Part 3 out of 3
Botanical Laboratory, Owens College.
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BOLIVIAN CINCHONA FORESTS.
The great progress made in the acclimation of cinchona trees in India,
Ceylon, and elsewhere has awakened the governments of countries where
the plants are indigenous to the necessity of conserving from reckless
destruction, and replanting denuded forests, so as to be able to keep up
the supply of this valuable product.
In Bolivia, since 1878, according to the report of the Netherlands
Consul, private individuals and land owners have taken up the question
with great earnestness, and at the present time on the banks of the
Mapiri, in the department of La Paz, there are over a million of young
New plantations have also sprung up in various other localities, either
on private ground or that owned by Government. The competition of India
and Ceylon in supplying the markets has had also the effect of inducing
more care in collecting and also of revisiting old spots, often with the
result of a rich harvest of bark which had been left on partly denuded
trunks, and the opening up of new localities. The new shoots springing
up from the old stumps have yielded much quill bark, and the root bark
of the old stumps has also been utilized.
The replanting entails very little expense. The Indian tenant on an
estate has a house and land from the owner (hacienda) of the estate. For
this he binds himself to work for two to four days a week, at from 28 to
36 cents per day, women and children obtaining 16 to 21 cents per day.
Thus the planting, weeding, etc., during the first two years is
but nominal in expense; after this period the trees may be left to
On Government land the expense is greater, as, after an application
being made, the land is put up to public auction, and may fetch a
very low or higher price according to the bidding. The land secured,
contracts are made with natives of the lower class to clear the forest
and plant cinchona. The contracts are often sublet to Indians. The
young plants are planted from five to six feet apart, with banana trees
between, on account of their rapid growth and the shade the latter
afford. From March to June, after the wet season is over, is the best
time for planting, and the contractor keeps the plantation free from
weeds and in good order for twelve months, when it is handed over to the
owner. The following is given as the cost of the Mapiri River plantation
of an area from 60 or more miles in extent:
300,000 plants at $0.14. 42,000
Superintendent, buildings, etc. 4,400
Till the plants are above two years of age, they are liable to die from
drought or the attacks of ants, and during 1878 many thousands died from
these causes. At the end of the fourth year some proprietors begin to
collect the quill bark by the method of coppicing.
It is feared by some that, should this new venture be successful, it
will prove a dangerous rival to the plantations of India, Ceylon, and
Java, and lower the price of bark considerably.--_Jour. Society of
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_N. Davallioides Furcans._--Among the many crested ferns in cultivation,
this, of which the annexed is an illustration, is one of the most
distinct; so different indeed it is from the type, that it is
questionable if it really is a form of it; the most essential
characteristic, that of the fructification at the extreme edge of the
lobes of the pinnae, is altogether absent, and the whole habit of the
plant is also thoroughly distinct. It is of equally robust growth,
but its handsomely arching fronds, which are from 3 feet to 4 feet
in length, are produced in great abundance from a central tuft or
agglomeration of crowns. Its most distinct characteristic is the
furcation of the pinnae, which are all of the same dimensions, whether
sterile or fertile; they are all opposite and closely set along the
mid-rib, whereas those of N. davallioides are set much further apart.
In the barren pinnae which are only situated on the lower portion of the
frond, and which generally are only few in number, the furcation is
rudimentary; in the fertile pinnae it is twice and even three times
repeated in the extremities of the first division, becoming more complex
toward the point of the frond, where it often forms quite a large
tassel, whose weight gives the fronds quite an elegant, arching habit.
On that account this plant is valuable for growing in baskets of large
dimensions, in which it shows itself off to good advantage, and never
fails to prove attractive. Although it produces spores freely, it is
best to propagate it by means of the young plants produced from rhizomes
in the ordinary way, on account of the extreme variations which take
place among the seedlings, a small percentage only of which are
possessed of the true character of the parent plant. Stove.--_The
[Illustration: NEPHROLEPIS DAVALLIOIDES FURCANS.]
_N. Duffi_.--This pretty, neat-habited species, of which an
illustration, kindly lent us by Mr. Bull, appears in another place, is a
native of the Duke of York's Island, in the South Pacific Ocean, and is
undoubtedly one of the most interesting of the whole genus. Its compact
habit, its comparatively small dimensions, and the bright, glossy color
of its beautifully tasseled fronds render it a most welcome addition to
a group of ferns naturally rich in decorative plants. Its curiously and
irregularly pinnate fronds are borne on slender stalks, terete toward
the base, and covered with reddish brown, downy scales, instead of being
produced loosely, as in most other Nephrolepises; these are densily
crowded, and the outcome of closely clustered crowns. They measure from
15 inches to 18 inches long, and are terminated by very handsome massive
crests, which vary in size according to the temperature in which the
plant is grown. We have at different times heard complaints of these
fronds being simply furcate, when the same plant, after being subjected
to a greater amount of heat and moisture, produced fronds very heavily
tasseled, and partaking of an elegant vase-shaped appearance. In fact,
nothing short of the moist heat of a stove will induce it to show its
characters in their best condition. The pinnae, which are small, of
different sizes, rounded and serrated at the edges, are produced in
pairs, one overlying the other, and, curiously enough, those on the top
are the largest. The pairs are sometimes opposite, but mostly alternate,
distant toward the base, approximate higher up, and crowded and
quite overlapping in the crested portion of the frond. This, being
a thoroughly barren kind, can only be propagated by division of the
crowns, an operation easily done at any time of the year, but most
safely in early spring and by young plants produced from the rhizomes,
which, however, are produced much more sparingly than in any other
species. It is also one of the best adapted for pot or pan culture, its
somewhat upright habit making it less suitable for baskets, brackets,
and wall covering than other species. Stove.--_The Garden_.
[Illustration: NEPHROLEPIS DUFFI.]
* * * * *
FORMATION OF SUGAR.
A paper on "The Formation of Sugar in the Sugar-cane" was recently read
by M. Aime Girard before the Paris Academy of Sciences. By comparative
investigations of the amount of cane sugar and grape sugar in different
parts of the sugar-cane in the afternoon and before sunrise, the author
has found that only in the substance of the leaves does this quantity
vary, and that the quantity of cane sugar sinks during the night to
one-half, while the quantity of reducing sugar remains almost unaltered.
He finds further that the quantity of sugar-cane in the leaves increases
with the illumination, on very bright days reaching nearly one per
cent., considerably less on dull ones, and in either case diminishing
during the night by one-half. From this the author concludes that the
formation of saccharose from glucose takes place entirely in the leaves
under the influence of sunlight, and that the saccharose thereupon
ascends the cane through the petioles, etc., and collects there.
* * * * *
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