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This book was presented by 

Monroe Gardner 

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District Clerk's Office. 

BE it remembered, that on the twentj' elp^htli day of October, A. D. 1818, and in the forty third 
year of the Independence of the United States of America, Jacob Bif^low, M. D. of the said dis- 
trict, has deposited in thb office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the 
uordsfoUoAviiig, viz. 

" American Medical Botany, being a collection of the native medicinal plants of the United States, 
coiitaining their botanical history ai:d chemical analysis, and properties and uses in medicine, diet 
and the arts, with coloured enpva\ing-s. By Jacob Bigeiow, M. D. Rumfoi-d Professor and Lec- 
turer oil Materia Medica and Botany in Harvard University, Vol. II." 

In confbrmiij to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled " An Act for the en- 
couragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and 
proprietors of such copi. s, during the times therein mentioned :" and also to an act entitled, " An 
act sup])!ementary to an act entitled, an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the 
copies of maps, charts an,l books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times 
therein mentioned ; and extending tie benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and 
etching historical aud otbcr prints. 

JOHN W DAVIS i ^''''■^' "f'^'^ District 
JOHN W. DAV1!>, ^ ^j. Massachusetts. 


Upon presenting to the public the portion of this work, whicli 
completes one half of his labours, the author of the American 
Medical Botany feels himself bound to offer some report of the 
progress and prospects of his undertaking. 

The plan of this work was formed and announced at a time 
when such a subject was wholly novel, and when coloured bo- 
tanical engravings, from the difficulty and expense of their exe- 
cution, were almost unknown in this country. It was endeav- 
oured that the plan should be such as in some degree to insure, 
what both authors and their friends should desire, extensive cir- 
culation and permanent utility. An edition of a thousand copies 
was printed, and that the work might be generally accessible, 
the price was fixed at a lower rate, in proportion to the number 
of plates, than works of the kind have ever been placed at in this 
country ; a rate whicli the probable sale of the whole edition 
could alone justify. As permanent utility was esteemed of more 
importance than ephemeral success, the work has not been hur- 
ried in any stage of its execution, even though some temporary 
advantages might have been obtained by its earlier appearance. 
The autlior has not willingly adopted the opinions of others in bot- 
any or medicine without examination, and has thought no delay in- 
jurious which might lead to the establishment of truth or the de- 
tection of error. He has been desirous, in adding the results of 
his own experience, that the book should have, in some degree at 


least, the character of an original work, rather tlian of a compi- 
lation ,• at the same time that it should present a fair view of 
what is known on the subjects of which it treats. The figures of 
the plants have, in every instance, been made from original 
drawings, which were executed by himself, with the exception of 
two or three presented by his friends. The style of engraving 
is wholly new in tliis country, and is one which has been suc- 
cessfully attempted only by the first artists in France. 

It gives him pleasure to state, that the reception of the work, 
in all parts of tlie United States, has exceeded his anticipations, 
that the subscription is already more than sufficient to defray 
the expense of publishing, and tliat its regular increase renders 
it probable that the whole edition will be taken up at an early 

He avails himself of this occasion to return his acknowledg- 
ments to those correspondents who have obligingly assisted him 
by the communication of specimens for the work, and of the re- 
sults of their own researches and experience. Particularly he 
would express this remembrance to Zaccheus Collins Esq. of 
Philadelphia, a gentleman whose active kindness has repeatedly 
supplied his botanical necessities j and whose extensive erudition 
has enabled him to afford counsel, which would not have been 
sought at a less respectable source. To Professor Ives of New 
Haven, a zealous and intelligent cultivator of the American Ma- 
teria Medica, he would express the obligations derived from his 
communications and correspondence. It would be unjust to for- 
get that many medicinal plants of the Southern States, with ob- 
servations on their properties, were furnished expressly for this 
work, by the late Dr. James Macbride of Charleston, S. C. a 


j)hysician and a botanist, whose premature deatli lias terminated a 

career of honourable usefulness and of active, liberal and eflicient 

prosecution of science. His friends cannot remember without I'e- 

gret a man, who had the rare quality of being learned without 

ostentation, who was ambitious of uscfuhiess more than of fame, 

and who sought rather to be valuable to others than just to him- 

As the materials for the rest of the American Medical Bota- 
>iy are now principally collected, and most of the drawings 
finished ; the remaining numbers will be issued with as much 
promptness and regularity, as is consistent M'ith their faitliful 



As frequent use is made in tliesc pages of 
observations drawn from the auxiliary sciences, as 
affording some light on the medicinal properties of 
plants, it may be proper to examine how ftir tes- 
timony of this kind is entitled to receive credit in 
our inquiries and examinations. 

There can be no question, that the actual op- 
eration of medicines upon the human system, 
gathered from positive experience, is, in the pres- 
ent state of our knowledge, the only criterion by 
which we can pronounce, with universal certainty, 
on their properties. There are nevertheless 
many things to be learnt from chemical analysis, 
sensible qualities, and botanical affinity, which 
may afford us, in some instances certainty, and in 
most others presumptive evidence of the medicinal 
characters of vegetables. The correspondence 
in these respects is frequently so striking, that 
we can hardly resist the belief, that an entire har- 
mony of properties exists, which, if we are unable 


fully to comprehend, it is rather owing to the im- 
perfection of science, than to the irregularity of 

A few illustrations of this point, taken from 
generul facts already ascertained, will place the 
subject in a clearer light. 

The chemical substances, known by the names 
of Gum Mucus and Fcecula, are constantly emol- 
lient, demulcent, and nutritious. They manifest 
these qualities even when extracted from acrid 
and poisonous vegetables, as in Arum, Calla, and 

Sugar is nutritious and demulcent. When 
subjected to a spontaneous chemical change by 
the vinous fermentation, it is universally a strong 
diffusible stimulus. 

Flawed oils are emollient and laxative. Also 

Volatile oils on the contrary are acrid, stimu- 
lating, heating, and antispasmodic. 

Tannin and the Gallic acid are uniformly an- 
tiseptic and powerfully astringent. 

The Acetous, Citric, Tartaric and similar veg- 
etable acids are refrigerant and antiseptic. 

Bitter Ejotractive substances are usually tonic. 

Resins, which are bitter and acrid, are com- 
monly cathartic. 


Emetine, as separated by Pelletier and Magen- 
die, is powerfully emetic. 

Morphium, obtained by Serturner, is a very 
strong' narcotic. 

The foregoing are some of the examples, which 
the present state of Chemistry allows us to ob- 
serve of affinity between chemical and medicinal 
characters. With a few exceptions they will be 
found to be strictly true. Yet the analysis of vege- 
tables is at present but imperfectly known, and an 
extended investigation is continually bringing new 
principles to light. We can hardly expect that the 
business of generalization should be attempted 
with complete success, until the constituent facts 
are better understood. From what we already 
know, however, it is not chimerical to pi edict, 
that if the chemistry of vegetables were as per- 
fectly knoAvn in all its parts, as in those which we 
have detailed ; tlieir medicinal properties might 
be inferred, with at least as great certainty, as 
that which now attends most inferences in the 
conjectural science of medicine. 

In regard to the botanical affinities of plants, 
as affi)rding evidence of their medicinal powers, 
much has been said and written. Petiver, Hoff- 
man, Linnseus, Hasselquist, and recently the 
learned Professor Decandolle have bestowed much 


investigation on this subject. It is regarded as a 
desideratum by all, and as the consummation of 
botanical science by many, that plants should be 
so arranged, as that then* assemblages should 
agree, not only in external forms, but in internal 
qualities and operative powers. Certain general 
agreements of this kind evidently prevail through- 
out nature ; yet they are so varied, and subject to 
so many exceptions, that it is difficult to establish 
them by general scientific descriptions, and when 
they are rendered too minute they seem to lose 
much of their importance. It is perhaps as easy 
to know the properties of plants from their exter- 
nal habit, as to understand the characters of man- 
kind from their physiognomy. Accurate obser- 
vers know more than they can communicate the 
means of knowing to others, yet the most accu- 
rate are liable to be mistaken. Many vegetables 
of the closest affinity and resemblance, even spe- 
cies of the same genus, differ wholly from each 
other in their effects. AVitness the species of 
Cucumis, Convolvulus, antl Solanum, some of 
wliich are salutary, and others higbly deleteri- 
ous. Nevertheless there are many general truths, 
or at least general probabilities, by which every 
one would be influenced, and which have so much 
importance, that they will never be forgotten. 


No botanist, even if in danger of starving in a 
wilderness, would indulge his hunger on a root or 
fruit taken from an unknown plant of the nat- 
ural order Luridce, of the Miiltisiliquw, or the um- 
belliferous aquatics. On the contrary, he would 
not feel a moment's hesitation in regard to any of 
the Gramina, the fruit of the Pomacew, and several 
other natural families of plants, which are known 
to be uniformly innocent in their effects. 

The sensible properties of plants afford another 
clue to their influence on the human system. It 
is true, that observations derived from tliis source 
will not serve us in forming very minute distinc- 
tions. They are, however, almost always adequate 
in vegetable productions, to enable us to distin- 
guish what is innocent and salubrious, from what 
is noxious and virulent. The brute creation de- 
pend wholly upon the powers of sense in selecting 
their food, and this reliance does not often betray 
them. In regard to mankind it almost uniformly 
happens, that what is sweet, delicious, or aromat- 
ic, proves nutritive or salutary ; while on the oth^ 
er hand, vegetable poisons are nauseous, acrid, 
and disgusting. It has been observed, that it 
would have been a sort of treachery in nature to 
have made it otherwise. Considering the univer- 
sal dissemination of poisonous plants, and the 


number of them, which frequent the vicinity of 
human habitations, this arrangement of Provi- 
dence, by making ungrateful what is dangerous, 
has furnished ahnost the only safeguard from 
harm, to the inexperienced and unwary. 

These remarks have been offered on account 
of an impression which many persons entertain, 
that collateral evidences of the characters of plants 
are worthless and undeserving of attention. Even 
if the community were composed exclusively of 
physicians, such an opinion could not be wholly 
correct. Every one may be called on to form 
hasty decisions on subjects where his experience 
is deficient, and where an acquaintance with aux- 
iliary facts might lead him to a correct issue. It 
is not only curious and instructive to perceive the 
harmonies of nature, but to every inquirer among 
her works it must be practically useful. It can 
no where be more useful, or more deserving of 
study, than in a new country, where the face of 
nature presents an ungathered harvest, and where 
every clue to useful discovery derives importance 
from its influence and tendency. 


3 4^ 3 G 7 

a 9 

JO ' Jl JZ 23 




Winter Green, 


JL HIS most beautiful of the species of Pyrola 
is extensively diffused throughout the northern 
hemisphere. It inhabits all latitudes in the Unit- 
ed States, and extends across the continent to the 
shores of the Pacific ocean. It is also found in the 
forests of Siberia, and in several of the northern 
and temperate countries of Europe. It only 
grows in shady woods, where it is protected from 
the sun, and nourished by the peculiar soil formed 
from the decomposition of leaves and wood. The 
most common appellations, by which it is known 
in the United States, are Winter green and Pipsis- 
sewa. It flowers in June and July, being some- 
what later than most of the other species of its 

•16 flllULA LxMBELLATA. 

J3y rursli and some other American botanists, 
this species and one other have been separated 
from the genus Pyrola, to constitute a new family 
by tlie name of Chimaphila. As the grounds of 
distinction, however, between them are not suffi- 
cient to render it certain tliat this genus will ul- 
timately stand ; I have preferred retaining the 
original Linnsean name.* 

* It is somewhat remarkable, that the genus Chimaphila was first 
established upon characters, which hardly exist in either of the plants 
it is intended to comprehend. The principal grounds of distinction, 
suggested by Michaux and adopted by Pursh, seem to consist in a 
sessile stigma, and anthers opening by a subbivalve foramen. Now 
the stigma is not sessile, since that term implies the absence of a style, 
and the anthers do not open by any subbivalve foramen, differing 
from {he rest, but by two tubular pores, precisely as in the other spe- 
cies of Pyrola. ]Mr. Nuttall, in his interesting work on North Ameri- 
can gelnera, has amended the character of Chimaphila, by bringing 
into view the calyx, filaments, &c. while he has added to the char- 
acteristics of Pyrola, a downy connexion of the valves of the cap- 
sule. In the calyx, however, the two species of Chimaphila are at 
different extremes from each other ; one of them having a five leaved 
calyx, the leaves overlaying each other at base ; the other having a 
five toothed calyx only, while the remaining species of Pyrola, being 
five parted, come between them. I have not been able to find the 
tomentum spoken of by Mr. Nuttall, in all the spiked species, and par- 
ticularly in P. secunda. 

If the genus Pyrola were ever to be dismembered, it should be 
into at least four distinct genera, as follows j 
1. Style declined, stigma annulate. 
P. rotundifolia, P. asarifolia, &,c. 


The genus Pyrola belongs to the class Be- 
candria, and order MonogynicL It ranks among 

2. Style straight^ stigma peltate. 
P. secunda, P. uniflora, &c, 
S. Style incrassaied, calyx Jive leaved, 

P. maculata. 
4. Style immersed, calyx five toothed, 
P. umbellata. 

If we go farther and take into view the direction and form of the 
filaments, and the other parts of flower and fruit, with their various 
combinations ; we shall have nearly as many genera as there are now 
species, since it is well known that many of the most important spe- 
cific distinctions in this genus are taken from the fructification. 

On these accounts there can be no doubt that the genus Pyrola 
had better remain entire. In habit it is certainly one of the most 
natural genera we possess. All the species are humble evergreens, 
growing in woods, with creeping roots, ascending stems, and nodding 
flowers. All of them have their leaves in irregular whorls, flower with 
reversed anthers, and retain their style until the fruit is ripe. In 
inflorescence, one is solitary, two somewhat corymbed, and the rest 
spiked. The leaves of P. secunda, umbellata and maculata are usu- 
ally in two or more whorls ; those of most others in one radical 
whorl or aggregate. One species is said to be leafless. 

In the dissections accompanying the figure of P. umbellata I have 
endeavoured to represent the evident gradation of the style from the 
species in which it is longest, to that in which it is shortest. In the 
same plate are added some of the varieties of the calyx and stamens. 

The following remark of Sir James Edward Smith, the learned 
president of the Linnaean society, is from Rees' Cyclopedia, ,3rt. 
Pyrola. " We can by no means assent to the establishment of that 
able writer's (Tursh's) Genus Chimaphila, there being surely no di- 
versity of habit to support it, nor any character but a difference ia 
the length of the style ; which the other species of Pyrola shew to af- 
ford admirable specific, but no generic distinctions. 



the Bicornes of Linnseus and the Ericce of Jus- 

The generic character is as follows. Calyx 
mostly jive parted ; petals jive ; anthers inverted^ 
opening by two tubular pores ; capsule jive celled, 
jive valved. 

The species umbellata has its leaves wedge 
shaped and toothed, jiowers somewhat iimbelled, 
calyx jive toothed, and style immersed. 

Its more minute description is as follows : 

Koot woody, creeping, sending up stems at 
various distances. The stems are ascending, 
somewhat angular, and marked with the scars of 
the former leaves The leaves grow in irregular 
whorls, of which there are from one to four. They 
are evergreen, coriaceous, on very short petioles, 
wedge shaped, subacute, serrate, smooth, shin- 
ing, the lower surface somewhat paler. The 
flowers grow in a small corymb, on nodding pe- 
duncles, which are furnished with linear bractes 
about their middle. Calyx of five roundish suba- 
cute teeth or segments, much shorter than the 
corolla. Petals five, roundish, concave, spreading, 
cream coloured, with a tinge of purple at base. 
Stamens ten. Filaments sigmoid, the lower half 
flesliy, triangular, dilated, and slightly pubescent 
at the edges ; the upper half filiform. Anthers 


two celled, each cell opening by a short, round, 
tubular orifice, which points downward in the bud, 
but upward in the flower. Pollen white. Germ 
roundish, depressed, furrowed, obscurely five lobed, 
with a funnel shaped cavity at top. Style straight, 
half as long as the germ, inversely conical, insert- 
ed in the cavity of the germ, and concealed by the 
stigma. Stigma large peltate, convex, moist, ob- 
scurely five ra^ed. Capsules erect, depressed, five 
celled, five valved, the partitions from the middle 
of the valves. Seeds linear, chaffy, very numerous 
and minute. 

This plant, like the other species of Pyrola, is 
very difficult to cultivate, when transplanted from 
its native soil ; although it thrives luxuriantly in 
the shade and rich mould of the forests where it 

The leaves of Pyrola umbellata, when chewed, 
communicate to the mouth a taste which partakes 
of both sweet and bitter. The stalk and roots 
possess the same taste, combined with a moderate 
degree of pungency. A Dissertation " De Pyrola 
umbellata," published at Gottingen, by Dr. Wolf, 
in 1817, contains an elaborate chemical examina- 
tion of this plant. As the result of his trials, tliis 
author concludes, that 100 parts of Pyrola umbel- 
lata contain about 18 of a bitter extractive princi- 


pie, S.04 of resin, 1.38 of tannin, a slight portion 
of gum, and the rest of fibrin a and earthy salts. 
The resin is adhesive, brownish, readily soluble ia 
ether and alkalis, burning with flame and a res- 
inous odour, and leaving a white cinder. 

From my own trials the quantity of resin in 
this plant appears to be very small. A saturated 
tincture of a deep brown colour does not give a 
precipitate on the first addition of water. It is 
only after some time standing, and partly perhaps 
from the evaporation of the alcohol, that a turbid- 
ness begins to appear in the solution. It is prob- 
able that spirit is a better menstruum than water 
for the soluble portions of this plant, although the 
latter is capable of extracting the greater part of 
its virtue. 

The Pyrola umhellata, though scarcely known 
as a medicine until within a few years past, has 
at the present day acquired a reputation of con- 
siderable extent in the treatment of various dis- 
eases. Its popular celebrity seems to have origi- 
nated in its application to the treatment of fever 
and rheumatism ; but the attention of physicians 
has been chiefly drawn towards its use in otlier 
complaints. The instances in which this plant 
hay received favourable testimonies on medical 
authority, of its successful use, both in America 


and Europe, arc principally tlie following. 1. As 
a palliative in strangury and nephritis. 2. As a 
diuretic in dropsy. 3. As an external stimulant, 
susceptible of useful application to various cases. 
In the first of these cases, the Pyrola is entitled 
to attention and confidence. Some practitioners 
in this country have employed it with advantag*e 
in the same cases, in which the Arbutus Uva ursi 
is recommended*. Dr. Wolf, the German writer 
lately cited, has reported a number of cases of 
ischuria and dysuria, arising from various causes, 
in which the Pyrola, given in infusion, produced 
the most evident relief, and took precedence of a 
variety of remedies which had been tried. His 
method of administering it was to give a table 
spoonful of a strong infusion, with a little syrup, 
every hour. In all tlie cases he has detailed, 
small as the dose was, it gave relief in a very short 
time. In one case its effect was so distinctly 
marked, that the disease returned whenever the 
medicine was omitted and was removed on re- 
suming its use. A tonic operation attended its 
other effects, so that the appetite was improved 
and digestion promoted during the period of its 

* See Dr. Mitchell's Inaugural Dissertation. Philailelphia, 1803. 


The diuretic properties of the Pyrola umbel- 
lata, seem to have been fully illustrated by Dr. 
W. Somerville in a paper on this vegetable, pub- 
lished in the 5th volume of the London Medico- 
Chirurgical transactions. The facts presented 
by this physician afford satisfactory evidence of 
the power of this medicine to promote the renal 
excretion, and to afford relief to patients afflicted 
with dropsy in its various forms. The most dis- 
tinguished case presented by him, is that of Sir 
James Craig, the British governour in Canada, 
who was labouring under a general dropsy, which 
in its progress had assumed the forms of hydro- 
thorax, anasarca and ascites, and which was com- 
bined with different organic diseases, especially of 
the liver. After having tried with little or tempora- 
ry success, almost every variety of diuretic and ca- 
thartic medicines, and submitted twice to the 
operation of tapping, the patient had recourse to 
a strong infusion of the Pyrola, in the quantity of a 
pint every twenty four hours. Although the case 
was altogether an unpromising one, yet the plant 
gave relief, not only in the first, but in the sub- 
sequent instances of its use. It increased the 
urinal discharge, and at the same time produced 
an augmentation of strength and an invigorated 


Several other cases of dropsy are detailed in 
Dr. Somerville's paper, in which tlie Pyrola was 
administered hy himself and by other practioners 
with decided advantage. Dr. Satterly and Dr. 
Marcet are among those who have added their 
observations to the testimonies in its favour. Dr. 
Somerville found his patients to remark, that an 
agreeable sensation was perceived in the stomach 
soon after taking the Pyrola, and that this was 
followed in some instances by an extraordinary 
increase of appetite. He considers it as having 
in this respect a great advantage over other diu- 
retics, none of which are agreeable to the stomach, 
and most of them very offensive to it. He fur- 
ther states, that no circumstance had occurred 
within his own experience or information, to for- 
bid its use in any form, or to limit the dose. 

Dr. Wolf has given one very satisfactory case 
of the utility of our plant in ascites. He also 
found it to alleviate altogether the ardor urinse 
attendant on gonorrhea. 

Such are the most important facts wliich to my 
knowledge have been published respecting the 
internal use of the Pyrola umbellata. I have 
administered this plant on various occasions, and 
attended to its mode of operation. In a number 
of dropsical cases, when first given, it made a dis- 


tinct and evident impression on the disease, com- 
municating an increased activity to the absorbents, 
followed by a great augmentation of the excretion 
from the kidnies. The benefit, however, with me 
has been in most instances temporary, and it was 
found better to omit the medicine for a time and 
to resume it afresh, than to continue it until the 
system had become insensible to its stimulus. 
After suspending it for a week or two, the same 
distinct operation took place on returning to its 
use, as had been manifested in the first instance. 
It proved in almost every instance, a very accep- 
table medicine to the patient, and was preferred 
both for its sensible qualities and its effects on the 
stomach, to other diuretics and alteratives which 
had been prescribed. 

The Pyrola has been considerably employed 
as an external application in tumours and ulcers 
of various descriptions. It first acquired notice 
in consequence of some newspaper attestatioiis of 
its efficacy in the cure of cancer. Those persons 
who know how seldom genuine cancers occur in 
comparison with reputed ones, will be more ready 
to allow it the character of curing ulcerous, than 
really cancerous affections. There are undoubt- 
edly many ulcers, and those frequently of a malig- 
nant kind, which are benefitted by antiseptic 


Stimulants ; and to such the Pyrola may be useful. 
But of its efficacy in real cancer we requu'e 
more evidence than is at present possessed, before 
we ascribe to it the power of controlling' so for- 
midable a malady. 

Dr. Miller of Franklin informs me that he has 
used a decoction and cataplasm of this plant with 
apparent success in various chronic indurated 
swellings. It acts as a topical stimulant, and 
when long continued, not unfrequently vesicates. 
Tumours of long standing have in several in- 
stances disappeared under its use. 


Pyrola umbellata, LiPf. Sp. pi. GxYIeliiv, Flora Sihirica. 
Roth, Flora Germanica. — But. Mag. t. 7TS. — Michaux, Flora 
Americana, i. 251.— Pyrola fruticans, Paekinson, Theatrumf 
509. — J. Bauhin, Hist, plant, iii. 5S6, — Chiniaphila corymbosa, 
PuRSH, i. 300. — NuTTAii., Genera, i. 274. 


Mitchell, Inangural Dissertation. — Somerville, Medico- 
Chirurgical Transactions, vol. v. — Wolf, Dissertatio Inaugnralis. 


Fig. 1. Fyrola umbellata. 
Fig. 2. Pistil of Pyrola rotundifolia. 
Fig. 3. Pistil of Pyrola secunda. 
Fig. 4. Pistil of Pyrola unrjiora. 
Fig. 5. Pistil of Pyrola maculata. 


Fig. 6. Pistil flfPyrola umhellata. 

Fig. 7. Section of the same, shelving the length of the style. 

Fig. 8. Five toothed calyx of P. umhellata. 

Fig. 9. Five leaved calyx and incrassated pedicel of P. ma- 

Fig. 10. Anther magnified of P. secunda. 
Fig. 11. Ditto of P. rotundifolia. 
Fig. 12. Stamen magnified of P. umhellata. 
Fig. 13. Ditto of P. maculata. 


i f « 




(l^///uA<f/^/ ///'V////^A'/A/. 


Partridge Berry, 



HERE is no soil so inhospitable, that it does 
not afford the means of sustenance and growth to 
some vegetable tenant. The most arid and penu- 
rious spots of earth not only give support to a 
variety of plants, but they are even selected by 
certain species, which make them their perma- 
nent residence, and thrive better in tlie midst of 
poverty and drought than they could in the most 
fertile and luxuriant situations. The Gaultberia 
procumbens is one of those hardy and abstemious 
plants, wbich are better satisfied with the clear air 
of the mountains, than with a deep or mellow 
soil. It is found growing in large beds under the 
shade of shrubs and trees upon elevated tracts of 
ground, or upon the sand and gravel of the driest 
forests. Its bright evergreen leaves seem adapt- 


eel for ready absorption and slow perspiration, so 
that it derives from the dews and rain, what the 
earth ftiils to siipplj it. 

The Gaultheria procumbens is remarkable for 
the different periods of producing its flowers and 
fruit. It is found in blossom not only in the 
early part of spring, but in the last weeks of sum- 
mer, and the fruit is found ripe at corresponding 
periods. Whether this appearance is the product 
of different shoots, or whether the same stems 
blossom twice in a year, I am unable to say. I 
liave, however, met with beds of the Gaultheria 
in full flower in August and September, quite as 
frequently as in May. 1 have also seen the fruit 
in the market at various periods of the summer, 
fall, and spring. 

The plant takes its vulgar names from the 
fruit, and is denominated in different parts of the 
United States, Partridge herry, Chequer berry, 
Box berry, t^c. Its domestic use has also given 
it the name of Mountain tea. 

