I trust that the present note, through the medium of The Garden, will prevent the perpetuation of this error. This is the more important, as I hope that the plant will come into cultivation in this country. It is a robust plant of rapid growth, as easily cultivated as the English peppermint, and seems to require less moisture, and is therefore capable of cultivation in a great variety of localities. The increasing demand for menthol, which can only be procured in small quantities from the English peppermint, and the high price of English peppermint oil, lead to the hope that instead of importing menthol from Japan, it will be prepared in this country from the Japanese plant.
With the appliances of more advanced civilization, it ought to be possible for the oil and menthol to be made in this country at less price than the Japanese products now cost.
At the present time large quantities of cheap peppermint oil are imported into this country from the United States, and Chinese oil is imported into Bombay for use in the Government medical stores. There is no reason why this should be the case if the Japanese plant were cultivated in this country. In Ireland, where labor is cheap and the climate moist, this crop might afford a valuable source of income to enterprising cultivators. It may be interesting to note here that the plant used in China closely resembles the Japanese one, differing chiefly in the narrower and more glabrous leaves. I have therefore named it Mentha arvensis f. glabrata, from specimens sent to me from Hong Kong, by Mr. C. Ford, the director of the Botanic Gardens there.
* * * * *
The gladiolus is easily raised from seeds, which should be sown in early spring in pots of rich soil placed in heat, the pots being kept near the glass after they begin to grow, and the plants being gradually hardened to permit their being placed out of doors in a sheltered spot for the summer. In October they will have ripened off, and must be taken out of the soil and stored in paper bags in a dry room secure from frost. They will have made little bulbs, from the size of a hazel nut downward, according to their vigor. In the subsequent spring they should be planted like the old bulbs, and the larger ones will flower during the season, while the smaller specimens must be again harvested and planted out as above described.
* * * * *
A catalogue containing brief notices of many important scientific papers heretofore published in the SUPPLEMENT, may be had gratis at this office.
* * * * *
Scientific American Supplement.
Terms of Subscription, $5 a Year.
Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to subscribers in any part of the United States or Canada. Six dollars a year, sent, prepaid, to any foreign country.