(33) DECIDUOUS ORNAMENTAL TREES
We can name only a few of the most prominent deciduous trees planted solely for ornament.
Magnolia grandflora is grown chiefly on walls as it suffers from wind. Its flowers and foliage are very beautiful.
The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera, L.) forms a tree of the first rank in the climate of London, and attain a large size in the milder parts of Scotland; for the beauty of its foliage and flowers, it deserves a place in every collection.
Pavia indica, the Himalayan horse chestnut, is smaller than the common horse chestnut, but extremely beautiful from its large panicles of variegated blossoms. There is a fine specimen in the Edinburgh Botanic garden.
Koelreuteria paniculata, a native of China, is a hardy tree, very ornamental from its foliage as well as its flowers. There are fine specimens both in England and Ireland, yet the tree is not generally met with in pleasure-grounds.
The ailanto (Ailanthus glandulosa), a Chinese plant, is hardy in England. It forms a stately tree with a Straight trunk and magnificent foliage, the leaves being sometimes 3 feet in length. In some parts of France it is planted as a timber tree, and thrives well on chalky soils.
The bladder-nut tree (Staphylea, L.) may be trained to be a handsome low tree, ornamental from its foliage, white flowers, and curious bladder-like capsules. There are two species- S. trifolian and S. pinnata.
The common spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus) and the broad-leaved spindle tree (E. latifolius), when trained up to single trees on a deep loamy soil, with ample space, form in autumn, when their capsules are ripe, remarkable and striking objects.
The winter-berry (Prinos glaber) is a deciduous shrub, a native of North America, which, like the holly, produces fine scarlet berries, and retains them through the winter. There are several species, all hardy, and worthy of a place in our collections.
Sophora japonica forms a splendid tree in the climate of London, and a pendulous-branched variety is very ornamental. In dry and warm seasons, when the l eaves of most other trees become of a paler green than usual, those of this tree assume a darker hue.
Virgilia lutea is a North American, tree, with fine large foliage, hardy in most parts of Britain; and, in America, valued for the yellow colour of it wood.
The laburnum has already been mentioned as a useful and ornamental tree.
The genus Cratoegus consists of many species and a vast number of varieties, among which are many beautiful small trees, remarkable for an irregular picturesque outline even at an early age. They flower and fruit profusely; the flowers are generally white and fragrant, but some varieties are tinged with red and purple; they appear from March to July, and the Glastonbury thorn blooms at Christmas.
Cotoneaster frigida, bacillaris, acuminata, microphylla, and nummularia are small trees of great beauty, both on account of their foliage and their fruit. They are from the Himalaya, and hardy in England. They are cultivated in a variety of forms, some of which have been described as distinct species. The wood is hard and elastic.
There are many ornamental species and varieties of genus Pyrus, which now includes species formerly grouped under Sorbus, Mespilus, &c. From the Himalaya we have (P. variolosa), a remarkable tree, with leaves sometimes like those of the common pear, and at other times lobed or pinnatifid.
P. Aria, the white-beam tree, and all its varieties, deserve culture, as compact small trees, remarkable for their large woolly foliage, which dies off a fine yellow, their white blossoms, and showy red fruit.
The service tree (Pyrus Sorbus) and its varirties are very ornamental.
Pyrus japonica, L., is well known as one of the most ornamental spring-flowering plants in cultivation.
Hamemelis Virginia, the Wych hazel, is valuable from its beginning to flower in November, and retaining its blossoms till February or March: though rarely seen in collection, it is hardy, and forms a handsome small tree.
The snow-drop tree (Halesia tetraptera) is one of the hardiest of North American trees, and, when in flower, one of the most beautiful: it ripens abundance of seeds in this country, by which it is readily propagated, in some parts of England it is, like the American bird-cherry, naturalized in the copses. It is rarely met with in Scotland, though few ornamental trees are so well adapted for the climate.
The date-plum (Diospyros lotus) though it ripens fruit as a standard near London, is tender in the northern countries.
The Virginian snow-flower or fringe-tree (Chionanthus virginica) is nearly as hardy as the snow-drop tree; and when planted in a moist soil and trained to a single stem, its head is ornamental from its large deep-green foliage, independently of the fine, white, fringe-like flowers, which are suspended from the axils of the leaves.
The common purple and white lilacs (Syringa vulgaris and S. vulgaris alba) are hardy, and make neat small trees when trained to a single stem.
The weeping-ash (Fraxinus excelsior, var. pendula) is well known. It suffers much from cattle or sheep browsing on the pendulous branches, disfiguring the plant, which should always be enclosed.
The flowering or manna ash (Fraxinus Ornus), a native of the mountains of south Italy, is a handsome tree, deserving a place in ornamental plantations. It has a fine effect standing singly on a lawn. The medicinal manna it yields is obtained by making incisions in the stem.
Catalpa syringaefolia is a splendid tree when in flower: it attains the height of 30 or 40 feet, and sometimes ripens its seeds in the climate of London; but in the northern countries it seldom does much good. It bears a very severe cold in winter, provided there has been heat and sunshine enough in summer to ripen its wood.
Of the genus Quercus, 281 species, European, American, and Asiatic, are described in De Candolle's Prodromus, and a great variety are procurable in British nurseries. The best known European species are Q. Suber, the cork oak; Q. Cerris, the Turkey or mossy cupped oak; Q. Aegilops, the Vallonea oak; and Q. lusitanica infectoria, the gall or dyer's oak. The Lucombe and Fulham oaks are believed to be hybrids between Q. Cerris and Suber.
Q. Ilex, the evergreen or holm oak, a native of South Europe, Persia, and the North-West Himalaya, but introduced into Britain in 1581, and commonly planted, attains a large size, and frequently ripens its acorns.
The oaks of North America are very numerous and interesting, but they do not ripen their shoots sufficiently to be frost-proof.
None of the deciduous Himalayan species have yet been successfully introduced.
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