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After seven centuries, this sacred edifice, which has defied the elements and encroachments of age, has been suddenly found to be on the verge of destruction. The seeds of the banian and peepul tree have got under the foundations; the whole fabric has been loosened. The ruin was first indicated by the fall of some large stones, just after the idols had left the temple on the last car-festival. Had they fallen a few minutes before, they would have been smashed to atoms. This catastrophe has, as may be imagined, caused great consternation, and is likely to have a disastrous effect on the prestige of the great Juggernauth. It is a curious coincidence that the most celebrated Hindoo temple should have been thus undermined by trees held sacred, if not divine, by the whole Hindoo nation.
History of Helianthus Tuberosus, or Jerusalem Artichoke. The question as to the country from which the Jerusalem artichoke originally came has been the subject of a correspondence in the American Journal of Science between Professor Gray and Mr. J. H. Trumbull. Linnæus, in the “Species Plantarum,” gave to Helianthus tuberosus the "habitat in Brasilia.” In his earlier "Hortus Cliffortianus ” the habitat assigned was Canada. De Candolle, in his “Géographie Botanique,” refers to this as “decidedly an errorat least as to Canada properly so called "—and assigns good reasons for the opinion that it did not come from Brazil, nor from Peru, but in all probability from Mexico or the United States. In the second edition of the “Manual of Botany of the Northern United States,” Professor Gray stated that in his opinion H. doronicoides of the Western States was most probably the original of H. tuberosus. Mr. Trumbull, after quoting several instances where the Jerusalem artichoke is reported as coming from Canada, says, “The notices by early voyagers of ground-nuts eaten by the Indians are generally so brief and so vague that it is not easy to distinguish the three or four species mentioned under that name or its equivalents. The Solanum tuberosum, Apios tuberosa, Aralia trifolia, and a Cyperus were all “ground-nuts” or "earth-nuts.” Brereton, in his account of Gosnold's voyage to New England in 1602, notes the “great store of groundnuts" found on all the Elizabeth Islands. They grow “forty together on a string, some of them as big as a hen’s egg.
These doubtless were the roots of Apios tuberosa. But when Champlain, a few years later, was in the same region, he observed that the Almauchiquois Indians near Point Mallebarre (Nausett Harbor probably) had "force des racines qu'ils cultivent, lesquelles ont le goût d'artichaut.” SagardThéodot mentions the cultivation of the sunflower by the Hurons, who extracted oil from its seeds; and he adds that the French called them Canadiennes, or pommes de Canada. As to the annual sunflower said by Linnæus to come from Peru and Mexico, Professor Gray thinks that its original is H. lenticularis of Douglas, which again is probably only a larger form of H. petiolaris of Nuttall, natives of the western part of the Mississippi valley and of the plains to and beyond the Rocky Mountains.
Living and Fossil Oaks of Europe Compared by De Saporta.
Before the end of the Miocene, Europe possessed oaks which closely resembled Quercus cerris. They had cupules of the same kind as the one now living, and the fruit matured in the second year. Three species in Auvergne belonged to the type of Quercus robur, and “ did not differ from the forms of this group more than these forms differ from one another.” Quercus pedunculata, sessiliflora, and pubescens are relatively recent. In the middle of France, at least, these races have been preceded by other oaks, which have since partly disappeared and partly have been confined to a region farther south. On the other hand, species which now occupy only limited stations where they are threatened with extinction, like Quercus cerris in France, appear to have had direct representatives there at at an epoch relatively remote (Naturalist, April, 1877).
Rapid Growth of Fourcroya. From Regel's Gartenflora we learn that the Fourcroya gigantea which recently flowered in Munich attained a height of about twenty-one feet; and of this it made nearly half during the month of October. The greatest elongation in twenty-four hours was 6.3 inches, in a day temperature of 92.75° and a night temperature of 56.75o. No particulars are given respecting the period of the twenty-four hours in which the maximum intensity of growth took place. At the beginning of October it was about ten feet high, and by the 16th it had increased nearly eight feet, or at the rate of about six inches per day. After this date, with a much lower temperature day and night, the rate of growth was much slower.
Exhalation in Lichens. According to Godlewski, lichens, or at least Borrera ciliaris (the one employed in the experiments) in darkness use up all the oxygen of the air, and exhale carbonic acid; and they form no other gas until there is available oxygen. The intensity of respiration increases with the temperature. In twenty-four hours they will appropriate about their own volume of oxygen, when subject to a temperature of 62.6° Fahr.