The genus Gaultheria is beautifully singular 
and distinct in its character, derived from the 
form of its fruit. The calyx is jive cleft, caly- 
culateil, or bihracteate at base. Corolla ovate. 
Capsule five celled, invested with the baccated 


The species procumhens has a prostrate stem 
with ascending branches. Leaves in a terminal 
tuft, obovate with a few ciliate serratnres. Flowers 

Class JDecandria, order Monogynia, Natural 
orders Bicornes Linn. Ericce Juss, 

The stem, or as it might he called root of this 
plant is horizontal, woody, often a quarter of an 
inch in thickness. The branches ai*e ascending, 
but a few inches high, round and somewhat 
downy. Leaves scattered, near the extremities of 
the branches, evergreen, coriaceous, shining, oval 
or obovate, acute at both ends, revolute at the 
edge, and furnished with a few small serratures, 
each terminating in a bristle. Flowers axillary, 
drooping, on round downy stalks. Outer calyx of 
two concave, heart shaped leafets, which may with 
perhaps more propriety be called bractes. Inner 
calyx monophyllous, white, cleft into five roundish 
subacute segments. Corolla white, urceolate, five 
angled, contracted at the mouth, the border divid- 
ed into five short, reflexed segments. Filaments 
white, hairy, bent in a semicircular manner to ac- 
commodate themselves to the cavity between the 
corolla and germ. Anthers oblong, orange col- 
oured, ending in two double horns, bursting out- 
wardly, for their whole length above the filamentS; 


and not openin^^ hy pores as in Pyrola. Pollen 
white. Germ roundish, depressed, five angled, 
resting on a reddish, ten toothed, glandular ring. 
Style erect, straight. Stigma simple, moist. The 
fruit is a small, five celled capsule, invested with 
the calyx, which becomes large, round, and fleshy, 
having the appearance of a bright scarlet berry. 

If the aroma or odour and also the taste of 
plants were susceptible of description in as defi- 
nite language as tlieir proportions and form, the 
sensible qualities of many vegetables might afibrd 
new grounds for generalizing and combining them 
too-ether. The aromatic flavour of the Partridije 
berry, which cannot easily be mistaken by those 
who have once tasted it, may be recognised in a 
variety of other plants, whose botanical habits arc 
very dissimilar. It exists very exactly in some 
of the other species of the same genus, particu- 
larly in Gaiiltheria hispidula ; also in Spirwa ulma- 
ria and the root of Spircea lobata. It is particu- 
larly distinct in the bark of the Sweet birch, 
Betula lenta, one of our most useful and interest- 
ing trees. 

This taste and odour reside in a volatile oil, 
which is easily separated by distillation. The 
essential oil of Gaultheria, which is often kept in 
our druggists' shops, is of a pale or greenish white 


colour ami perfectly transparent. It is one of the 
heaviest of the volatile oils, and sinks rapidly in 
water if a sufficient quantity be added to overcome 
the repulsion of two heterogeneous fluids. Its 
taste is aromatic, sweet and highly pungent. 

The oil appears to contain the chief medicinal 
virtue of the plant, since I know of no case in 
which the leaves, deprived of their aroma, have 
been employed for any purpose. They are nev- 
ertheless considerably astringent, and exhibit the 
usual evidences of this property when combined 
with preparations of iron. 

The berries, or berry-like calyces, have a pulpy 
but rather dry consistence, and a strong flavour 
of the plant. They are esteemed by some persons, 
but are hardly palatable enough to be considered 
esculent. In the colder seasons they afford food 
to the partridges and some other wild animals. 

The leaves, the essence and the oil of this 
plant are kept for use in the apotliecaries' shops. 
An infusion of the leaves has been used to com- 
municate an agreeable flavour to tea, also as a 
substitute for that article by people in the country. 
Some physicians have prescribed it medicinally as 
an emmenagogue, with success in cases attended 
with debility. The oil, though somewhat less pun- 
gent than those of peppermint and origanum, is 


employed for the same purposes. It shai^es with 
them the property of diminishing the sensihility 
of the nerve exposed hy a carious tooth, when 
repeatedly applied. The essence, consisting of 
the volatile oil dissolved in alcohol or proof spirit, 
is antispasmodic and diaphoretic, and may be 
applied in all cases where warm or cordial stimu- 
lants are indicated. A tincture, formed by digest- 
ing the leaves in spirit, possesses the astringency 
as well as warmth of the plant, and has been use- 
fully employed in diarrhoea. 

A respectable physician of Boston informs me, 
that he has in various instances found the infu- 
sion of this plant very effectual in promoting the 
mammary secretion, when deficient ; and even in 
restoring that important function after it had been, 
for some time suspended. Whether the medi- 
cine has any specific influence of this sort, inde- 
pendent of the general state of the patient's health, 
I am not prepared to say. 


Gaultheria procumbens, Linn. Sp, pi. — Michaux, Flor, i. p. 
249. — PuRSH, i. 283. — Nuttall, Gen. i. 263. — Andrews, Bot, 
Repository f t. 116. — "Wllld. drb. 123.— Vitis Idsea Canadensis 
Pyrolse folio, Tournefort, InsU 608. — Anonyma pedunculis 
arcuatis, Golden, JVoveb, 98. 


KjilM, Jimoenitates Academicce, iii. 14. — Bart. Coll. i. 19. 


Fig. 1. Gaultheria procumbens. 

Fig. 2. The trades or outer calyx. 

Fig. 3. The true calyx. 

Fig, 4. Stamen of the natural size. 

Fig. 5. .Anther magnified, the dark places shelving the mode of 

Fig. 6. Calyx and pistil. 
Fig. 7, Fruit. 

Fig. 8. Longitudinal section of the fruit. 
Fig. 9. Transverse section of the capsule. 


May Apple, 



HE Podophyllum peltatiim or May apple, 
otherwise called Mandrake in this country, in- 
habits low shadj situations from New England to 
Geoi'gia. On the Atlantic coast I have never 
met with it farther north than Boston, yet in the 
interior of the country it has a more extensive 
range. From its large creeping roots, it has a 
great tendency to multiply, and is always found 
in beds of greater or less extent. Its flowering 
time is from IMarch to May. 

This plant is one of the Baimnculacem of Jus- 
sieu and Mhoeades of Linnjeus ; and is in the first 
order of the Class Polyandria. 

Its generic character consists in a calya? of 
three leaves ; from siVi? to nine petals ; and a one-cel- 
led berry croivned with the stigma. Only one spe- 





cies is at present known which strictly hclongs to 
the genus. 

The May apple has a jointed running root 
about half the size of the finger, hy which it 
spreads extensively in rich grounds, where it gets 
introduced. The stem is about a foot in height, and 
invested at its base by the sheaths which covered 
it when in bud. It is smooth, round and erect, 
dividing at top into two round petioles from three 
to six inches long. Each petiole supports a large 
peltate, palmate leaf, smooth above, slightly pu- 
bescent beneath, deeply divided into about seven 
lobes, which are wedge shaped, two parted and 
toothed at the extremity. On the inside the leaf is 
cleft almost to the petiole. In barren stems which 
support but one leaf this does not take place, and 
the leaf is very perfectly peltate. In the fork of 
the stem is a solitary flower on a round nodding 
peduncle one or two inches long. Calyx of three 
oval, obtuse, concave leaves, cohering in the bud 
by their scarious margins, and breaking off at 
base when the flower expands. Petals from six 
to nine. Linnaeus makes them nine in his gene- 
ric character, but in this climate I have found 
them more frequently seven even in laxuriant 
specimens growing in very rich soil. They are 
obovate, obtuse, concave, smooth, white with slight 


transparent veins. Stamens shorter than the pe*- 
tals, curving up^vards ; the anthers ohlong, twice 
as long as their filaments. Germ oval, compress- 
ed, obscm'ely ang'ular. Stigma nearly sessile, 
convex, its surface rendered irregular hy nume- 
rous convolutions and folds. The flower is suc- 
ceeded by a large ovate yellowish fruit, which is 
one ceiled, many seeded and crowned with the 
stigma. Its early period of ripening has given 
rise to the trivial name of May apple. 

The dried root of the May apple is fragile and 
easily reduced to powder. It has a peculiar and 
ratlier unpleasant taste, but without much acri- 
mony. When chewed for some time, it manifests 
a strong bitter taste. Both the tincture and de- 
coction are intensely bitter. When water is add- 
ed to the alcoholic solution the mixture becomes 
very gradually turbid, and at length opaque. On 
the other hand, alcohol disturbs both the infusion 
and decoction, especially the latter, in which it 
produces, after some time, a pearly whiteness. 
The tj'ials I have made with it lead me to con- 
clude that it contains a resin, a bitter extractive 
matter, ftecuia and a slight proportion of a gummy 

The medicinal properties of the Podophyllum 
peltalum are those of a sure and active cathartic. 


in which character it deserves a high rank among 
our indigenous productions. We hH\e liardly any 
native plant which answers hetter the common 
purposes of jalap, aloes and rhuharb, and which 
is more safe and mild in its operation. Tlie root 
is the part to be employed, and should be given 
in substance in fine powder. I have commonly 
found twenty grains to operate with efficacy, and 
not to be attended with pain or inconvenience. 
In irritable stomachs it sometimes occasions nau- 
sea and vomiting, but this effect, as is well known, 
may ensue from any cathartic medicine. The late 
Professor Barton informs us, that although the 
root is an excellent cathartic, the leaves are poi- 
sonous, and the whole plant has something of a 
narcotic quality. Its botanical affinities would 
justify, a priori, a suspicion of this kind. In the 
various trials which I have made with it, I have 
not observed any such property in the root. The 
leaves I have never subjected to experiment for 
any purpose. 

The fruit is acid and agreeable to the taste of 
many persons. It is sometimes called wild lem- 
ons, and is eaten with impunity. 

The root is said by some physicians to be a 
medicine particularly suited to dropsy. It has 


also had the character in the Southern States of 
curing intermittent fever. 

A physician in Albany informs me that the 
Shakers at Lebanon, N. Y. prepare an extract of 
the PodophyUum, which is much esteemed by 
medical practitioners as a mild cathartic. These 
people are well known to our druggists by the 
care and neatness with which they prepare a va- 
riety of medicines from native and naturalized 
pharmaceutical plants. 

For medicinal use the root of the May apple 
is advised to be dug in the cold season, w hen veg- 
etation is not active, viz. in the autumn and win- 
ter. At this part of the year the secretions of 
perennial plants are concentrated in their roots, 
and the same weight of their substance is less di- 
luted with the watery or ascending sap, than it 
is at any other period. This constitutes a rea- 
son why the roots of all perennial plants should, 
as far as practicable, be taken up during the cold 
season. But from what I have been able to ob- 
serve, the difference of their virtue in different 
months is much less than is commonly supposed. 
I never knew a medicinal plant whose efficacy 
was destroyed in consequence of being taken up 
even at midsummer, although it may be in some 
degree lessened. It is probable that those roots 


which constitute staple articles of commerce, as 
ipecac, gentian, rhuharh, §c. are gathered indis- 
criminately for exportation at all seasons when 
they are to be found. Being collected by savages 
or by ignorant persons, who seek for them in their 
native wilds, and who are not much interested in 
their future efficacy ; it is probable they would be 
gathered in greatest quantities when their vege- 
tation was most luxuriant, because at this time 
their shoots and tops would be most conspicuous. 
We know this to be the case with our Ginseng, 
Spigelia, Snake root, ^c. which form considerable 
articles of exportation, and which it would be dif- 
ficult to find at any other than the vegetating sea- 

* Annual plants should be gathered at the time when their veg- 
etation is most vigorous, which is generally from the time they begin 
to flower, until the leaves begin to change. The leaves contain the 
greatest activity in most annual plants employed for medicine, while 
the root is a comparatively insignificant part, being small, woody and 
fibrous. Thus the leaves of Stramonium and Tobacco are much more 
active than the root. 

Biennial jjlayits shovild, in most instances, be gathered in the 
second season of their growth, and about the time of flowering. The 
leaves of these plants also contain their medicinal activity, as in Hem- 
lock and Henbane. The roots are medicinal, but usually in a less 
degree. In some aromatic Wennials, the seeds are the most impor- 
tant part of the plant. 



Podophyllum peltatura, Listn. Sp. pi. — Michaux, Flora, i. 
309. — PuRSH, ii. 366. — Lamarck, Illust. geiu — Trew, Ehret. t, 
29. — Anapodophyllura Canadense, Catesbt, Car. i. 24. — Aco- 
nitifoliiis humilis &c. Meistz. pug, t. 11. 


ScHoePF, 86 — B. S. Barton, edit, of Cullen, 375. — Thach- 
EE, Disp. 307. — Chapman, Mat. Med. 209. 


Fig. 1. PodophAjllum peltatnm. 

Fig. 2. Caltjx, 

Fig. 3. Stamens, 

Fig. 4. Germ and stigma. 

Fig. 5, Fruit. 




a V 



<■ /ri^a^ /ar/^?/^('.j 


Skunh Cabbage. 

PLJITE xxir. 

JLhis is one of our most noticeable plants, 
both from the frequency of its occurrence and the 
peculiarity of its sensible properties. Scarcely a 
swamp or meadow is found in the middle and 
northern parts of the United States in which this 
vegetable may not be discovered at a distance, es- 
pecially in the spring season, by its large tufts of 
rank, crowded leaves. Its singular flowers are 
among the first which break from the ground, 
after the rigours of winter, appearing in diiferent 
latitudes, from February to April. The vegeta- 
tion is rapid, so that in most instances the fruit is 
ripe and the leaves wholly decayed before the end 
of xVugust. From this precocity of the plant to- 
gether with the depth to w hich the roots pene- 
trate the earth, it seems calculated to bear the 


cold of high latitudes. I have found the flowers a 
second time formed, and shooting from the ground 
in November. The strong and unpleasant odour 
which ever J part of the plant emits on being 
broken, and which is precisely similar to that of 
the Viverra mephitis ; has given it by an almost 
common consent, in every part of the country, the 
appellations of Skunk weed and Skunk cabbage. 
The structure of this singular vegetable has 
caused it successively to be assigned to the gene- 
ra Arum, Bracontium and Pothos, with none of 
w hich it fully agrees. Of the Aroidese, to which 
it is related, it approaches most nearly in its flow- 
er to Pothos ; while its fruit has more aflinity to 
Orontium. The Tie v. Dr. Cutler many years ago, 
in the Transactions of the American Academy, 
pointed out the distinctive characters of this plant, 
and pronounced it a new genus. No name, how- 
ever, substantiated by a character, has to my know 1- 
edgc been given it, in any botanical work, except 
the name of Sijmplo carpus, a term lately adopted 
by some xlmerican botanists on the alleged au- 
thority of Mr. Salisbury. As this name by its ety- 
iiiolojicy implies a resemblance of the fruit to 
Symplocos, a genus with which the plant has not 
the least affinity ; it appears to me inadmissible. 
Although I am averse to multiply the confusion 


of synonyms, with which our science is already 
too much burdened, yet in the present instance 
an appropriate name, which shouhl not he at va- 
riance with the character of the plant, appeared to 
be required. With the advice of the venerable Dr. 
Cutler, I have translated, as nearly as possible, 
the common English appellation for the plant. 
The name Ictodes from tfcrig, viverra, and c^o, 
oleo ; is sufficiently expressive of the property 
from which its common name is derived. 

The genus Ictodes has for its character a 
hooded spathe, spadicc covered with perfect Jfow- 
ers, calya? tviih four segments, petals none, style 
pyramidal, seeds immersed in the spadi^r. Only 
the present plant can be assigned to this genus. 
It belongs to Tetrandria, monogijnia ; and is found 
among the Piperita of Linnaeus and Aroidece of 
Jussieu. The root is large and abrupt, with nu- 
merous, croAvded, fleshy fibres. The spathe which 
emerges from the ground some time before the 
leaves, is ovate, swelling, various in width, cucul- 
late, spotted and sometimes nearly covered with 
dull brownish purple, the top acuminate and in- 
curved, the edges infolded, auriculate at base, and 
at length coalescing. Within this is the oval 
spadix, on a short peduncle, covered with perfect 
tetrandrous flowers, and of the same colour ^vitli 


the spathe. Calyx leaves four, fleshy, wedge 
shaped, truncate, the top and edges inflected, the 
whole crowded together so as to form a compact 
covering for the spadix. Stamens four, opposite 
the calyx leaves, with subulate filaments equal in 
length to the calyx, and oblong four celled anthers. 
Style four sided, tapering ; stigma minute, pubes- 
cent ; germ roundish, concealed within the spadix. 
After the spathe decays, the spadix continues to 
grow, and with it every part of the flowers except 
the anthers. When the fruit is ripe, the spadix 
has attained many times its original dimensions, 
while the calyx, filaments and style are larger, 
very prominent and separated from each other. 
Within the spadix at the base of each style is a 
round, fleshy seed, as large as a pea, white, tinged 
with green and purple, invested with a separate 
membranous coat, and with a prominent corcu- 
lum situated in a depression at top. 

The leaves which spring up some time after 
the flowers are numerous, large and crowded, ob- 
long heart shaped, acute, smootli, with numerous 
fleshy veins of a paler colour. They spring from 
the root on long petioles, hollowed in front, and 
furnished with large oblong slieaths. They con- 
tinue to increase in size for a month or two after 
the flowering period is past. 


3Ir. Nuttall, who lias observed the germination 
of this plant, informs us that the seed does not ap- 
pear to possesss any other cotyledon, than a 
sheathing stipule, similar to that whieh is after- 
wards produced in the plant. The principle hulk 
of the seed is formed hy >vhat he considers a 
vitellus, having the emhryo exactly resembling 
the future plant, situated in an umbilical depres- 
sion at its top. The attachment of this body to 
the embryo is at first by a minute funiculus, 
which enlarges and becomes more distinct dur- 
ing the progress of germination ; but the most sin- 
gular cu'cumstance respecting it is tlie length of 
time for which it continues attached to tlie grow- 
ing plant, apparently inert at the base of the can- 
dex for twelve or even eighteen months. 

The oifensive and powerful odour which char- 
acterizes this plant is not peculiar to it. The 
fruit of some of the ^orth American currants, and 
particularly Bihes rigens of Michaux, a species 
often met with on the high mountains of the East- 
ern States ; emits when bruised a scent exactly 
similar to this vegetable. 

The odour of the Ictodes resides in a princi- 
ple which is extremely volatile. I have not been 
able to separate it by distillation from any part of 
the plant, the decoction and the distilled water be- 


ing in my experiments but slightly impregnated 
with its sensible character. Alcohol, digested on 
the plant, retains its odour for a time, but this is 
soon dissipated by exposure to the air. 

An acrid principle exists in the root even 
when perfectly dry, producing an effect like that 
of the Arum and Ranunculi. When chewed in 
the mouth, the root is slow in manifesting its pe- 
culiar taste ; but after some moments, a pricking 
sensation is felt, which soon amounts to a disa- 
greeable smarting, and continues for some time. 
This acrimony is readily dissipated by heat. 
The decoction retains none of it. The distilled 
water is impregnated with it, if the process be 
carefully conducted, but loses it on standing a 
short time. 

A resinous substance is dislodged from the 
alcoholic solution of the root by the addition of 
water, the solution becoming moderately turbid. 
A gummy or mucous principle is also present, 
and fills the mouth with mucilage when the root 
is chewed. It is separated from the decoction in 
small /loccuii wlien alcohol is added. 

The spadix consists of a fleshy cellular sub- 
stance, which shrinks very much in drying. The 
seeds when dry are reduced to half their former 
size, and in this state they have a tough waxy 


Consistence and an animal odour. They contain 
fixed oil in abundance, which is easily forced out 
from them by expression. Their principal bulk 
appears to be alhumen, and when reduced to 
powder they are less easily soluble in boiling 
water, than grains which are less oleaginous. 
They burn with an oily smoke, leaving behind a 
large coal. 

The sensible properties of the Ictodes having 
a strong affinity with those of assafcetida and the 
other foetid gums, practitioners have been led to 
expect from it a similar antispasmodic power. 
Experience has justified these expectations in a 
variety of disorders of the spasmodic and nervous 
kind. The Eev. Dr. Cutler of Massachusetts 
was the first who recommended its use in asth- 
matic cases. In his account of indigenous Amer- 
ican vegetables, he tells us that the roots dried 
and powdered form an excellent remedy in asthma, 
and often give relief when other means prove in- 
effectual. It may be given, he says, with safety 
to children as well as adults ; to the former in dos- 
es of four, five or six grains, and to the latter in 
doses of twenty grains and upward. In a private 
letter he states, that he made use of it in his own 
case of asthma for several years, and generally 
found relief In the winter he used the dried 


root in powder, and in summer, the fresh grated 
root. It continued to afford more reUef than any 
other remedy, so long as the paroxysms remain- 
ed under the influence of any medicine. Since 
the recommendation of Dr. Cutler, many country 
physicians have employed the root in asthma, 
catarrh and chronic coughs, with evident benefit. 
A number of cases have fallen under my own ob- 
servation of the catarrh affections of old people, in 
which a syrup prepared from the root in substance 
has alleviated and removed the complaint. Dr. 
Thachcr informs us on various authorities, that 
the powdered root has given immediate relief in 
hysteric paroxysm, that it has afl'ected the cure of 
dropsy, and that rheumatic patients have found 
great benefit from its use. Its strong and pene- 
trating acrimony would lead us, a priori^ to ex- 
pect advantage from it in these complaints. Even 
in the more formidable disease of epilepsy, it has 
appeared to do good. 

Some caution, hoAveyer, is requisite in its man- 
agement, as serious inconvenience may ensue 
from an over dose. In delicate stomachs I have 
found it frequently to occasion vomiting even in 
a small quantity. In several cases of gastrodynia 
Avhere it was given with a view to its antispas- 
modic eflect, it was ejected from the stomach 


more speedily than common cathartic medicines. 
I have known it in a dose of thirty grains to hring 
on not only vomiting, but headach, vertigo and 
temporary blindness. Other practitioners have 
given it in larger quantities without any evil of 
this kind, but I think such an exemption must 
be attributed to the age and deteriorated quality 
of the root. Its active ingredients being more or 
less volatile, it must necessarily be impaired in 
strength by long keeping, especially in a pulveriz- 
ed state. 

To insure a tolerably uniform activity of this 
medicine, the root should be kept in dried slices 
and not reduced to powder until it is wanted for 
use. It may then be taken in pills or mixed with 
syrup in doses of from ten to twenty grains. 
These may in most instances be repeated three 
times a day. 


Arum Americanum, Catesby, Car. ii. t. 71. — Dracontium 
loetidum, Lin. Syst. pi. — W111.D. ii. 288. — Pothos foetida, Mi- 
CHAUX, Amer. ii. 186. — Pursh, ii. 398. — Bot. Mag. 836. — Sym- 
plocarpus foetida, Nuttalx, genera, i. 105. 


Cutler, Trans. Amer, Acad. i. 407. Thacher, Dispensa- 
tory , 150, 




Fig. 1. Idodes fxtidus inflow er, the spathe inclosing the spadicc. 

Fig. 2. The spadix taken out of the spatke. 

Fig. 3. The leaves, stalks, ^c. 

Fig. 4. The spadix in Jridt, one quarter being ciit away to shffw 

the seeds. 
Fig. 5. A flower magnified. 
Fig. 6. The same opened. 
Fig. 7. Petal and Stamen. 
Fig. 8. Style, 
Fig. 9, 10. Seeds, 




Marsh Mosemary. 



HE class of vegetables, denominated mari- 
time, or sea sliore plants, are constituted to occupy 
extensive tracts of ground, which, from their im- 
pregnation with sea salt, are incapable of sustain- 
ing the life and growth of other species. The mu- 
riate of soda, if poured at the roots of the most vigo- 
rous plants belonging to a fresh soil, will often de- 
stroy them in a short time. Few forest trees of the 
temperate zones can grow in marshes where their 
roots are wholly exposed to the access of salt wa- 
ter. Yet such is the wise arrangement of nature, 
that this substance, which proves a poison to most 
vegetables, is converted into the food and necessa- 
ry stimulus of the rest. Maritime plants flourish 
alike in places visited by the tide, and those im- 


pregnated by the salt springs of the interior. The 
degree in which they require the presence of the 
mineral is various, some growing upon the beach, 
where the earth is saturated with salt, and others 
at the extreme edge of marshes, where the impreg- 
nation is much less powerful. With a few excep- 
tions, they cannot long be cultivated in fresh earth, 
but soon decay when removed from their native 

Maritime plants derive a peculiar character 
from their place of growth, which distinguishes 
them even when dry from other vegetables. The 
salt with which they are impregnated crystallizes 
on their surface in dry weather ; and deliquesces 
so as to render them damp and supple, when the 
atmosphere is moist. These plants are trouble- 
some in an herbarium from the facility with which 
they contract moistiu'e from the atmosphere, and 
communicate it to the adjacent papers. The hay 
cut upon salt marshes often becomes extremely 
damp, and would be entirely spoiled, were it not 
for the antiseptic and preservative quality of the 
salt. The barilla of commerce is obtained by the 
combustion of maritime vegetables. 

Many of these plants are thick and fleshy in their 
mode of growth, and differ remarkably in this res- 
pect from their co-species on dry ground. This is 


particularly seen in Arenai-ia, Gerardia, Chenopo- 
diuin, ^c. 

Tlie vegetable which is the subject of this ar- 
ticle is exclusively a maritime plant. It is one of 
the few ornamental species in our salt marshes-, 
and is very conspicuous for its purple tops ap- 
pearing among the grass in all the summer 
months. It varies from a few inches, to a foot and 
more in height. 

This species lias generally been considered a 
variety of the Statice limonium, which is a com- 
mon plant in the salt marshes of Europe. In- 
deed, several of the maritime species of this genus 
approach each other so closely in their characters, 
that they have been considered the same by able 
botanists. Tbe American plant, to which the 
name of Caroliniana was given by AV alter in his 
Flora of Carolina, is distinguished from the Eu- 
ropean principally by its smaller flowers and plain 
or flat leaves. From the Statice Gmellni^ an 
Asiatic species, it differs apparently still less in its 
general form. 

The genus Statice belongs to the class Fentan- 
dria and order Pentagynia, Its natural orders 
are Aggregatw of Linnseus and Plumhagines of 
Jussieu. It is characterized by a calycv mono- 
phyUous^ plaited and scavioiis. Petals Jive ivith 


the Stamens inserted in their claws. Seed one, in- 
vested with the calyx. The species Caroliniana 
has its scape round and panicled ; its leaves oho- 
vate-lanceolate, smooth, obtuse, mucronated, and 
flat on the margin. 

The root of this plant is perennial, large, 
fleshy, fusiform or branched. Several tufts of 
leaves and scapes are often produced from the 
same root. The leaves are narrow-ob ovate, sup- 
ported by long petioles, smooth, veinless, obtuse, 
mucronated by the prolongation of the middle 
rib, level and flat on the margin, in which respect 
they differ from S. limonium, which is undulated. 
Scape round, smooth, furnished with a few scales, 
flexuous at top, giving off numerous branches, 
which end in spikes of flowers ; the whole form- 
ing a large panicle. The base of each branch and 
flower is supported by an ovate, mucronated scale. 
The flowers are alternate, erect, consequently one 
sided in the horizontal branches ; mostly in pairs, 
but appearing single from one expanding before 
the other. They grow on a short, forked pedun- 
cle, which is concealed by several sheathing scales, 
part of which are common to the two, and part 
peculiar to the upper one. The calyx is funnel 
shaped, five angled, the angles ciliate and end- 
ing in long acute teeth with sometimes, not al- 


ways, minute intermediate teeth. Tlie upper 
part of the calyx is scarious and. of a pink coh>ur. 
Petals spatulate, ohtuse, longer than the calyx, 
pale bluish purple. Stamens inserted in the 
claws of the petals, anthers heart shaped. Germ 
small, ohovate, with five ascending styles shorter 
than the stamens. Seed oblong, invested with 
the persistent calyx. 

