Scientific American Supplement, No. 388, June 9, 1883 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 147 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 388, June 9, 1883.

One of the most elegant plants one can have in a greenhouse is this twiner, a native of South Africa.  It has slender stems clothed with distinctly veined leaves, and produces a profusion of creamy white fragrant flowers in pendulous clusters, as shown in the annexed engraving, for which we are indebted to Messrs Veitch of Chelsea, who distributed the plant a few years ago.  On several occasions Messrs Veitch have exhibited it trained parasol fashion and covered abundantly with elegant drooping clusters of flowers, and as such it has been much admired.  When planted out in a warmish greenhouse and allowed to twine at will around an upright pillar, it is seen to the best advantage, and, though not showy, makes a pleasing contrast with other gayly tinted flowers.  It is so unlike any other ornamental plant in cultivation, that it ought to become more widely known than it appears to be at present.—­The Garden.

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About the first of last August (1882) I noticed that a large percentage of the undergrowth of the sugar maple (Acer saccharinum) in Lewis County, Northeastern New York, seemed to be dying The leaves drooped and withered, and finally shriveled and dried, but still clung to the branches.

The majority of the plants affected were bushes a centimeter or two in thickness, and averaging from one to two meters in height, though a few exceeded these dimensions.  On attempting to pull them up they uniformly, and almost without exception, broke off at the level of the ground, leaving the root undisturbed.  A glance at the broken end sufficed to reveal the mystery, for it was perforated, both vertically and horizontally, by the tubular excavations of a little Scolytid beetle which, in most instances, was found still engaged in his work of destruction.

At this time the wood immediately above the part actually invaded by the insect was still sound, but a couple of months later it was generally found to be rotten.  During September and October I dug up and examined a large number of apparently healthy young maples of about the size of those already mentioned, and was somewhat surprised to discover that fully ten per cent. of them were infested with the same beetles, though the excavations had not as yet been sufficiently extensive to affect the outward appearance of the bush.  They must all die during the coming winter, and next spring will show that, in Lewis County alone, hundreds of thousands of young sugar maples perished from the ravages of this Scolytid during the summer of 1882.

Dr. George H Horn, of Philadelphia, to whom I sent specimens for identification, writes me that the beetle is Corthylus punctatissimus, Zim, and that nothing is known of its habits.  I take pleasure, therefore, in contributing the present account, meager as it is, of its operations, and have illustrated it with a few rough sketches that are all of the natural size, excepting those of the insects themselves, which are magnified about nine diameters.

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Scientific American Supplement, No. 388, June 9, 1883 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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