park conifers defined in 1944 yearpark conifers - Park Conifers;
park conifers - A wide range of foreign conifers is grown in parks and arboreta in Britain, including many genera of interest only to the specialist. Those described below include two beautiful trees, two bizarre ones, and an interesting, isolated relic of the world's pre-historic flora.
The Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum, Richards; Taxodiacea), G. Sumpfzypresse; F. Cyprès chauve; American, Bald Cypress, forms extensive groves in the swamps of south-eastern North America. Its leaf spray resembles that of the Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) to which it is closely allied, but the branchlets are deciduous, lasting for one year only. The vivid green of the young spring leaves, and their fiery red tinge in autumn, combine with the delicate feathery Character of the foliage, the pyramidal shape of the warm-brown trunk and the fine lacework of side branches, to make the Swamp Cypress one of the most beautiful of conifers.
Although the needles of the deciduous branchlets lie in two ranks, those of the main persistent branches are spirally ranged. The bark is thin and fibrous and frequently shows a spiral twist. A remarkable feature, developed only, on swampy ground, is the occurrence of aerial roots or " knees which rise up from the ground around the tree to ensure an air supply to the roots growing in water-logged soils. The male flowers appear in conspicuous tassels; female flowers on the same tree are small and green, and develop in one season into globular woody bodies, which release hard, unwinged triangular seeds, apparently adapted to distribution by water. Germination epigeal, cotyledons numerous.
The timber of the Swamp Cypress has a red heart and white sapwood. It is very durable, particularly so in wet situations, and is used in America for barrels. It shrinks very slightly, making it a useful wood for window frames, especially in greenhouses. The Swamp Cypress is propagated by seed. It makes a splendid ornamental tree on rich alluvial soil in damp situations or on river banks in southern England, but is too particular in its, requirements for general forest planting. Figs. 1, 2d.
The Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica, Don.; Taxodiacea), or Sugi, one of the most beautifiil and useful trees of Japan, is also one of the most effective of ornamental conifers in the south and west of Britain. The foliage closely resembles that of the Californian Big Tree, to which the Japanese Cedar is allied, but the stiff needle-like scales which clothe the long slender branchlets are much longer, and are drawn out to a fine point. The buttressed trunk has a strong taper with thick, fibrous, reddish-brown bark. Male flowers in yellowish clusters in the leaf axils; female flowers, on the same tree, are green globular structures at the tips of the branchlets, ripening in one season to form quaint round cones with recurved tips to their scales. Seeds large, triangular, dark brown, surrounded by a thin wing. The seedling has three cotyledons, followed by needles in whorls of three. Heartwood red, sapwood yellow. Timber durable and strong, widely used for constructional work throughout Japan, where the tree grows up to 180 feet high.
In its tree form, the Japanese Cedar is only fully hardy in the milder parts of Britain, where it grows quickly into a handsome pyramidal tree. Its denser, blue-green, lustrous foliage, is more effective than that of the Big Tree, and the Japanese Cedar appears better adapted to bur more maritime zones. Dwarf garden forms are common. C. elegans, Masters, is the tortuous shrub with long lax scaly needles and no definite shape, which is grown mainly for the blue-bronze tints assumed by its evergreen foliage in autumn. Its foliage never develops beyond the Juvenile form; the early leaves of many other conifers, including the Scots Pine, sometimes assume a similar temporary winter coloration. The Cryptomerias are usually propagated by cuttings, but they grow readily from seed, which is ripened on mature trees in Britain. Figs. 3g; 4, a, b.
The Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria imbricata, Pav.; Araucariacea); G. Schmucktanne, or Chile Pine, is a tree of such strange appearance that at first sight it may not be connected with other coniferous trees. It is a representative of a very ancient group now extinct in the northern hemisphere, and is a native of Chile, where it still forms important timber forests. The leaves are broad-based, sharp-pointed, triangular scales, dark green in colour, spirally ranged on long slender branches, which they completely conceal; they persist for many; years, finally fading and falling separately. The stem is very erect, with a smooth bark and a strong taper. The branch system is very simple; each year a whorl of four to six side branches leaves the main stem at right angles, rising slightly at first but drooping later; every year thereafter, each side branch throws off only two laterals, and itself elongates; the secondary lateral branches elongate indefinitely, but seldom branch themselves. The flowers are seldom seen on Britain; male and female flowers usually appear on separate trees. Male catkins in leaf axils near ends of branches, cylindrical, about 4 inches long» with many scales having recurved tips. Female catkins at tips of branches, globular-conic, 3 inches long, the numerous scales straight-tipped; ripening in 2 years to large brown cones, which fall away to release large four- sided seeds each about 1 inch long, which are edible. On germination, the cotyledons remain below ground. Trees are usually raised in Britain from imported seed. The soft, yellow, resinous wood is used in Chile for much the same purposes to which White Deal is applied in Europe.
