drinketh not in the dew, but preserveth it, may be doubted. It would be well inquired, whether manna the drug doth fall but upon certain herbs or leaves only. Flowers that have deep sockets, do gather in the bottom a kind of honey; as honey-suckles, both the woodbine and the trefoil, lilies, and the like. And in them certainly the flower beareth part with the dew.
497. The experience is, that the froth which they call woodseare, being like a kind of spittle, is found but upon certain herbs, and those hot ones j as lavender, lavender-cotton, sage, hyssop, &c. Of the cause of this inquire farther; for it seemeth a secret. There falleth also mildew upon corn, and smutteth it; but it may be, that the same falleth also upon other herbs, and is not observed.
498. It were good trial were made, whether the great consent between plants and water, which is a principal nourishment of them, will make an attraction at distance, and not at touch only. Therefore take a vessel, and in the middle of it make a false bottom of coarse canvas: fill it with earth above the canvas, and let not the earth be watered ; then sow some good seeds in that earth ; but under the canvas, some half a foot in the bottom of the vessel, lay a great spunge thoroughly wet in water; and let it lie so some ten days, and see whether the seeds will sprout, and the earth become more moist, and the spunge more dry. The experiment formerly mentioned of the cucumber creeping to the pot of water, is far stranger than this.
Experiments in consort touching the making herbs and fruits medicinable.
499. The altering of the scent, colour, or taste of fruit, by infusing, mixing, or letting into the bark, or root of the tree, herb, or flower, any coloured, aromatical, or medicinal substance, are but fancies. The cause is, for that those things have passed their period, and nourish not. And all alteration of vegetables in those qualities must be by somewhat that is apt to go into the nourishment of the plant. But this is true, that where kine feed upon wild garlic, their milk tasteth plainly of the garlic: and the flesh of muttons is better tasted where the sheep feed upon wild thyme, and other wholesome herbs. Galen also speaketh of the curing of the scirrus of the liver, by milk of a cow that feedeth but upon certain herbs; and honey in Spain smelleth apparently of the rosemary, or orange, from whence the bee gathereth it: and there is an old tradition of a maiden that was fed with napellus; which is counted the strongest poison of all vegetables, which with use did not hurt the maid, but poisoned some that had carnal company with her. So it is observed by some, that there is a virtuous bezoar, and another without virtue, which appear to the show alike: but the virtuous is taken from the beast that feedeth upon the mountains, where there are theriacal herbs; and that without virtue, from those that feed in the valleys where no such herbs are. Thus far I am of opinion, that as steeped wines and beers are very medicinal; and likewise bread tempered with divers powders; so of meat also, as flesh, fish, milk, and eggs, that they may be made of great use for medicine and diet, if the beasts, fowl or fish, be fed with a special kind of food fit for the disease. It were a dangerous thing also for secret empoisonments. But whether it may be applied unto plants and herbs, I doubt more; because the nourishment of them is a more common juice; which is hardly capable of any special quality, until the plant do assimilate it.
500. But lest our incredulity may prejudice any profitable operations in this kind, especially since many of the ancients have set them down, we think good briefly to propound the four means which they have devised of making plants medicinable. The first is by slitting of the root, and infusing into it the medicine; as hellebore, opium, scammony, treacle, &c. and then binding it up again. This seemeth to me the least probable; because the root draweth immediately from the earth; and so the nourishment is the more common and less qualified; and besides, it is a long time in going up ere it come to the fruit. The second way is to perforate
the body of the tree, and there to infuse the medicine; which is somewhat better: for if any virtue be received from the medicine, it hath the less way, and the less time to go up. The third is, the steeping of the seed or kernel in some liquor wherein the medicine is infused; which I have little opinion of, because the seed, I doubt, will not draw the parts of the matter which have the propriety: but it will be far the more likely, if you mingle the medicine with dung: for that the seed naturally drawing the moisture of the dung, may call in withal some of the propriety. The fourth is, the watering of the plant oft with an infusion of the medicine. This, in one respect, may have more force than the rest, because the medication is oft renewed; whereas the rest are applied but one at a time; and therefore the virtue may the sooner vanish. But still I doubt, that the root is somewhat too stubborn to receive those fine impressions; and besides, as I said before, they have a great hill to go up. I judge therefore the likeliest way to be, the perforation of the body of the tree in several places one above the other; and the filling of the holes with dung mingled with the medicine; and the watering of those lumps of dung with squirts of an infusion of the medicine in dunged water, once in three or four days.
