« PreviousContinue »
tulips. And they are all cold plants; which therefore, as it should seem, have a quicker perception of the heat of the sun increasing than the hot herbs have; as a cold hand will sooner find a little warmth than a hot. And those that come next after, are wall-flowers, cowslips, hyacinths, rosemary flowers, &c. and after them pinks, roses, flower-de-luces, &c. and the latest are gilly-flowers, holyonls, larksfoot, &e. The earliest blossoms nre the blossoms of peaches, almonds, cornelians, mezerions, &c. and they are of such trees as have much moisture, either watery or oily. And therefore crocus vernus also, being an herb that hath an oily juice, putteth forth early; for those also find the sun sooner than the drier trees. The grains are, first rye and wheat; then oats and barley; then peas and beans. For though green peas and beans be eaten sooner, yet the dry ones that are used for horse-meat, are ripe last; and it seemeth that the fatter grain cometh first. The earliest fruits are strawberries, cherries, gooseberries, currants; and after them early apples, early pears, apricots, rasps; and after them, damascenes, and most kind of plums, peaches, &c. j and the latest, are apples, wardens, grapes, nuts, quinces, almonds, sloes, brier-berries, hips, medlars, services, cornelians, &c.
5/8. It is to be noted, that, commonly, trees that ripen latest, blossom soonest; as peaches, cornelians, sloes, almonds, &-c.; and it seemeth to be a work of providence that they blossom so soon; for otherwise ihey conld not have the sun long enough to ripen.
579. There be fruits, but rarely, that come twice a year; as some pears, strawberries, &c. And it seemeth they are such as abound with nourishment; whereby after one period, before the sun waxeth too weak, they can endure another. The violet also, amongst flowers, cometh twice a year, especially the double white; and that also is a plant full of moisture. Roses come twice, but it is not without cutting, as hath been formerly said.
580. In Muscovy, though the corn come not up till late spring, yet their harvest is as early as ours. The canse is, for that the strength of the ground is sept in with the snow; and we see with us, that if it be a long winter, it is commonly a more plentiful year: and after those kind of winters likewise, the lowers and com, which are earlier and later, do come commonly at once, and at the same time; which troubleth the husbandman many times; for you shall have red roses and damask roses come together; and likewise the harvest of wheat and barley. But this happeneth ever, for that the earlier stayeth for the later; and not that the later cometh sooner.
581. There be divers fruit trees in the hot countries, which have blossoms, and young fruit, and ripe fruit, almost all the year, succeeding one another. And it is said the orange hath the like with us, for a greatpart of summer; and so also hath the fig. And no doubt the natural motion of plants is to have so; but that either they want juice to spend; or they meet with the cold of the winter: and therefore this circle of ripening cannot be but in succulent plants, and hot countries.
582. Some herbs are but annual, and die, root
and all, once a year; as borage, lettuce, cucumbers, musk-melons, basil, tobacco, mustard-seed, and all kinds of corn: some continue many years; as hyssop, germander, lavender, fennel, &c. The cause of the dying is double; the first is, the tenderness and weakness of the seed, which maketh the period in a small time; as it is in borage, lettuce, cucumbers, com, &c. and therefore none of these are hot. The other cause is, for that some herbs can worse endure cold; as basil, tobacco, mustard-seed. And these have all much heat.
Experiments in consort touching the lasting of herbs and trees.
583. The lasting of plants is most in those that are largest of body: as oaks, elm, chestnut, the loattree, &c. and this holdeth in trees; but in herbs it is often contrary: for borage, colewort, pompions, which are herbs of the largest size, are of small durance; whereas hyssop, winter-savoury, germander, thyme, sage, will last long. The cause is, for that trees last according to the strength and quantity of their sap and juice; being well munited by their bark against the injuries of the air: but herbs draw a weak juice, and have a soft stalk; and therefore those amongst them which last longest, are herbs of strong smell, and with a sticky stalk.
584. Trees that bear mast, and nuts, are commonly more lasting than those that bear fruits; especially the moister fruits : as oaks, beeches, chestnuts, walnuts, almonds, pine trees, &c. last longer than apples, pears, plums, &c. The cause is the fatness and oiliness of the sap; which ever wasteth less than the more watery.
