The Botanist's Companion, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 295 pages of information about The Botanist's Companion, Volume II.

93.  Zea Mays.  Indian corn, or Maize.  In warmer climates, as the South of France, and the East and West Indies, this is one of the most useful plants; the seeds forming good provender for poultry, hogs and cattle, and the green tops excellent fodder for cattle in general.  I once saw a small early variety, that produced a very good crop, near Uxbridge; but I believe it is not in cultivation.

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94.  Cannabis sativa.  Hemp.—­This plant is cultivated in some parts of this country.  It is usually sown in March, and is fit to harvest in October.  It is then pulled up and immersed in water; when the woody parts of the stalks separating from the bark, which sloughs off and undergoes a decomposition by which the fibres are divided, it is then combed (hackled), dried, and reduced to different fineness of texture, and spun for various purposes.  It requires good land, and the seed is usually two bushels and a half per acre.

The seed, which ripens about the time the hemp is pulled, is useful for feeding birds and poultry, and very nourishing.

95.  DIPSACUS Fullonum.  FULLER’S TEAVEL.—­The heads of this plant are used for combing kerseymeres and finer broad cloths.  The heads are generally fit to cut about the latter end of August, and are then separated and made up into bundles, and sold to the clothiers.  The large heads are called Kings; the next size Middlings; and the smaller Minikins.  The reason they are separated before sending to market is, that the large and small will not fit together on the frame in which they are fixed to the water-wheel, so that it is usual for the proprietor of the fulling-mills to purchase all of either one or the other size.  The crop is considered very valuable, but the culture is confined to a small district in Somersetshire.  The plant is biennial, and is usually sown in May, and the crop kept hoed during that season.  In the following spring the plants bloom, and when the seeds are ripe the heads are fit for cutting; when they are assorted as above for the dealers.  Three pounds of seed are used to an acre, and the plants at the last stirring are left from two feet to two feet and a half apart.

96.  Humulus Lupulus.  The hop.—­The Hop is cultivated for brewing, being the most wholesome bitter we have, though the brewers are in the habit of using other vegetable bitters, which are brought from abroad and sold at a much cheaper rate.  There is, however, a severe penalty on using any other than Hops for such purpose.

The Hops are distinguished by several varieties grown in Kent, Worcestershire, and at Farnham.  The last place produces the best kind.  For its culture more at length see Agriculture of Surry, by Mr. Stevenson.

97.  ISATIS tinctoria.  Woad.—­Is cultivated in the county of Somersetshire.  It is used, after being prepared, for dyeing &c.  It is said to be the mordant used for a fine blue on woollen.  The foliage, which is like Spinach, is gathered during the summer months, and steeped in vats of water.  After some time a green fecula is deposited in the bottom of the water, which is washed, and made into cakes and sold for use.

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The Botanist's Companion, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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