The root, which is the officinal part of the 
Marsh Rosemary, is one of the most intense and 
powerful astringents in the vegetable materia 
medica. It communicates to the mouth an high- 
ly austere and astringent taste, combined with a 
good deal of bitterness. Few vegetable substan- 
ces, when chemically treated, give more distinct 
and copious evidence of the presence of both 
tannin and gallic acid. The sulphate of iron 
strikes a fine purple colour with the solution, 
and soon deposits a precipitate, which, on expo- 
sure to the air, becomes of an inky blackness. 
Gelatin also throws down a copious, whitish, in- 
soluble precipitate. Eesin hardly exists in this 
root, nor any thing else exclusively soluble in al- 
cohol. The impregnation with sea salt is readily 
made obvious. 

Dr. Mott, Professor of Surgery in the Univer- 
sity of New York, has published an interesting 


and valuable investigation of the properties of this 
plant in 1806. He informs us that the astringen- 
cy, indicated by the sulphate of iron, was greater 
in the tincture than in the infusion under experi- 
ments precisely similar ; from which it may be 
inferred, that alcohol is a better solvent for this 
root than water. He also found the cold infusion 
more powerful than the hot, a circumstance prob- 
ably to be accounted for by the escape of a part 
of the gallic acid by evaporation. The astringen- 
cy w as found fully equal to that of galls, and ink 
made from equal quantities of the two, similarly 
treated, was equal in blackness. 

The Statice Caroliniana possesses much me- 
dicinal reputation as an astringent, and large 
quantities of it are annually consumed in different 
parts of the United States. In Boston it is reg- 
ularly kept by the druggists, and larger quantities 
are sold, than of almost any indigenous article. 
It is principally sought for as a topical remedy 
in aphthse and other ulcerative affections of the 
mouth and fauces. From its astringent and an- 
tiseptic quality, it is peculiarly suited to correct 
tlie state of these local maladies, and its applica- 
tion is commonly follow ed with success. It is 
much better suited to such complaints than the 
Coptis trifolia or gold thread, with which it is 


frequently combined, and which is only a tonic 
bitter without astringeney. 

Dr. Baylies of Dighton, Mass. employed a de- 
coction of the root, both internally and externally, 
in the Cynanche maligna, a disease which has at 
times been epidemic and very destructive in dif- 
ferent parts of our country. It proved very suc- 
cessful not only under his own observation, but 
under that of other physicians in this dangerous 

Br. 3Iott informs us, that in the chronic stages 
of dysentery, after tlie inflammatory diathesis, 
great tenesmus, ^c. are removed ; a strong de- 
coction of the root has restored patients to health, 
after various tonics and astringents had been used 
to no effect. 


Statice Caroliniana, Waiter, Flora Car. 1 1 8. — Pursh, i. 
j212. — NuTTAii, i. 206. — Statice limonium, Muhlenberg, Cat- 
aloguCf S3. — Elliott, Carolinaf i. 374. 


MoTT, Inaugural Dissertation. — Thacher, Disp. 345. — Bay- 
lies., Papers of the Mass. J)Ied. Society, vol. i, 



Fig. 1, Statice Caroliniana, 
Fig. 2. A Jlower magnijied. 
Fig. 3. Calyx ditto. 

Fig. 4. A petal and stamen ditto. 
Fig. 5, Germ and styles ditto. 



Butterjly Weed, 



EW genera are more curious and intricate 
in their structure, than that to which our present 
article belongs. The plants which constitute tlie 
family of Asclepias are so peculiar in their habit, 
that they are easily recognized even by the inex- 
perienced botanist, while their minute structure 
is so complicated, as to require not a little atten- 
tion for its perfect development. This fine race 
of plants are so abundant in the United States, 
that every month of the summer season presents 
us a number of beautiful species. By far the 
most rich and gaudy of these in appearance is tbe 
Asclepias tuberosa, known by the vulgar names 
of Butterjly weed and Pleurisy root, and found in 
dry, sandy soils, pine woods, ^c. from Massachu- 


setts to Georgia. It is the Asclepias decumbens 
of Walter. 

This genus has a jive parted calya^ ; a five parU 
ed rejiexed corolla ; a nectary of five erect, cucul- 
late leaves, each producing an brflected horn from 
its cavity ; stamens united, with ten pollen masses 
hanging by pairs in their cavities. The species 
tuberosais ha'ry, its leaves alternate, oblong-lance- 
olate ; its branches cymose. 

Class Pentandria, order Digynia, Natural or- 
ders Contortw, L. Apocinece, Juss. 

The root of tliis plant is large, fleshy, brancii- 
ing, and often somewhat fusiform. It is only by 
comparison with the other species tisat it can be 
called tuberous. The stems are numerous, grow- 
ing in bunches from the root. They are erect, 
ascending or procumbent, round, hairy, green or 
red. Leaves scattered, the lower ones peduncu- 
lated, the upper ones sessile. They are narrow, 
oblong, hairy, obtuse at base, waved on the edge, 
and in the old plants sometimes revolute. The 
stem usually divides at top mto from two to four 
brandies, which give off crowded umbels from 
their npper side. The involucrum consists of nu- 
merous, short, subulate leafets. Flowers nume- 
rous, erect, of a beautifully bright orange colour. 
Calyx much smaller than the corolla, live parted, 


the segments subulate, reflexed and concealed by 
the corolla. Corolla five parted, reflexed, the seg- 
ments oblong. The nectary or stamineal crown 
is formed of five erect, cucullate leaves or cups, 
with an oblique mouth, having a small, incurved, 
acute horn proceeding from the base of the cavity 
of each and meethig at the centre of the flower. 
The mass of stamens is a tough, horny, somewhat 
pyramidal substance, separable into five anthers. 
Each of these is bordered by membranous, reflect- 
ed edges contiguous to those of the next, and ter- 
minated by a membranous, reflected summit. In- 
ternally they have two cells. The pollen forms 
ten distinct, yellowish, transparent bodies, of aflat 
and spatulate form, ending in curved filaments, 
which unite them by pairs to a minute dark tuber- 
cle at top. Each pair is suspended in the cells of 
two adjoining anthers, so that if a needle be in- 
serted between the membranous edges of two an- 
thers and forced out at top, it carries with it a pair 
of the pollen masses. Pistils two, completely con- 
cealed within the mass of anthers. Germs ovate, 
with erect styles. The fruit, as ^in other spe- 
cies, is an erect lanceolate follicle on a sigmoid pe- 
duncle. In this it is green, with a reddish tinge 
and downy. Seeds ovate, flat, margined, connect- 
ed to the receptacle by long silken hairs, liecep- 
taclc longitudinal, loose, chaflTy. 


The down or silk of the seeds, in this and oth- 
er species, furnishes an admirable mechanism for 
their dissemination. When the seeds are liberat- 
ed by the bursting of the follicle which contains 
them, the silken fibres immediately expand so as 
to form a sort- of globe of branching and highly 
attenuated rays, with the seed suspended at its cen- 
tre. In this state they are elevated by the wind 
to an indefinite height, and carried forward with 
a voyage like that of a balloon, until some obstacle 
intercepts their flight, or rain precipitates them to 
the ground. 

The down of different species of Asclepias is 
susceptible of application to various useful and or- 
namental purposes. If the fibre were sufficiently 
long to admit of its being woven or spun, it would ap- 
proach more closely to silk in its gloss and texture, 
than any vegetable product we possess. As it is, 
it has been substituted for fur, in the manufacture 
of hats, and for feathers in beds and cushions. 
When attached by its ends to any woven fabric, 
this down forms a beautiful imitation of the finest 
and softest fur skins, and is applicable to various 
purposes of dress. The Asclepias Syriaca, from 
its frequency and the large size of its pods, has 
been most frequently employed for the foregoing 
purposes. [JSTote A.] 


TJie root of the Butterfly ^vecd when dry is 
brittle and easily reduced to powder. Its taste is 
moderately bitter, but not otherwise unpleasant. 
Its most abundant solul)le portions are a bitter ex- 
tractive matter and fa?cula. ^No evidence of as- 
tringency is afforded on adding solutions of isin- 
glass or copperas, and hardly any traces of resin 
on adding water to alcohol digested on the root. 
The decoction afforded a flaky precipitate to alco- 
hol, when tlie infusion did not. Boiling water 
may be considered the proper menstruum for this 

This fine vegetable is eminently intitled to the 
attention of physicians as an expectorant and dia- 
phoretic. It produces effects of this kind with 
great gentleness, and without the heating tenden- 
cy which accompanies many vegetable sudorifics. 
It has been long employed by practitioners in the 
Southern States in pulmonary complaints, particur 
larly in catarrh, pneumonia and pleurisy, and has 
acquired much confidence for the relief of these 
maladies. It appears to be an expectorant pecu- 
liarly suited to the advanced stages of pulmonary 
inflammation, after depletion has been carried to 
the requisite extent. Dr. Parker of Virginia, as 
cited by Dr. Thacher, having been in the habit of 
employing this root for twenty five years, consid- 


ers it as possessing a peculiar and almost specific 
quality of acting upon the organs of respiration, 
promoting suppressed expectoration, and relieving 
the breathing of pleuritic patients in the most ad- 
vanced stage of the disease. 

Dr. Chapman, Professor of medicine in Phil- 
adelphia, informs us that his experience with this 
medicine is sufficient to enable him to speak with 
confidence of its powers. As a diaphoretic he 
thinks it is distinguished by great certainty and 
permanency of operation, and has this estimable 
property, that it produces its effects without in- 
creasing much the force of the circulation, raising 
the temperature of the surface, or creating inqui- 
etude and restlessness. On these accounts it is 
well suited to excite perspiration in the forming 
states of most of the inflammatory diseases of 
winter, and is not less useful in the same cases at 
a more advanced period, after the reduction of ac- 
tion by bleeding, ^c. The common notion of its 
having a peculiar efficacy in pleurisy, he is inclin- 
ed to think is not without foundation. Certain it 
is, says he, that it very much relieves the oppres- 
sion of the chest in recent catarrh, and is unques- 
tionably an expectorant in the protracted pneu- 


As far as my own observation with this plant 
extends, I am persuaded of its usefulness in va- 
rious complaints. It appears to exert a mild ton- 
ic effect, as well as a stimulant power on the ex- 
cretorics. Like other vegetable bitters, if given 
in large quantities, especially in infusion and de- 
coction, it operates on the alimentary canal, 
though its efiicacy in this respect is not suffi- 
cient to entitle it to rank among active cathartics. 
I am satisfied of its utility as an expectorant med- 
icine, and have seen no inconsiderable benefit 
arise from its use as a palliative in phthisis pul- 
monalis. Among other instances may be cited 
that of a young physician in this town, who died 
two years since of pulmonary consumption. He 
made great use of the decoction of this root, and 
persevered in it a long time from choice, finding 
that it facilitated expectoration and relieved the 
dyspnoea and pain in the chest, more than any 
other medicine. 

The best mode of administering the Asclepias 
is in decoction or in substance. A teacup full 
of the strong decoction, or from twenty to thirty 
grains of the powder, may be given in pulmonary 
complaints several times in a day. In most cases 
after the inflammatory diathesis is in some degree 
subsided, it may be freely repeated as long as it 
agrees with the stomach and bowels. 



Asclepias tuberosa, Lin. Sp. pL — Pursh, i. 183. — Michaux, 
i. 117. — Elliott, Car. i. 325. — Asclepias decumbens, a variety, 
Lin. Pursh, &c. — Apocynum Novje Anglise birsutum radice 
tuberosa, floribus aurantiacis, Herman, Hort. 646. t. 647. — DuL- 
lENlus, EltJu 35, t. 30, /. 34. 


B. S. Barton, CoUedionSf 48. — Thacher, Disp, 154.— 
Chapman, Therapeutics and Mat. Med. i. 346. 


Fig. 1. Asclepias tuberosa. 

Fig. 2. Jl Jloiver, 

Fig. 3, Jl Jlower dissected, showing the mass of anthers, and one 

nectary tvith its horn. 
Fig. 4. Magnified section of the mass of anthers, showing the sit- 

itation of the pistils inside, ^x. A pflir of pollen masses 

is drawn out at the top. 
Fig. 5. Pistils magnijied, and calyx. 



Small Magnolia, 


vf F the splendid family of trees known by 
the name of Magnolia, the American continent 
has many species. Taken collectively they fur- 
nish perhaps the most elegant assemblage produc- 
ed in the forests of the temperate zone. They 
are distinguished by their rich, smooth foliage, 
large fragrant flowers, and aromatic bark. Some 
of them are trees of very exalted stature, taking 
rank with the highest tenants of the woods. The 
present species is more humble than the rest in 
its growth, yet more interesting in some of its oth- 
er properties. 

The Magnolia glauca has the most extensive 
range, especially near tlie sea board, of any of the 
species of its family. Its most northern bounda- 


rj appears to be in a sheltered swamp in Man- 
chester, Cape Ann, about thirty miles north of 
Boston. It here attains to but small size, and is 
frequently killed to the ground by severe winters. 
It is common in the Middle and Southern States, 
and Michaux informs us, that it is one of the most 
abundant trees in the morasses of Florida and 
Lower Louisiana. According to this author how- 
ever, it is not usually met with liar in the interior, 
or to the west of the mountains. Its common 
names are various, and change with almost every 
district. In Massachusetts it has no other name 
than Magnolia ; in the Middle States it is called 
Swamp sassafras and Beaver tree ; while in the 
Southern States it is denominated Sweet bay and 
White bay. It is naturally a tenant of deep boggy 
swamps, and is somewhat irregular in its growth. 
It acquires more symmetry of form when cultivat- 
ed in an upland soil, although its transplantation 
is difficult. To insure it sussessful cultivation in 
a dry soil, the tree shonld be raised from the seed. 
This tree begins to flower in different parts of 
the United States in May, June and July, '^l he 
flowers are highly fragrant, and may be perceived 
by their peHume at a considerable distance. A 
few of them shut up in a room over night commu- 
nicate to the air a heavy and almost insupportable 


The Magnolias are found in the class Folyan- 
firm and order Folygynia ; the Coadanatcc of Lin- 
naius and Maguolice of Jussieu. 

This genus has a cahjcc of three leaves, a co- 
rolla pf SUV petals or more ; capsules two-valved, 
imbricated, forming a cone ; seeds berried, pendu- 

The present species has oval leaves, glaucous 
underneath ; and obovate petals, narrowed at base. 

The bark of tlie young twigs is of a bright, 
smooth green, with rings at the insertion and scars 
of the leaves. The leaves are scattered, petioled, 
regularly elliptical, entire, and glabrous. Their 
under side, except the midrib, is of a beautifully 
pale, glaucous colour, by which the tree may be 
distinguished at a distance. When young, this 
surface is covered with a silken pubescence. Flow- 
ers solitary, terminal, on a short, incrassated pe- 
duncle. Calyx of three spatulate, obtuse, concave 
sescments. Corolla of from ei«:ht to fourteen obo- 
vate, obtuse, concave petals, contracted at then* 
base. The stamens are very numerous and in- 
serted in common witli the petals on the sides of 
a conical receptacle. Filaments very short ; an- 
thers linear, mucronated, two-celled, opening in- 
wardly. Germs oval, collected into a cone, each 
one divided by a furrow and tipt with a brownish, 


linear, recurved style. The fruit is a cone, con- 
sisting of imbricated cells, which open longitudi- 
nally for the escape of the seed. The seeds are 
obovate, scarlet, connected to the cone by a thread, 
which suspends them some time after they have 
fallen out. 

The bark of the Magnolia glauca has a bit- 
ter taste, combined with a strong aromatic pun- 
gency, which approaches that of Sassafras and of 
the Acorns calamus. The aroma resides in a vol- 
atile portion, which is probably an essential oil, or 
a variety of camphor. It is lost from the bark in 
the dry state, after it has been kept some time. 
Water distilled from the green bark has its pecu- 
liar flavour with an empyreumatic smell. No oil 
appears on the surface, when the experiment is 
conducted in the small way. The dried bark af- 
fords a little resin, and more of a bitter extractive 
substance. Chalybeate tests produce a very slight 
darkening of the green colour of the decoction, 
but gelatin occasions no change. This might be 
anticipated from the little taste of astringency in 
the bark. 

As a medicinal ai*ticle, the 3Iagnolia is to be 
considered an aromatic tonic, approaching in its 
charactertoCascarilla, Canella, and articles of their 
class. Considered simply in regard to its tonic 


powers, it is probably of a secondary order, though 
from the additional properties which it possesses 
of a warm stimulant and diaphoretic is found use- 
ful in certain disorders. Chronic rheumatism is 
one of the diseases in which it exhibits most effi- 
cacy. Xot only the bark, but the seeds and cones 
which are strongly imbued with the sensible qual- 
ities of the tree, are employed in tincture with 
very good success in this disease. 

In intermittent and remittent fevers the Mag- 
nolia is one of the many tonics which have been 
resorted to for cure by the inhabitants of the 
marshy countries where they prevail. Sufiicient 
testimony has been given in favour of the bai'k of 
this tree, to warrant a belief that it is fully ade- 
quate to the removal of fever and ague, when ad- 
ministered like tlie Cinchona, in liberal quantities 
between the paroxysms. In the more continuous 
forms of fever of the typhoid type, it has also re- 
ceived tlie commendations of physicians. 

Several other species of Magnolia resemble the 
present very closely in their sensible properties, 
and as far as experiments have been tried, they 
are similar in their medicinal effects. In order 
to secure tlie whole efficacy residing in these 
trees, a tincture should be made from the bark or 
cones while green or very recently dried, before 
their more volatile parts have escaped. 


Magnolia gtauca, Lint. 'Sp. pi. — Michaux, i. 523. — Pursh, 
ii. 381. — MicHAUx, fil. ^rb. forest, iii. 77. — Magnolia lauri 
folio subtus albicante. Catesby, Car. i. t. 39. — Trew, sel. t. 9. 
— DiLLENius, Hort, 207. 1. 168, /. 205. — Lauras tulipifera &c. — 
Uaius, hist. 1690. 

Kalm, TravelSf i. 205. — Marshall, Arbustuiiif 83. — ^Hum- 
phries, Jf/fd. Commentaries i vol. xviii. — Bart. Coll. 46. — Price, 
Inaugural Diss. Philad. 1812. 


Fig. 1. Jl jlotvenng hranch of Magnolia glauca. 
Fig. 2. The fruit and seeds. 
Fig. 3. Stamen magnijied. 
Fig. 4. .i germ and style ditto. 






HE family of Cornels, if surveyed by oth- 
er eyes than those of botanists, is remarkable 
for the difference of growth and appearance of its 
various species. Many of them are shrubs ; a few 
attain to the stature of trees, while some are so 
humble in their growth as to be deemed hardly 
more than herbaceous. A part have their flowers 
surrounded with a fine white involucrum, many 
times exceeding the whole bunch in magnitude ; 
while others present their naked cymes unadorn- 
ed by any investment. To the botanical observer 
they all exhibit a close affinity and resemblance to 
each other ; which is seen in the form and anatom- 
ical texture of their leaves, the structure of their 
flowers and the appearance of their fruit. 


The Cornus jlorida, or flo^vering Dogwood, is 
the largest and most splendid of its genus, and is 
one of the chief ornaments of our forests. As a tree 
it is rather below the middle stature, not usually 
reaching the height of more than twenty or thirty 
feet. It is however among the most conspicuous 
objects in the forests, in the months of April, May 
and June, according to its latitude, being then 
covered with a profusion of its large and ele- 
gant flowers. In Massachusetts, especially about 
Boston, it is not a common tree, only scatter- 
ed individuals appearing here and there in the 
w oods. In the Middle States it is extremely com- 
mon, especially in moist woods. Michaux informs 
us, that in the Carolinas, Georgia and the Floridas 
it is found only on the borders of swamps, and 
never in the pine barrens, where the soil is too 
dry and sandy to sustain its vegetation. It is al- 
so not very common in the most fertile parts of 
the Western States, being chiefly found where the 
soil is of secondary quality.* 

* Mr. William Bartram, in his travels in Georgia and Floridajgives 
the following account of the appearance of this tree near the banks of 
the Alabama river. " We now entered a very remarkable grove of 
Dogwood trees, ( Cornus jiorida,) which continued nine or ten miles 
unalterable, except here and there a towering Magnolia grandiflora. 
The land on which thej stand is an exact level ; the surface a shallow, 
loose, black mould, on a stratum of stiff, yellowish clay. These trees 


The genus Corniis is chai'acterized by the fol- 
lowing marks. Petals four, superior ; involucrum 
of four leaves, or wanting ; drupe with a two-cell- 
ed nnt. The species /loric/a is arboreous, with its 
flowers in heads surrounded by an involucrum of 
obovate leaves with recurved points. 

Class Tetandria, order Monogynia, natural or- 
der Stellatoe, Lin. Caprifolia. Juss. 

The Cornus florida is of slow growth, and pos- 
sesses a very compact wood, covered with a rough, 
broken bark. The branches are smooth, covered 
with a reddish bark, marked with rings at the 
place of the former leaves. The leaves, which 
are small at the flowering time, are opposite, peti- 
oled, oval, acute, entire, nearly smooth, paler he- 
were about twelve feet high, spreading horizontally, their limbs, meet- 
ing and interlocking with each other, formed one vast, shady, cool 
grove, so dense and humid as to exclude the sun-beams, and prevent 
the intrusion of almost every other vegetable, affording us a most de- 
sirable shelter from the fervid sun-beams at noon day. This admi- 
rable grove has by way of eminence acquired the name of Dog woods. 
During a progress of near seventy miles through this high forest, 
there constantly presented to view, on one hand or the other, spa- 
cious groves of this fine flowering tree, which must in the spring sea- 
son, when covered with blossoms, present a most pleasing spectacle, 
when at tlie same time a variety of other sweet shruljs display 
their beauty ; as the Halesia, Stewartia, iEsculus, Azalea, &c. en- 
tangled with garlands of Bignonia, Glycine, Lonicera, &c. &c. at the 
same time the superb Magnolia grandiflora standing in front of the 
dark groves, towering far above the common level.-' Travels, p. 399. 


neath, and marked, as in others of the genus, with 
strong parallel veins. The flowers, which are 
very small, grow in heads or sessile umbels, upon 
peduncles an inch or more in length. At the 
base of each bunch is the large spreading involu- 
crum, constituting the chief beauty of the tree when 
in flower. This involucrum is composed of four 
white, nerved, obovate leaves, having their point 
turned abruptly down or up, so as to give them an 
obcordate appearance. This point has frequently 
a reddish tinge. Calyx superior, somewhat bell- 
shaped, ending in four obtuse spreading teeth. 
Petals four, oblong, obtuse, reflexed. Stamens 
four, erect, the anthers oblong with the filaments 
inserted in their middle. Style erect, shorter 
than the stamens, with an obtuse stigma. The 
fruit is an oval drupe of a glossy scarlet colour, 
containing a nucleus with two cells and two seeds. 
The bark of the Cornus florida is a powerful 
bitter, possessing also an astringent and somewhat 
aromatic taste. Both tannin and the gallic acid 
are abundantly developed in its solutions by their 
proper tests. In my experiments with the bark 
of young twigs, but a small quantity of pure resin 
was made manifest. It would seem that the prin- 
cipal seat of the bitterness is in a variety of ex- 
tractive matter. 


In a valuable inaugural dissertation on the 
Cornus florida and Cornus sericea by Dr. Walker 
of Virginia, much attention appears to have been 
bestowed on the chemical properties of their bark. 
He found that water distilled from the bark in 
powder had a transparent, whitish appearance, 
with a slight aromatic odour, and no perceptible 
taste. When the heat was increased, the fluid 
had a lemon colour, with an unpleasant smell and 
an acerb taste. These effects were probably pro- 
duced by the volatilization and partial decompo- 
sition of portions of the bark in consequence of 
the heat being continued until the mixture was 
evaporated nearly to dryness. 

With a view to ascertain the effect of different 
menstrua, Dr. Walker subjected to experiment the 
residual mass furnished by evaporating a decoc- 
tion of the root of Cornus florida. Two drachms 
of this residuum, which had been furnished by 
seven and an half ounces of the decoction, were 
macerated in successive quantities of the best al- 
cohol, until the last portion ceased to be changed 
in colour and taste. The part, which remained 
undissolved, weighed only half a drachm. When 
redissolved it was destitute of taste, and underwent 
no change of colour on adding the test of iron. 
The alcohol, which had been employed in the ex- 


periment, was found to possess an intensely bitter 
taste with astringency, of a clear red colour, and 
turning to a deep black on the addition of iron. 
On evaporation, it yielded a drachm and an half of 
residuum. — Dr. Walker attempted to ascertain the 
quantity of resin by macerating the alcoholic ex- 
tract in repeated portions of sulphuric ether. 
The ether acquired a dark colour and a bitter 
taste, and was found to have dissolved three quar- 
ters of the extract. When tested with iron, it was 
found that the remaining quarter only was chang- 
ed to a black colour. 

The Cornus florida is one of the many vege- 
tables which, by the union of their gallic acid with 
the salts of iron, form a black compound, applica- 
ble to the purposes of ink. The constancy of 
the black colour thus produced varies greatly, ac- 
cording to the substance from which the gallic 
acid is derived. It is often extremely fugacious, 
sometimes fading in a few days, and at others be- 
coming indistinct after some weeks or months. 
Considering the very great importance of the pur- 
poses for which ink is employed, and the immense 
evils which may result from its obliteration in writ- 
ings intended for permanency ; it is with extreme 
caution that we should recommend the introduction 
of any change in the mode of its formation. The 


oak gall has had the experience of ages in favour 
of its permanence and immutability. It is not 
until some indigenous article, producing an equal 
intensity of colour, has undergone a series of tri- 
als from time and exposure, sufficient to establish 
beyond a doubt its durability, that its substitution 
in the manufacture of ink should be considered 
expedient or even justifiable. 