585. Trees that bring forth their leaves late in the year, and cast them likewise late, are more lasting than those that sprout their leaves early, or shed them betimes. The cause is, for that the late coming forth showeth a moisture more fixed; and the other more loose, and more easily resolved. And the same cause is, that wild trees kst longer than garden trees; and in the same kind, those whose fruit is acid, more than those whose fruit is sweet.
586. Nothing procureth the lasting of trees, bushes, and herbs, so much as often cutting; for every cutting causeth a renovation of the juice of the plant; that it neither goeth so far, nor riseth so faintly, as when the plant is not cut; insomuch as annual plants, if you cut them seasonably, and will spare the use of them, and suffer them to come up still young, will last more years than one, as hath been partly touched; such as is lettuce, purslane, cucumber, and the like. And for great trees, we see almost all overgrowing trees in churchyards, or near ancient buildings, and the like, are pollards, or dottards, and not trees at their full height.
587. Some experiment would be made, how by art to make plants more lasting than their ordinary period: as to make a stalk of wheat, &c. last a whole year. You must ever presuppose, that you handle it so as the winter killcth it not; for we speak only of prolonging the natural period. I conceive that the rule will hold, that whatsoever maketh the herb come later than at its time, will make it last longer time: it were good to try it in a stalk of wheat, &c. set in the shade, and encompassed with a case of wood, not touching the straw, to keep out open air.
As for the preservation of fruits and plants, as well upon the tree or stalk, as gathered, we shall handle it under the title of conservation of bodies.
Experiments in consort touching the several. Jigures of plants.
588. The particular figures of plants we leave to their descriptions; but some few things in general we will observe. Trees and herbs, in the growing forth of their boughs and branches, are not figured, and keep no order. The cause is, for that the sap being restrained in the rind and bark, breaketh not forth at all, as in the bodies of trees, and stalks of herbs, till they begin to branch; and then when they make an eruption, they break forth casually, where they find best way in the bark or rind. It is true, that some trees are more scattered in their boughs; as sallow-trees, warden-trees, quince-trees, medlar-trees, lemon-trees, &c.; some are more in the form of a pyramis, and come almost to todd; as the pear-tree, which the critics will have to borrow his name of -nip, fire, orange-trees, fir-trees, service-trees, lime-trees, &c.; and some are more spread and broad; as beeches, hornbeam, &c.; the rest are more indifferent The cause of scattering the boughs, is the hasty breaking forth of the sap; and therefore those trees rise not in a body of any height, but branch near the ground. The cause of the pyramis is the keeping in of the sap long before it branch; and the spending of it, when it beginneth to branch, by equal degrees. The spreading is caused by the carrying up of the sap plentifully without expense; and then putting it forth speedily and at once.
589. There be divers herbs, but no trees, that may be said to have some kind of order in the putting forth of their leaves: for they have joints or knuckles, as it were stops in their germination; as have gilly-flowers, pinks, fennel, corn, reeds, and canes. The cause whereof is, for that the sap ascendeth unequally, and doth, as it were, tire and stop by the way. And it seemeth they have some closeness and hardness in their stalk, which hindereth the sap from going up, until it hath gathered into a knot, and so is more urged to put forth. And therefore they are most of them hollow when the slalk is dry, as fennel-stalk, stubble, and canes.
590. Flowers have all exquisite figures; and the flower numbers are chiefly five, and fourj as in primroses, brier-roses, single musk-roses, single pinks, and gilly-flowers, &c. which have five leaves: lilies, flower-de-luces, borage, bugloss, &c. which have four leaves. But some put forth leaves not numbered; but they are ever small ones; as marygolds, trefoils, &c. We see also, that the sockets and supporters of flowers are figured; as in the five brethren of the rose, sockets of gilly-flowers, &c. Leaves also are all figured; some round; some long; none square; and many jagged on the sides; which leaves of flowers seldom are. For I account
the jagging of pinks and gilly-flowers, to be like the inequality of oak leaves, or vine leaves, or the like: but they seldom or never have any small purls.
Experiments in consort touching some principal differences in plants.
591. Of plants, some few put forth their blossoms before their leaves; as almonds, peaches, cornelians, black thorn, &c.; but most put forth some leaves before their blossoms; as apples, pears, plums, cherries, white thorn, &c. The cause is, for that those that put forth their blossoms first, have either an acute and sharp spirit, and therefore commonly they all put forth early in the spring, and ripen very late; as most of the particulars before mentioned, or else an oily juice, which is apter to put out flowers than leaves.
