evergreen broadleaves defined in 1944 yearevergreen broadleaves - Evergreen Broadleaves;
evergreen broadleaves - Three interesting native trees are outliers of the Mediterranean type of flora, adapted to a climate moist and mild in winter, dry and hot in summer. Their leaves are therefore evergreen, since winter is the active vegetative season, and hard and leathery to restrict transpiration through the summer months. The three are in no sense related, and demonstrate how environment obliges plants of widely separated origins to develop on the same general lines..
Holly (Ilex aquifolium L.; Aqutfoliacea); G. Hülsen, Stechpalme; F. Houx; P. Celynen; E. Cuillean. Fig. 1.
Holly is widely distributed throughout Britain, especially in the south and west. Its dark green leathery leaves, stiff and often twisted, are readily distinguished by their spines, which are sometimes absent, however, from the leaves of the upper branches. Never more than a small tree, its bole is smooth-barked and metallic grey in colour. It can grow in deep shade, and itself casts so intense a gloom that nothing can grow beneath it. The leaves are oval in shape, simple, and spirally ranged; a pecular feature is their inflammability. Holly foliage bums furiously if 'ignited. The leaves turn dull brown before falling and take some years to decay.
The flowers appear in June, and may be male, female, or hermaphrodite. Similarly, the tree as a whole may be bisexual or unisexual, and may change from one state to another. Flowers of both sexes are minute, borne in the axils of the leaves, and have four white stamens in the form of a cross. They may have 4 stamens or a green ovary with 4 carpels, or both. Honey is present, and pollination is effected by insects.
The ovary ripens in October to a bright red berry containing 4 nutlets. Distribution is normally by birds, which swallow the berry but cannot digest the seeds. If required for nursery sowing, the berries must be stored for 18 months in sand, to rot off the pulp and weaken the hard seed coat. Germination is epigeal, and after the unarmed cotyledohs, spiny leaves are produced.
Growth is very slowf and the resulting wood is white in colour, dense, hard, heavy, without distinct heartwood. It is not durable out of doors, and its main use is for small ornamental articles, and in cabinet making. It is a first-class firewood, and will, bum well even when green and unseasoned.
Holly is of no importance as a timber tree, but is useful for hedges and ornamental planting. It will not thrive in smoky towns, where all evergreens tend to become " nevergreens ".
Box (Buxus sempervirens L.; Buxacea); G. Buchs; F. Buis, occurs as a native tree on a few chalk down areas only, in Surrey, Buckingham and Gloucestershire. These may be regarded as outliers from its main habitat near the Mediterranean. The leaves are light green, small, oval, opposite, simple and entire. The slender bole is thin-barked and seldom more than 20 feet in height. Flowers in May, in the axils of the leaves, small, green, inconspicuous, sexes separate but occurring in the same flower cluster. Seeds small and black in colour.
The box endures dense shade but grows very slowly. Its wood is yellow in colour, even-grained, extremely heavy and hard. Used in small quantities for drawing instruments, wood carving and engraving, mallet heads, and tool handles; sometimes sold by weight. It is unlikely to become an economic timber tree in Britain, but the dwarf form is a useful hedge plant. Fig. 2.
Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.; Ericacea) E. Suglair. Native only in the Killarney district of Ireland, as an outlier nom its Mediterranean homeland. Commonly planted in south-west England. Leaves dark green, simple, leathery, with slightly serrated edges, spirally placed on the twigs. Bark reddish-brown, scaly. Figs. 3, 4.
The strawberry tree seldom grows more than 20 feet in height, but is remarkable for the beauty of its small white, waxy, bell- shaped flowers, borne in pendulous racemes in November. The globular fruit, bright red in colour, ripens at the same time, enlivening the dark green foliage with striking contrasts. The fruit is edible, but unpalatable.
Though it has no economic importance, the strawberry tree is the most beautiful of our native evergreens, and should find a place in gardens where the climate permits it to thrive.
A wide range of evergreen shrubs and small trees has been introduced into shrubberies from the Mediterranean zone and countries of like climate, including the Sweet Bay, evergreen Primus species, laurels, rhododendrons and aucuba, but these are mainly the concern of the horticulturist, and are only planted in woodlands for ornament or as shelter for game.
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