Upon the human body the bark of the Cornus 
florida acts as a tonic, an astringent and an anti- 
septic, approaching in its general effects to the 
character of the Peruvian bark. From a variety 
of experiments made by Dr. Walker upon the 
healthy system, it was found that this medicine 
uniformly increased the force and frequency of 
the pulse, and augmented the heat of the body. 
Collateral experiments were made at the same 
time with the Peruvian bark, witli which the Cor- 
nus appeared to agree both in its internal and ex- 
ternal effiicts. 

In disease it has been principally employed in 
the same cases for which the cinchona is resorted 
to, particularly intermittent and remittent fever. 
IJr. Gregg of Pennsylvania, cited by Dr. Walker, 
states, that after employing the Cornus florida ha- 
bitually for twenty three years in the treatment of 
intermittents, he was satisfied that it was not in- 


ferior to tlie Peruvian bark as a means of cure in 
such cases. Among the number of cures by this 
medicine, was that of his own case. He observ- 
ed that in its recent state it sometimes disagreed 
with the stomach and bowels, but that this ten- 
dency in the article was corrected by age. He 
recommends the bark as being in the best state 
after it has been dried a year. 

Other medical men have employed the bark 
of this tree with advantage in intermittents, and 
also in continued fevers of the typhoid type. Its 
tonic operation in these cases appears very analo- 
gous to that of the Peruvian bark. 

I have employed the tincture of Cornus flori- 
da as a stomachic in various instances of loss of 
appetite and indigestion. The report of those 
who have taken it has perhaps been as frequently 
in favour of its effects, as of gentian, columbo, and 
the other imported tonics of the shops, though 
perhaps it is somewhat more liable to offend the 
stomach in large doses. In the Southern States 
a decoction of the buds and twigs has been thought 
to agree better with weak stomachs, than the oth- 
er preparations. 

Some other species of this family resemble the 
present tree in the bitterness and tonic power of 
their bark, particularly the Cornus circinata and 
C. sericea. 


The wood of the Corniis florida is hard, Iicavy 
and fine grained, and susceptible of a good pol- 
ish. It is employed for various purposes where 
strength and solidity are required, although its. 
small size does not permit it to he used for oh- 
jects of much magnitude. From its hardness it 
is found peculiarly useful for handles of instru- 
ments, the teeth of wheels, and the smaller parts 
of wooden machinery. 


Coriius florida, hiN. — Gronovius, J^irg. 17. — Kalm, 
travels, ii. 321. — Wangenheim, .^mer. p, 51, t. 17. — L'IIeri- 
TiER, Corn. n. 3. — Schmidt, Arh. t. 62 — Botanical Mag. t. 526. 
— PuRSH, i. 108. — MicHAux, FLL. ArbresforesHers, iii. 138, trans- 
lated, i. 255. — Elliott, Car. i. 207. — Cornus mas Virginiana, 
kc. — 'Plukexet, Mm. 120, t. 2,/. 3. — Catesby, Car. t. 27. 


Walker, Inaugural Dissertation, Pliilad. 1803. — Bart. Coll. 
1 2. — Thacher, Disp. 203. — Elliott, ut supra. 


Fig. 1. Cornus Jlorida, a branch withfiowers. and one with leaves. 
Fig. 2. Fruit. 
Fig. 3. .1 Jower. 




An the early part of the eighteenth century 
some accounts were sent to Europe hy travellers 
and missionaries, of a root growing in Chinese 
Tartary, known hy the name of Ginseng, upon 
which a high value was set hy the eastern Asiat- 
ics, and which was sold in the cities of China at an 
enormous price. Father Jartoux, a missionary at 
Pekin, who had an opportunity of witnessing the 
collection and use of this root, made a drawing of 
the plant, accompanied with a particular descrip- 
tion, and an account of its uses, and the cause of 
its high estimation and demand among tlie Chi- 
nese. While on a journey among the mountains 
of Tartary, performed under the sanction of the 
emperor of China, he met in various instances 

Annin &. ■onti<^'> J > 


with the plant, and witli people employed in col- 
lecting it. He states that the root is found prin- 
cipally between the 39th and 47th degree of north 
latitude, in thick forests, upon the declivities of 
mountains, on the banks of torrents, and about 
the roots of trees. It never grows in the open 
plains or vallies, but always in dark, shady situa- 
tions, remote from the sun's rays. 

As the right of gathering this root is monop- 
olized by the emperor of China, the most exten- 
sive precautions are taken by him to prevent an 
encroachment on tliis privilege. The places 
where the Ginseng is known to grow are guarded 
with great vigilance, and a whole province, that 
of Quantong, bordering on the desert, is surround- 
ed by a barrier of wooden stakes, about which 
guards continually patrole, to keep the inhabitants 
within bounds, and prevent them from making 
excursions into the woods, in search of the pro- 
hibited drug. N^otwithstanding this vigilance, 
their eagerness after gain incites the Chinese to 
wander by stealth in the desert, sometimes to the 
number of two or three thousand, in search of the 
root, at the hazard of losing their liberty, and all 
the fruits of their labour, if they are taken. The 
emperor employs his own servants for the pur- 
pose of collection, and in the year 1709, had ten 


thousand Tartars engaged in scouring the woods 
in pursuit of the phint. Each man so employed 
was obligated to present his mnjesty two ounces 
of the best he should collect, and to sell him tlie 
rest for its weight in pure silver. At this rate it 
was computed that the emperor would get in a 
year, about 20,000 Chinese pounds, which would 
cost him not above one quarter of its value, at the 
common rate of selling it. 

The collectors of the Ginseng carry with them 
neither tents nor beds, every one being sufficient- 
ly loaded with his provision, which is only parch- 
ed millet, on which he is obliged to subsist during 
tlie whole journey. The mandarins send them 
from time to time some pieces of beef, with such 
game as they happen to take, which they eat very 
greedily, and almost raw. They are accustomed 
to sleep on the ground, and notwithstanding six 
months are passed in this way, they continue lus- 
ty and in perfect health. 

The army of herbalists, in order to scour the 
country effectuall}, divide themselves into compa- 
nies of one hundred each, which proceed forward 
in direct line, every ten of them keeping at a dis- 
tance from tlie rest. In this way they overrun an 
extensive wilderness in a short space of time. 


If any one of the company was wantin^^, as it 
often happened, either hy having wandered out of 
the way, or being attacked hy wild heasts, the 
party devoted a day or two to search for him, and 
then returned to their labour. 

The root of the Ginseng is the only part pre- 
served. The collectors bury in the ground every 
ten or fifteen days all that they have procured. 
In order to prepare it for use, they dip it in scald- 
ing water, and scour it with a brush. The roots 
are then prepared with the fumes of a species of 
millet, to give them a yellow colour. The millet 
is put in a vessel with a little water and boiled 
over a gentle fire. The roots are placed over the 
vessel upon transverse pieces of wood, being first 
covered with a linen cloth or anotlier vessel. 
When treated in this way they assume upon dry- 
ing a horny or semi-trans parant appearance. 

The roots may also be dried in the sun, or by 
the fire, and retain their qualities perfectly. In 
this case, however, they have not that yellow col- 
our, which the Chinese so much admire. 

The Chinese consider the Ginseng as possessing 
unequalled medicinal powers, and their physicians 
have written many volumes upon the qualities of 
the plant. It is made an ingredient in almost all 
the remedies which they .s;ive to their nobility, its 


price beinj^ too expensive for the common people. 
The sick take it to recover health, and the healthy 
to make themselves stronger and more vigorous. 
They affirm that it removes all fatigue, either of 
body or mind, dissolves humours, cures pulmona- 
ry diseases, strengthens the stomach, increases 
the vital spirits, and prolongs life to old age. Its 
price at Pekin, according to travellers, has been 
eight or nine times its weight in silver, and even 

Father Jartoux became so far a convert to the 
virtues of the plant, that he tells us that after hav- 
ing taken half of a root, he found his pulse quick- 
er and fuller, his appetite improved, and his 
strength increased so as to bear labour better 
than before. On another occasion, finding him- 
self so fatigued and wearied as to be scarce able 
to sit on horseback, a mandarin in company per- 
ceiving his distress, gave one of the roots. He 
took half of it, and in an hour was not sensible 
of any weariness. "I have observed," says he, 
" that the green leaves, especially the fibrous part 
of them, when chewed, would produce nearly the 
same effect. The Tartars often bring us the 
leaves of Ginseng instead of tea, and I always 
find myself so well afterwards, that I should read- 
ily prefer them before the best tea. Their de- 


coction is of a grateful colour, and when one has 
taken it twice or tlu'ice, its taste and smell be- 
come very pleasant.'' 

The Chinese use a decoction of the root, for 
ivhich they employ about a fifth part of an ounce 
at a time. This they boil in a covered vessel 
with two successive portions of water, in order to 
extract all its virtue. 

The following is the substance of Jartoux's de- 
scription of the Asiatic plant. The root is wliit- 
ish, rugged and uneven. The stalk is round, and 
shaded with red ; it terminates in a knot or joint 
at top, from which proceed four equal branches. 
Each branch produces five leaves, which are equi- 
distant from each other, and from the ground. 
The leaves are unusually thin and fine, with their 
fibres ver}^ distinguishable, and a few whitish hairs 
on the upper side. Their colour is dark green 
above, and a pale, shining green underneath. All 
the leaves are serrated or finely indented on the 
edge. — From the centre of the branches rises a 
second stalk which is very straight and smooth, 
and whitish from bottom to top, bearing a bunch 
of round fruit, of a beautiful red colour, composed 
of twenty four red berries. The red skin of the 
berrv is thin and smooth, and contains a white 
pulp. As these berries were double, (for they 


are sometimes found single,) each of them had 
two rough stones, separated from each other, of 
nearly the size and figure of common lentils. 
The herries were supported on small sprigs, 
which rose from a common centre like the rays of 
a sphere. The fruit is not good to eat. The ber- 
ries are not round hut a little flat on each side. 
"When they are dou])le there is a depression or 
hollow place in the middle where the two parts 
unite. Each berry has a small beard at top dia- 
metrically opposite to the sprig on which it hangs. 
When the berry is dry there remains only a shrivel- 
led skin, adhering close to the stones, of a dark 
red, or black colour. 

The plant dies away and springs up again 
every year. The number of years may be known 
by the number of stalks it has shot fortb, of which 
there always remains a mark or scar on the up- 
per part of the root. 

"As to the flower,'' says he, " not having seen 
it, I can give no description of it. Some say it is 
white and very small ; others have assured me 
that the plant has none, and that nobody ever saw 
it. I rather believe that it is so small and so little 
remarkable, that none of tliem ever took notice 
of it. 


" There are some plants, which, hesides the 
bunch of berries, have one or two berries like the 
former, phiced an inch or an inch and an half be- 
low the bunch. And when this happens, they 
say if any one takes notice of the point of compass 
to which these berries direct, he will not fail to 
find more of the plant." 

The foregoing description of Jartoux is intro- 
duced as being a very intelligible description of 
a plant, in language not the most botanical. The 
drawing, which accompanies the description, is 
very satisfactory. 

The report of the high value of the Ginseng at 
Pekin led to an inquiry among Europeans, wheth- 
er the plant was not to be found in parallel lati- 
tudes, in the forests of North America. Father 
Lafiteau, a Jesuit, missionary among the Iroquois, 
after much search, found a plant in Canada an- 
swering the description, and sent it to France. 
In 1718, M. Sarrasin published in the Memoirs of 
the Academy an account of the American Gin- 
seng; which, together with one published by Laf- 
iteau the same year, seemed to put its identity 
with the Chinese vegetable beyond a doubt. 

Soon after this the French commenced the 
collection of the root in Canada for exportation. 
For this purpose they employed the Indians, \a ho 


brought it to the merchants for a certam com- 
pensatioa. At one period the Indians about Que- 
bec and Montreal were so wholly taken up in the 
search for Ginseng, tliat their services could not 
be engaged for any other purpose. The Ameri- 
can English engaged in the same traffic, and al- 
though the plant is a rare one in the woods, yet 
very large quantities of the root were collected. 
In 1748, Kalm tells us the common price of the 
root at Quebec was from five to six livres a pound. 
The first shipments to China proved extremely 
profitable to those concerned, especially to the 
French. In a short time, however, the amount 
exported overstocked the market, the Chinese be- 
gan to think the American Ginseng inferior to 
the Tartai'ian, and its value depreciated, so that it 
ceased to be an object of profitable commerce. 
Its demand has not materially risen at any subse- 
quent period, although it is still occasionally ex- 
ported. The Chinese most readily purchase the 
forked or branching roots ; and those exporters 
have been most successful, who have prepared 
their Ginseng by clarifying it after the Chinese 

The American Ginseng is thinly scattered 
throughout the mountainous regions of the North- 
ern and Middle States. Kalm informs us, that it 


is seldom found north of Montreal. Miclianx 
states that it inhabits mountains and rich, shady 
woods from Canada to Tennessee. I have princi- 
pally met with this plant in the western parts of 
Massachusetts, and in A'ermont, especially on the 
sides of the Ascutney mountain. Bartram found 
it near the mouth of the Delaware. 

Linn?eus has given to the genus of plants, 
which includes the Ginseng, the name of Vanacc^ 
a Greek word, intended to express the reputed 
character of the Chinese panacea. 

The character of this genus consists in ft sim- 
ple umbel; corolla Jive petalled; berry inferior, 
two or three seeded ; plants polygamous. 

The species quinqiiefolinm has three quinate 

The root of this plant consists of one or more 
fleshy, oblong and somewhat fusiform portions, of 
a whitish colour, transversely wrinkled, and ter- 
minating in various radicles. Its upper portion 
is slender and marked with the scars of the former 
shoots. Stem smooth, round, green, with often a 
tinge of red, regularly divided at top into three 
petioles, witli a flower-stalk at their centre. Peti- 
oles round, smooth, swelling at base. Leaves 
three, compound, containing five, rarely three or 
seven leafets. The partial leaf-stalks are given 


off in a digitate manner, and are smooth, com- 
pressed and furrowed above. Leafets oblong, ob- 
ovate, sharply serrate, acuminate, smooth on both 
sides, with scattered bristles on the veins above. 
The flowers, which are small, grow in a simple 
umbel on a round, slender peduncle, longer than 
the petioles.. The involucrum consists of a mul- 
titude of short subulate leafets, interspersed with 
the flower-stalks. These stalks or rays are so 
short as to give the appearance of a head, rath- 
er tJian umbel. In the perfect flowers the calyx 
has five small acute teeth ; the corolla five petals, 
which are oval, reflexed and deciduous. Sta- 
mens five, with oblong anthers. Styles two, re- 
flexed, persistent ; germ lai'ge, inferior, ovate- 
heart shaped, compressed. The berries are kid- 
ney shaped, retuse at both ends, compressed, of a 
bright scarlet colour, crowned with the calyx and 
styles, and containing two semi-circular seeds. 
In most umbels there are flowers with only one 
style, in which case the berry has a semi-cordate 
form, as represented in fig. 3. Sometimes there 
tire three styles and three seeds. The outermost 
flowers ripen first, and their berries often obtain 
their full size before the central ones are expand- 
ed. The middle flowers are frequently abortive. 


There are also barren flowers, on separate 
plants, which botanists describe as having larger 
petals, and an entire calyx. I have not met with 
plants of this description in flower. 

The foregoing character leaves little doubt 
that the American plant is precisely the same 
with the Asiatic, although Loureiro and some oth- 
ers have disputed their identity. The description 
of Jartoux, which has been given, as well as his 
drawing of the plant, agrees in every respect, ex- 
cept that his plant had four branches or leaves, 
instead of three. This is accounted for by sup- 
posing he had chosen a luxuriant specimen. — It 
is somewhat remarkable that the names of the 
Chinese, and of the North American Indians, 
should signify the same thing in their respective 
languages, viz. a resemblance to the figure of a 
man. This resemblance, however, it must be con- 
fessed, even in the branching roots, is rather of a 
humble kind. 

The genus Panax was placed by Linnaeus in 
his class Polygamia, and by late writers in Pen- 
tandria, Digynia. The plants of this family were 
also referred by Linnaeus to his natural order 
Hederacece, or somewhat heterogeneous assem- 
blage of vegetables ; and by Jussieu to his Jlralice, 
Later botanists have placed them among the Urn- 


helUferoiis vegetables, from which they differ in 
their berried fruit. The genus most near to Pa- 
nax is unquestionably Aralia, which differs only 
in the number of styles, a eharacter extremely va- 
riable in the Ginsengs.* 

The root of the Ginseng has an agreeable 
taste, consisting of a mixture of sweet and bitter, 
with some aromatic pungency. Water, both cold 
and hot, receives a gummy mucus, which is pre- 
cipitated by alcohol. The watery extract has the 
taste and smell of the root in a strong degree. 
The distilled water gives evidence of a volatile oil, 
and has the aroma, without the sweetness of the 
root. The common tests indicate the presence 
of but little resin, and no tannin. 

As far as Ginseng has been tried medicinally 
in this country, and in Europe, its virtues do not 
appear, by any means, to justify tlie high estima- 
tion of it by the Chinese. That it is not a very 
active substance, is proved by the fact, that a 
whole root may be eaten without inconvenience. 
Its place in the materia mcdica is among demul- 
cents. It approaches more nearly to liquorice, 
than to any other medicine in its taste and exter- 

* Panaoc trifolium, a beautiful little plant, with nearly the herb of 
Anemone nemorosa, has always three styles and a tricoccous ber- 
ry. P. quinquefolium varies from one to three styles, though the 
usual number is two. 


nal qualities. Its extract forms a very neat pre- 
paration, and is by no means unpleasant to the 
taste. Dr. Fotliergill tells us, that " in tedious 
chronic coughs, incident to people in years, a de- 
coction of it has been of service. It consists of a 
lubricating mucilage combined >vith some degree 
of aromatic warmth.'' 

Ginseng is principally sold by our druggists 
as a masticatory, many people having acquired an 
habitual fondness for chewing it. It is certainly 
one of the most innocent articles for this purpose. 


Panax quinqiicfolium, Lin. sp. pi. — Michaux, Flora, ii. 256. 
— ^PuRSH, i. 191. — WooDviLLE, Mctl, BoL i. t. 58. — Botanical 
Mag. t. 1023. — Aureliana Canadensis, Catesby, Car. Suppl. t, 
16.— Bretnius in Prod. rar. p, 52. — Araliastrum foliis ternis 
quinquepartitis. Ginseng sen Ninsin officinariim. — Trew, Ehr, 


BouRDELiN , Hist, de I'Jcad. 1797. — Jartoux, tr. in Phil, Trans, 
xxviii. 237. — Lafiteau, Jlemoires concernant la precieuse plant& 
de Ginseng. Paris, 1718. — Sarrasin, Hist. Acad. 1718. — Kalm, 
travels f tr. iii. 114. — Osbeck, China, p. 145. — Heberdex, Med. 
Trans, iii. 34. — Fotuergill, Gent, Mag, xxiii. 209. — Cuilex, 
Mat, Mai. Vol. ii, kc. 



Fig. 1. Panax quinquefolium. 

Fig. 2. A Jlower magnified. 

Fig. 3. Umbel in Jlower, the external fruit nearly grown. 

Fig. 4. Germ, calyx and styles magnified. 

Fig. 5. Root. 

0^ m 

Jy'f>€^/jMr.rf/fnt o^<f -?/?/yw 


Seneca Snake root. 


HE Seneca snake root has attracted so gen- 
eral an attention from the medical public, as to 
have become an article of exportation to Europe, 
and one which holds a regular place in the drug- 
gist stores. The plant which produces it has 
nothing to boast on the score of elegance, and 
little to attract attention independent of its me- 
dicinal virtues. It grows in most latitudes of tlie 
United States, especially in the mountainous tracts. 
The specimen, from which our drawing was taken, 
was gathered on the borders of Lake Champlain. 
The genus Polygala has a five leaved calycc, 
two of the leaves wing like, and coloured. Capsule 
nhcordate. two celled, and two valved. 



The species Senega has erect^ smooth^ simple 
stems, with alternate, lanceolate leaves, broadest at 
base. Flowers slightly crested. 

Class Biadelphia, order Octandria ; natural 
orders Lomeniacece, Limi. Pediculares, Juss. 

The Poljgala senega has a firm, hard, hranch- 
ing perennial root, consisting of a moderately solid 
wood, and a thick hark. This root sends up a 
numher of annual stems, which are simple, smooth, 
occasionally tinned with red. The leaves are 
scattered, nearly or quite sessile, lanceolate, with 
a subacute point, smooth, paler underneath. Flow- 
ers wliite, in a close terminal spike. 1 he caljx, 
which in this genus is the most conspicuous part 
of the flower, consists of five leafets, the two larg- 
est of which, or wings, are roundish-ovate, white, 
and slightly veined. Corolla small, closed, having 
two obtuse lateral segments, and a short crested 
extremity. Capsules obcordate, invested by the 
persistent calyx, compressed, two celled, two 
valved. Seeds two oblong-obovate, acute at one 
end, slightly hairy, curved, blackish, with a longi- 
tudinal, bifid, white appendage on the concave side. 
The spike opens gradually, so that the lower flow- 
ers are in fruit while the upper ones are in blos- 


The rose coloured variety of this plant, as it 
has been considered by Micliaux, proves to be a 
distinct species. Some species wliich I possess 
from Carolina have branching, pubescent stems, 
and very long, loose spikes. The flowers are sev- 
eral times larger than tliose of P. senega. 

The root of the Polygala senega has an un- 
pleasant and somewhat acid taste. After chewino*. 
it leaves a sensation of acrimony in tlie mouth, 
and still more in the fauces, if it has been swal- 
lowed. These properties it communicates fully 
to water upon boiling. The process of decoction 
does not appear to dissipate any of its power, since 
the distilled water is destitute of the taste and 
smell of the plant. Alcohol dissolves a substance, 
apparently of the resinous kind, giving a precipi- 
tate when water is added. Iron produces little 
change in solutions of this root, and gelatin oc- 
casions no alteration whatever. 

Medicinally administered, the Seneca snake 
root is sudorific and expectorant in small doses, 
and emetic and cathartic in large ones. Its most 
usual mode of exhibition is in decoction, which 
may be made of suitable strength by boiling an 
ounce of the root in a pint and an half of water, 
till it is reduced to a pint. This preparation may 


in most cases be given in doses of a table spoonful 
and upward without disturbing the stomach. 

Tile first reputation of the Seneca root was one 
which it divides with a multitude of other plants, 
that of curing the bite of the Rattlesnake. A re- 
ward was given by the legislature of Pennsylva- 
nia to Dr. Tennent for the promulgation of this 
supposed property. When, however, we consider 
the number of cases of recovery from the bite of 
this serpent, under every variety of treatment, we 
cannot avoid the conclusion, that these injuries 
are not necessarily dangerous, and that spontane- 
ous recoveries are perhaps as frequent as those 
which are promoted by medicine. 

3Iore certain success attends the use of the 
Seneca in pneumonia and some diseases related to 
it. In the advanced stages of pneumonic inflam- 
mation, after venesection and the other usual rem- 
edies have b^en carried to their proper extent ; and 
the cough still remains dry and painful, while the 
debility of the patient forbids further depletion ; 
in these cases, I have often found a decoction of 
the Seneca root to afford very marked relief by 
promoting expectoration, and relieving the tight- 
ness and oppression of the chest. Various medi- 
cal writers have spoken favourably of its employ- 


mentin these cases, among whom are Lemery ami 
others, in the 3Iemoirs of the French Academy. 
It has been found injm'ious, from its stimulating 
properties, when given at too early a stage, or 
during the prevalence of much acute inflamma- 

Benefit has been derived in asthma from the 
use of this plant. The following is Dr. Bree's 
opinion, quoted from his treatise on that disease. 
" Decoction of seneka is eminently useful in the 
first species, administered to old people, but in the 
paroxysm of young persons, I have found it too 
irritating. This distinction applies to convulsive 
asthma purely uncomplicated, but the disease is 
frequently observed in middle aged and elderly 
persons, to take the character of peripneumonia 
notha in the w inter and spring, and seneka is then 
the most useful medicine that I have tried. In 
such cases, it should be united with acetated am- 
monia, during the febrile state, and as tliis state 
gives way, tlie addition of squill, and camphorated 
tincture of opium, will be found to promote ex- 
pectoration, perspiration, and urine in a most 
powerful manner." 

In croup, this medicine was introduced into 
notice by Dr. Archer of Maryland. He speaks 
with much confidence of its utility in that disease, 


particularly in promoting the separation and dis- 
charge of the membrane formed in the trachea of 
patients affected by it. Such a membrane, how- 
ever, does not exist in all cases of croup. And 
in the early part of the complaint it may be ques- 
tioned, how far a medicine, which acts as a stimu- 
lant to the fauces and neighbouiing organs, is en- 
titled to reliance, in a local inflammation of the 
trachea. It ought not from such a reliance to 
exclude more active remedies, especiuliy ven:*- 
section. Dr. Archer's mode of administering It 
is to give a tea-spoonful of a strong decoction 
every liour or half hour, according to the urgency 
of tlie symptoms, and during tlie intervals, a few 
drops occasionally, to keep up a sensible action of 
the medicine upon tlie mouth and throat, until it 
acts as an emetic or cathartic. 

In various forms of dropsy, the Seneca root 
has been resorted to with advantage, and has re- 
ceived the commendations of Percival, Millman, 
and some others. Its cathartic and diuretic effects 
are very considerable, when regularly persevered 
in, in quantities as large as will set easily on the 
stomach ; and have in various instances effected 
the dissipation of dropsical swellings. 

In chronic rheumatism, this root sometimes 
does good by its universally stimulant and diapho- 


retic effects. The following ease occurred to me 
some time since in practice. A man labouring 
under severe rheumatism was ordered to take at 
intervals a wine glass full of a strong decoction 
of the Senega made from an ounce of the root in 
a pint of water. The patient, from a desire to 
expedite the cure, thought proper to drink the 
whole quantity at once. The consequence was 
the most violent vomiting and purging, which 
lasted the whole night, accompanied with profuse 
diaphoresis. Tlie patient, as might have been 
hoped from the violence of the operation, was rad- 
ically relieved of his disorder. 

In uterine complaints, particularly amenorrhea, 
the Polygala senega has been found of decided 
efficacy. Dr. Chapman of Philadelphia is one of 
the authorities for its use in these cases. It must 
be given largely, and continued for some time. 

The most common mode of exhibition of this 
root is in decoction, as already mentioned. It is 
also given in powder in doses of twenty or thirty 
grains. Dr. Tenncnt likewise employed a wine 
of Senega made by digesting four ounces of tJie 
root in a pound of wine, of which three spoonfuls 
were given at a dose. 



Polygala senega, Lin. Sp. pi. Walter, Car. 178. — Wood- 
ViiLE, ii. t, 93. — Bot.Mug. t. 1051. — Michaux, ii. 53. — Pursh, 
ii.464. — Polygala caule simplici erccto, &c. Gronovius, Virg. 80. 


Tenivent, Diseases of Fir^infa.^LEMERY, Duhamel, &c. 
Hist, de VAcad. 1739, 136. — Archer, Med. ^ Phijs. Jmirnal, i. 83, 
106. — Percivax, Med. Jmirnal, iv. 67.— Bree on Asthma, 258. 
— Massie, Inaiig. Diss. Philad. 1803. — Thacher, Disp. 319.— 
JV*. Eng. Journal, vii. 206. 


rig..l. Pohjgala senega. 
Fig. 2. Jljlower magnified. 
Fig. S. Calyx of the same. 
Fig. 4. Corolla magnified. 
Fig. 5. Capsule. 
Fig. 6. A seed. 




yz . .r.r.ri 

^.J^!^/:^^t7^?^<^^ ^^ 

Annin Sr SniM 





Tulip Tree, 


A HE vegetable world can hardly offer a more 
interesting object, than a tree of exalted stature 
and extensive shade, covered with a beautiful and 
singular foliage, putting forth from its boughs an 
immense number of large and variegated flowers, 
at the same time that its trunk affords one of the 
most useful species of wood, and its bark an aro- 
matic medicinal agent. Such an one is the Tulip 
tree of the United States. 

The forests of the 3Iiddle and Western States, 
according to the representation of Michaux, a- 
bound with the Liriodendron tulipifera, as do like- 
wise the elevated parts of Carolina and Georgia. 
It is found in the New England states, but is 
principally confined to the igouthern parts of them. 


Cultivated trees are common in Boston and its 
vicinity, but I have never met with it in the woods 
of this part of the country, nor to the north of it 
upon the sea boai*d. 

In point of size the Liriodendron is exceeded 
by few trees of the North American forest. Its 
growth is regular, straight and majestic. Its trunk 
often acquires a diameter of from two to three 
feet, and an elevation of eighty or ninety. In fa- 
vourable situations it frequently exceeds these di- 
mensions. Michaux measured a tree near Louis- 
ville in Kentucky, which at five feet from the 
ground was twenty two feet and an half in circum- 
ference, and which he estimated to be a hundred 
and twenty or a hundred and forty feet in height. 
Catesby informs us that the circumference is 
sometimes thirty feet. 

The names of Tulip tree, White wood, Canoe 
wood, and Poplar are applied to this tree in diffe- 
rent parts of the United States. Its flowering 
tim^e is in the months of May and June. 

The genus Liriodendron, to which Linnseus 
has assigned four species of trees, is characterized 
by a double calycc, the outer of two, the inner of 
three leaves ; petals six, seeds imbricated into a 


The species tulipifera, the only one in Amer- 
ica, is remarkably distinguished by its lobed and 
tmmcated leaves. 

Together with several other of our finest flow- 
ering trees and shrubs, the Liriodendron is found 
in the class Polyandria and order Polygynia, and 
the natural orders Coadunatce of Linnseus and 
Magnoliw of Jussieu. 

The branches of the Tulip tree are of a grey- 
ish colour inclining to red. The buds which ter- 
minate them in winter are very curiously con- 
structed. They are obovate, and flattened or 
compressed into a sharp edge at the extremity. 
They are made up of a number of concentric 
sheaths, each of which contains a single minia- 
ture leaf between it and the next interior sheath. 
This leaf, instead of embracing the next sheath, is 
folded up and bent down upon one side of it. 
When vegetation begins in the spring the sheaths 
swell to a large size before bursting, and at length 
liberate the leaves one at a time, the remains of 
each sheath becoming converted into a stipule. 

The leaves of the Tulip tree have a form alto- 
gether peculiar, and which is not resembled by 
any other production of our forests. They are 
divided into four pointed lobes and terminated by 
a shallow notch, the cxtremitv beins* nearly 


square, and the middle rib ending abruptly, as if 
cut off. In the large leaves, the two lower lobes 
are furnished with a tooth or additional lobe on 
their outside. They are attached by long pedun- 
cles and have a beautifully smooth and bright 
green surface. There is one variety of this tree 
which has the lobes of its leaves not pointed, but 
very obtuse. The flowers are large, solitary, and 
terminal. The outer calyx has two triangular 
leaves which fall off as the flower expands. The 
inner calyx consists of three large, oval, concave, 
veined leaves, of a pale green colour, spreading at 
first, but afterwards reflexed. Petals six, some- 
times more, obtuse, concave, veined, of a pale yel- 
lowish green, marked with an irregular, indented 
crescent of bright orange on both sides toward 
the base. Stamens numerous, with long linear 
anthers opening outwardly, and short filaments. 
Pistil a large, conical, acute body, its upper half 
covered with minute, blackish, recurved stigmas ; 
its lower furrowed, being a mass of coalescing 
styles and germs. The fruit is a cone of imbri- 
cated seed vessels, which are woody and solid, 
their upper portion formed by a long lanceolate 
scale. Seeds two, blackish, ovate, one or both 
often abortive. 


The bark of the Tulip tree has a very hitter 
taste and a strong aromatic pungency. The lat- 
ter property appears to reside in a volatile oil. 
When the bark is distilled with water, it fills tlie 
apartment with its fragrant odour, yet the product 
of the distillation, at least when the process is con- 
ducted in the small way with the luting of the ap- 
paratus not perfectly tight, has scarcely any taste 
or smell. Dr. Rogers informs us that he obtain- 
ed an oily matter in the form of a whitish scum 
on the surface of the water in the receiver. A 
bitter resin exists in small quantities in the baik. 
Water dissolves a mucous substance, which is 
precipitated in a flocculent form by alcohol. Wa- 
ter is also impregnated with the bitterness, and, 
if too much heat be not employed, with some of 
the aroma of the tree. The sulphate of iron pro- 
duced a dark brown colour, but a solution of isin- 
glass did not increase the chemical evidence of 
astringency, producing a barely perceptible effect. 
Alcohol and proof spirit may be considered the 
most perfect solvents of the active ingredients ot" 
this article, although water dissolves enough to 
produce its medicinal effect. 

The bark both of the root and branches acts 
on the system as a stimulating tonic and diapho- 
retic, having properties resembling the Cascarilla 


and other aromatic barks of the shops. The dis- 
ease in which it has been most employed is in- 
termittent fever. But the triumph which results 
from the occasional cure of this disease is now di- 
vided among so large a list of tonic medicines, 
that the distinction conferred by it is not of the 
most signal kind. As a warm sudorific, this 
bark seems well adapted to the treatment of 
chronic rheumatism, and for this purpose it has 
been employed with success by various medical 
practitioners in the United States. In some dis- 
eases of an inflammatory type in which it has been 
recommended, its stimulating properties render 
it more like to do harm than good. The only 
personal acquaintance which I have had with it, 
is as a stomachic. Administered with this view, 
it has been acceptable and apparently useful to 
patients who had derivetl occasional benefit from 
" Huxham's tincture," " Stougliton's elixir,'' and 
similar compositions of bitter and aromatic drugs. 
The wood of the Tulip tree is smooth and fine 
grained, very easily wrought and not liable to 
split. It is used for various kinds of carving and 
ornamental work, and for articles of house furni- 
ture. In the Western States where pine lumber 
is scarce, Michaux tells us, that the joinery or in- 
side work of houses is most frequently of this 


laiiterial. A common use of it throughout the 
United States is in the manufacture of carriages 
to form the pannels of coach and chaise bodies. 
For this purpose it is particularly fitted by its 
smootlmess, flexibility and toughness.* 

The true or heart wood of this tree is of a yel- 
lowish colour and differs in proportion in different 
trunks. We are told that two varieties of the 
tree exist, denominated the yellow and the white, 
and which appear to be in some measure produc- 
ed by the mode and place of growth. The yellow 
variety is most valuable, having least alburnum 
and being less subject than the other to decay. 

The Tulip tree has been long since introduc- 
ed from this country into the forests and fields of 
Europe. Its use, ornamental appearance, and the 
facility with which it is raised, have rendered it one 
of the most prominent and interesting objects of 
forest cultivation. 

* The various economical uses of this tree are treated of at 
large in the splendid work of the younger Michaux on the Forest 
trees of JSTorth America. Those who appreciate the value of a cor- 
rect knowledge of the various internal resources of our country, will 
be gratified that a translation of this important work, with the origi- 
nal plates, is now publishing at Paris and Philadelphia. 



Liriodendron tulipifera, Linn^us, Sp. pi. — Curtis, Bot, 
Mag. U 275. — MiCHAUX, i. 526. — Michaux, fll. Arbres foresti- 
ers, iii. 202. — Pursh, ii. 382. — Liriodendron foliis angulatis trun- 
catis, Trew, Ehret, 2. t. 10. Tulipifera virginiana &c. 
Catesbt, Car. i. U 48, — Piukenet, 1. 117. f. 5. &c. 


Rush, Trans. Fhil. Col. i. 183.— Bart. CoU, 14.— Clay- 
ton, Phil. Trans, abr, viii. 332. — B^ogbrs, Inaugural disseiiationf 


Fig. 1. A branch of Liriodendron tulipifera. 

Fig. 2. Stamens presenting different sides. 

Fig. 3. Pistil. 

Fig. 4. Fruit. 

Fig. 5. One of the seeds xvith its scale or envelope. 

pj. jourii. 

W'^/>^ r^^^^^^^ 

'nnmt^ -^w" 




Of the forest trees which deserve attention 
for other properties than the uses of their timber, 
the Butternut is undoubtedly one of the most in- 
teresting ; its fruit, bark and juices being all con- 
vertible to use. In favourable situations it becomes 
a larg'e tree, having frequently a trunk of three 
feet in diameter. It is abundant in the North- 
ern and 3Iiddle States, as well as in the Western 
country. Some parts of the District of Maine, I 
am told, produce woods of considerable extent, 
consisting wholly of this tree. Michaux tells us, 
that it is common in the states of Kentucky and 
Tennessee, that it abounds on the banks of Lake 
Erie, the Ohio and even the Missouri. The same 
author states that it is found in the mountainous 


parts of Carolina and Georgia, but that he has not 
met with it in the lower or level portions of the 
Southern States. It is variously known by the 
names of Butternut, Ollnut and White Walnut, 

The genus Juglaus or Walnut appertains to 
the Linnsean class Moncecia and order Polyan- 
dria. Its natural orders are Jlmentaceoe of Lin- 
naeus and Terebintacew of Jussieu. 

This genus has its harren Jiowers in aments 
with a six-parted calyx ; its fertile jiowers with 
a four-cleft superior calyx ; a four-parted corolla; 
two styles ; and a coriaceous drupe with a furrow- 
ed nut. 

The species cinerea has its leafets numerous, 
oblong-lanceolate, rounded at base, downy under- 
neath, serrate. Fruit oblong-07Hite with a termin- 
al projection, viscid and hairy ; nut oblong, acumi- 
nate, with a rough, indented and ragged surface. 

The leaves of the Butternut tree when fully 
grown are very long, consisting of fifteen or seven- 
teen leafets, each of which is two or three inches 
long, rounded at base, acuminate, finely serrate 
and downy. 

The flowers appear in May before the leaves 
are expanded to their full size. The barren flow- 
ers hang in large aments from the sides of the 
last year's shoots, near their extremities. The 


scales which compose them arc ohlong and deep- 
ly cleft on each side into about three teeth or 
segments. The anthers are ahout eight or ten in 
number, oblong and nearly sessile. The fertile 
flowers grow in a short spike at the end of the 
new shoot They are sessile and universally 
pubescent and viscid. When fully grown, they 
seem to consist of a large oblong germ and a 
forked feathery style. The top of the germ, 
however, presents an obscurely four-toothed ca- 
lyx. Within this is a corolla of four narrow lan- 
ceolate petals growing to the sides of the style. 
The style divides into two large, diverging, feath- 
ery stigmas nearly as long as the germ. These 
flowers are somewhat later than the aments in 
their appearance. The fruit is sessile, several to- 
gether on the sides and extremity of a long pe- 
duncle. It is of a green colour, brown when ripe, 
oblong-oval, pointed, hairy and extremely viscid. 
It contains a nut which is of a dark colour, cari- 
nated on both sides, sharp pointed, its whole sur- 
face roughened by deep indentures and sharp 
prominences. The kernel is more regular than 
in most nuts of its kind, is very oily, pleasant to 
the taste when fresh, but acquires a rancid taste 
bv as:e. 


The bark of the branches affords a large quan- 
tity of soluble matter, chiefly of the extractive 
kind. In a concentrated tincture I have not been 
able to detect any appearance of resin. No evi- 
dence of tannin is produced by the test of gelatin. 
A brownish black colour is caused by the sulphate 
of iron. The distilled water possesses the taste 
of the bark in a considerable degree. We are 
authorized to conclude that water is an adequate 
solvent for this article, and experience has shewn 
that the watery extract is one of its best prepar- 

The sap of the Butternut tree is saccharine, 
like that of the Maple, and may be procured in 
large quantities. In the third volume of the Mas- 
sachusetts Agricultural Repository is an account 
of an experiment made on this tree by IVIr. M. P. 
Gray., He states that four trees, the trunks of 
Avhich were only from eight to ten inches in di- 
ameter, produced in one day nine quarts of sap, 
from which was made one pound and a quarter of 
sugar. This quantity, it appears from his state- 
ment, is equal if not superior to that which the 
maple affords in the same vicinity. 

The inner bark of this tree, especially that ob- 
tained from the root, affords one of the most mild 
and efficacious laxatives which we possess. It is 


commonly employed in the form of an extract, 
which preparation is kept in our druggists' shops. 
Ten or twelve grains of this extract operate gent- 
ly, and twenty or thirty grains with considerable 
activity on the bowels. It has been used for 
inany years in this town by the most respectable 
practitioners. The late Dr. Warren thought 
highly of its efficacy, and employed it extensively 
in various complaints, especially in dysentery. 
During the revolutionary war, when foreign medi- 
cines were scarce, this extract was resorted to by 
many of the army surgeons, as a substitute for 
more expensive imported drugs. In dysentery it 
seems at one time to have acquired a sort of spe- 
cific reputation. 

From numerous trials which I have made with 
this medicine, it appears to me to possess the 
qualities of an useful and innocent laxative. When 
fresh and properly prepared, it is very certain in 
its effect, and leaves the bowels in a good state. 
In cases of habitual costiveness it is to be prefer- 
red to more stimulating cathartics, and many 
persons whose state of health has rendered them 
dependent on the use of laxative medicines, have 
given this the preference after the trial of a vari- 
etv of other medicines. 


A patent medicine, long vended in this state 
under the name of Chamberlain's Bilious Cordial, 
was a tincture of this hark combined with various 
aromatic seeds. 

The bark is said to be rubefacient when exter- 
nally applied, and even capable of exciting a blis- 
ter. Of this I have had no experience. 


Juglans cinerea, LiwiciBus, Sp. jd. — Jacq,uin, Ic. rar, i. t. 
192. — WiLLDENOw, arh. 156. — Wangenheim, Amer. 21. f. 9./. 
21. — MiCHATJX, ii. 191. — PuRSH, ii. 636. 

Juglans oblonga Retz. Obs. i. p. 10. — Juglans cathartira, 
MicHAUX, FLL. ArbresforestierSf i. 165. 


Thacher, Disp. 245. — Bart. Col. 23. 32. — Rush, Med. 
Obs.i, 112. 


Fig. 1. *i branch of Juglans cinerea in JloweVf the leaves not fully 

Fig. 2. A scale or barren fiower from the ament magnified. 
Fig. 3. Jl fertile flower magnified. 
Fig. 4. The fruit. 



American Hellebore. 


In many parts of the United States the swamps 
and wet meadows, which have been converted into 
mowing* lands, are peculiarly marked in the early 
part of spring by two species of plants. These 
are the Ictodes foetidus already described (PI. 
xxiv) and Veratriim viride, usually denominated 
Poke root and Hellebore. Both of these plants 
spring up more rapidly than the grass around 
them, and from the largeness and bright green 
colour of their leaves they are often the most no- 
ticeable objects in the places of their growth. As 
the season advances, the Ictodes continues only a 
tuft of radical leaves, while the Yeratrum sends 
up a straight leafy stalk, which frequently acquires 

the full height of a man, 


This plant is not only found in boggy mead- 
ows, but by the sides of brooks in rocky and 
mountainous situations, from Canada to Carolina. 
Its flowering time is from May to July. 

The Veratrum album or White Hellebore, a 
well known medicinal plant found in most coun- 
tries of Europe, has a very close resemblance to 
the American species. It is, however, a smooth- 
er plant, and differs somewhat in its flowers, 
bractes and stalks. 

The genus Veratrum, on account of the diver- 
sity of its flowers, was placed by Linngeus in his 
class Polygamia and order Monoecia. Those more 
recent botanists, who omit this class, have trans- 
ferred the genus to Hej[;andria trigynia. 

The generic character of Veratrum consists 
in a six-parted corolla without calyao. Stamens 
inserted in the receptacle. Capsules three, many 
seeded, A part of the flowers barren. The spe- 
cies viride has a downy panicle with the partial 
bractes longer than their pedicels. Segments of 
the corolla thickened on the inside at base. 

The root of this plant is thick and fleshy, its 
upper portion tunicated, its lower half solid and 
sending fortli a multitude of large whitish radi- 
cles. The stem is from three to five feet high, 
roundish, solid, striated and pubescent. Through- 


out the greater part of its length it is closely in- 
vested with the sheathing bases of the leaves. 
The lower leaves are large, from half a foot to a 
foot long, oval, acuminate, pubescent, strongly 
plaited and nerved ; the lower part of their edges 
meeting round the stem. The upper leaves be- 
come gradually narrower and the uppermost, 
which perform the office of bractes, are linear- 
lanceolate. The flowers are numerous and dis- 
tributed in compound racemes axillary from the 
upper leaves, and terminal ; the whole forming a 
sort of panicle. Peduncles roundish, downy, 
Bractes boat-shaped, acuminate, downy. The pe- 
dicel of each flower is many times shorter than 
its bracte. Calyx none. Corolla divided into six 
green, oval, acute, nerved segments, of which the 
alternate ones are longest. All the segments are 
contracted at base into a sort of claw with a thick- 
ened or cartilaginous edge. Stamens six with 
recurved filaments and roundish, two-lobed an- 
thers. Germs three, cohering, Avith acute recurv- 
ed styles as long as the stamens. A part of the 
flowers are barren and have only the rudiments 
of styles, so that the plant is strictly polygamous. 
The seed vessel consists of three capsules united 
together, separating at top and opening on their 
inner side. Seeds flat imbricated. 


The root of the Veratrum has a bitter taste 
accompanied with acrimony^ and leaves a durable 
impression on the mouth and fauces when it has 
heen chewed or swallowed. It abounds with a 
resinous juice, which adheres closely to a knife 
with which the root has been cut. This resin 
dissolves abundantly in alcohol. When water is 
added to the solution, a white turbidness gradu- 
ally appears rendering the liquid opaque, but with- 
out sediment. The decoction has an intensely 
bitter taste. It is not rendered turbid by alcohol 
although some slight flocculi are separated after 
standing. It is probable that this bitterness re- 
sides in an extractive principle. The distilled 
water of the root has a slightly unpleasant taste, 
witliout bitterness or pungency. 

This plant in its medicinal powers resembles 
the Veratrum album or White hellebore of Eu- 
rope. It is an acrid emetic and a powerful stim- 
ulant, followed by sedative effects. As a medicine 
or as a poisonous plant, it has been known from 
an early period. The aborigines of the country 
were fully apprized of its activity. Josselyn in 
his voyage to Xew England, which took place not 
long after the first settlement of the country, in- 
forms us that the young Indians had a custom of 
e1ectin«: their chiefs by a sort of ordeal instituted 


with the roots of this phmt, which he denominates 
" white liellebore." A portion of this root was 
repeatedly given to each individual, and he whose 
stomach made the most vigorous resistance or 
soonest recovered from its effects was considered 
the stoutest of the party and entitled to command 
the rest. 

Kalm tells us that the people of this country, 
at the time of his travels, employed a decoction of 
this plant externally in the cure of scorbutic af- 
fections, and for the destruction of vermin. He 
further states, that corn before planting was soak- 
ed in a strong decoction of the Yeratrum to protect 
it against the birds which infest our fields and 
devour the grain after it is deposited in the 
ground. When the corn is thus prepared, it is 
observed, that those bu^ds which swallow it be- 
come giddy and fall to the ground, an example, 
the writer informs us, which has the effect to 
frighten the remainder of the tribe away from the 

Since the celebrity acquired bv the European 
white hellebore as a remedy for gout, that plant 
being for a time supposed the basis of the cele- 
brated Eau medicinale ; the attention of some 
practitioners has been turned to investigating the 
properties of the American plant, which so close- 


Ij resembles the Veratrum album in its external 
habitudes. The result of such trials as have been 
made, establishes beyound a doubt the medicinal 
similarity of these two vegetables. I have em- 
ployed the American plant in dispensary practice 
in the treatment of obstinate cases of chronic 
rheumatism. Other practitioners have applied it 
to the treatment of gout, and of cutaneous and oth- 
er affections. From the sum of my observations 
and knowledge respecting it, I am satisfied that 
the root, when not impaired by long exposure and 
age, is in sufficient doses a strong emetic, com- 
mencing its operation tardily, but continuing in 
many instances for a long time ; in large doses 
affecting the functions of the brain and nervous 
system in a powerful manner, producing giddir 
ness, impaired vision, prostration of strength and 
diminution of the vita! powers. Like the Vera- 
trum album and Colchicum antunmale, the violent 
impression which it makes upon the system has 
arrested the paroxysms of gout and given relief in 
some unyielding cases of protracted rheumatism. 
Like those substances, it requires to be given with 
great caution and under vigilant restrictions. The 
solutions of this ai'ticle have appeared to me more 
powerful in proportion to their quantity than the 
substance, probably in consequence of a part of 


the powder being thrown out in the first efforts to 
vomit, before a perfect solution of its active parts 
in the stomach could have taken place. 

A course of experiments with this article was 
made sometime since in the Boston Almshouse 
by Dr. John Ware, the results of which he has 
obligingly communicated to me. They cannot be 
better stated than in his own words. 

" I gave this plant," says he, " in the first place 
with a view to ascertain its action on the stomach 
and alimentary canal. The doses in which it was 
administered amounted to from two to ten grains. 
I began with a small quantity, and increased it 
very gradually in order to guard against the oc- 
currence of those violent and dangerous effects 
which I had been led to apprehend from the de- 
scriptions given of the operation of the white helle- 
bore. A slight and general account of the ex- 
periments will give the most satisfactory view of 
the effects of this root as an emetic. 

" It was administered in about thirty cases. In 
the first case two grains were given ; this only 
produced slight and temporary nausea. 

" In three instances three grains Avere admin- 
istered ; in tw o of these vomiting was produced ; 
in one of them to a considerable degree — in the 
other slio^ht — in tho third no effect whatever was 


produced. — Of gr. iv. Four doses, of which only 
one operated, and then the operation was incon- 
siderable. — Of gr. vi. Fifteen doses were given — 
ten of these operated perfectly well ; as complete 
and thorough vomiting was produced as follows 
from the case of any other emetics — in the elev- 
enth case nausea only ensued — and in the re- 
maining, no effect whatever was perceived. — Of 
gr, viii. Four doses — of these, two failed entire- 
ly and two operated satisfactorily. — Of. gr. x. On- 
ly one dose was given — this operated very thor- 

" I did not find, as I had expected, that this 
substance was uncommonly violent or distressing 
in its operation. Patients, in general, did not 
complain of any thing unusual, and when they 
were pai'ticularly questioned as to their sensa- 
tions, they told of nothing more than those usual- 
ly occurring during the effects of a brisk emetic. 
It seemed to produce vomiting rather more se- 
verely than an ordinary dose of ipecac— but not 
more tlian one of antimony. Indeed, its opera- 
tion may fairly be said to be about as violent and 
distressing as that of any other emetic whose ef- 
fects in evacuating the stomach are equally thor- 
ough. In a few instances, however, there was a 
complaint of very violent and painful retching — 


and of dizziness at the time and for a short time 
after— still these effects were not common nor ex- 

" As to its influence as an emetic upon diseased 
states of the system, there were few opportuni- 
ties of administering it where any considerable de- 
rangement existed. In those cases which did oc- 
cur it did not appear to be inferior to the common 

'• The degree of operation did not seem to be 
much increased by the increase of the dose of the 
medicine. Doses of six grains appeared, when 
they took effect, to produce vomiting as thorough 
and complete, as that which followed from larger 
doses ; except that the lai'ger were perhaps more 
speedy in operating. I could find no cause for 
the failure of so many of those cases in which the 
dose amounted to six or eight grains, except an 
insensibility in the patient to the stimulus of the 
medicine ; and this was rendered more probable 
from the circumstance that generally in those in- 
stances, the substance failed in producing any ef- 
fect whatever ; nausea did not often occur when 
vomiting was not to follow it, and in no instance 
wa» it very clear that purging was produced. 

" Indeed this appeared to be rather a singular 
circumstance relating to this substance, and one 

130 VEHATRUM VIlllDtl. 

in which it dift'ers from most or all other emetics. 
These articles, when they fail of producing vomit- 
ing, generally occasion a determination down- 
wards, and thus produce all the phenomena of ca- 
tliartic medicines. This effect is also frequently 
produced when they have operated in their pecu- 
liar way. But in no instance did this appear to 
be the case with the Hellebore. Some patients, 
indeed, said that it operated upon them by stool 
very slightly — but on strict inquiry I did not 
think that the medicine had had any effect in this 
way, and that what was told me proceeded from a 
desire in the persons to attribute some sort of ef- 
fect to what had been given them. 

"In the greater number of the cases, the Helle- 
bore was longer before it produced vomiting than 
is the case generally witli other emetics. It did 
not often operate in less than three quarters of an 
hour or an hour — but sometimes the interval was 
extended to two or three hours — and in one case, 
although the dose was administered at twelve at 
noon, its effects were not produced until between 
nine and ten o'clock in the evening. This tardi- 
ness in manifesting its effects on the system cor- 
responds with what has been observed with re- 
spect to the European species. 


" I made a few experiments with the powder of 
the Veratriim album in order to compare its pow- 
ers with those which existed in our native species. 
It was given in six cases — of two doses of three 
grains — neither produced any effect — one of four 
was not more effectual — six grains produced some 
vomiting, hut not to any considerable extent — seven 
no effect whatever — and eight produced in about 
four hours after taking it considerable effect. If 
these experiments are to be depended upon, the 
foreign certainly is not more powerful than the 
native species. 

" I endeavoured next to ascertain what degree 
of power the Hellebore was possessed of over cu- 
taneous diseases. It has the reputation in the 
country of some efficacy in these complaints. The 
ointment and decoction were applied in a number 
of cases, and it certainly proved to be an applica- 
tion of considerable power. Its effects in some 
cases amounted to a removal of the disease en- 
tirely' — and in most, some diminution of it fol- 
lowed, which was more or less durable. 

"In one case where there was an eruption about 
the wrists and other parts of the body, supposed 
to be the itch — the ointment (made by simmering 
together a dram of Hellebore in an ounce of lard) 
after being applied for some time, removed the 

132 yfiRATnUM VIRIDE. 

disease. The cure, however, was protracted and 

" A second case was that of a boy who had on 
the back of his head, what appeared to be the com- 
mencement of Tinea capitis. The ointment made 
in the same way as that before mentioned, except 
that simmering was omitted, removed it in the 
course of a fortnight. It returned again in the 
course of a few weeks and was^ again destroyed by 
the same application. It did not recur so long 
as I had an opportunity of observing the child, 
which was, however, not long. 

" In one clear case of itch, the ointment failed 
of producing any beneficial effect, and it was ne- 
cessary to have recourse to the usual remedy. 

" An instance of a very troublesome and irritat- 
ing eruption upon the hands and fingers, accom- 
panied by a venereal taint of the system, was very 
much relieved by this ointment. Its final remov- 
al, however, could not be attributed to this, since 
the patient was under the influence of mercury at 
the same time. 

" In some other cases both the ointment and 
decoction were used with success for a time, but 
the effects they produced were only partial and 


Of the power of this plant to relieve the formi- 
dable disease of gout, we have the most satisfac- 
tory evidence. A composition intended to imi- 
tate the celebrated Eau medicinale was prepared 
in England by Mr. Moore from the wine of white 
hellebore and wine of opium in the proportion of 
three parts of the former to one of the latter. 
This compound was used by many arthritic pa- 
tients both in Europe and America with great 
success in relieving the paroxysms of the disease. 
In Boston a considerable number of individuals 
have been induced to make trial of the remedy, 
and generally with advantage. But I am inform- 
ed by several of our most repectable apotheca- 
ries, that for a long time, especially during the 
late war, when the white hellebore could not be 
obtained from Europe, the American plant was 
used in the preparation of the medicine upon 
the supposition of its being the same with the 
European. Various gouty patients made use of 
it, and no difference was perceived by them or 
their physicians in its mode of operation or effect 
upon the disease. Some were relieved by small 
doses, which did not even nauseate, such as fifteen 
or twenty drops, repeated if necessary. Others 
found a drachm of the mixture necessary, which 
quantity affected them unpleasantly by vomiting 


or otherwise. Some experienced such severe ef- 
fects as to deter them after one trial from a repe- 
tition of the experiment. In general the parox- 
ysm of gout was completely suspended by the op- 
eration of the medicine. 

On the whole, we have sufficient knowledge of 
the American green hellebore, to feel assured 
that it is a plant of great activity, closely resem- 
bling in its properties tlie Yeratrum album of 
Europe ; and that like that plant it has given re- 
lief in the paroxysms of gout and in rheumatism. 
Whether the original Eau medicinale be a prep- 
aration of Veratrum, Colchicum, or any other ac- 
rid narcotic, it is not of consequence here to de- 
cide. These plants, with several others that 
might be mentioned, are similar in their operation, 
and probably influence the system when under 
disease, much in the same way. Some individu- 
als obtain relief from moderate doses, which do 
not occasion nausea or any very disagreeable ef- 
fects. Others have not derived benefit except 
from such quantities as bring on vomiting. Some 
have experienced very distressing consequences, 
such as excessive sickness, purging, great pros- 
tration of strength, impaired vision, and even 
total insensibilit}^ where the dose has been im- 
prudently large. 


Tlie wine of green hellebore is prepared like 
that of the white, by iniusing for ten days eight 
ounces of the sliced root, in two pints and an 
half of Spanish white wine. Before being given, 
in gout, it is combined with one fourth part its 
quantity of wine of opium. Of this compound 
the dose varies from twenty drops to a dracbm. 

From some observations made by Sir Everard 
Home respecting the wine of Colchicum autum- 
nale, it is probable that the wine of Yeratrum 
may be less violent in its effects, if freed from the 
sediment which it deposits by standing. 

Of the substance of the root freshly powdered, 
from two to six grains will be found a sufficient 
dose. For medicinal use, however, in most cases 
it is probable that the liquid preparation above 
described promises more. 

The external application of the ointment and 
decoction sometimes produces the same effect on 
the stomach as the internal use of the plant. In 
one instance a patient was nauseated and vomit- 
ing brought on by the ointment applied to an 
ulcer of the leg. I have known similar conse- 
quences from a strong decoction in cutaneous af- 
fections. Might the topical application of this 
plant be of any service in gout ? 



Veratrum viride, Aiton, Kew. iii. 422. — Wujldenow, 8p. 
pi. iv. 896. — PuRSH, i. 242. — Rees' Cyclopedia, ad, verb. — ^Ve- 
ratrum album, MiCHAUx, ii. 249. — Helonias viridis. But, Mag. 


■Kalm, travels f ii. 91. — Josselyn, Vbyagc to JVtw England, 
p. 60. — Thacher, JV. Eng. Journal. 


Fig. 1. Leajandjlowers of Veratrum viride. 

Fig. 2. Fetal magnified. 

Fig. 3. Stamens, 

Fig. 4. Pistils. 

Fig. 5. Capsule. 

Fig. 6. Section of the capsule, slioxving the seeds. 

Fig. 7. A seed. 

J'A. XA'A/i 

(ye^i/^^frt^/KX' (/Pf2/kj/^^^ 

jbmin & SndrA 5c. 


Blue Gentian. 

PLATE xxxir, 

J. am indebted to the late Dr. Macbride, of 
Charleston, S. C. for my specimens of this me- 
dicinal plant, and for a quantity of its root in 
preservation. Many of the perennial species of 
Gentian have a great degree of bitterness in the 
root, and among these the Gentiana lutea, or com- 
mon imported Gentian of the shops, stands pre- 
eminent. Of the American species, several bear 
great resemblance in taste and effect to the Euro- 
pean plant. No one, however, which I have ex- 
amined approaches so near to the officinal root in 
bitterness, as the species which is the subject of 
this article. This species was formerly con- 
founded witli the Gentiana saponaria, a fine au- 
tumnal plant, common in the Northern and Mid- 


die states. It differs widely, howeyer, from that 
species in the size of its leaves, the length of its 
calyx, the open mouth of its corolla and shape of 
its segments. An imperfect figure of this plant, 
published by Catesby sixty years ago, has been 
quoted by subsequent botanists as belonging to 
G. Saponaria. It has now been very properly 
distinguished by Walter and Elliott, who have ap- 
plied to the new species the name of its earliest 

The genus Gentiana has a monopetaloiis corol- 
la; a capsule one-celled and two-valved, with two 
longitudinal receptacles. The species Cateshwi 
hiis a rough stem ; leaves ovate-lanceolate ; seg- 
ments of the calyx longer than the tube ; mouth of 
the corolla open, its outer segments subacute, in- 
ner segments bifid and fimbriate. 

This genus is placed by Linnaius in his class 
and order Pentandria, Bigynia, A part of the 
species, however, depart from the character of 
this class, and constitute one of those instances in 
w hich the general rules of the arrangement are 
violated, that apparently natural genera may not 
be divided. A part of the Gentians have five sta- 
mens and a five-cleft corolla ; othei*s have four 
stamens and a four-cleft corolla ; others have a 
still different number. Yet so uniform is the 


Structure of the fruit, and so great tlie apparent 
affinity of the plants, that hotunists have hitherto 
kept the genus entire, even though the variety of 
form as well as of numher in the cnlyx, corolla, 
and stamens might perliaps justify a subdivision. 

This genus belongs to the natural order Mo- 
tacece of Linnaeus, and to Jussieu's GentiancB. 

The Gentiana Catesba?i has a branching and 
somewhat fleshy root. Stem simple, erect, rough. 
Leaves opposite, ovate or lanceolate, slightly 
three-nerved, acute, rough on the margin. Flow- 
ers crowded, nearly sessile, axillary and terminal. 
Segments of the calyx linear-lanceolate, varying 
in length, exceeding the tube and sometimes 
more than twice its length. Corolla large, blue, 
ventricase, plaited ; its border ten-eleft, the five 
outer segments roundish and more or less acute, 
the five inner bifid and fimbriate. Stamens five, 
with dilated filaments and sagittate anthers. 
Germ oblong-lanceolate, compressed, supported 
by a sort of pedicel. Style none, stigmas two, 
oblong, reflexed. Capsule oblong, acuminate, 
one-celled, two-valved. 

The dried root of this vegetable has at first 
a mucilaginous and sweetish taste, which is soon 
succeeded by an intense bitter, approaching near- 
ly to that of the officinal gentian. This quality 


appears to reside in a bitter extractive principle, 
soluble in botli alcohol and water. A little resin 
is developed by the pearly appearance which the 
tincture assumes on the addition of water. The 
decoction, however, is nearly equal in bitterness 
to the tincture, and both these solutions exhibit 
this property much more powerfully than the 
root in substance. No astringency appears in 
this root, and nothing remarkable in the distilled 

I have found the root of this plant in a variety 
of instances in which I have used it, to resemble 
very nearly the imported Gentian in its proper- 
ties, being but little inferior to it in strength or 
efijcacy. Like that substance it invigorates the 
stomach and gives relief in complaints arising 
from indigestion. Dr. Macbride, at whose sug- 
gestion I first employed it, entertained a high 
opinion of its tonic power in cases of debility of 
the stomach and digestive organs. 

In Mr. Elliott's Botany of the Southern States, 
we are told, tliat in the form of a decoction it is 
used with decided advantage in cases of pneumon- 
ic, where the fever is nervous, and that it acts as 
a tonic and sudorific. A tincture of it is esteem- 
ed as a reniedy in dyspepsia, given in doses of one 
fourth or half an ounce. It is said to increase 


the appetite, prevent the acidification of the food, 
and to enable the stomach to bear and digest ar- 
ticles of diet, whicli before produced oppression 
and dejection of spirits. 


Gentiana Catesbsei, Waitee, Flora Carol, p. 109. — ^Eixi- 
OTT, Botany of the Southern States, i. 340. 

EijiioTT, loc, dt, 


Fig. 1. Gentiana Catesbcei. 

Fig. 2. A Jlower xvith the corolla draxvn open to show the 

inner plicce. 
Fig. 3. Stamens and pistU in their natural situation. 
Fig. 4. Stamens separate. 
Fig. 5. Fistil. 


Sassafras Tree. 


Almost every section of the United States 
produces the Sassafras tree. It not only inhab- 
its every latitude from New England to Florida, 
but we are told it is also found in the forests of 
Mexico and even of Brazil. Its peculiar foliage 
and the spicy qualities of its bark render it a 
prominent object of notice, and it seems to have 
been one of the earliest trees of the North Amer- 
ican continent to attract the attention of Europe- 
ans. Its character as an article of medicine was 
at one time so high, that it commanded an extrava- 
gant price, and treatises were written to celebrate 
its virtues. It still retains a place in the best 
European Pharmacopseias. 


Artnat Ic Sj-M Sc 


Xhe g'eniis of trees and slirubs known by the 
name o£ Lauviis comprises many of the most use- 
ful as well as celebrated products of the vegeta- 
ble world. The Bay tree or Laurel of the an- 
cients, the Cinnamon tree, Cassia tree. Camphor 
tree, and Avocado pear, are either of them suffi- 
cient to give notoriety to the genus to which thev 
belong. This genus has a calijcc of from four to 
six divisions ; nectary of three bisetose glands, or 
wanting ; stamens variable in number ; fruit a 
drupe ; flowers often polygamous. The species 
Sassafras is polygamous, with leaves entire and 

The Laurels constitute one of the few genera 
assigned by Linn sens to his class Enneandria, to 
the first order of which they belong. Jussieu 
has placed them with his Lauri, to which they 
give name. The propriety with which they have 
been associated with the Linnsean natural order 
Oleracece is of a very questionable nature. 

The Sassafras tree, of the United State, ar- 
rives, in favourable situations, to a tall stature and 
large circumference. In the Northern States, it 
is of smaller size, yet trees are sometimes met 
with about Boston which attain to nearly the 
average height of the woods around them, and 
have trunks a foot in thickness. The bark of the 


trunk is mucli cracked and of a greyish colour ; 
the young twigs are of a reddish green. The 
leaves are remarkable for the variety of their form 
on the same tree. Those which proceed first 
from the bud are usually oval and entire ; the 
next have the same form with a lobe on one side ; 
the last and most numerous have regularly three 
lobes. They grow on petioles, and are very 
downy when young, but become smoother by age. 
The flowers grow from the sides of the branches 
beloAV the leaves, having the scales .of the former 
bud for their floral leaves. They are disposed in 
short slender racemes of a pale green colour, each 
flower having six oblong segments. Different 
trees produce barren and perfect flowers. Tlie 
barren flowers have nine stamens, six of which 
are exterior and three interior. The perfect flow- 
ers, the kind represented in our plate, have only 
six stamens, with short filaments and heart-shap- 
ed anthers. ^N^ectary none. Germ roundish with 
a straight, erect style. Fruit an oval drupe of a 
deep blue colour, supported by a red incras sated 
pedicel. Only a small number of the trees pro- 
duce fruit. 

The bark of this tree has a fragrant smell 
and a very agreeable spicy taste. The flavour of 
the root is most powerful, that of the branches 


more pleasant. The flavour and odour reside in 
a volatile oil which is readily obtained from the 
bai'k by distillation. It is of a light colour, be- 
coming darker by age, very pungent, and heavier 
than water, so that it sinks in that fluid when the 
drops are sufficiently large to overcome the re- 
pulsion at the surface. The bark and pith of the 
young twigs abound with a pure and delicate mu- 
cilage. A very small quantity of the pith infused 
in a glass of water gives to the whole a ropy con- 
sistance, like the white of an e^g. This mucilage 
has the uncommon quality that it is not precipi- 
tated, coagulated, or rendered turbid by alcohol. 
It continues in a perfectly transparent state when 
mixed with that fluid, though it does not unite 
with it. When evaporated to dryness, it leaves a 
light coloured, gum-like residuum. 

The volatile oil and the mucilage appear to 
contain all the medicinal virtue of the tree. 

The bark and wood of the Sassafras were 
formerly much celebrated in the cure of various 
complaints, particularly syphilis, rheumatism and 
dropsy. Its reputation, however, as a specific in 
those diseases, particularly the first, has fallen 
into deserved oblivion, while it is now recognized 
only with regard to its general properties, which 
are those of a warm stimulant and diaphoretic. 


It is retained by the Dispensatories as an ingre- 
dient in several preparations, particularly the 
compound decoction of guaiacum, formerly called 
" decoction of the woods ;'' and the compound 
decoction of Sarsaparilla, formerly the "Lisbon 
diet drink.'' These preparations are useful as 
sudorifics in rheumatism, some cutaneous diseas- 
es, and the sequelae of syphilis. They derive, 
however, more of their efficacy from their other 
ingredients, than from the Sassafras, a principal 
part of the efficacy of wliich is dissipated by boil- 

The most proper mode of employing the Sas- 
safras is in the form of its volatile oil, which may 
be given in very small quantities as an antispas- 
modic, stimulant and sudorific. It is too acrid to 
be taken unmixed, and should therefore be dis- 
solved in spirit and mixed with water or syrup. 

The mucilage of the pith of this tree is pe- 
culiarly mild and lubricating, and has been used 
with much benefit in dysentery, and in catarrhal, 
as well as calculous affections. Some eminent 
surgeons have employed it as a lotion in the most 
inflammatory stages of ophthalmia, to which its 
softness renders it extremely well suited. 

llie wood of the Sassafras tree is of a light 
texture, but is said to be durable when exposed 


to the weather. It has heen thought capable of 
repelling insects by its odour, and on this ac- 
count has been employed for trunks, bedsteads, 
^'c. A property of this kind, however, is wrongly 
attributed to it, since the wood retains scarcely 
any odour after a few months drying. 


Laurus Sassafras, Linn. Sp. ;)/.— Piesh, i. 277. — Nuttaix, 
i. 259. — WooDViLLE, iv. t, 234. — Michaux, fil. Jrl^res fares- 
tierSf iii. 173. — Laurus foliis integris, trilobisve. — Trew, Ehr, 
U 69, 70. — Cornus irias odorata, &c. — Plukenet, Mm. 120, L 
222. — Catesby, Car, i. U 55, 


Murray, Apparatus, iv. 535. — Kaxm, travels, ii. — Hotfman 
06s. Fhys. Chenu 31. — Cuulen, J^Iat. Med. ii. 200. — Clayton, 
Phil. Trans. Mr. viii. 332. — Bremane, Sassafrasologia in 1627, 


Fig. 1. Laurus Sassafras, a branch with perfect flowers of 

the natural sixe. 
Fig, 2, A stamen magnified. 
Fig. 3. Pistil, ditto. 

Fig. 4. Fruit, 


Dog^s Bane. 


Ahis is a branching perennial plant, found 
from Canada to Carolina about the sides offences 
and the borders of woods. It has a peculiarly 
neat aspect derived from its smoothness, its leaf- 
less and coloured stalk, bushy top and delicate 
flowers. Like the other American species, it is 
a lactescent plant, with a fibrous bark. It attains 
its flowering period in June and July. 

The genus Apocynum has a hell-shaped co- 
rolla ; a nectary of jive corpuscles surrounding 
the germ ; anthers adhering to the stigma by the 
middle ; follicles two ; seeds with down. 

The present species is glabrous, its stem erect 
and branching ; cymes lateral and terminal; co- 
rolla spreading. 

Pf . XJC.WI. 

DOG'S BANE. 149 

Class Fentandria, order Bigynia ; natural or- 
ders Contortce, Linnaeus ; Apocinece, Jussieu. 

The Apocynuni Androsfemifolium grows often 
to the height of five or six feet, though its com- 
mon elevation is three or four. Its stalk is 
smooth, simple below, branching repeatedly at 
top, red on the side exposed to the sun. Leaves 
opposite, smooth on both sides, paler beneath, 
ovate, acutCj on short petioles. The flowers grow 
in nodding cymes from the ends of the branches 
and axils of the upper leaves, furnished with mi- 
nute acute bractes. Calyx five-cleft, acute, much 
shorter than the corolla. Corolla white tinged 
with red, monopetalous, campanulate, with five 
acute, spreading segments. Stamens five, with 
very short filaments, and connivent, oblong arrow- 
shaped anthers, cohering with the stigma about 
their middle. The nectary consists of five ob- 
long glandular bodies alternating with the sta- 
mens. Germs two, ovate, concealed by the an- 
thers. Stigma thick, roundish, agglutinated to 
the anthers. The fruit is a pau' of slender linear- 
lanceolate follicles, containing numerous imbri- 
cated seeds each crowned with a long pappus or 
down, and attached to a slender central recep- 


Every part of the Apocynum when wounded 
emits copiously a milky juice. When chewed, 
the root communicates an unpleasant and in- 
tensely bitter taste. It exhibits, when dry, the 
following chemical phsenomena. — If a solution in 
ether be mixed with alcohol, the alcohol, though 
not turbid at first, becomes so when the ether 
evaporates. An aqueous infusion or decoction is 
of a deep red colour and intensely bitter. A so- 
lution in alcohol is nearly destitute of colour, but 
retains the whole bitterness of the plant, and is 
not disturbed by the addition of water. When 
submitted to distillation a slight oily film floats on 
the surface of water in the receiver. — From these 
facts we may conclude that the Apocynum con- 
tains, 1. A bitter extractive principle. 2, A col- 
ouring principle soluble in water and not in al- 
cohol. 3. Caoutchouc. 4. A volatile oil. 
' In various parts of the Eastern States this 
plant has been shewn to me by country practi- 
tioners under the name of Ipecac. This name 
is applied to it from its power of acting on the 
stomach in the same manner as the Brazilian 
emetic. Several physicians, among whom is Dr. 
Richardson of 3Iedway, inform me that they have 
found ahout thirty grains of the root to evacuate 
the contents of the stomach as effectually as two 

dog's bane. 151 

thirds the quantity of Ipecacuanha. In my own 
trials it has appeared to me much less powerful 
than the latter suhstance, and although it produces 
vomiting, yet this power is diminished by keeping, 
and appears to be eventually destroyed by age. 
When used for the purpose of an emetic, the re- 
cently powdered root should be employed. 

The sensible and chemical qualities of this 
root seem to promise a good effect when given in 
small doses as a tonic medicine to the stomach. 
My observations on this subject may hereafter be 
more mature. (See Appendijc.j We have certain- 
ly very few indigenous vegetables which exceed 
the Apocynum in bitterness. Perhaps its emetic 
property when given in large doses may be owing 
to this quality. Most bitter vegetables produce 
vomiting when administered in large quantities. 

Kalm observes in his travels in North Ameri- 
ca, that in some parts of the country this plant 
was suspected of poisonous properties like those 
of the Rhus vernix. The country people inform^ 
ed him that the milky juice rubbed on the hands 
produced blistering in many persons, and that 
some were affected in the same way even by the 
cffiuvium of the plant. — I know of no other au- 
thority than that stated above for the existence of 
such a property in the Apocynum. The plant is 


common and well known in Massachusetts, yet 
I have never heard it suspected of deleterious 

The flowers of the xlpocynum have a power 
of catching: flies and small insects which was as- 
cribed by Dr. Darwin to an irritability in the in- 
ternal organs. Mr. Curtis in the Botanical mag- 
azine, has considered this subject at large, and 
ascribes the property to a more rational cause. 
In consequence of the close convergency of the 
anthers and their adhesion to the stigma, a nar- 
row fissure or slit exists, which becomes more 
contracted near the top. The insect in search of 
the honey at the bottom of the flower, inserts his 
proboscis between the stamens into the cavity 
within them. In extricating it from this situa- 
tion the proboscis is sometimes caugbt in the fis- 
sure, and in proportion to the eiforts made by the 
insect to escape it becomes more closely wedged 
in the upper part of the slit, so that its deliverance 
by its own powers becomes at length impractica- 
ble. Musquitoes, gnats, and small flies are fre- 
quently found dead in this confinement. 

DOG'S BANE. 153 


Apocynutn androssemifollum, Lin. Sp. pi. — Curtis, Botani- 
cal Magazine, t. 280.— Darwin, Botanic Garden, ii. 182. — Mi- 
€HAUx, Flora, i. 121 Pursh, i. 179. 

Kaxm, Travels, iii. 26. 


Fig. 1. Branch of Spocijmim androsainiifolium. 

Fig. 2. Fair of follicles. 

Fig. 3. Cone formed of the united stamens. 

Fig. 4. Stamen detached. 

Fig. 5. Side view of the calyx, nectaries and germs^t 

Fig. 6. Front view of the same. 

Fig. 7. <M seed. 



Leather Wood, 


A HE diversity of climate in different latitudes 
of the United States does not prevent this shrub 
from appearing in the most rigorously cold as 
well as in the warmest sections of the country. 
I have seen it grooving plentifully on the hanks 
of the Kennehec, in Maine, and Mr. Bartram 
found it in great vigour on the Savannah river in 
Georgia. It is a marshy shrub frequenting low 
w oods and the vicinity of water, flowering in April 
and May. It is commonly of humble growth, 
though Mr. Bartram found specimens six or 
seven feet in height. It is remarkable for the 
flexibility of its wood and toughness of its bark, 
which are so great that it cannot be broken with- 
out great difliculty. The Aborigines employed 


_::_/ vv'r/7 //a///.^/^^^ 

A'uim.'k Smuk Sr- 


it for their cordage, and from its great tenacity 
the name of Leather wood has been applied to it 
in most parts of the United States. The Canadian 
French called it Bois de Fiomb or Leaden wood 
from its flexibility. 

The generic character of Dirca consists in a 
tubular corolla without calya?, having its border 
obsoletely toothed. Stamens longer than the corol- 
la. Berry one-seeded. 

The genus contains but a single species. 

Class Octandria, order Monogynia. Natural 
orders Fepreculce, Lin. Thymelww, Juss. 

The Dirca is an uTcgular shrub somewhat 
distinguished by the horizontal tendency of its 
branches and leaves. The branches have an in- 
terrupted or jointed mode of growth. The leaves 
are scattered or alternate, with very short petioles. 
They are oval, entire, subacute, downy, when 
young, smooth and membranous when fully 
grown, and pale on the under side. The flowers 
appear long before the leaves. Previously to 
their emerging they exist in miniature within a 
small hairy bud, which occupies a sheath or cavity 
in the end of each flowering branch. They arc 
commonly m bunches of three together with their 
peduncles cohering. Each flower is about half 
an inch long, of a yellow colour and without ca- 


lyx. The corolla is funnel-shaped, >vith a con- 
traction near the hase and another in the middle^ 
its border dilated, and slightly and irregularly 
toothed. Stamens eight, much longer than the 
corolla, the alternate ones longest, the filaments 
capillary and inserted into the tube ; the anthers 
roundish. Germ ovate placed obliquely, the 
style appearing to issue from one side. The 
style is capillary, curved, and longer than the 
stamens. The fruit is a small oval, acute, red, 
one-seeded berrv. 

Chemically examined, the bark of this shrub 
discovers a slightly resinous character by the 
pearliness which its tincture assumes on admix- 
ture with water. The decoction is somewhat 
mucilaginous and deposits slight flocculi on the 
addition of alcohol. Iron and gelatin produce no 
evidence of tannin or gallic acid. The distilled 
water has an unpleasant odour, but is void of ac- 

The bark of the Dhxa has a peculiar and 
rather unpleasant taste. When swallowed, it 
leaves a sensation of acrimony in the fauces 
which continues for some time. If taken in the 
quantity of six or eight grains, it produces a sense 
of heat in the stomach and at length brings on 


vomiting. This effect pretty certainly occurs if 
the bark be recent or freshly powdered, 

A variety of observations on this slirub have 
been made by my pupil, Dr. John Locke, who 
first called my attention to the examination of its 
properties. He found on experiment that not 
only the distilled water, but the decoction also 
was void of acrimony, and that in the boiled bark 
this property was very much diminished, though 
still present. The watery extract had consider- 
able bitterness, but scarcely any of the peculiar 
acrimony of the plant. Taken in doses of a 
drachm, it did not produce any very sensible ef- 
fect. Alcohol without heat acquu'ed but slight 
sensible properties from the bark. Nothing 
came over by distillation Avith alcohol, but the 
alcohol remaining in the retort had acquired the 
acrimony. The spirituous extract procured by 
evaporating this decoction was equal to one twen- 
ty fourth of the bark from which it was obtained. 
It contained the acrimony in a concentrated form, 
producing a more powerful effect on the fauces 
than the fresh bark. It was lai^gely but not com- 
pletely soluble in water. 

Dr. Locke gave the freshly dried root to various 
patients in doses of fi'om five to ten grains, which 
quantity in most instances proved powerfully 


emetic, and sometimes cathartic. It was found 
to be deteriorated by keeping, and did not pro- 
duce the same effects when very old. In conse- 
quence of some statements whicli have been 
made in regard to its vesicating properties, Dr. 
Locke applied portions of the bark moistened with 
vinegar to the skin of his arm. In twelve hours 
no effect was produced, in twenty four some red- 
ness and itching took place and in thirty a com- 
plete vesication followed. 

The fruit of the Dirca has been suspected of 
narcotic properties. Dr. Perkins, of Hanover, 
N. H. has communicated the case of a child 
which had eaten these berries with effects like 
those produced by Stramonium, such as stupor, 
insensibility, and dilatation of the pupils. An 
emetic brought up the berries and the child grad- 
ually recovered. A medical student who took 
several of the berries found that they produced 
nausea and giddiness. 

The medicinal action of the bark of the Dirca 
probably depends on its acrid constituents, which 
appear to be partly of a resinous and partly of a 
volatile nature. Its properties appear somewhat 
allied to those of Polygala senega, for whicli it 
might perhaps be substituted in small quanti- 
ties. It is best given in substance, though on ac- 


count of the tenacity of its fibres it is diflicult of 
subdivision. After beating in a mortar it resem- 
bles fine Hut more than powder. Its vesicatiug 
properties appear too feeble to promise much 

I have introduced the Dirca in this place, not 
so much because it has been yet applied to any 
medical purpose of great importance ; but be- 
cause it would be improper, in a work like the 
present, to pass over unnoticed a shrub of such 
decided activity. 


Dirca palustris, Li!v. JmcEnitates academicce, iii. t. i. 6. 7. 

DuHAMEL, Jrb. vi. t. 212. — Pursh. i. 236. — Michaux, i. 268. 

Bartram, Travels, 309. — Kalm, Travels, ii. 148. 

B. S. Barton, ColL 32. 


Fig. 1. ^ branch with leaves of Dirca palustr'is. 

Fig. 2. A branch injlower. 

Fig. 3. Fruit. 

Fig. 4. Germ and style much magnified. 

Fig. 5. Magnified corolla^ laid open. 

Fig. C. Flower magnified. 


Tall Blackberry. 

PLATE xxxnu, 

liiE family of shrubs comprized under the 
term Bnhiis, including the various species of 
Raspberry^ Blackberry, Dewberry^ ^c. is exten- 
sively diffused throughout the United States. 
Many of them are known as troublesome bram- 
bles, a few are unarmed, and a certain number 
are nearly herbaceous. Some are distinguished 
by the elegance of their flowers, and others by 
the deliciousness of their fruit. The Rubus vil- 
losus is one of the most common and interesting-^ 
species. It abounds among the brushwood of 
neglected fields and pastures, about fences and 
the borders of woods, from the Eastern to the 
Southern states. Beings of rapid growth, it is 
frequently troublesome to the farmer by spread- 

/•/. x.vrv/ii 

Annin X-. Smilfi Sr 

■••!^- .. 


ing in his lands, although it oft'ers some amends 
for the intrusion by the abundance and fine 
flavour of its fruit. It is commonly called tall or 
high blackberry in distinction from the B. trivia- 
lis or loio blackberry, ^vhich it greatly resembles 
in the quality of its fruit. It is in flower in June 
and its fruit is ripe in Aug-ust and September. 

For the generic character, it has a jive-cleft 
calycc ; five petals ; and a compound berry com- 
posed of one-seeded acinic — This species is puheS' 
cent, bristly and prickly, the leaves in threes or 
fives, leafets ovate, acuminate, serrate, pubescent, 
with the petioles prickly ; flowers racemed. 

Class Icosandria, order Polygynia ; natural or- 
orders Senticosoe, Lin. JRosaceoe, Juss. 

This shrub has a tall, branching, prickly 
stem, which is more or less furrowed and angu- 
lar. Leaves mostly in threes on a channelled, 
hairy petiole. A few are solitary and some qui- 
nate. Leafets ovate, acuminate, sharply and une- 
qually serrate, covered with scattered hairs above, 
and with a thick soft pubescence underneath. 
The terminal leafet is pedicelled, the two side 
ones sessile. The petiole and back of the mid- 
dle rib are commonly armed with short recurved 
prickles. The flowers grow in erect racemes 

with a hairy, prickly stalk. The pedicels are 


slender, an inch or two in length, covered with 
glandular hairs and supported by lanceolate 
hractes. Calyx divided into five ovate, concave, 
hairy segments ending in an acuminate point or 
a lanceolate leafet. Petals five, w hite, ovate or 
oblong, concave, contracted into a short claw at 
hase. Stamens very numerous, with roundish 
anthers and slender, white filaments. Germs nu- 
merous, covering a conic central receptacle. 
Styles capillary, arising from the sides of the 
germs, persistent. Fruit a black, sliining, com- 
pound berry formed of pulpy acini attached to 
the receptacle, each containing a single oblong 

The bark of the root of tliis bramble is the 
part which has been medicinally employed, [t 
is a pure and strong astringent, which property 
it manifests both by its sensible effects and by 
chemical examination. When treated with the 
sulphate of iron both the tincture and decoction 
assume a beautiful dark purple colour and throw 
down a copious precipitate. A precipitate also 
takes place on the addition of gelatin, which is 
copious, white and opaque. The alcoholic solu- 
tion is in part decomposed by water. The sub- 
stance precipitated does not occasion the uniform 
turbidncBs whicii usually attends the separation 


of resins, but exhibits a flocculent appearance like 
that of congulatcd mucilage. These flocculi, 
however, when collected and dried, exhibit the 
common resinous properties on exposure to heat. 
I subjected the dried bark to distillation, but the 
distilled water was nearly insipid, possessing only 
a very slight flavour of the root. 

The properties of this bark ai^e those of a very 
powerful astringent. I have tried its operation 
sufficiently to become satisfied of its efficacy both 
internally and externally used in a variety of cases 
which admit of relief from medicines of its class. 
It is true that our list of vegetalde astringents lias 
become very numerous and tiie cases which re- 
quire them are perhaps less frequent than was 
formerly imagined ; yet as we continue to im- 
port and consume various foreign medicines of 
this kind, we ought not to exclude from attention 
native articles of equal efficacy. Professor Chap- 
man, of Philadelphia, expresses a very decided 
opinion in regard to the powers of this substance. 
« Of the vegetable astringents," says he, "this I 
have reason to believe is among tlie most active 
and decidedly efficacious in certain cases. To 
the declining stages of dysentery after the symp- 
toms of active inflammation are removed, it is 
well suited, though T have given it. T think, with 


greater advantage under nearly similar circum- 
stances, in cholera infantum. To check the in- 
ordinate evacuations which commonly attend the 
protracted cases of this disease, no remedy has 
ever done so much in my hands. Even two or 
three doses will sometimes so hind tlie howels 
that purgatives became necessary. Being so 
powerfully astringent, this medicine is useful in 
all excessive purgings, and especially in the di- 
arrhea of very old people, as well as when it oc- 
curs at the close of diseases. During my atten- 
dance in our public institutions I had abundant 
opportunities of testing its efficacy in these cases." 

The fruit of the blackberry is among the 
most delicious productions of the uncultivated 
forest. To an agreeable combination of sweetness 
and acid it adds an aromatic fragrance which is 
surpassed by few of the lighter fruits produced 
among us. It differs in size and perfection in 
different seasons, warm and dry summers being 
most favourable to its perfect maturity. Our 
markets, however, are rarely destitute of this fine 
fruit in the months of August and September. 

Some other species of Rubus are closely allied 
to this in the qualities of their fruit and bark, 
particularly the Ruhus procumbens, commonly 
called lotv or running blackberry or dewberry* 


The fruit of this species is usually larger but 
produced in smaller quantity from the inflores- 
cence being nearly solitary. The bark is not less 
astringent than in the present species. 


Rubus villosus, Aiton, Kew, ii. 210. — Wulldenow, ii. 1085. 
— MiCHAUX, i. 297. — PuRSH, i. 346. 


Chapman, Therapeutics and Mat, Med, ii. 474. — Thacher, 
Disp. 341. 


Fig. 1. Jl specimen of Ruhis villosus in flower. 

Fig. 2. Stamen. 

Fig. 3. PistUs. 

Fig-. 4. The ripe fruit. 


American Senna, 


X HIS tall and luxuriant plant is found in rich 
soils in the vicinity of water from N^ew England 
to Carolina, and westward to the banks of the 
Missouri. The most northern situation in which 
I liave known it decidedly indigenous, is on tlie 
banks of tlie Quinehaug river near the southern 
boundary of Massachusetts. It is, however, cul- 
tivated in gardens for medicinal use much further 
to the north. It is a vigorous herbaceous peren- 
nial with stalks four or five feet high, having 
their summits covered in July and August with 
brilliant yellow flowers. 

The extensive genus Cassia has a five-leaved 
calyjc and five petals ; anthers unequal^ the three 
uppermost barren, the three lowermost longer, 


-Aftnin H SrruM 


curved and beahed. Legume Uvo-valved. — ^The 
species Marilaiidica has eight or nine pairs of leaf- 
ets, which are ohlong-lanceolate, and mucronaie ; 
an obovate gland on the petiole. Racemes accillary 
and terminal ; legumes linear ami curved. 

Class Becandria, order Monogynia. Natural 
orders Lomentacece, Linn. Leguminoscv, Juss. 

The stems, Avhich grow in bunches and often 
attain the heiglit of five or six feet, are round, 
striated, and invested with a few scattered hairs. 
Petioles compressed, channelled above, bearing 
from eight to ten pairs of leafets, which are ob- 
long, smooth, somewhat hairy at the edges, pale 
on the under side, supported by short crooked 
pedicels, and mucronated with a rigid bristle at 
the end. On the base of the petiole is a large 
ovate pedicelled gland, of a shining green, ter- 
minating in a dark point at top, which is some- 
times double. Each petiole is also furnished with 
a pair of linear-subulate, ciliate, deciduous stip- 
ules. The flowers grow in axillary racemes, ex- 
tending quite to the top of the stem. The pe- 
duncles are sliglitly furrowed, pedicels supported 
by bractes like the stipules, and marked with mi- 
nute, blackish, glandular hairs. Leaves of the 
calyx yellow oval, obtuse, the lateral ones longest. 
Petals five, briglit yellow, spatulate, concave, very a 


obtuse, three ascending and two descending. 
Stamens ten with yellow filaments and hrown 
anthers. The three upper have short abortive 
anthers. To these succeed two pairs of deflexed 
linear anthers. The remaining three, or lower- 
most, are much longer, crooked, and taper into a 
sort of beak, the middle one being shortest. The 
anthers open by a terminal pore. Germ descend- 
ing with the low er stamens, hairy ; style ascend- 
ing, stigma hairy, moist. The fruit consists of 
long legumes which are pendulous linear, curved, 
swelling at the seeds, and ftirnished with slight 

The predominant constituents of the leaves 
in tliis plant appear to be resin extractive, and 
a volatile matter. The tincture is of a dark brown 
colour and is rendered extremely tm^bid by water. 
The infusion and decoction have a lighter colour 
and the peculiar taste of tlie plant. The dis- 
tilled water is nauseous. It is found that both 
the infusion and decoction answer for medicinal 
use, yet it is probable that the tincture would be 
more strongly operative, did not the sedative ef- 
fects of the alcohol prove a balance for the addi- 
tional parts of the medicine dissolved. 

The Cassia Marilandica is related to the ori- 
ental Senna in its botanical habit, and nearly re- 


sembles it in its medicinal virtues.* Neither of 
these phxnts is to be ranked among the most ac- 
tive cathartics, and they require to be taken in 
much larger quantities than aloes, rhubarb or 

* There is no doubt that the true Alexandrian Senna is the 
product of the Cassia Senna of Linnaeus and of Willdenow. La- 
marck has occasioned an unnecessary confusion on this subject, and 
misled other botanists, by changing the Linnsean name C. senna to 
C. lanceolata ; while he has appropriated the name C. senna to the 
variety /3 of Linnseus, which is the Italian senna, since very properly 
named C. Italica. See Rees' Cyclopedia, Art. Cassia, &c. The 
African plant is accounted the most active, although the Italian Sen- 
na cultivated in Jamaica, according to Dr. Wright, proved fully 
equal to it in efficacy. 

The greater part of the Senna consumed in the United States is 
imported from the East Indies. Smaller quantities occasionally reach 
us from different ports of the Mediterranean and Red seas. The 
common India senna has a lanceolate leaf narrow and acute; pe- 
tioles without glands, bearing from five to nine pairs of leaves ; and 
a flat oblong curved legume. Medicinally considered, it is one of 
the most valuable sorts, operating with mildness and certainty. The 
facility and cheapness with which it is obtained in India, has long 
caused it to predominate in our markets. 

The India senna, which I have examined, has been very pure, 
consisting only of leaves of Cassia. The Egyptian has frequently a 
slight admixture of foreign leaves which are nauseous and bitter. 

The Cassia senna would doubtless succeed in our Southern 
states. The product, consisting of the whole leaves of the plant, 
must necessarily be large, and would well reward the attention of 
planters. Ripe seeds may probably be found among the senna of the 
shops which will vegetate, if not too old. According to Roxburgh 
and Carey, the Arabian senna cultivated at the Bengal garden is a 
biennial plant. 



jalap, to produce their desired effect. Hence the 
coiumon form of administering senna is in in- 
fusion, a large portion being made to communi- 
cate its strength to water at a time. As far as I 
have been able to observe, about one third more 
of the Cassia marilandica is required to produce 
a given effect, than of the C. senna. This ohjec- 
tion will prevent it from superseding the senna 
of the shops, although the facility, with which it 
may be raised in any part of the United States, 
will render it a convenient medicine where cheap- 
ness is an object. It is already cultivated in 
gardens for medicinal use, and the infusion and 
decoction are considerably employed by families 
and country practitioners. 


Cassia Marilandica, Lin. Sp. pi. — Martyn, Cent, t, 23. — 
MiCHAUX, Flora, i. 261. — Pursh, i. 306. — ^Nuttali, i. 280. — 
Cassia mimosse foliis, &c. — Dillenius, t. 260,/. 339. 


B. S. Barton, Coll. 32. — Thacher, Bisp. 178, — Chap- 
man, Therapeutics. 


Fig. 1. Cassia Marilandica. 

Fig. 2. The three upper stamens. 

Fig. 3. The fourth andjifth ditto. 

Fig. 4. The sixth and seventh ditto. 

Fig. 5. The three lowest ditto. 

Fig. 6, A legume. 





At the time of the discovery of America the 
Tobacco plant was cultivated by the natives in 
the West India islands and in different parts of 
the continent, especially those bordering on the 
Gulf of Mexico. Whatever may have been its 
native climate, we need not trace it farther back 
than this period ; and can incur but little risk 
in considering it as indigenous to the southern 
parts of the United States in their present cnlai'g- 
ed extent. [JVofe B.] It is an annual plant capable 
of perfecting its flowers and fruit in almost any 
part of the Union, yet seldom found growing 
spontaneously except in cultivated grounds or 
their vicinity. 


The genus Wcotiiina has Si funnel-shaped co- 
rolla, zvith its border someivhat plaited. Stamens 
inclined ; stigma emarginate. Capsule ttvo-celledy 
two or four-valved. The species Tabaciim^re- 
presented in our plate, has its leaves ovate-lanceo- 
late, sessile, decurrent ; flowers panicled, acute. 

Class Pentandria, order Monogynia. Natural 
orders Luridcv, Linn. Solanacece, Juss. 

The common Tobacco has a long fibrous root; 
a stalk five or six feet high, erect, round, hairy, 
and viscid, branching at top. Leaves sessile, very 
large, ovate or lanceolate, acuminate, viscid, of a 
pale green colour. Bractes linear, acute. Flow- 
ers forming a panicle on the ends of the stem and 
branches. Calyx swelling, hairy, glutinous, half 
as long as the corolla, ending in five acute seg- 
ments. Corolla funnel-shaped, swelling toward 
the top, the border expanding, with five acute 
lobes ; the tube of a greenish white, the border 
red. Filaments inclined to one side, with oblong 
anthers. Germ ovate, style long and slender, 
stigma cloven. Capsule ovate, invested with the 
calyx, two-celled, two-valved, but opening cross- 
wise at top ; partition contrary to the valves. 
Seeds very numerous, small, somewhat reniform, 
attached to a fleshy receptacle. 


It is a remarkable law of the animal economy, 
that the power of use and habit is capable of 
reconciling tlie system to bear witli impunity 
what in its unaccustomed state proves highly 
deleterious and even fatal. It is a fact that most 
substances in the Materia Medica lose their eftect 
after the continuance of their use for a certain 
length of time, so that if we would realize their 
original operation, we must increase their dose in 
proportion as the body becomes accustomed 
and insensible to their stimulus. This is partic- 
ularly exemplified in the narcotics. Many of 
these substances, which at first are not only nau- 
seous and disgusting in their sensible qualities, 
but highly injurious in their influence upon 
health ; are so changed in their effect by habitual 
use, as to become to those who employ them an 
innocent and indispensible comfort and a first 
rate luxury of life. 

In its external and sensible properties, there 
is no plant which has less to recommend it than 
the common Tobacco. Its taste in the ^reen 
state is acrid, nauseous and repulsive, and a small 
quantity taken into the stomach excites violent 
vomiting, attended with other alarming symp- 
toms. Yet the first person who had courage and 
patience enough to persevere in its use, until hab- 


it had overcome his original disgust, eventually 
found in it a pleasing sedative, a soother of care, 
and a material addition to the pleasures of life. 
Its use, which originated among savages, has 
spread into every civilized country ; it has made 
its way against the declamations of the learned, 
and the prohibitions of civil and religious author- 
ity, and it now gives rise to an extensive branch 
of agriculture, or of commerce, in every part of 
the globe. 

Tobacco was in use among the aborigines of 
America, at the time of its dicovery. They em- 
ployed it as incense in their sacrificial fires, 
believing that the odour of it w as grateful to their 
gods. The priests of some tribes swallowed the 
smoke of this plant to excite in them a spirit of 
divination, and this they did to a degree which 
threw them into a stupor of many hours continu- 
ance. When recovered from this fit of intoxica- 
tion, they asserted that they had held a confer- 
ence with the devil, and had learned from him the 
course of future events. Their physicians also 
got inebriated with this smoke, and pretended 
that while under the influence of this intoxication 
they were admitted to the council of the gods, 
who revealed to them the event of diseases. Har- 


In 1559 Tobacco was sent into Spain and Por- 
tugal by Hernandez de Toledo, and from thence 
it was carried into France {>.s a curiosity by Jean 
Nicot or Nicotius, ambassador at the court of Lis- 
bon, whose name is now immortalized by its 
application to this genus of plants. From this 
period the use of tobacco spread rapidly through 
the continent, and in half a century it was known 
in most countries in Europe. The rich indulged 
in it, as a luxury of the highest kind; and the poor 
gave themselves up to it, as a solace for the mis- 
eries of life. Its use became so general and so 
excessive, that in many countries, the constituted 
authorities, both of church and state, found it 
necessary to interpose, and to stop the extrava- 
gant indulgence in it by the severest prohibi- 
tions. James the First of England, besides writ- 
ing a book against it, called his "Counterblast to 
Tobacco," gave orders that no planter in Virginia 
should cultivate more than one hundred pounds. 
Pope Urban the Eighth publislied a decree of 
excommunication against all who took snuff in 
the church. Smoking was forbidden in Russia 
under penalty of having the nose cut off. In 
Switzerland a tribunal (Chambre dii tahac) was 
instituted for the express purpose of trying trans- 
gressors in Tobacco. A Turk, who was found 


smoking in Constantinople, was conducted 
through the streets of that city with Jiis pipe 
transfixed through his nose. 

Even in this country, where the use of Tobac- 
co originated, we find our puritanic ancestors 
guarding against its abuse by salutary statutes. 
In the old Massachusetts colony laws is an act 
laying a penalty upon any one "who shall smoke 
tobacco within twenty poles of any house ;" or 
who shall "take tobacco in any inn or common 
victualling house, except in a private room, so as 
that neither the master of the said house nor any 
other guest shall take offence thereat." — In the 
earliest records of Harvard University soon after 
its foundation, is a regulation of this kind. " No 
scholar shall take tobacco, unless permitted by the 
president, with the consent of their parents and 
guardians, and on good reason first given by a 
physician, and then in a sober and private man- 

While the legal authorities in various parts of 
the world took upon them to control the abuse 
of this fascinating weed, the literati of different 
countries entered warmly into the discussion of 
its merits and its faults. Among its advocates 
were Castor Duranti and Haphael Thorius, both of 
whom wrote Latin poems expressly in its praise. 


The perfornnanee of the latter is entitled a 
" Hymn to Tohacco," and is very lavish in ascrip- 
tions to this plant, which he styles the "gift of 
heaven and the ornament of earth." So warm 
were the prejudices of its advocates, that it oh- 
tained the reputation of a general panacea, and 
the catalogne of diseases which it was announced 
to cure, amounted almost to a complete nosology. 

But the opinions of its adversaries were not 
less extravagant upon the other extreme. It is 
remarkable tliat in the days of its first general in- 
troduction, no man spoke about it with coolness 
or indifference, but every one warmly espoused its 
censure or its praise. Camden, in his life of 
Queen Elizabeth, says, that men used Tobacco 
every where, some for wantonness and some for 
health's sake; and that "with insatiable desire 
and greediness, they sucked the stinking smoke 
thereof through an earthen pipe, which they 
presently blew out again at their nostrils ; — so 
that Englishmen's bodies were so delighted with 
this plant, that they seemed as it were degener- 
ated into barbarians." 

Dr. Venner in a work entitled Via recta ad 

vitam longam, published at London in 1638, gives 

a brief summary of the injuries done by Tobacco. 

" It drieth the brain, dimmeth the sight, vitiateth 



tlie smell, Imrtetli the stomach, destroyetli the 
concoction, disturbeth the humours and spirits, 
eoiTupteth the breath, induceth a trembling of 
the limbs, exsiccateth the winde pipe, lungs and 
liver, annoyeth the milt, scorcheth the heart and 
causeth the blood to be adusted. In a word, it 
overthroweth the spirits, perverteth the under- 
standing, and confoundeth the senses with sudden 
astonishment and stupiditie of the whole body." 
A poetical philiippic, called " Tobacco batter- 
red," was published in the reign of King James 
by Joshua Sylvester, in which he compares Tobac- 
co to gunpowder, and pipes to guns ; making the 
mischief of the two equal. But the most cele- 
brated of all invectives against Tobacco was the 
" Counterblast" of King James I. That weak 
monarch gave vent to his prejudices against this 
herb in a publication, in which he professes to 
disprove all the alleged grounds for the toleration 
of Tobacco, and warns his subjects in a most 
earnest manner not to sin against Ood, and/harm 
their own persons and goods, and render them- 
selves scorned and contemned by strangers, who 
should come among them ; by persevering in a 
custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, 
and baneful to the brain." 


Such were the commotions excited by the 
introduction and spreading of an article, whose 
use has now become so common as scarcely to 
attract notice. This article is the product of 
several species of Nicotiana, but chiefly of the N. 
tabacum or Virginian Tobacco, and the INT. rustica, 
sometimes called English Tobacco, and being the 
sort which Sir Walter Raleigb introduced at the 
court of Queen Elizabeth. Anotber species, N, 
fruticosa, is said to have been cultivated in tbe 
East prior to the discovery of America. The 
Indians on the banks of the Missouri and Colum- 
bia rivers cultivate for use the N. quadrivalvis of 
Pursh and Nuttall. It has been remarked that 
the Tobacco of warm climates is more mild in its 
flavour, while that raised in colder latitudes is 
more strong and pungent. The Bengal Tobac- 
co, of which the sheroots are made, is one of the 
most weak and mild in its properties. After this 
is the West India Tobacco which aflbrds the Ha- 
vanna cigars. Next is the Tobacco of our South- 
ern States, and lastly the Tobacco raised in the 
northern parts of the Union, which is the most 
acrimonious and pungent of all.* 

* Several varieties of JSTicotiana Tabacum are cultivated in the 
United States, of which the principal are the broad leaved or siveet ■■ 
scented^ and tlic narrow leaved. 


An elaborate chemical analysis of Tobacco. 
has been published by M. Vauqiielin in the 
Annales de Chimie. His results are, that the 
broad leaved Tobacco furnishes from its juices 
the following constituents. 1. A large quantity 
of animal matter of an albuminous nature. 
2. Malate of lime with an excess of acid. 3. Ace- 
tic acid. 4. Nitrate and muriate of potash in 
observable quantities. 5, A red matter soluble 
in alcohol and water, which swells and boils in 
the fire, its nature undetermined. 6. Muriate of 
J mmonia. 7- A peculiar acrid, volatile, colour- 
less substance, soluble in water and alcohol, and 
which appears different from any thing known 
in the vegetable kingdom. It is this principle 
which gives to prepared Tobacco its peculiar 
character, and it is perhaps not to be found in any 
other species of plant. Tlie medicinal activity of 
Tobacco evidently resides in this volatile portion, 
for both the extract and decoction of the plant by 
long boiling become nearly inert, while the es- 
sential or the empyreumatic oil is one of the most 
deadly poisons known. 

Among the substances used by Mr. Brodie in 
his experiments or vegetable poisons, was the 
empyreumatic oil of Tobacco prepared by Mr. 
Braude by distilling the leaves of Tobacco in a 


heat above that of boiling water. A quantity of 
watery fluid came over, on the surface of which 
was a film of unctuous substance, wiiich he calls 
the empyreumatic oil. Mr. Brodie found that 
two drops of this oil applied to the tongue of a 
young cat with an interval of fifteen minutes 
occasioned death. A single drop suspended in 
an ounce of water and injected into the rectum 
of a cat, produced death in about five minutes. 
One drop suspended in an ounce and a half of 
mucilage and thrown into the rectum of a dog, 
produced violent symptoms, and a repetition of 
the experiment killed him. 

Tobacco has been used both as a luxury and 
prophylactic, and as a medicine. In the former 
cases it has not been taken internall}', but only 
kept in contact with absorbing surfaces. It is 
well known, that to the mouth it is applied in 
substance and in smoke ; and to the nose in the 
form of powder. The opinion which at one time 
prevailed of its power to prolong life and to 
secure immunity from diseases is now pretty 
fully abandoned. It has no prophylactic reputa- 
tion except as a preservation for the teeth, and in 
some degree as a protection against the conta- 
gion of epidemics. In both these cases it is 
entitled to a certain degree of confidence, though 


it is probably inferior to many otber substances 
for both these purposes. 

As to its effects upon longevity, the great 
frequency of its use and the facts and observations 
of Sir John Sinclair render it improbable that 
when moderately taken, it has any influence in 
wearing out the constitution, or abridging the usu- 
al period of life. But like all other narcotics its 
excessive use or abuse must impair the health 
and engender disease. Of the different modes of 
using Tobacco, I imagine that smoking is the 
most injurious, and the most capable of abuse, 
since in this process the active principles of the 
Tobacco are volatilized with the smoke, and are 
extensively applied to the lungs as well as the 
mouth and nose and fauces. 

Asa medicine, this plant has been employed 
in a variety of ways for the alleviation and cure 
of diseases. Externally it has been applied with 
benefit in tinea capitis and in complaints occa- 
sioned by the presence of insects. In the form 
of a cataplasm applied to the pit of the stomach 
it occasions severe vomiting. The prostration of 
{Strength and other distressing symptoms which 
attend this application, must prevent its general 
employment. Still it may be remembered as an 
auxiliary iu cases where other emetics have failed 


to operate. A surgeon in the U. S. army inform- 
ed me that the soldiers had au expedient to ex- 
empt themselves from duty, by wearing a piece 
of tobacco under each armpit, until the most 
alarming symptoms of real illness appeared in 
the whole system. 

Dr. James Currie has recorded a case of epi- 
lepsy cured by the external use of Tobacco. A 
cataplasm was applied to the stomacli for several 
days about half an hour before the expected re- 
turn of the paroxysm. A violent impression was 
produced eacli time upon the system, the parox- 
ysm prevented and the diseased association 
effectually broken up. Two cases of obstinate 
and dangerous intermittent were cured in the 
same manner by a decoction of half a drachm of 
Tobacco in four ounces of v/ater, thrown up as an 
enema, a short period before the time of the 

The Tobacco enema was formerly recom- 
mended in colic, nephritic complaints, ^*c. Of 
late years it lias been extensively employed in 
strangulated hernia. In cases of this complaint 
where the taxis has been ineffectually attenipted 
iind the usual auxiliaries have failed, an injection 
made by infusing half a drachm of Tobacco in 
eight ounces of boiling water for ten minutes, is 


found extremely userul. If assisted by the local 
application of ice to the part, it frequently causes 
the contents of the sac to return spontaneously, 
and renders the operation unnecessary, which 
would be otherwise unavoidable. It operates by 
its powerfully sedative and relaxing effects, as 
well as by its catbartic property. 

When the infusion is not used, an injection of 
Tobacco smoke into the rectum frequently pro- 
duces the same consequences. The smoke may 
be made to penetrate farther than any liquid, and 
it is equally efficacious, from the activity of the 
volatile parts. It was formerly much used in the 
restoration of persons apparently dead from 
drowning', but of late years it has gone more into 
disuse. From the sedative effect of Tobacco, the 
tendency to syncope and the great prostration 
of strength which it occasions in ordinary cases ; 
it is probable that its employment in cases of 
asphyxia from drowning, must assist in extin- 
guishing rather than in rekindling the spark of 

As a diuretic. Tobacco has been administered 
internally in doses so small as not to offend the 
stomach, with very good effect. Dr. Fowler has 
published a collection of facts relative to its use, 
principally in dropsy and dysury, from which he 


concludes it is a safe and efficacious diuretic. In 
thirty one dropsical cases in which he employed 
it, eighteen were cured and ten relieved ; and out 
of eighteen cases of dysury, ten were cured and 
seven relieved. Dr. Ferriar and several subse- 
quent practitioners have found it a valuable diu- 
retic, although CuUen does not speak very en- 
couragingly of its use. At the present day it 
does not seem to be extensively in use, having 
passed into neglect ratlier because more fashiona- 
ble remedies have superceded it, than because it 
has really been weighed and found wanting. It 
will always deserve trial in obstinate dropsical 
cases (and such cases it must be confessed are not 
rare) in whicli the more common remedies have 
been tried without benefit. Of the various for- 
mulas recommended by Dr. Fowler, the Wine of 
Tobacco is the only one preserved in the Edin- 
burgh and Massachusetts pharmacopoeias, beino' 
the one which is believed to extract most fully 
the virtues of tJie Tobacco. It is made by di- 
gesting for a week, an ounce of the dried Tobac- 
co in a pound of Spanish white wine. The dose 
is from thirty to eighty drops. Dr. Fowler him- 
self however believed the most effectual mode of 
administering the Tobacco, was in the form of 
pills of a grain each. 


Tobacco has been employed with some suc- 
cess in the locked jaw, both of warm and cold 
climates. Mr. Duncan, surgeon of Grenada, has 
published in the Edinburgh Journal the account 
of a very distressing case of this kind, which was 
relieved and finally cured principally by enemas 
of Tobacco smoke. These applications generally 
produced syncope and deathlike sickness in the 
patient, but by prudent management of them, the 
disease was entirely overcome, and recovery took 
place. Dr. Holmes of Worcester county, Mass. 
exhibited the infusion of Tobacco, to a patient 
under violent tetanus, after the more common 
remedies had been fully tried without effect. 
The spasms were completely removed and the 
patient recovered. 

This powerful medicine has been also em- 
ployed with some palliative effect in hydrophobia 
and certain other spasmodic diseases. Its in- 
ternal use however requires great caution, since 
patients have in various instances been destroyed 
bv improper quantities administered by the 
hands of the unskilful or unwary. T^otwithstand- 
ing the common use and extensive consumption 
of Tobacco in its various forms, it must unques- 
tionably be ranked among narcotic poisons of 
the most active class. The great prostration of 


Strength, excessive giddiness, fainting, and vio- 
lent affections of the alimentary canal, which 
often attend its internal use, make it proper that 
so potent a drug should be resorted to by medi- 
cal men, only in restricted doses and on occa- 
sions of magnitude. 


Nicotlana tabacum, Lijr. sp. pi. — Aiton, ICew. i. 241. . 

WooDviiiE, Med, Bot. U 77. Blackwell, t. 146.— Puesh, i. 

141. — NUTTAUL, i. 132. 

MxjRiiAY, apparatus, \. 6S\. — Wafer, Travels, 102 — Har- 
riott, Voyage to Virginia. — Hakluyt, 75. — Everard, de her. 
ba panacea, ^'c. 1583. — Chrysostom Magnenus, Exercita- 

tiones 14, de Tabaco. — King James I. Works, London, 1616 

SuoRT, Discourses on Tea, Tobacco, ^-c. — Bientema, Tabacolo- 
gia in 1690. — Hahn, Tahacologia, Jenoe. — Gerard, Historic of 
Plants, 360. — Vauq,uelix, Annales de Chimie, 1809. — Edinburgh 
Med. Comment, xl. 327. — Desgranges, Journal de Medicine, 
1791. — Cullen, Mat. Med. — Fowler. Med. JReports on Tobacco, 
Svo, Lond. — Tatham, on the Culture and Commerce of Tobacco, 

Lond. 1800. — Med, and Phys. Journal, Vol, 24, 25, et passim. . 

Duncan, Repr. in JS". Engl. Journal for 1814. — Ferriar, J)/ef^. 
Hist. i. 75, and ii. 152. — ^1'ott. ii. 72, 85, ^-c.— Watterston, 
,Mem(nr on the Tobacco plant, Washington, 1817. 


Fig. 1. JVicotiana tabacum. 
Fig. 2. Capstile, 

Fig. S. Ripe capsule opening at top. 
Fig. 4. Transverse section. 

N O T E 8. 

JVote A. 
A memoir on the cultivation and use of Asdepias Syraica, by 
J. A. Moller, may be found in Tilloch's Philosophical Magazine, 
Vol. viii. p. 149. Its chief uses were for beds, cloth, hats and 
paper. It was found that from eight to nine pounds of the silk 
occupied a space of from five to six cubic feet, and were suffi- 
cient for a bed, coverlet and two pillows. — The sliortness of the 
fibre prevented it from being spun and woven alone. It how- 
ever was mixed with flax, wool, &c. in certain stuffs to advan- 
tage. Hats made with it were very light and soft. The 
stalks afforded paper in every respect resembling tliat obtained 
from rags. The plant is easily propagated by seeds or slips. 
A plantation containing thirty thousand plants yeilded from six 
hundred to eight hundred pounds of silk. 

J^ote B. 
Tobacco was discovered in Cuba, Florida and Mexico, near- 
ly three centuries ago, and was soon after introduced from this 
continent into Europe. "Whether or not any species of it was 
cultivated in the East before the discovery of America, is a 
point of no consequence in regard to its American nativity. 
The extent of country throughout which it was used by the ab- 
origines of this continent, renders it probable that it must have 
been cultivated in various parts of America for many centuries 
previous to its discovery. 

NOTES. Igf9 

The following account of the present mode of cultivating 
Tobacco in our Southern States is extracted from Jn Historical 
and Practical Essaij on the Culture and Commerce of Tobacco. By 
William Tatham. London, 1800. 

First, of preparing the Tobacco Ground. 

** There are two distinct and separate methods of preparing 
the Tobacco ground : the one is applicable to the preparation of 
new and uncultivated lands, such as are in a state of nature, and 
require to be cleared of the heavy timber and other productions 
with which Providence has stocked them ; and the other method 
is designed to meliorate and revive lands of good foundation, 
which have been heretofore cultivated, and, in some measure, 
exhausted by the calls of agriculture and evaporation. 

*< The process of preparing new lands begins as early in the 
Minter as the housing and managing the antecedent crop will 
permit, by grubbing the under growth with a mattock ^ felling 
the timber with a poll-axe ; lopping off the tops, and cutting the 
bodies into lengths of about eleven feet, which is about the cus- 
tomary length of an American fence rail, in what is called a 
7Vorm or pannel fence. During this part of tlie pi-occss the ne- 
gro women, boys, and weaker labourers, are employed in piling 
or throwing the brush-wood, roots, and small wood, into heaps 
to be burned j and after such logs or stocks are selected as are 
suitable to be mailed into rails, make clap-boards, or answer for 
other more particular occasions of the planter, the remaining 
logs ai'e rolled into heaps by means of hand-spikes and skids ; 
but the Pennsylvania and German farmers, who* are more con- 
versant with animal powers than the Virginians, save much of 
this labour by the use of a pair of horses with a half sledge, or a 
pair of truck wheels. The burning of (his brush- wood, and the 
log piles, is a business for all hands after working hours ,• and 
as nightly revels are peculiar to the African constitution, this 

190 NOTES. 

part of the labour proves often a Yery late employment, which 
affords many scenes of rustic mirth. 

*< When this process has cleared the land of its various natu- 
ral incumbrances, (to attain which end is very expensive and 
laborious,) the next part of the process is that of the hoe ; for 
the plough is an implement which is rarely used in new lands 
when they are either designed for tobacco or meadow. 

" There are three kinds of the hoe which are applied to this 
tillage : the first is what is termed the sprouting hoe, which is a 
smaller species of mattock that serves to break up any particu- 
lar hard part of the ground, to grub up any smaller sized grubs 
which the mattock or grubbing hoe may have omitted, to remove 
small stones and other partial impediments to the next process. 

** The narrow or hilling hoe follows the operation of the 
sprouting hoe. It is generally from six to eight inches wide, 
and ten or twelve in the length of the blade, according to the 
strength of the person who is to use it ; the blade is thin, and 
by means of a moveable wedge which is driven into the eye of 
the hoe, it can be set more or less digging (as it is termed,) that 
is, on a greater or less angle with the helve, at pleasure. In 
this respect there are few instances where the American black- 
smith is not employed to alter the eye of an English-msiAe hoe 
before it is fit for use ; the industrious and truly useful mer- 
chants of Glasgow have paid more minute attention to this cir- 

"The use of this hoe is to break up the ground and throw it 
into shape j which is done by chopping the clods until they are 
sufficiently fine, and then drawing the earth round the foot until it 
forms a heap round the projected leg of tiie labourer like a mole 
hill, and nearly as high as the knee ; he then draws out his foot, 
flattens the top of the hill by a dab with the flat part of the hoe, 
and advances forward to the next hill in the same manner, until 
the whole piece of ground is prepared. The centre of these 

NOTES. 191 

liills are in this manner guessed by the eye; and in most instan- 
ces tliey approach near to lines of four feet one way, and three 
feet the other. The planter always endeavours to time this 
operation so as to tally with the growth of plants, so that he 
may be certain by this means to pitch his crop within season. 

" The third kind of hoe is the broad or weeding hoe. Tliis 
is made use of during the cultivation of the crop, to keep it 
clean from the weeds. It is wide upon the edge, say from ten 
inches to a foot, or more ; of thinner substance than the hilling 
hoe, not near so deep in the blade, and the eye is formed more 
bent and shelving than the latter, so that it can be set upon a 
more acute angle upon the helve at pleasure, by removing the 

OJ the Seas&n for Planting. 

*< The term, season for planting, signifies a shower of rain 
of sufficient quantity to wet the earth to a degree of moisture 
which may render it safe to draw the young plants from the 
plant bed, and transplant them into the hills which are prepared 
for them in the field, as described under the last head; and 
these seasons generally commence in April, and terminate with 
what is termed the long season in May ; which (to make use of 
an Irishism) very frequently happens in June ; and is the op- 
portunity which the planter finds himself necessitated to seize 
with eagerness for the pitching of his crop ,• a term which com- 
prehends the ultimate opportunity which the spring will afford 
him for planting a quantity equal to the capacity of the collec- 
tive power of his labourers when applied in cultivation. 

" By the time which these seasons approach, nature has so 
ordered vegetation, that the weather has generally enabled the 
plants (if duly sh,eltered from the spring frosts, a circumstance 
to which a planter should always be attentive in selecting his 
plant patch) to shoot forward in sufficient strength to bear the 
vicissitude of transplantation. 


" They are supposed to be equal to meet the imposition of 
this task when the leaves are about the size of a dollar j but this 
is more generally the minor magnitude of the leaves ; and 
some will be of course about three or four times that medium 

*' Thus, when a good shower or season happens at this pe- 
riod of the year, and the field and plants are equally ready for 
the intended union, the planter hurries to the plant bed, disre- 
garding tlie teeming element, which is doomed to wet his skin, 
from the view of a bountiful harvest, and having carefully drawn 
the largest sizeable plants, he proceeds to the next operation. 

Of Flani'mg. 
« The ofiice of planting the tobacco is performed by two or 
more persons, in the following manner : The first person bears, 
suspended upon one arm, a large basket full of the plants which 
have been just drawn and brought from the plant bed to the 
field, without waiting for an intermission of the shower, al- 
though it should rain ever so heavily ; such an opportunity 
indeed, instead of being shunned, is eagerly sought after, and is 
considered to be the sure and certain means of laying a good 
foindation, which cherishes the hope of a bounteous return. 
The person who bears the basket proceeds thus by rows from 
hill to hill ; and upon each hill he takes care to drop one of his 
plants. Those who follow make a hole in the centre of each 
hill with their fingers, and having adjusted the tobacco plant in 
its natural position, they knead the earth round the root with 
their hands, until is of a sufficient consistency to sustain the 
plant against wind and weather. In this condition they leave 
the field for a few days until the plants shall have formed their 
radifications ; and where any of them shall have casually per- 
ished, the ground is followed over again by successive replant- 
ings, until the crop is rendered complete. 

NOTES. 193 

Of Hoeing the Crop, 

"The operation of hoeing comprehends two distinct func- 
tions, viz. that of hilliifg, and that of weeding ; and there are 
moreover two stages of hilling. The first hilling commences, 
as heretofore described, in the preparation of the field previous to 
planting the crop, and it is performed, as before explained, by 
means of the peculiar implement called a hilling hoe ; the sec- 
ond hilling is performed after the crop is planted, with a view 
to succour and support the plant as it may happen to want 
strengthening, by giving a firm and permanent foundation to its 
root ; and it may be effected accordi?«g to the demand of the 
respective plants by a dexterity in changing the stroke with 
the weeding hoe, without any necessity to recur to the more 
appropriate utensil. 

" The more direct use of the weeding hoe commences with 
the first growth of the tobacco after transplantation, and never 
ceases until the plant is nearly ripe, and ready to be laid by, as 
they term the last weeding with the hoe ; for be who would 
have a good crop of tobacco, or of maize, must not be sparirg 
of his labour, but must keep the ground constantly stirring dur- 
ing the whole growth of the crop. And it is a rare instance 
to see the plough introduced as an assistant, unless it be the 
flook plough, for the purpose of introducing a sowing of wheat 
for the following year, even while the present crop is growing ; 
and this is frequently practised in fields of maize, and some- 
times in fields of tobacco, which may be ranked amongst the 
best fallow crops, as it leaves the ground perfectly clean and 
naked, permitting neither grass, weed, nor vegetable, to remain 
standing in the space which it has occupied. 

194 NOTES. 

Of Topping the Flant, 
"This operation, simply, is that of pinching off with the 
iliumb nail* the leading stem or sprout of the plant, which 
w oiild, if left alone, run up to flower and seed ; but which, from 
the more substantial formation of the leaf by the help of the nu- 
tritive juices, which are thereby afforded to the lower parts of 
the plant, and thus absorbed through the ducts and fibres of the 
leaf, is rendered more weighty, thick, and fit for market. The 
qualiiied sense of this term is applicable to certain legal restric- 
tions founded upon long experience, and calculated to compel an 
amendment in the culture of this staple of the Virginia trade, so 
that it shall at all times excel in foreign markets, and thus just- 
ly merit a superior reputation. I do not exactly recollect the 
piesent limitation by law, which has changed, I believe, with 
the progress of experience j but the custom is to top the plant 
to nine, seven, or five leaves, as the quality and soil may seem 
most likely to bear. 

Of the Slicker, and Suckering. 

" The sucker is a superfluous sprout which is wont to make 
its appearance and shoot forth from the stem or stalk, near to 
the junction of the leaves with the stem, and about the root of 
the plant ; and if these suckers arc permitted to grow, they in- 
jure the marketable quality of the tobacco by compelling a division 
of its nutriment during the act of maturation. The planter is 
therefore careful to destroy these intruders with the thumb nail, 
as in the act of topping, and this process is termed suckering, 

" This superfluity of vegetation, like that of the top, has 
been often the subject of legislative care j and the policy of sup- 
porting the good name of the Virginia produce has dictated the 

* " Many of tlie Virginians let the thumb nail grow long, and 
liarden it in the candle, for this purpose : not for the use of gouging 
out people's eyes, as souie have thought fit to insinuate." 

NOTES. 195 

wisdom of penal laws to maintain her good faith against imposi- 
tion upon strangers who trade with her. It has heen customary 
in former ages to rear an inferior plant from the sucker which 
projects from the root after the cutting of an early plant ; and 
thus a secoml crop has heen often obtained from the same field 
by one and the same course of culture ; and although this scion 
is of a sufficient quality for smoking, and might become preferred 
in the weaker kinds of snuff, it has been (I think very properly) 
thought eligible to prefer a prohibitory law, to a risk of imposi- 
tion by means of similitude. 

*' The practice of cultivating suckers is on these accounts 
not only discountenanced as fraudulent, hut the constables are 
strictly enjoined ex officio to make diligent search, and to em- 
ploy the posse comitatus in destroying such crops ; a law 
indeed for which, to the credit of the Virginians, there is seldom 
occasion; yet some few instances have occurred, within my day, 
wiiere the constables have very honourably carried it into exe- 
cution in a manner truly exemplary, and productive of public 

Of the fVcynn. 

*' There are several species of the worm, or rather grub ge- 
nus, which prove injurious to the culture of tobacco ; some of 
these attack the root, and some the leaf of the plant 5 but that 
which is most destructive, and consequently creates the most 
employment, is the horn worm, or large green tobacco worm. 
This appears to me to be the same species with that which 
Catesby has described in the second volume of his Natural His- 
tory of Carolina, p. 94, under the title eruca maxima cornuta, or 
the great horned caterpillar. 

" 'This caterpillar,' says he, <is about four inches long, be- 
sides the head and tail ; it consists of ten joints, or rings, of a 
yellow colour ; on the head, which is black, grow four pair of 

196 NOTES. 

horns, smooth and of a reddish brown towards the bottom, jagged 
or bearded, and black towards the top; on each of the rings arise 
short, jagged, black horns, one standing on the back, and two on 
each side ; below which is a trachma on each side ; likewise the 
horn of the back of the last ring is longest : the flap of the tail 
is of a bright bay colour. It hath eight feet, and six papiUae.'' 
« There are, besides this kind, others without horns ; all of 
them of a green colour, so far as I recollect. And this, in 
Catesby's description, differs in respect to colour ; this tobacco 
worm or horn worm, as the planters call it more particularly, 
being of a pale delicate green ; an effect I apprehend which pro- 
ceeds from the colour of its food when it feeds upon growing to- 
bacco plants. The act of destroying these worms is termed 
'worming the tobacco, which is a very nauseous occupation, and 
takes up much labour. It is performed by picking every thing 
of this kind off the respective leaves with the hand, and destroy- 
ing it with the foot. 

Ojtlie Term ^^ Firing:* 
«< During very rainy seasons, and in some kinds of unfa- 
vourable soil, the plant is subject to a malady called firing. 
This is a kind of blight occasioned by the moist state of the 
atmosphere, and the too moist condition of the plant : I do not 
recollect whether the opposite extreme does not produce an ef- 
fect something similar. This injury is much dreaded by the 
planter, as it spots the leaf with a hard brown spot, which per- 
ishes, and becomes so far a loss upon the commodity. I appre- 
hend there are two stages when the plant is, in a certain degree, 
subject to this evil effect : the first is whilst growing in the field, 
the latter when hanging in the tobacco house. I know of no other 
remedy than constant working the ground while the seed is grow- 
ing, and careful drying by the use of fire in the tobacco house. 

NOTES. 197 

Of the Rijiening of the Crop. 

«< Much practice is requisite to form a judicious discernment 
concerning the state and progress of the ripening leaf; yet care 
must be used to cut up the plant as soon as it is sufficiently ripe 
to promise a good curable condition, lest the approach of frost 
should tread upon the heels of the crop-master ; for in this case, 
tobacco will be among the first plants that feel its influence, and 
the loss to be apprehended in this instance, is not a mere partial 
damage by nippling, but a total consumption by the destruc- 
tion of every plant. 

" I find it difficult to give to strangers a full idea of the 
ripening of the leaf: it is a point on which I would not trust 
my own experience without consulting some able crop-master in 
the neighbourhood ; and I believe this is not an uncustomary 
precaution among those who plant it» So far as I am able to 
convey an idea, which I find it easier to understand tban to ex- 
press, I should judge of the ripening of the leaf by its thickening 
sufficiently ; by the change of its colour to a more yellowish 
green ; by a certain mellow appearance, and protusion of the web 
of the leaf, which I suppose to be occasioned by a contraction of 
the fibres ; and by such other appearances as I might conceive 
to indicate an ultimate suspension of the vegetative functions. 

Of Cutting and Gathering the Crop. 
" When the crop is adjudged sufficiently ripe to proceed to 
cutting, this operation is assigned to the best and most judicious 
hands who are employed in the culture ; and these being pro- 
vided each with a strong sharp knife, proceed along the respec- 
tive rows of the field to select such plants as appear to be ripe, 
leaving others to ripen ; those which are cut arc sliced off near 
to the ground, and such plants as have thick stalks or stems are 
sliced down the middle of the stem in order to admit a more free 
and equal circulation of air through the parts during the pj'ocess 

198 NOTES. 

of curing, and to free the plant, as far as possible, from such 
partial retention of moisture as might have a tendency to fer- 
ment, and damage the staple. The plants are then laid down 
upon the hill where they grew, with the points of the leaves pro- 
jecting all the same way, as nearly as possible, so that when the 
sun has had sufficient effect to render them pliable, they may 
more easily and uniformly he gathered into turns by the gather- 
ers who follow the cutting. 

Of Gathering the Crop in. 

" For the better comprehending the method of gathering the 
crop, it is necessary to understand the preparation which must 
be previously made for facilitating this part of the process. 

« In preparing for gathering the crop of tobacco it is cus- 
tomary to erect a kind of scaffold in various places of the tobacco 
ground which may happen to offer a convenient situation. This 
is done by lodging one end of several strong poles upon any log 
or fence which may be convenient, and resting the other end of 
such poles upon a transverse pole supported by forks, at about 
five feet from the ground ; or by erecting the whole scaflfold 
upon forks if circumstances require it. 

" In forming this part of the scaffold in the manner of joists, 
the poles are placed about four feet asunder from centre to cen- 
tre, so that when the sticks which sustain the tobacco plants are 
prepared they may fill the space advantageously by leaving but 
little spare room upon the scaffold. 

" Timber is then split in the manner of laths, into pieces of 
four feet in length, and about an inch and a half diameter. 
These are termed the tobacco sticks ; and tlieir use is to hang 
the tobacco upon, hoth by lodging the ends of tliis stick upon 
the poles of the scaffold which have been previously prepared in 
the field, in order to render it sufficiently pliable and in condi- 
tion to carry into the tobacco-house, to which it is now convey- 

NOTES. 199 

ed by such means as the planter has in his powei* ; and by sus- 
pending it in the same way in the house, so that the air may 
pass through it in the process of curing. Instead of this partic 
ular method, those wlio prefer to do so, lay it a short while in 
bulk upon poles, logs, &c. in the field, before they convey it im- 
der cover.*' 


Pyrola umbellata. 

y Winter green, 



Ganltheiia procumbenSf 

>s Partridge berry. 


Podophyllum peltatumf 

May apple, 


Modes foetiduSf 

Skunk cabbage. 


Statice Carolinianat 

1 Marsh rosemary, 


Jisdepias tuherosa, 

Butterfly weed. 


Magnolia glauca. 

Small magnolia. 





Panax quinquefolinnif 



Pdygala senega. 

Seneca snake root, 


Liriodendron tulipiferaf 

Tulip tree. 


Juglans cinerea. 



Veratrum viride. 

American Hellebore, 


Gentiana Cateshcei, 

Blue gentian. 


Laurus sassqfraSf 



Apocijnum androstemifolium. 



Dirca palustris. 

Leather wood. 


Rubus villosuSf 

Tall blackberry. 


Cassia Marilandicaf 

American senna. 


Mcotiana tabacum,