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I do not presume that all people over three score years of age are so entirely ignorant as I am, but probably there are some. I have lived more than sixty years almost in the woods, and I never observed, and never heard any other person speak of, the blooming, seeding, and maturing of the water maple. I have a beautiful low of water maple shade trees along the street in front of my house. In March, 1882, I observed that they were in bloom, and many bees were swarming about them. After the bees left them I noticed the seed (specimens inclosed of this spring’s growth) in millions. As the leaves put out in April the little knife blade seeds fell off, so thick as to almost cover the ground. My grandson picked up three or four hatfuls, and I sent the seed to my farm and had them drilled in like wheat, when I planted corn. The result is I have from 300 to 500 beautiful maples from 6 inches to three feet high. I noticed the blooms again this spring, but a cold snap killed the blooms, and only now and then can I find a seed. I had a sugar tree in my yard, which bloomed and bore seed which did not fall off through the summer. My yard now has as many little sugar trees as it has leaves of blue grass.
It strikes me that the gathering and planting of maple seed is the best way to wood the prairies of the West and the worn-out lands of the Eastern and Middle States. The tree is valuable for shade and for timber, and is as rapid in growth as any tree within my knowledge. I noticed some trees of this sort yesterday which are from 21/2 to 31/2 feet in diameter. The lumber from such timber makes beautiful furniture. This is intended only for those who have been as non-observant as myself, and not the wise, who are always posted.
Franklin, Tenn. J.B.M.
The seeds inclosed were the samaras of Acer rubrum, called the “soft” maple in many localities, and “red” maple in others. We have seen trees only three or four inches in diameter full of blossoms. This is one of the earliest trees to bloom in spring, and the pretty winged samaras soon mature and fall. The sugar maple, Acer saccharinum, blossoms later, and the seeds are persistent till autumn, and lie on the ground all winter before germinating. The lumber from this latter is more valuable than soft maple, being harder, heavier, and taking a better polish. Soft maple makes an ox-yoke which is durable and not heavy. In early times a decoction of the bark was frequently used for making a black ink.—Country Gentleman.
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[Illustration: FLOWERING SPRAY OF DIOSCOREA RETUSA.]