592. Of plants, some are green all winter; others cast their leaves. There are green all winter, holly, ivy, box, fir, yew, cypress, juniper, bays, rosemary, &c. The cause of the holding green, is the close and compact substance of their leaves, and the pedicles of them. And the cause of that again is either the tough and viscous juice of the plant, or the strength and heat thereof. Of the first sort is holly; which is of so viscous a juice, as they make birdlime of the bark of it. The stalk of ivy is tough, and not fragile, as we see in other small twigs dry. Fir yicldeth pitch. Box is a fast and heavy wood, as we see it in bowls. Yew is a strong and tough wood, as we see it in bows. Of the second sort is juniper, which is a wood odorate; and maketh a hot fire. Bays is likewise a hot and aromatical wood; and so is rosemary for a shrub. As for the leaves, their density appeareth, in that either they are smooth and shining, as in bays, holly, ivy, box, &c. or in that they are hard and spiry, as in the rest. And trial would be made of grafting of rosemary, and bays, and box, upon a holly-stock ; because they are plants that come all winter. It were good to try it also with grafts of other trees, either fruit trees, or wild trees; to see whether they will not yield their fruit, or bear their leaves later and longer in the winter; because the sap of the holly putteth forth most in the winter. It may be also a mezerion-tree, grafted upon a holly, will prove both an earlier and a greater tree.
593. There be some plants that bear no flower, and yet bear fruit: there be some that bear flowers and no fruit: there be some that bear neither flowers nor fruit. Most of the great timber trees, as oaks, beeches, &c. bear no apparent flowers; some few likewise of the fruit trees; as mulberry, walnut, &c. and some shrubs, as juniper, holly, &c. bear no flowers. Divers herbs also bear seeds, which is as the fruit, and yet bear no flowers; as purslane, &c. Those that bear flowers and no fruit are few, as the double cherry, the sallow, &c. But for the cherry, it is doubtful whether it be not by art or culture; for if it be by art, then trial would be made, whether apple, and other fruit blossoms, may not be doubled. There are some few that bear neither fruit nor flower; as the elm, the poplars, box, brakes, &c.
594. There be some plants that shoot still upwards, and can support themselves; as the greatest part of trees and plants: there be some other that creep along the ground; or wind about other trees or props, and cannot support themselves; as vines, ivy, brier, briony, woodbines, hops, climatis, camomile, &c. The cause is, as hath been partly touched, for that all plants naturally move upwards; but if the sap put up too fast, it maketh a slender stalk, which will not support the weight: and therefore these latter sort are all swift and hasty comers.
Experiments in consort touching all manner of composts, and helps of ground.
595. The first and most ordinary help is stercoration. The sheep's dung is one of the best; and next the dang of kine : and thirdly, that of horses, which is held to be somewhat too hot unless it be mingled. That of pigeons for a garden, or a small quantity of ground, excelleth. The ordering of dung is, if the ground be arable, to spread it immediately before the ploughing and sowing; and so to plough it in: for if you spread it long before, the sun will draw out much of the fatness of the dung: if the ground be grazing ground, to spread it somewhat late towards winter; that the sun may have the less power to dry it up. As for special composts for gardens, as a hot bed, &c. we have handled them before.
596. The second kind of compost is, the spreading of divers kinds of earths ; as marie, chalk, sea-sand, earth upon earth, pond earth: and the mixtures of them. Marie is thought to be the best, as having most fatness; and not heating the ground too much. The next is sea sand, which no doubt obtaineth a special virtue by the salt: for salt is the first rudiment of life. Chalk over-heateth the ground a little; and therefore is best upon cold clay grounds, or moist grounds: but I heard a great husband say that it was a common error, to think that chalk helpeth arable grounds, but helpeth not grazing grounds; whereas indeed it helpeth grass as well as corn: but that which breedeth the error is, because after the chalking of the ground they wear it out »ith many crops without rest; and then indeed afterwards it will bear little grass, because the ground i« tired out It were good to try the laying of chalk upon arable grounds a little while before ploughing; and to plough it in as they do the dung; but then it must be friable first by rain or lying. As for earth, it composteth itself; for I knew a great garden that had a field, in a manner, poured upon it; and it did benr fruit excellently the first year of the planting: for the surface of the earth is ever the fruitfullest And earth so prepared hath a double surface. But it is true, as I conceive, that such earth as hath salt-petre bred in it, if you can procure it without too much charge, doth excel. The *ay to hasten the breeding of salt-petre, is to forbid the sun, and the growth of vegetables. And therefore if you make a large hovel, thatched, over some quantity of ground; nay, if you do but plank the ground over, it will breed salt-petre. As for pond earth, or river earth, it is a very good compost; especially if the pond have been long uncleansed, and so the water be not too hungry: and I judge it wiH be yet better if there be some mixture of chalk.
