“The American elm is, in most parts of the state, the most magnificent tree to be seen. From a root, which, in old trees, spreads much above the surface of the ground, the trunk rises to a considerable height in a single stem. Here it usually divides into two or three principal branches, which go off by a gradual and easy curve. Theses stretch upwards and outwards with an airy sweep, become horizontal, the extreme half of the limb, pendent, forming a light and regular arch. This graceful curvature, and absence of all abruptness, in the primary limbs and forks, and all the subsequent divisions, are entirely characteristic of the tree, and enable an observer to distinguish it in the winter and even by night, when standing in relief against the sky, as far as it can be distinctly seen."
[Footnote 1: A Report on the Trees and Shrubs growing naturally in the Forests of Massachusetts. By Geo. B. Emerson, Boston, Little, Brown and Co., 1875.
This book will be found very useful, containing careful descriptions of many trees and shrubs, and interesting facts about them.]
How do the flower-buds differ from the leaf-buds in position and appearance?
What is the arrangement of the leaves?
What other tree that you have studied has this arrangement?
How old is your branch?
Where would you look to see if the flower-cluster had left any mark?
Why is it that several twigs grow near each other, and that then comes a space without any branches?
What buds develop most frequently?
How does this affect the appearance of the tree?
What is a tree called when the trunk is lost in the branches?
BALM OF GILEAD (Populus balsamifera, var. candicans).
The buds are pointed: the terminal slightly angled, the axillary flattened against the stem. Some of the axillary buds contain leaves and some flowers; the appearance of the leaf-buds and flower-buds being the same. The scales of the bud are modified stipules. The terminal buds have about three pairs of the outer scales brown and leathery. The inner scales, as well as the leaves, are coated with resinous matter, which has a strong odor and a nauseous taste. The smaller outer scales have no corresponding leaf, and apparently are modified stipules of the leaves of the preceding year, but the larger ones have a leaf to each pair of scales. The outer and inner leaves are small, the middle ones larger. Comparing the branch, it will be seen that these leaves make the largest growth of internode. The leaves are rolled towards the midrib on the upper face (involute). There are about ten which are easily seen and counted, the inner ones being very small, with minute scales. The axillary buds have a short thick scale on the outer part of the bud, then about three pairs of large scales, each succeeding one enwrapping those within, the outer one brown and leathery. The scales of the flower-buds are somewhat gummy, but not nearly so much so as those of the leaf-buds. Within is the catkin. Each pistil, or stamen (they are on separate trees, dioecious) is in a little cup and covered by a scale, which is cut and fringed.