Experiments in consort touching curiosities about fruits and plants.
Our experiments we take care to be, as'we have often said, either experimenta fructifura, or lucifera; either of use or of discovery : for we hate impostures, and despise curiosities. Yet because we must apply ourselves somewhat to others, we will set down some curiosities touching plants.
501. It is a curiosity to have several fruits upon one tree; and the more, when some of them come early, and some come late; so that you may have upon the same tree ripe fruits all summer. This is easily done by grafting of several cions upon several boughs of a stock, in a good ground plentifully fed. So you may have all kinds of cherries, and all kinds of plums, and peaches and apricots, upon one tree; but I conceive the diversity of fruits must be such as will graft upon the same stock. And therefore I doubt, whether you can have apples, or pears, or oranges, upon the same stock upon which you graft plums.
502. It is a curiosity to have fruits of divers shapes and figures. This is easily performed, by molding them when the fruit is young, with molds of earth or wood. So you may have cucumbers, &c. as long as a cane; or as round as a sphere; or formed like a cross. You may have also apples in the form of pears or lemons. You may have also fruit in more accurate figures, as we said, of men, beasts, or birds, according as you make the molds.
Wherein you must understand, that you make the mold big enough to contain the whole fruit when it is grown to the greatest: for else you will choke the spreading of the fruit; which otherwise would spread itself, and fill the concave, and so be turned into the shape desired; as it is in mold works of liquid things. Some doubt may be conceived that the keeping of the sun from the fruit may hurt it: but there is ordinary experience of fruit that groweth covered. Query, also, whether some small holes may not be made in the wood to let in the sun. And note, that it were best to make the molds partible, glued, or cemented together, that you may open them when you take out the fruit.
503. It is a curiosity to have inscriptions, or engravings, in fruit or trees. This is easily performed, by writing with a needle, or bodkin, or knife, or the like, when the fruit or trees are young; for as they grow, so the letters will grow more large and graphical.
— Tenerisque mcos incidcre amores Arboribus; crescent illiB, crescctis amores.
504. You may have trees apparelled with flowers or herbs, by boring holes in the bodies of them, and putting into them earth holpen with muck, and setting seeds or slips of violets, strawberries, wild thyme, camomile, and such like, in the earth. Wherein they do but grow in the tree as they do in pots; though, perhaps, with some feeding from the trees. It would be tried also with shoots of vines, and rootsof red roses; for, it may be, they, being of a more ligneous nature, will incorporate with the tree itself.
505. It is an ordinary curiosity to form trees and shrubs, as rosemary, juniper, and the like, into sundry shapes; which is done by molding them within, and cutting them without. But they are but lame things, being too small to keep figure; great castles made of trees upon frames of timber, with turrets and arches, were matters of magnificence.
506. Amongst curiosities I shall place coloration, though it be somewhat better: for beauty in flowers is their pre-eminence. It is observed by some, that gilly-flowers, sweet-williams, violets, that are coloured, if they be neglected, and neither watered, nor new molded, nor transplanted, will turn white. And it is probable that the white with much culture may turn coloured. For this is certain, that the white colour cometh of scarcity of nourishment; except in flowers that are only white, and admit no other colours.