Vitality of Grain. At the meeting of the Linnean Society on January 18, 1877, R. Irwin Lynch exhibited a pot of growing wheat sprung from grain left in Polaris Bay, Smith's Sound, 80° 83' N. lat., by the American Polaris Expedition. Captain Sir G. Nares, on his return from the recent Arctic Expedition, in a letter to Dr. Hooker, mentions that the grain in question lay exposed to all the rigorous and intense cold of that far northern clime, through the years from 1872 to 1876. Nevertheless, when the sample brought home was sown at Kew, about sixty-four per cent. of the grains were capable of germination. Two peas were also found to be in good condition. It is likewise worthy of remark that among the wheat a single grain of maize was observed; and this representative of a tropical vegetation retained its vitality in spite of the low temperature, and was among the seeds that germinated. This observation as to the retention of the vitality of seeds is valuable as an authenticated record that the severest arctic frost, even long continued, does not wholly deprive the embryo of the above cereals of its vitality (Brit. Jour. Bot., April, 1877).
Fluorescence of Calycanthus. A decoction of the bark of the Calycanthus floridus, also known as “sweet shrub,” is strongly fluorescent. My attention was recently drawn to this fact in examining a mixture of the bark in glycerin, which I had prepared in order to
extract the pleasant odor of its essential oil. The vial containing the bark and glycerin, when looked at askance, emits a rich, bluish shimmer. On comparing a decoction of the bark of this shrub with that of Æsculus, or buckeye, by concentrating the sun's rays with a lens into a cone of light passing through the liquids, I discovered that the Calycanthus decoction is strikingly superior in intensity and purity of blue color in the fluorescing cone to the Æsculus decoction (Robert Toombs, M.D., Washington, Georgia).
The Effect of Frost on Chlorophyl Granules. Haberlandt states that the granules, except in evergreens, undergo changes at 4° to 6° C. The granules thus affected contain cavities (vacuoles), become rent on the outside, and aggregate into larger or smaller masses. The granules which contain starch are more easily destroyed by frost than those which contain none. The chlorophyl in the palisade tissue (the denser parenchyma) is more easily injured than in the spongy tissue, and the latter than in the guardian cells of the stomata (Naturalist, March, 1877).
Effect of Frost on Evergreen Leaves. This is the question which M. Mer has been striving to answer; and from his paper in the Bulletin of the Botanical Society of France we gather that in some cases, as in ivy, the leaves may exist on the reserve stores accumulated in the stem without themselves assimilating any food from the air. In other cases they form starch in their tissues; and if this be not always readily found, the explanation is to be sought in the circumstance that it is transferred to the store-cells in the stem as soon as formed. M. Mer divides the tissues of the leaf into two groups, the office of the one being to assimilate, that of the other to store the food formed by the former.
The Wood-Oil Tree. According to a recent report from Chittagong, it seems that there is great danger of the wood-oil or gurjun-oil trees (Dipterocarpus turbinatus) becoming, in course of time, exterminated. These gurjun-oil forests are described as occupying the outer hills from one end of the hill tracts to the other; and this distribution is so marked that this class of
forest hardly ever appears beyond the first water-shed running from the north to the south. The chief tree here is the wood-oil tree, which grows to an immense size. The oil is obtained by incisions made in the trunk two or three feet from the ground; and these trees are charred periodically by fire, so as to induce the oil to flow more freely. Besides the oil, the timber is very valuable for planking and boat-building (Gardeners' Chron., August 25, 1877).
Cyperus Esculentus. Some members of the Central Horticultural Society of France are engaged on some cultural and applicatory experiments with Cyperus esculentus - a sedge having edible, tuberous roots. Some cakes, and a preparation of a kind of orgeat from the tubers, were declared by the society to be excellent; and further experiments were recommended. It had been objected that the cultivation of this plant in the climate of Paris would often prove unprofitable, because it is very susceptible to frosts, and the tubers are destroyed by comparatively slight frosts; but by the method of cultivation found most successful this is of little consequence, as the sowing or planting is done in May, and the season for lifting and using the tubers commences in August and terminates in October. The following analysis of the composition of the tubers is interesting, though it does not appear probable that the products of this plant will ever be of sufficient quantity to become of real commercial importance : In 100 parts there are 7.10 of water, 28.06 of oil, 29 of starch, 14.07 of crystallizable sugar, 0.87 of albumen, 14.01 of cellulose, and 6.89 of gum, coloring matter, and salts.
The Prickly Pear. The Mexicans prepare a cooling drink called colindre from this plant; and the French, in various parts of America, make very pretty ornamental vases and flower-trays out of the net-work found in its stems. I have often eaten the fruit in America; and an American gentleman, a good botanist, told me that he had seen the plant growing in lava at the foot of Mount Etna when he visited Europe. The Indians of Florida used to live upon its fruit for three months in the year, and settlers in California think it is invaluable as