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like cords to a length of eight feet, and are covered with numbers of large star-like crimson-spotted flowers. Bamboos.-The gigantic grasses called bamboos can hardly be classed as typical plants of the tropical zone, because they appear to be absent from the entire African continent and are comparatively scarce in South America. They also extend beyond the geographical tropics in China and Japan as well as in Northern India. It is however within the tropics and towards the equator that they attain their full size and beauty, and it is here that the species are most numerous and offer that variety of form, size, and quality, which renders them so admirable a boon to man. A fine clump of large bamboos is perhaps the most graceful of all vegetable forms, resembling the light and airy plumes of the birdof-paradise copied on a gigantic scale in living foliage. Such clumps are often eighty or a hundred feet high, the glossy stems, perhaps six inches thick at the base, springing up at first straight as an arrow, tapering gradually to a slender point, and bending over in elegant curves with the weight of the slender branches and grassy leaves. The various species differ greatly in size and proportions; in the comparative length of the joints; in the thickness and strength of the stem-walls; in their straightness, smoothness, hardness, and durability. Some are spiny, others are unarmed; some have simple stems, others are thickly set with branches; while some species even grow in such an irregular, zig-zag, branched manner as to form veritable climbing bamboos. They generally prefer dry and upland stations, though some grow near the banks of rivers, and a few in the thick forests and, in South America, in flooded tracts. They often form dense thickets where the forests have been cleared away; and, owing to their great utility, they are cultivated or preserved near native houses and villages, and in such situations often give a finishing charm to the landscape. Uses of the Bamboo.—Perhaps more than any other single type of vegetation, the bamboo seems specially adapted for the use of half-civilized man in a wild tropical country; and the purposes to which it is applied are almost endless. It is a natural column or cylinder, very straight, uniform in thickness, of a compact and solid texture, and with a smooth flinty naturally-polished external skin. It is divided into ringed joints at regular intervals which correspond to septa or partitions within, so that each joint forms a perfectly closed and air-tight vessel. Owing to its hollowness, the hardness of the external skin, and the existence of the joints and partitions, it is wonderfully strong in proportion to its weight. It can be found of many distinct sizes and proportions; light or heavy, long or short-jointed, and varying from the size of a reed to that of a tall and slender palm-tree. It can be split with great facility and accuracy; and, owing to its being hollow, it can be easily cut across or notched with a sharp knife or hatchet. It is excessively strong and highly elastic, and whether green or dry is almost entirely free from any peculiar taste or smell. The way in which these various qualities of the bamboo render it so valuable, will be best shown by giving a brief account of some of the uses to which it is applied in the Malay Archipelago. Several effective weapons are easily made from bamboo. By cutting off the end very obliquely just beyond a joint, a very sharp cutting point is produced suitable for a spear, dagger, or arrow-head, and capable of penetrating an animal's body as readily as iron. Such spears are constantly used by many of the Malay tribes. In the eastern half of the Archipelago, where bows and arrows are used, these weapons are often formed entirely of bamboo. The harder and thicker sorts, split and formed with tapering ends, make a very strong and elastic bow, while a narrow strip of the outer skin of the same is used for the string, and the slender reed-like kinds make excellent arrows. One of the few agricultural tools used by the Papuans—a spud or hoe for planting or weeding—is made of a stout bamboo cut somewhat like the spear. For various domestic purposes the uses of bamboo are endless. Ladders are rapidly made from two bamboo poles of the required length, by cutting small notches just above each ring, forming holes to receive the rungs or steps formed of a slenderer bamboo. For climbing lofty trees to get beeswax, a temporary ladder reaching to any height is ingeniously formed of bamboo. One of the hardest and thickest sorts is chosen, and from this a number of pegs about a foot long are made. These are sharpened at one end and then driven into the tree in a vertical line about three feet apart. A tall and slender bamboo is then placed upright on the ground and securely tied with rattan or other cords to the heads of these pegs, which thus, with the tree itself, form a ladder. A man mounts these steps and builds up the ladder as he goes, driving in fresh pegs and splicing on fresh bamboos till he reaches the lower branches of the tree, which is sometimes eighty or a hundred feet from the ground. As the weight of the climber is thrown on several of the pegs, which are bound together and supported by the upright bamboo, this ladder is much safer that it looks at first sight, and it is made with wonderful rapidity. When a path goes up a steep hill over smooth ground, bamboo steps are often laid down to prevent slipping while carrying heavy loads. These are made with uniform lengths of stout bamboo in which opposite notches are cut at each end just within a joint. These notches allow strong bamboo pegs to be driven through into the ground, thus keeping the steps securely in place. The masts and yards of native vessels are almost always formed of bamboo, as it combines lightness, strength, and elasticity in an unequalled degree. Two or three large bamboos also form the best outriggers to canoes on account of their great buoyancy. They also serve to form rafts; and in the city of Palembang in Sumatra there is a complete street of floating houses supported on rafts formed of huge bundles of bamboos. Bridges across streams or to carry footpaths along the face of precipices are constructed by the Dyaks of Borneo wholly of bamboos, and some of these are very ingeniously hung from overhanging trees by diagonal rods of bamboo, so as to form true suspension bridges. The flooring of Malay houses is almost always of bamboo, but is constructed in a variety of ways. Generally large bamboos are used, split lengthways twice and the pieces tied down with rattan. This forms a grated floor, slightly elastic, and very pleasant to the barefooted natives. A superior floor is sometimes formed of slabs, which are made from very stout bamboos cut into lengths of about three or four feet and split down one side. The joints are then deeply and closely notched all

round with a sharp chopping-knife, so that the piece can be unrolled as it were and pressed flat, when it forms a hard board with a natural surface which, with a little wear, becomes beautifully smooth and polished. Blinds, screens, and mats, are formed of bamboos in a variety of ways, sometimes of thin kinds crushed flat and plaited, but more frequently of narrow strips connected together with cords of bamboo-bark or rattan. Strips of bamboo supported on cross-pieces form an excellent bed, which from its elasticity supplies the purpose of a mattress as well, and only requires a mat laid over it to insure a comfortable night's repose. Every kind of basket, too, is made of bamboo, from the coarsest heavy kinds to such as are fine and ornamental. In such countries as Lombock and Macassar, where the land is much cultivated and timber scarce, entire houses are built of bamboo, posts, walls, floors, and roofs all being constructed of this one material; and perhaps in no other way can so elegant and well-finished a house be built so quickly and so cheaply. Almost every kind of furniture is also made of the same material, excellent bamboo chairs, sofas, and bedsteads being made in the Moluccas, which, for appearance combined with cheapness, are probably unsurpassed in the world. A chair costs sixpence, and a sofa two shillings. Among simpler uses, bamboos are admirably adapted for water-vessels. Some of the lighter sorts are cut into lengths of about five feet, a small hole being knocked through the septa of the joints. This prevents the water from running out too quickly, and facilitates its being poured out in a regulated stream to the last drop. Three or four of these water-vessels are tied

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