597. The third help of ground is, by some other substances that have a virtue to make ground fertile, though they be not merely earth; wherein ashes excel; insomuch as the countries about ,3itna and Vesuvius have a kind of amends made them, for the mischief the eruptions many times do, by the exceeding fruitfulness of the soil, caused by the ashes scattered about. Soot also, though thin spread in a field or garden, is tried to be a very good compost. For salt, it is too costly; but it is tried, that mingled with seed-corn, and sown together, it doth good: and I am of opinion, that chalk in powder, mingled with seed-corn, would do good; perhaps as much as chalking the ground all over. As for the steeping of the seeds in several mixtures with water to give them vigour, or watering grounds with compostwater, we have spoken of them before.
598. The fourth help of ground is, the suffering of vegetables to die into the ground, and so to fatten it; as the stubble of corn, especially peas. Brakes cast upon the ground in the beginning of winter, will make it very fruitful. It were good also to try whether leaves of trees swept together, with some chalk and dung mixed, to give them more heart, would not make a good compost; for there is nothing lost so much as leaves of trees; and as they lie scattered, and without mixture, they rather make the ground sour than otherwise.
599. The fifth help of ground is, heat and warmth. It hath been anciently practised to burn heath, and ling, and sedge, with the vantage of the wind, upon the ground. We see that warmth of walls and enclosures mendeth ground: we see also, that lying open to the south mendeth ground: we see again, that the foldings of sheep help ground, as well by their warmth as by their compost: and it may be doubted, whether the covering of the ground with brakes in the beginning of the winter, whereof we spake in the last experiment, helpeth it not, byreason of the warmth. Nay, some very good husbands do suspect, that the gathering up of flints in flinty ground, and laying them on heaps, which is much used, is no good husbandry, for that they would keep the ground warm.
600. The sixth help of ground is by watering and irrigation; which is in two manners; the one by letting in and shutting out waters at seasonable times: for water at some seasons, and with reasonable stay, doth good; but at some other seasons, and with too long stay, doth hurt: and this serveth only for meadows which are along some river. The other way is, to bring water from some hanging grounds, where there are springs, into the lower grounds, carrying it in some long furrows; and from those furrows, drawing it traverse to spread the water. And this maketh an excellent improvement, both for corn and grass. It is the richer, if those hanging grounds be fruitful, because it washeth off some of the fatness of the earth; but howsoever it profiteth much. Generally where there are great overflows in fens, or the like, the drowning of them in the winter maketh the summer following more fruitful: the cause may be, for that it keepeth the ground warm, and nourisheth it. But the fen-men hold, that the sewers must be kept so as the water may not stay too long in the spring till the weeds and sedge be grown up; for then the ground will be like a wood, which keepeth out the sun, and so continueth the wet; whereby it will never graze to
purpose that year. Thus much for irrigation. But for avoidances, and drainings of water, where there is too much, and the helps of ground in that kind, we shall speak of them in another place.
Experiments in consort toucking the affinities and differences between plants and inanimate bodies.
601. The differences between animate and inanimate bodies, we shall handle fully under the title of life, and living spirits, and powers. We shall therefore make but a brief mention of them in this place. The main differences are two. All bodies have spirits, and pneumatical parts within them; but the main differences betv/een animate and inanimate, are two: the first is, that the spirits of things animate are all continued within themselves, and are branched in veins, and secret canals, as blood is: and in living creatures, the spirits have not only branches, but certain cells or seats, where the principal spirits do reside, and whereunto the rest do resort: but the spirits in things inanimate are shut in, and cut off by the tangible parts, and are not pervious one to another, as air is in snow. The second main difference is, that the spirits of animate bodies are all in some degree, more or less, kindled and inflamed; and have a fine commixture of flame, and an aerial substance. But inanimate bodies have their spirits no whit inflamed or kindled. And this difference consisteth not in the heat or coolness of spirits; for cloves and other spices, naptha and petroleum, have exceeding hot spirits, hotter a great deal than oil, wax, or tallow, &c. but not inflamed. And when any of those weak and temperate bodies come to be inflamed, then they gather a much greater heat than others have uninllamed, besides their light and motion, &c.