507. It is good therefore to see what natures do accompany what colours; fof by that you shall have light how to induce colours, by producing those natures. Whites are more inodorate, for the most part, than flowers of the same kind coloured; as is found in single white violets, white roses, white gilly-flowers, white stock-gilly-flowers, &c. We find also that blossoms of trees, that are white, are commonly inodorate, as cherries, pears, plums; whereas those of apples, crabs, almonds, and peaches, are Mushy, and smell sweet The cause is, for that the substance that maketh the flower is of the thinnest and finest of the plant, which also maketh flowers to be of so dainty colours. And if it be too sparing and thin, it attaineth no strength of odour, except it be in such plants as are very succulent; whereby they need rather to be scanted in their nourishment than replenished, to have them sweet. As we see in white satyrion, which is of a dainty smell; and in bean-flowers, &c. And again, if the plant be of nature to put forth white flowers only, and those not thin or dry, they are commonly of rank and fulsome wiell; as may-flowers, and white lilies.
508. Contrariwise, in berries the white is commonly more delicate and sweet in taste than the coloured, as we see in white grapes, in white rasps, in white strawberries, in white currants, &c. The cause is, for that the coloured are more juiced, and coarser juiced, and therefore not so well and equally concocted; but the white are better proportioned to the digestion of the plant.
509. But in fruits the white commonly is meaner: 58 in pear-plums, damascenes, &c. and the choicest plums are black; the mulberry, which, though they rail it a berry, is a fruit, is better the black than the *hite. The harvest white plum is a base plum; 2nd the verdoccio, and white date-plum, are no very good plums. The cause is, for that they are all over-watery; whereas a higher concoction is required for sweetness, or pleasure of taste; and therefore all your dainty plums are a little dry, and come from the stone; as the muscle-plum, the damasceneplum, the peach, the apricot, &c. yet some fruits,
which grow not to be black, are of the nature of berries, sweetest such as are paler; as the coeurcherry, which inclineth more to white, is sweeter than the red; but the egriot is more sour.
510. Take gilly-flower seed, of one kind of gillyflower, as of the clove-gilly-flower, which is the most common, and sow it, and there will come up gillyflowers, some of one colour, and some of another, casually, as the seed meeteth with nourishment in the earth; so that the gardeners find, that they may have two or three roots amongst a hundred that are rare and of great price; as purple, carnation of several stripes; the cause is, no doubt, that in earth, though it be contiguous, and in one bed, there are very several juices; and as the seed doth casually meet with them, so it cometh forth. And it is noted especially, that those which do come up purple, do always come up single: the juice as it seemeth, not being able to suffice a succulent colour, and a double leaf. This experiment of several colours coming up from one seed, would be tried also in larks-foot, monks-hood, poppy, and holyoak.
511. Few fruits are coloured red within: the queen-apple is; and another apple, called the roseapple: mulberries, likewise, and grapes, though most toward the skin. There is a peach also that hath a circle of red towards the stone: and the egriot cherry is somewhat red within; but no pear, nor warden, nor plum, nor apricot, although they have many times red sides, are coloured red within. The cause may be inquired.
512. The general colour of plants is green, which is a colour that no flower is of. There is a greenish primrose, but it is pale, and scarce a green. The leaves of some trees turn a little murry or reddish; and they be commonly young leaves that do so j as it is in oaks, and vines, and hazel. Leaves rot into a yellow, and some hollies have part of their leaves yellow, that are, to all seeming, as fresh and shining as the green. I suppose also, that yellow is a less succulent colour than green, and a degree nearer white. For it hath been noted, that those yellow leaves of holly stand ever towards the north or northeast Some roots are yellow, as carrots; and some plants blood-red, stalk and leaf, and all, as amaranthus. Some herbs incline to purple and red; as a kind of sage doth, and a kind of mint, and rosa solis, &c. And some have white leaves, as another kind of sage, and another kind of mint; but azure and a fair purple are never found in leaves. Thisshoweth that flowers are made of a refined juice of the earth, and so are fruits; but leaves of a more coarse and common.
513. It is a curiosity also to make flowers double, which is effected by often removing them into new earth; as, on the contrary part, double flowers, by neglecting and not removing, prove single. And the way to do it speedily, is to 60W or set seeds or slips of flowers, and as soon as they come up, to remove them into new ground that is good. Inquire also, whether inoculating of flowers, as stockgilly-flowers, roses, musk-roses, &c. doth not make them double. There is a cherry-tree that hath double blossoms; but that tree bearcth no fruit: