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first growth, are cut down, their roots and trunks immediately become the abode of colonies of white ants. They rapidly multiply into countless hosts, and their operations are continued until the stumps are reduced to mere shells.*
Their food, like that of other species of termites, is rotten and generally moist wood: that they are not, however, limited to this, has been already seen, and may be further proved by facts which I will now mention.
My particular attention was first called to these ants by winged specimens sent me from Salem, in January, i860, by Mr. J. F. Allen, an extensive cultivator of hot-house grapes. He asserted that his forcing-houses were completely overrun with ants, of which these specimens were the parents; and that they were causing serious injury to his vines. I visited the place shortly afterwards^ and found that within and beneath every damp piece of wood, under boxes holding plants, and on the lower surface of thresholds, and bottoms of door-posts, myriads of white ants were swarming; while the sashes above were covered with remains of the winged males, adhering to the glass by means of the moisture continually present. Mr. Allen stated more fully, that, whenever he attempted to "layer" a vine, the portion beyond the layering was sure to droop, and finally die; and that an examination of the part beneath ground revealed hosts of these ants literally eating up the vine. Not only did they attack layered vines, but three or four healthy, full-grown vines had been destroyed at the roots in the same way. As he could not show me any examples of the kind, I was unable to observe the insects at work, and, notwithstanding these representations of a careful and interested observer, was inclined to attribute the true cause of the difficulty to some disease of the vine, supposing that the ants simply carried away the rotten material. But Mr. Allen subsequently relieved my mind of all doubt upon the subject by sending me the root of a vine destroyed in the way he had described. The whole root had been excavated and chambered through and through: in some places, a mere shell being left; in others, the shell itself eaten away, and the excavations carried unmistakably into the solid, living wood. Cavities and
• Dr. Fitch has also observed that the white ant lives in society with, and is nursed and protected by, the common black and red ant (Permola m/a); being sometimes found in these nests in greater numbers than the builders and true owners of the hillock.
burrows existed in the centre of the stem, more than two inches above the point which had been at the level of the ground.* The sides and ends of the cavities were of perfectly solid wood, with no indication of rottenness.
I believe this is the first time that any species of white ant has been described as attacking living plants so as to cause their destruction. Even this case seems somewhat anomalous: for it is doubtful whether, under natural circumstances, they would multiply here to so great an extent as we have seen them in this greenhouse ; and more than questionable, whether, out of it, they would attack the vine at all. Smeathman, indeed, asserts that they sometimes feed upon living plants; but Dr. Savage states that their nests are frequently built about the stems of trees and shrubs, which are never injured thereby.
I retained a colony of these American white ants in my study for many months, in a pot filled with moist earth and rotten wood. When subsequently examined, the whole upper portion of the earth was completely filled with minute passages, about large enough for two of these ants to pass each other.
This same insect, described in this country by Mr. Haldeman under the
• The accompanying wood-cut shows the nature and extent of these chambers, diagonal section of the stem, between one and two inches above ground.
It is taken from a name of Termes frontalis, has long been known about Vienna in Europe, where, according to Kollar, it did injury to the plant-houses around the imperial palace of Schdnbrunn, and was supposed by him to have come originally from Brazil. He described this species previously to Haldeman under the name of Termes ftavipes, by which it must be known. Burmeister states that there are specimens in the Berlin Museum which were taken in Portugal.
It may be readily distinguished from our common ant, which it most closely resembles, by its large head, its pale or whitish body, and by the nearly uniform size of the joints of the antenna:; the true ants having the basal-joint nearly half as long as all the rest of the antennae together.
Noticing their fondness for damp places, Mr. Allen tried the plan of surrounding the layered portion of his vines with coal-ashes; and, in these cases, had experienced no trouble from the ants. The same experiment might be tried on the roots of full-grown vines, displacing the earth, and leaving a surrounding of ashes one or two inches in thickness. The dryness of the ashes, and the superabundant moisture of the surrounding earth, would probably prevent the ants from attacking the vine.
Samuel H. Scudder.
I Propose giving here a brief account of my success in fruiting various kinds of strawberries, new and old, in 1866; and, having nothing novel to say in regard to methods of cultivation, I proceed to discuss the different varieties in alphabetical order.
Agriculturist. — It is not necessary to describe minutely this famous variety, as almost everybody has it under cultivation; but I may say a word or two as to its merits. Although I have been severely criticised for speaking so strongly in favor of the Agriculturist, I have very little to take back. Its flavor is very good, — not first-rate,— and it is a most abundant bearer. Various people who make a business of raising strawberries for market visited my beds when the fruit was ripe, and expressed their unqualified admiration of both vines and berries.
Bijou. — A new variety. An excellent grower, of dwarf habit. Leaves wedge-obovate; flowers large and handsome; berry between round and conical, bright crimson, sweet, and very good.
Exposition A Chalons.—The Exposition is a rather straggling grower, with deeply serrate, dull-green leaves, and large, conical, tolerably good fruit, worth about as much for one's own eating as Triomphe de Gand.
Frogmore Late Pine. — I do not know which to put first in point of excellence, — the Frogmore or the Lucas. The first is unquestionably one of the very finest foreign berries added to our list of late years. The fruit is monstrous, conical, brilliant crimson, and is easily hulled; the flesh is white, perfumed, and extremely juicy and refreshing. The plants are tolerably productive, and every amateur should have one row of this kind.
La Delicieuse. — I fruited a strawberry this year which I bought by this name; but I am inclined to think it is not the true La Delicieuse, although it is a very nice berry. Blossoms small, apparently pistillate, different as possible in aspect from the flowers of the Frogmore or any similar strawberry. The berries are rather small, in clusters, deeply pitted, very dark crimson, very sweet and delicious. The fruit is too small for market, but most desirable for family use. The plants produce an infinity of runners.
Lucida Perfecta. — This is the latest variety with which I am acquainted, and would be an immense acquisition if it were not so unproductive; but, as it is, it is hardly worth raising except as a curiosity. Leaves roundish, dark shining green, the old leaves looking as if they were varnished; berries large, bright crimson, white towards the neck, conical or flattened; flesh white as snow, with abundance of sweet, highflavored juice. A few berries remained on the vines up to the 27th of July.
In raising a large number of seedlings from the Lucida Perfecta, two things struck my attention very forcibly; viz., the regularity with which the seeds germinate, and the strength of the resulting plants. I hope some one of them will exceed its parent in productiveness.
Lucas. — M. Ue Jonghe is said to have selected La Constante as his best seedling; but it seems to me that he must have come to this decision before a seedling of La Constante, the Lucas, fully displayed its merits.
The vines are very handsome and vigorous, with leaves a shade lighter than those of the parent plant. The fruit, which with me was ripe about July 4, is immensely large, very decidedly conical in shape, rich, juicy, and sweet, with a flavor very much like a raspberry. The seeds germinate very poorly indeed; not one in fifty coming up in a cold frame in August.
Orb. — A large, round, light-colored, sweet, and very delicious strawberry, but having certain faults which will not allow it to be cultivated largely. These are, first, its tenderness, of which I cannot speak from experience, having carefully covered my plants; and, second, its unproductiveness, there being but two or three berries to a plant. I have not esteemed it highly enough to plant any of its seeds.
Quinquefolia. — I write the above name with some hesitation, as the leaves of my plants are not five-parted; but I cannot omit the plant from my list, as it is a most admirable strawberry. The leaves are rounded, crumpled, and of a medium green color; the berries are monstrous, regularly conical, light red, and of the very choicest flavor. I hardly set the Frogmore and Lucas above this variety.
Haquin, La Negresse, And Madame Cologne, are varieties which might as well be dropped at once. The first is utterly useless, and is remarkable as showing how poor a strawberry can be; the second is a sweetish, dark-red, but by no means black, conical berry, of no particular excellence; and the third is a dry, sweet fruit, not likely to please a refined taste, and the plants are very unproductive.
I have described Madame Cologne elsewhere as "not very juicy ;" but I think I spoke too well of it, and that it will not be much grown. It is distinguished from all other kinds I know by its extremely delicate filiform roots. .
My Agriculturists this year were inspected by my friends oftener than any other variety, simply because they were new and much talked of; but perhaps the finest display of berries I could show was on a splendid row of Rivers' Eliza, whose handsome leaves, vigorous growth, and enormous fruit, ought to keep it forever from the list of rejected kinds. I know that the berry is soft, and will not bear much handling; but still the Eliza ought to be grown by all who like to surprise their friends with "something large."