602. The differences, which are secondary, and proceed from these two radical differences, are, first, plants are all figurate and determinate, which inanimate bodies are not: for look how far the spirit is able to spread and continue itself, so far goeth the shape or figure, and then is determined. Secondly, plants do nourish; inanimate bodies do not: they have an accretion, but no alimentation. Thirdly, plants have a period of life, which inanimate bodies have not. Fourthly, they have a succession and propagation of their kind, which is not in bodies inanimate.
603. The differences between plants, and metals or fossils, besides those four before mentioned, for metals I hold inanimate, are these: first, metals are more durable than plants: secondly, they are more solid and hard: thirdly, they are wholly subterrany; whereas plants are part above earth, and part under the earth.
604. There be very few creatures that participate
of the nature of plants and metals both; coral is one of the nearest of both kinds: another is vitriol, for that is aptest to sprout with moisture.
605. Another special affinity is between plants and mould or putrefaction: for all putrefaction, if it dissolve not in arefaction, will in the end issue into plants or living creatures bred of putrefaction. I account moss, and mushrooms, and agaric, and other of those kinds, to be but moulds of the ground, walls, and trees, and the like. As for flesh, and fish, and plants themselves, and a number of other things, after a mouldiness, or rottenness, or corrupting, they will fall to breed worms. These putrefactions, which have affinity with plants, have this difference from them; that they have no succession or propagation, though they nourish, and have a period of life, and have likewise some figure.
606. I left once by chance a citron cut, in a close room, for three summer months that I was absent; and at my return there were grown forth, out of the pith cut, tufts of hairs an inch long, with little black heads, as if they would have been some herb.
Experiments in consort touching the affinities and differences of plants and living creatures, and the confiners and participles of them.
607. The affinities and differences between plants and living creatures are these that follow. They have both of them spirits continued, and branched, and also inflamed. But first, in living creatures, the spirits have a cell or seat, which plants have not; as was also formerly said. And secondly,the spirits of living creatures hold more of flame than the spirits of plants do. And these two are the radical differences. For the secondary differences, they are as follow :—First, plants are all fixed to the earth, whereas all living creatures are severed, and of themselves. Secondly, living creatures have local motion, plants have not. Thirdly, living creatures nourish from their upper parts, by the mouth chiefly; plants nourish from below, namely, from the roots. Fourthly, plants have their seed and seminal parts uppermost; living creatures have them lowermost: and therefore it was said, not elegantly alone but philosophically: "Homo est planta inversa;" Man is like a plant turned upwards: for the root in plants is as the head in living creatures. Fifthly, living creatures have a more exact figure than plants. Sixthly, living creatures have more diversity of organs within their bodies, and, as it were, inward figures, than plants have. Seventhly, living creatures have sense, which plants have not. Eighthly, living creatures have voluntary motion, which plants hare not.
608. For the difference of sexes in plants, they art oftentimes by name distinguished; as malepiony, female-piony; male-rosemary, female-rosemary; he-holly, she-holly, &c. but generation by copulation certainly extendeth not to plants. The nearest approach of it is between the he-palm and the she-palm, which as they report, if they grow near, incline the one to the other; insomuch as, that which is more strange, they doubt not to report, that to keep the trees upright from bending, they tie ropes or lines from the one to the other, that the contact might be enjoyed by the contact of a middle body. But this may be feigned, or at least amplified. Nevertheless I am apt enough to think, that this same binarium of a stronger and a weaker, lite unto masculine and feminine, doth hold in all living bodies. It is confounded sometimes; as in aome creatures of putrefaction, wherein no marks of distinction appear; and it is doubled sometimes, as in hermaphrodites; but generally there is a degree of strength in most species.