The Monkey Puzzle thrives throughout southern England, but it is doubtful whether it would yield timber more quickly, or of better quality, than the spruces, which are easier to raise and tolerate poorer soils. As an ornamental tree, it has its admirers, but when grown in a garden or amidst broad-leaved trees, its gloomy and formal foliage strikes a jarring note. Planted in groups amongst other conifers it would look for more at home. Certain Abies firs have a similar habit, and the Monkey Puzzle is distantly related to those trees. Fig. 5d. (Syn. A. araucana).
Another Araucaria, A. excelsa, R. Brown, the Norfolk Island Pine, is commonly grown as an indoor pot-plant in its younger stages, for the sake of its delicate mid-green foliage. It is found wild only on one Pacific island, where it forms a tall tree, and was first discovered by Captain Cook. Other Araucarias form useful timber trees in eastern Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Brazil. The Kauri Pines (genus Agathis, Salisbury) which occur as important timber trees from New Zealand and eastern Australia north-westwards throughout Malaysia, are closely allied; they yield useful resins variously known as Kauri Gum, Copal and Dammar.
The Japanese Umbrella Tree (Sciadopitys verticillata, Siebold and Zuccarini; Taxodiacea) or Koya-makt, is a botanical curiosity, found wild only in limited mountainous areas of Japan, where it forms nâtural forests, and cultivated in a few British gardens. The twigs are clothed in minute scale-leaves, and at intervals throw off parasol-like clusters of short shoots, radiating like the ribs of an umbrella, one such whorl being produced each year. Each short shoot consists of one compound needle, composed of two needles joined together throughout their entire length. Male flowers are borne in compact globular clusters sitting upon a terminal parasol; female flowers, on the same tree and in a similar position, form oval cones about 3 inches long, ripening in their second year and releasing large seeds surrounded by a membranous wing. The seedling has two cotyledons followed by a single whorl of simple juvenile leaves, after which the double adult needles appear. The Umbrella Tree is slow-growing in youth, and in Britain seldom grows much bigger than a bush. Its quaint appearance, and the unique structure of its short shoots, make it an interesting tree for garden planting, but it will only succeed on moist, lime-free soils. Fig. 2a.
The Maidenhair Tree (Gingko biloba, L.; Gingkoacea) or Gingko of China, G. Gingkobaum; F. Arbre aux quarante écus, is the most attractive of conifers for the small garden. Found wild only in a single small grove in the highlands of central China, the Maidenhair Tree has been preserved throughout that country and also in Japan, by being planted in temple gardens. The slender stems resemble those of larch, bearing at intervals short shoots which, as in larch, elongate only very slowly. The deciduous leaves are unlike those of any other living tree, resembling the fronds of the Maidenhair Fern. They arise in clusters each year from the short shoots, have a distinct stalk and a broad blade, usually notched, opposite the stalk; they are pale green in colour. The venation of the leaves is unique, the numerous veins being more or less parallel, but running together as they near the leaf base. In October the leaves turn golden-yellow, and fall. Male and female flowers appear on separate trees, the male flowers forming catkins borne in groups on the short shoots. The female flowers are similarly borne in groups, and are very simple in structure, the paired ovules being unprotected by any calyx, corolla^ or ovary, although a curious rim around their bases indicates the rudiments of the ovary found in higher plants. The paired fruits resemble plums, being yellow in colour, with a fleshy outer layer around a woody seed. The pulp has an unpleasant odour but the kernels are edible, and are sold in China under the name of Pa-Kwo.
These fruits are seldom seen in Britain, as female trees seldom occur near enough to males for pollination, which is by wind, to be effected; they are apparently adapted to distribution by birds. On germination, the seed and its cotyledons remain below ground, sending up a shoot which at first bears rudimentary scale-like leaves, then primary leaves arising directly from it, and finally in the axils of these, the secondary short shoots which produce the bulk of the foliage. Figs. 3, 6, 2e.
The timber of the Maidenhair Tree is seldom available in useful quantities. It is yellow in colour, soft, and light in weight, used for wood-carving or as a fragrant firewood. The value of the tree for ornamental planting lies in its attractive and dainty foliage, its slender and graceful form, with a light meshwork of bare twigs in winter, the green and gold coloration of its leaves, its restrained habit of growth, and its adaptability to confined spaces and even to smoky towns; large trees are rare, but specimens over 50 feet high occur. Propagation is by seed. Though it is widely planted on the continent, the Maidenhair Tree is little known in Britain, but it is perfectly hardy here, and has been grown for 200 years.
Gingko is a very old and primitive tree genus, only a step advanced from the ferns and horsetails, and allied to the palm-like Cycads of the tropics. These trees, together with the true Coniferae, compose the natural and ancient order of Gymnosperms. Very few herbaceous gymnosperms exist at the present day, the principal genera being Ephedrd, a horse-tail-like plant of China which yields a valuable drug called Ephedrine; Gnetum, a genus of tropical climbers, and Welwitscbia, a succulent-rooted dwarf plant of the Kalahari desert, which produces two large leaves and two only.
pictures for park conifers
near park conifers in Knolik
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