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bable, if there be the same degree of error in this as in the following instances, that I have made too low a calculation of the age rather than otherwise.
3rd. I have given in the above table the measure of a Larch 255 years old. On its authority, we may believe that there exist some which are live or six hundred years old, but the measures of their layers must be increased in number before the fact can be decided.
4th. The Linden (Tilleul) is a tree of Europe, which up to a certain period appears capable of acquiringavery great diameter. That which was planted at Fribourg in 147 6, in commemoration of the battle of M01-at, is now 13 feet 9 inches in diameter, which shews an increase of diameter of about .20 in. yearly. This ratio, equb-I to that of the oak, appears to me to shew that the tree had not encountered very good soil, and I am inclined to believe that we should be nearer the truth if we allowed an average of .35 in a year. As there are in Europe a great number of large lindens, it would be interesting to note the circumference of those, the dates of which are known. I shall mention, on account of their size, the following trees :—that of the Castle of Chaillé, near Melles, in the department of Deux-Sévres, which in 1804 was 49.2 feet in circumference, and which was I imagine then about $38 years old ; that of Trons in the Grisons, known so early as 1424, which in 1798 was 54 feet in circumference, and I imagine 583 years old ; that of Depeham near Norwich, which was 85 yards in circumference in 1664; that of Newstadt in Wurtemberg, which was large enough in 1550 to require support, and which in 1664 was 37 feet four inches in circumference, &c. Should any attention be hereafter bestowed on lindens, those with large and those with small leaves ought to be carefully distinguished; the former appear to grow more rapidly than the latter.
5th. The Cypress is certainly, among the trees which belong to the South of Europe, one which lives to the greatest age,and theusual custom of plantingthese trees in church-yards has gained for them a degree of respect, and preserved them conveniently for our present object. Hunter says that in 1776, there was one in the palace garden at Grenada which had acquired celebrity at the time of the Moorish kings, which were then called Cupressos de la Reyna Sultana, because a Sultan there met with Abencerage. But I can discover nothing certain regarding the growth of these trees, which I therefore point out for the attention of naturalists.
6th. Chesnuts appear capable of attaining a very great age; but I do not found this opinion on the celebrated chdtaigner dec cent cbeuauz on Mount Etna. Mr. Smonn and Mr. DUBY have communicated to me particulars regarding this tree, which appear to prove that its circumference, which is 70 feet, is owing to the union of several trunks in one. The growth of this tree musthe calculated on single stems: there were several very large ones on Mount Etna. Pmnnnur mentions having seen one of fifty feet circumference in the county of Gloucester, which was believed to be 900 years old. It would be desirable to possess accurate information regarding the growth of this species. .
7th. The East Indian Plane-tree (if it may be numbered among the European trees) is certainly one of the largest, but the law by which its growth is governed is not known. There is in the valley of Bujuk-déré, three leagues from Constantinople, a plane which reminds us of the one on which Pliny has conferred such celebrity; it is 150 feet in circumference, and has a central cavity of 80 feet circumference. I would beg travellers to prove first, if this forms a single tree, or whether it be formld. by the union of several. Secondly, how much it has grown during a certain period P
this maybe determined by alateral cut which will allow the layers to be counted. Thirdly ; what law governs the increase of plane-trees for the first century of their growth ?
8th.—The Walnut tree is also worthy the examination of observers. SCUMOZZI, the architect, mentions having seen at St. Nicholas in Lorraine a table made of a single piece of walnut wood, which was 25 feet in width, and at which the Emperor Frederick III gave a celebrated repast. No conclusion can be drawn as to the age of such a walnut, seeing that the progress of the growth of these trees when old is unknown ; this might however easily be verified. //\
9th.—The Orange and Citron are among the number of trees cultivated in Europe, which grow the most slowly, and arrive at the greatest age. It is asserted that the orange tree of the Convent of St. Sabine at Rome was planted by St. Dominique in 1200, and that of Fondi by St. Thomas D’Aquin in 1278. The measure of these trees, and the verification of these traditions, might give an approximation as to the annual growth of the Agrumi of Italy.
9th.—The Cedars which I have already mentioned, though they appear to me younger than they are believed to be, are still worthy the attention of observers.
10th.—Oaks certainly stand among the veterans of Europe, but their study is still involved in much uncertainty, either because this tree is one of those which according to the acknowledgment of all foresters are the most modified by the soil, or because the wood of the Quercuspedunculafa, which grows quickly and runs to agreat height is almost always confoundedwith that of the Q-uercus sessiliflora, which grows more slowly, and becomes harder and more crooked. The result of this confusion, is an impossibility of making comparisons from the documents we already possess. In EVELYN’S S3/Iva, a valuable work, from which lhave frequently taken useful hints, many examples may be seen with regard to the size which oaks may attain. I have reason to believe that there still exist in our own country, oaks from 1500 to 1600 years old ; but it would be desirable to have these dates verified by further careful inquiries.
llth.—The Oliveisalso a treepossesscd with the power of growing to an astonishing age in countries where it is not subjected to the pruning knife. Mr. de CHATEAUBRIAND in his Itineraire, says, that the eight olives in the garden ofthe same name at Jerusalem onlypayone medin each to the Grand Seigneur, which would tend to prove that they already existed at the time of the Turkish invasion, for those planted since that period, pay the half of their fruit. The largest olive in Italy, mentioned by Pwcom, is at Pescio : it is 25 feet in circumference. If we admit the estimate given by Moscnnrrnvr that the olive grows 0.13 in. yearly, it must be about 700 years old ; but this estimate taken from younger olives must be below the truth. \
l2th.—-The Yew appears to me, of all European trees, the one which lives to the greatest age. I have measured the layers of an yew, 71 years old; OELHAFEN, of one of l50 years old; and VEILLARD, of one of 280 years : these three measurements agree in proving that the yew grows a little more than 0.10 in. a year during the first 150 years, and less than a 0.1 from the age of 150 to 250. If we allow an average of one-tenth a year for the oldest yews, it is probable that this exceeds the reality, and that by considering the number of their years to equal the number of lines in their diameter, they will be pronounced younger than they really are. Now I find four measures of remarkable yews in England ; those of the ancient Abbey Fontaine near Reppron, in the county of York, known in 1133, were in 1770, according to Pennant, 1214 lines diameter, or more than l200 years old.
Those in the church-yard of Crowhurst in Surrey were in 1660, according to EVELYN,,I287 lines in diameter. If, as is asserted, they still exist, they must be 1450 years old.
That at Fotheringale, in Scotland, had in 1770 a diameter of 2588 lines, and is consequently 25 or 26 hundred years old.
That in the church-yard of Braburn in Kent had in 1660 a diameter of about 2880 lines, and if it still exists, it must be 3000 years old.
I point out these trees to the botanists and foresters of England, in order that they may confirm their measurements, and if possible, prove the law which governs the increase of diameter, for it is in England that the veterans of European vegetation are to be met with.
With the same motive, I recommend to those who may have an opportunity. 0 doing so, to study the law of growth, and the dimensions, of the following trees ;-the Indian Date, the Box, the Carob tree, the Beech,the Phyllirim, the Cercis, the Juniper, &c. regarding which we have little information.
Among the exogenous trees in countries between the tropics, the two following have been mentioned, the Cheirostemon, (because there is a tree at Toluca, which has been known since 1553,) and the Ceiba, which has attracted attention from its size; but it is not probable that trees with such soft wood should live too. great age. I confess however that the instance of the Boabab, which although not a very hard tree, exceeds 5000 years, according to ADANSON, shews the necessity of circumspection in making this assertion. I would rather draw the attention of travellers to large trees with hard wood, such as the mahogany, which generally attains seven feet diameter ; the Courbaril, which it is said acquires a diameter of 20 feet in the Antilles; its great hardness is an argument for its very slow growth. The different trees known by the name of Iron-wood, the Pinus Lamberliana of California, which is said to be from 150 to 200 feet high, and has a circumference of from 20 to 60 feet; the fig trees of the Indian pagodas, &c. I would especially recommend travellers to examine all that regards the Iaxodiums (Cupressus distiz-ha, L.) of Mexico. The immense tree of Chapultepec, which is said to attain 117 feet 10 inches circumference ; is it really a single tree or formed by the union of several others? Has it a hollow cave at its base like those of Louisiana, which is said to belong to the same species? Has its measure been taken above this cone, as probably ought to be done, if the cone exist? I recommend a fresh examination of this gigantic tree : it concerns perhaps the oldest tree on the globe.
The age of imlogenous trees is more diflicult to ascertain than that of erogenous, both from the country to which they belong having been less studied, and on account of the absence of the woody layers, and the preservation of the same diameter at differentperiods, which renders their examination more difficult. Indogtmous trees generally appear under two forms; the first, such as palms, have, almost all, the trunk single and marked, at least during the greater part of their life, with circular rings placed at very nearly regular distances ; the others, such as the Dracaena, have the trunk adorned with branches and are without rings. The age of palms may be estimated in two ways, very analogous to each other, namely ; lst, by the height which the trees reach at, compared with the experimental knowledge of the rate of growth of each species; 2nd, by the number of rings, and their mean distance compared with the length of the trunk. These two methods rest chiefly on the knowledge of the height of trees, as the study of the age of exo. genous trees depends on their thickness. It is necessary then in the first place to recommend travellers to note exactly the circumference of the trunk of every species of palm. It should also be required of them to determine the height of palms of every species, and to decide from observation, whether the rings visible on the exterior really indicate, as is asserted, the annual growth, or any other definite period.
The first method applied to the Date-palm appears to give results which are conformable to truth. Thus in 1809, at Cavalaire, in Provence, a date was known that had been sown in 1709; it was then 50 feet high; the greatest heightof those of Egypt and Barbary, is 60 feet, and the Arabs consider their longest life to be from 200 to 300 years, It would be necessary to ascertain in what proportions the rapidity of growth decreases at diiferent periods.
By allowing that the rings on the outside of the trunk mark the years, the approximate age of the palms of Brazil mightbe discovered according to the principles furnished by M. de MABTIUS, in his magnificent work, as follows:
I give these approximations to travellers as mere indications, and to induce them to verify my theory.
As to indogenous trees, which are covered with branches, and are without regular rings, no means have yet been discovered by which to calculate their age, and the entire problem must be left for the solution of local observers. It is known that ‘some trees belonging to this class live to a very great age; such is the celebrated Dragon-tree (Dracmna draco) in the garden Franchi at Orotaoa, in the Island of Teneriife, which was considered remarkable in 1402, at the time of the discovery of the island, and which was even then an object of veneration to the people. Mr. Banrnnror (Mem. cur. Nat. vol. 13, p. 781,) who has published a good description ‘of this tree, says that in comparing the young neighbouring Dragonniers with tnis giant tree, the calculations which he had made regarding the age of the latter have more than -once astonished him. In 1797, according to M. Lsnrw, it was 65 feet in height, 42 in circumference at the middle, and 78 at the bottom. Since then the hurricane of the 21st July, 1819, has reduced its height very much.
,1 am inclined to believe that among the perennial grasses and the shrubs there are many much older ~than they are generally believed to be, but no inquiry has been made on this subject. Imay cite a few imperfect facts, which may lead observers to turn their attention to the duration of life in these humble plants. I mentioned, in my work on the Organography of Vegetables, the “ herbaceous willow," which growing on the thin soil of the Alpine rocks, at‘ the feet of a declivity, gradually lengthens its stem as the earth fills up, so as just to enable it to shew its head above the soil, the top of the tree resembling a grass-plot of several yards diameter. I have tried to lay open the stem of this singular tree, but I never could reach its In the downs of the South of France, the perennial stalks of the Eryn.m'um and the Echinophora lengthen ‘as the level of the ground rises : I never could succeed in extracting their real root, and I incline to believe that these plants are sometimes contemporaneous with the downs themselves : the runners of the nymphaea, the shave-grass, ‘and various ferns, ought also to furnish examples of extraordinary longevity, but I know no certain method of appreciating it.
I will even descend to plants of a still lower class. M. Vavcnaa watched a
lichen for 40 years, without observing any sensible change of size. How know we that among the patches of moss which envelope our rocks, some may not he coeval even with their birth or elevation ? and thus in the beds of certain rivers, some weeds may have been existing ever since their waters began to flow !
But setting aside these obscure objects, and confining ourselves to the noble trees whose history is a matter of general interest, we must acknowledge the solution of the problem, above proposed, to be full of curiosity. Let us hasten to do it before the progress of industry, the calculations of the timber merchant, the change of property, the development of civilization;-—have united to destroy the objects of our search. The change of religious opinions, and the extinction of many respectable, though superstitious, feelings, are quickly tending to diminish the veneration that certain old trees were wont to inspire in our ancestors. Let us hasten then to record the dimensions and the dates of those that are still left, and if it be possible, preserve the monuments of ages gone by. I raise my voice on behalf of these medals of antiquity.—I would preserve them from sacrilegious destruction— whether as historical monuments, or as pleasing memorials for the imagination to dwell on. I address myself to the forester, the naturalist, the traveller, the artist; to all public authorities of all nations : I call on them to measure all the oldest trees in their neighbourhood, by the process‘ I have pointed out.——All who have the power of publishing, should at once commit their researches to the press, the only lasting medium of record in our days ;——to those who have not, I offer to make the record myself in their names, when possessed of the facts, in a work expressly on the age of trees, for Which Ihave collected materials. Those travellers who are not suflicient botanists to give the right name to a tree, should forward a dried specimen of a branch in flower, to which a few specimens of the wood itself may be added, to serve as the means of measuring the ratio of annual increase.
Nora. We have for some time sought to give this highly interesting memoir to our readers in its entire shape, because India seems to be peculiarly adapted for the species of research which the author so zealously enjoins. The ancient forests of India, in all ages venerated and fostered by the Hindfis, may still contain trees under which RAMA abode in his banishment, or HANUMAN assembled his monkey ranks! Let us hasten to determine the age of those within our reach. The celebrated banian-tree in Tirhht, for instance, has lost its parent stem, but taking the outermost offset now become a large tree, and tracing the period of its taking root, and applying the same calculation to all the intermediate dependents, we shall doubtless find a very high. antiquity for the original tree.
A young friend in the Midnapfir district has already commenced the inquiry on other trees: the following is an extract from his letter.
“ The largest tree I have met with was a pipal at Chiliana. It measured 53 feet in circumference at the ground, and 37 at the height of 6 feet. I cut into it and mea. sured 7 rings in 3 inches: now at Midnapur the pipal trees give a circumference of 6 feet 1 inch on an average of about 15 to ‘20 years growth, deducting the bark, 11 inches radius; therefore the Chiliana tree in being 6 feet in radius, should be about 160 years
old, which is not much after all.” The pipal is a loose grained wood, and easily liable to decay.-En.