609. The participles or confiners between plants and living creatures, are such chiefly as are fixed, and have no local motion of remove, though they have a motion in their parts j such as nre oysters, cockles, and such like. There is a fabulous narration, that in the northern countries, there should be an herb that groweth in the likeness of a lamb, and feedeth upon the grass, in such sort as it will bare the grass round about. But I suppose that the figure maketh the fable; for so, we see, there be bee-flowers, &c. And as for the grass, it seemeth the plant having a great stalk and top doth prey upon the grass a good *ay about, by drawing the juice of the earth from it.
Experiments promiscuous touching plants.
610. The Indian fig boweth its roots down so low in one year, as of itself it taketh root again: and so mnltiplieth from root to root, making of one tree a Und of wood. The cause is the plenty of the sap, and the softness of the stalk, which maketh the hough, being over-loaden, and not stiffly upheld, *eigh down. It hath leaves as broad as a little 'arget, but the fruit no bigger than beans. The raose is, for that the continual shade increaseth the leaves, and abateth the fruit, which nevertheless is of a pleasant taste. And that no doubt is caused by the suppleness and gentleness of the juice of that plant, being that which maketh the boughs also so flexible.
611. It is reported by one of the ancients, that there is a certain Indian tree, having few but very great leaves, three cubits long and two broad; and that the fruit, being of good taste, groweth out of the bark. It may be, there be plants that pour out the sap so fast, as they have no leisure either to divide into many leaves, or to put forth stalks to the fruit With us, trees, generally, have small leaves in comparison. The fig hath the greatest; and next it the vine, mulberry, and sycamore; and the least are those of the willow, birch, and thorn. But
there be found herbs with far greater leaves than any tree; as the bur, gourd, cucumber, and colewort. The cause is, like to that of the Indian fig, the hasty and plentiful putting forth of the sap.
612. There be three things in use for sweetness; sugar, honey, manna. For sugar, to the ancients it was scarce known, and little used. It is found in canes: Query, whether to the first knuckle, or farther up? And whether the very bark of the cane itself do yield sugar or no? For honey, the bee maketh it, or gathereth it j but I have heard from one that was industrious in husbandry, that the labour of the bee is about the wax; and that he hath known in the beginning of May honeycombs empty of honey; and within a fortnight, when the sweet dews fall, filled like a cellar. It is reported also by some of the ancients, that there is a tree called occhus, in the Tallies of Hyrcania, that distilleth honey in the mornings. It is not unlike that the sap and tears of some trees may be sweet. It may be also, that some sweet juices, fit for many uses, may be concocted out of fruits, to the thickness of honey, or perhaps of sugar: the likeliest are raisins of the sun, figs, and currants; the means may be inquired.
613. The ancients report of a tree by the Persian sea, upon the shore sands, which is nourished with the salt water j and when the tide ebbeth, you shall see the roots as it were bare without bark, being as it seemeth corroded by the salt, and grasping the sands like a crab; which nevertheless beareth a fruit. It were good to try some hard trees, as a service-tree, or fir-tree, by setting them within the sands.
614. There be of plants which they use for garments, these that follow: hemp, flax, cotton, nettles, whereof they make nettle-cloth, sericum, which is a growing silk; they make also cables of the bark of lime-trees. It is the stalk that maketh the filaceous matter commonly; and sometimes the down that groweth above.
615. They have in some countries a plant of a rosy colour, which shutteth in the night, openeth in the morning, and openeth wide at noon; which the inhabitants of those countries say is a plant that sleepeth. There be sleepers enough then; for almost all flowers do the like.
616. Some plants there are, but rare, that have a mossy or downy root; and likewise that have a number of threads, like beards; as mandrakes; whereof witches and impostors make an ugly image, giving it the form of a face at the top of the root, and leaving those strings to make a broad beard down to the foot. Also there is a kind of nard in Crete, being a kind of phu, that hath a root hairy, like a rough-footed dove's foot. So as you may see, there are of roots, bulbous roots, fibrous roots, and hirsute roots. And, I take it, in the bulbous, the sap hasteneth most to the air and sun; in the fibrous, the sap delighteth more in the earth, and therefore putteth downward; and the hirsute is a' middle between both, that besides the putting forth upwards and downwards, putteth forth in round.
617. There are some tears of trees, which are combed from the beards of goats; for when the