Box 16, Folder 2: Grasses and Plants of Illinois 1856

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Of the cereal grains barley is cultivated farthest to the north, ripening at [the] Fort Norman on the Mc Kurzie river on the 65th parallel of north Latitude, where it is planted about the 20th or 25th of May and ripens about the 15th or 20th of August, a period of about 92 days. -(Rich son p 104 & 411) All attempts to raise barley 2 deg. farther north failed.

A little south of this latitude oats might be raised, but this grain is little cultivated in the central portions of the British Possessions-or as they are named-"Rupeits Land."

Rye- which is not cultivated there would be the next in order, if we may judge from its relative growth in the European continent.

Wheat is raised with profit as far north as Lat 60 deg. at Fort Laird, though there the grain does not ripen perfectly every year; and this is also the case in Lat. 54 deg. (Rich'son p 410)

Maize or Indian corn ripens in lat. 49 to 51 beyond which is can only be cultivated only as a green vegetable, the grain seldom ripening, and is eaten only in its milling state (R. p 409)

Next Rice which is cultivated as far north as Lat 37 near the mouth of the Ohio river.

[sketches of grains]

Wheat [was] has been known to germinate after 100 years (3000 years) Rye- 140 years.

Last edit 3 months ago by EricRoscoe
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The culture of ceralia goes back beyond all historical accounts-the most ancient Egyptian [mummy?] were found to contain grains of wheat.-

The original localities of wheat, rye, maize &c are supposed to have been quite limited, and these localities having been occupied by man, the plants have entirely disappeared as wild species, so that they are no where to be found in a wild state. The few localities where they are found wild are supposed to be only where they have escaped from cultivation.

The general appearance of the grasses in the landscape is interesting. They cover the surface as with a carpet of the softest and most pleasing green. They rise but a little height above the surface, and their light and elegant forms are waved about by the [gentlest] slightest breeze. The changes of color & condition as the season advances gives variety and continued interest to these appearances. Nothing can be more pleasing than a view from some elevated spot of a broad valley divided into fields of grass & grain, exhibiting their different shades of color & condition.-

[In] as we approach the tropics we find grasses [tropics grasses] attain a greater elevation. [The Panicum arborercus in Hindostan even over tops the trees-] The Bamboo with broad leaves also attains great height-& in our own southern states the cane rises to the height of 20 or 30 feet.-

Last edit 3 months ago by EricRoscoe
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See Hollows [Nepranadea?]

The hollow joints of the Guadua angustifolia Kunth (Bambosa gaadua, H. & B.) contain water which is extracted by perforating the stem just above the joint. Travellers in Tropical S. America avail themselves of this water when better cannot be found &c- (Boussungault p 68 Height 65 to 100 feet)

[Table and Calculations]

Last edit 3 months ago by EricRoscoe
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Grasses are arranged in three grand divisions, which are divided into 13 different tribes. The tribes are large groups of grasses having some very general resemblances.

These again are divided into genera or families, each made up of one or more species. Some discussion has arissen among naturalists as to the proper limit to be assigned to the species. Some confine the species to very narrow limits of variation and make new species [of every] very small variations from the original type. Others allow a very considerable departure from the selected form to exist within the range of a species, and dividing the species into varieties.

As familiar examples winter and spring wheat are two varieties of one species, which have been separated & described as if they were two different plants or species (Triticum hyernall & T. aestureon) But the Egyptian wheat (with a plurality of heads) the [spelt?] &c are different species of the genus or family Triticum or wheat.

Wheat, Barley, [Oats], and several genera of wild grasses of similar general character are grouped together to form the Hordineae or Barley Tribe.-So of other allied families of grasses.-

Last edit 3 months ago by EricRoscoe
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These divisions and subdivisions are obviously necessary where we have such [vast] numbers of different species to deal with. Utter confusion would reign were we to discard all system in the study of plants.

By the beautiful system now followed we are able to refer directly to any individual species by first ascertaining to what class, order, & genus it belongs, a process of analyses at once simple and beautiful. [Plants]

By averaging plants in a herbarium according to this system [are] we have those nearest allied together in the same port-folio, and can readily study their characteristic differences as well as resemblances.-

Besides we here have the advantage of acquiring at the same time much accurate knowledge in regard to the structure and general character of plants. One must have a considerable knowledge of the nature of plants to enable him to trace out a species and find its proper place in the system.

This natural method as it has been called has not been invented, like the older and more artificial systems, but has been discovered and has been gradually built up as full and exact knowledge of plants was gradually acquired.

"He that makes two blades of grass grow where but one grew before is a benefactor of his country" Who said this?

Last edit 3 months ago by EricRoscoe
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