Abbildungen der Seite

sun till about eleven o'clock. They do not flower till the fifth

year after they are sown.





Said to have been first found in the island of Cythnus, whence it has derived its name.-French, le cytise.Italian, citiso; avorniello; maggio pendolino.

Of this genus is that most elegant tree, the Laburnum, which drops its yellow blossoms so invitingly, as if wooing the beholder to pluck them. There are two varieties of Cytisus; one with narrower leaves and longer blossoms than the other, which is by far the handsomest, and is very justly called Golden-chain. I have seen a sprig of this in a lady's hair, where its bright green leaves, and its drooping blossoms, intermingling with the rich chestnut curls, had a very graceful appearance. But unfortunately it does not long survive the gathering: so that ladies who are disposed to adorn themselves with it must have recourse to imitation; and this, notwithstanding the perfection to which artificial flowers have been brought of late, will not easily equal the real flower.

It is well for the present purpose that the handsomest of the Laburnums is the smallest tree, and may be grown in a tub for many years. They ought to be in company with leafier trees, as they are bùt sparingly supplied with green of their own.

Who would not have at least one of them, were it but to place by the side of the Persian lilac, or the rhododendron?

It has been recommended to sow the Laburnum in plantations infested with hares and rabbits; for so long as they can find a sprig of it, they will touch nothing else: and though it be eaten to the ground in the winter, it will spring up again the next season, and thus be a constant supply for them. A whole plantation will be secured at the expense of a few shillings.

Laburnum-wood is very strong, and is much used for pegs, wedges, knife-handles, musical instruments, and a variety of purposes of that nature. Mr. Martyn, in his edition of Millar's Dictionary, speaks of a table and chairs made of this wood, which judges of elegant furniture pronounced to be the finest they had ever seen.

Pliny speaks of this wood as next in hardness to the ebony: it has been thought to make the best bows; and it occasionally afforded torches for the Roman sacrifices:

“Tondentur cytisi ; tædas sylva alta ministrat;
Pascunturque ignes nocturni et lumina fundunt.”


“ The cytisus is cut, the tall wood affords torches, and the nocturnal fires are fed, and spread their light.”—Martyn's TRANSLATION, p. 197.

The tree was formerly called Peas-cod-tree, and Beantrefoil; but it is now generally known by its Latin name Laburnum, which is supposed to have been derived from the Alpine name L'aubours. The French call it Cytise des Alps (Cytisus of the Alps), and Faux Ebenien (False Ebony-tree). It is a native of Switzerland, Austria, and the Levant, &c. and flowers in May: at this season the mountains in Italy are hung so richly with its golden drapery as to obtain for it the name of Maggio, as we give that of May to the hawthorn.

The Black Cytisus is a shrub, seldom growing higher in this country than three or four feet: it is very bushy, and the branches are terminated by bunches of yellow flowers, four or five inches in length, having a very agreeable scent. It blossoms in July. This is a native of Silesia, Hungary, Italy, &c.


The Winged-leaved Cytisus is a handsome shrub, scarcely two feet high: the flowers are large, and of a deep yellow. It is a native of Siberia.

The Common Cytisus is a native of the South of Europe: it grows seven or eight feet high, is very bushy, and has bright yellow flowers. These will live all the year abroad after they are first raised to strength. If the weather be very dry, they should be watered once or twice a week. Virgil recommends the Cytisus as a food for goats :

At cui lactis amor, cytisos, lotosque frequentes
Ipse manu, salsaque ferat præsepibus herbas.”


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ Those who desire to have milk, must give them with their own hands plenty of cytisus and water-lilies, and lay salt herbs in their cribs.”—MARTYN'S TRANSLATION, p. 313.

The bright blossoms of the Laburnum have not escaped the attention of our poets. Mr. Keats, in two distinct passages of his earliest poetry, each representing the flowery nook most beautiful to his fancy, gives a place to the Laburnum :

[ocr errors]

“ A bush of May-flowers with the bees about them;
Ah, sure no tasteful nook would be without them :
And let a lush laburnum oversweep them,
And let long grass grow round the roots to keep them
Moist, cool, and green; and shade the violets,
That they may bind the moss in leafy nets.

[blocks in formation]

Where the dark-leaved laburnum's drooping clusters
Reflect athwart the stream their yellow lustres,
And intertwined the cassia's arms unite
With its own drooping buds, but very white."

“ Laburnum, rich In streaming gold."

Cowper's Task.

[ocr errors]

It is curious to observe how some plants appear to be compounded of others. Thus the Camellia Japonica has been noticed as resembling a bay-tree with roses; the arbutus is like another species of bay, yielding strawberries; and the Laburnum seems like a tree made up

of large trefoil and garlands of yellow peas. The Geranium kind seems to delight in this species of mimicry.

When the Laburnum tree is so situated as to be shaded from the scorching suns of noon, it thrives so much better as to appear, to a superficial observer, a tree of a different kind.




THE Dahlia was named in honour of Andrew Dahl, a Swedish botanist. There are several species, all natives of the mountainous parts of the Spanish settlements in South America. The flowers are large and handsome; mostly red or purple, and the colours beautifully vivid. It is a very lofty plant, and the foliage is coarse and rank. It is thought to grow less luxuriantly, and to flower better, if planted in a poor and gravelly soil, in the open ground: they may, however, be obtained in pots. They will bear open air; and the roots will live a long time out of the earth without injury. The best time to plant them is in April. A recent improvement in the culture of this beautiful plant is to graft the young buds upon the tubers. They do not require much water.

This flower, comparatively a stranger in England till lately, from its great beauty has become very popular. When in flower, it makes a brilliant figure in the nurserygardens, where many are planted together, and of various colours. It makes a fine show in a bouquet too, but will not long survive the gathering. The double flowers are as magnificent as the peony itself.

The best account of the Dahlia is to be found in the second part of the Transactions of the Horticultural Society, by R. A. Salisbury, Esq.






The botanical name is derived from the Latin word bellus, hand

In Yorkshire called Dog-daisy and Bairnwort. The word Daisy is a compound of day's and eye, Day's-eye; in which way, indeed, it is written by Ben Jonson.-French, la paquerette; paquerette vivace; paquette; marguerite (pearl]; petite marguerite; petite consire: in Languedoc, margarideta.- Italian, margheritena; margherita; pratellina (meadow-flower]; bellide; fiore di primavera (springtide-flower.]

Who can see, or hear the name of the Daisy, the common Field Daisy, without a thousand pleasurable associations! It is connected with the sports of childhood and with the pleasures of youth. We walk abroad to seek it; yet it is the very emblem of home.

It is a favourite with man, woman, and child : it is the robin of flowers. Turn it all ways, and on every side you will find new beauty. You are attracted by the snowy white leaves, contrasted by the golden tuft in the centre, as it rears its head above the green grass : pluck it, and you will find it backed by a delicate star of green, and tipped with a blush-colour, or a bright crimson.

“ Daisies with their pinky lashes”

are among the first darlings of spring. They are in flower

« ZurückWeiter »