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5. Petrifying Springs, so highly charged with carbonate of lime as to deposit it upon whatever the water falls, and thus give it a coating of limestone, are found in Madison and Saratoga counties.
6. Oil Springs, the waters of which are covered with a thick pellicle of Petroleum, or mineral oil, are found in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.
7. Springs evolving Nitrogen Gas. The most celebrated of these are those of New Lebanon, in Columbia county, and of Hoosick, in Rensselaer county. There is also one, of some note, near Canoga, in Seneca county.
8. Springs evolving Carburetted Hydrogen, or inflammable gas. These abound in the neighborhood of Lake Erie, and the Niagara river. The village of Fredonia, and the light house at Barcelona, in Chautauque county, are illuminated by them. Springs of the same character are also found in Dutchess, Oneida and Monroe counties.
Marl, a valuable fertilizing agent, exists in vast beds in Madison, Monroe, Columbia, Dutchess,
Greene, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange and Wayne counties, and in considerable abundance in Rensselaer, Wash ington, Saratoga, Albany, Schoharie, Herkimer, Cortland, Oneida, St. Lawrence, Niagara and Erie counties.
Peat is less widely distributed. It occurs, however, on Long Island, and in Richmond, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Putnam, Westchester, Columbia, Clinton, Oneida and Cattaraugus counties. The attention of farmers should be directed to this, on account of its value, both for fuel, and as a manure.
The gneiss and granite of the primary region, as we have already remarked, form elegant and durable building materials. The Potsdam sandstone, from its power of resisting atmospheric influence, and the facility with which it may be cut in any desired shape, is highly valued for building. The Chemung gray sandstone and the red sandstone of Rockland county are also prized by builders. The Medina sandstone is more liable to decomposition, but is used to
The limestone formations furnish a great number of varieties of marble, suitable not only for architectural purposes, but for the arts. The most celebrated ornamental varieties are the black marble of Glen's falls, which equals any of the foreign varieties; the Chazy black marble, considered as fully equal to the best Irish; the variegated marbles of St. Lawrence and Rockland counties; the slate and dove colored of Otsego, Oneida and Onondaga; the birdseye of the Champlain group; and the white marble of Westchester, Dutchess, Columbia, Washington and St. Lawrence counties. The Singsing marble is largely employed, as a building stone, in New York city. The serpentine rocks, in several parts of the state, afford slabs, of sufficient size, to be used for the manufacture of furniture. The Utica slate, and some of the slate formations in the northern part of the state, furnish slates of excellent quality, both for roofing and writing.
The gray sandstones and conglomerate of the Champlain and Erie groups, furnish grindstones of superior quality, and from the Shawangunk grits, millstones have been manufactured, which compared well with the French buhrstone.
It will be seen, by the brief sketch we have given of the Geology and Mineralogy of the state of New York, that her mineral resources
are equal to her agricultural, commercial and manufacturing facilities. True, she does not possess coal, or so far as has yet been ascertained; the precious metals; but the former is abundantly supplied by the neighboring states of Pennsylvania and Ohio; and the latter, paradoxical as it may seem, have never conduced to the wealth, or prosperity of any state, which has possessed them.
Her mines of iron, lead and plumbago; her salt-springs and beds of water lime and gypsum; and her quarries of granite, sandstone and marble are, to her citizens, a more valuable inheritance than the gold and silver mines of Mexico, and will confer upon them a greater and more lasting prosperity.
II. BOTANY. It would be entering into a far more elaborate view of the subject than the limits of this work permit, to trace out even an abstract of the vegetable wealth of New York. From its geographical position, diversity of soil, surface, and climate; its holding a middle place between the north and south, nearly all the great features of the United States flora are here produced. Immense forests still occupy the uncultivated regions north and west, consisting mainly of pine, oak and beech, while the chestnut, hickory and maple, with a host of other less numerous, but not less valuable trees, are scattered over its territory.
The mountain sides and woods are clothed with an undergrowth of shrubs; as the whortleberry, rhododendron and mountain laurel; under whose shade, and in the open fields, flourish hundreds of more humble herbaceous plants, among which will be found many that are rare and curious, as well as of great beauty and utility.
Anemone, Ranunculus, and Violets, often before the snow has en. tirely disappeared, put forth their blossoms in every sheltered nook of wood and meadow. These, with the cowslip (Caltha palustris), the woodbine (Aquilegia), bloodroot (Sanguinaria), and many of that wide spread tribe, the Cruciferae, or crosslike plants, serve to mark the opening spring. As the season advances, nature assumes much gayer colors. The beautiful blue Lupine (Lupinus perennis), Desmodiums, and the wild Sensitive plant (Cassia nictitans), whose leaves close together, when touched by the hand, are frequent on sandy soils.
Common in our swamps and boggy ground, is the Side Saddle flower, or Hunter's cup (Sarracenia), bearing a single, nodding, dark red flower, a wonder by itself, but more so, when viewed in connection with the singular structure of its leaves. These are not flat, as in other plants, but hollow, and somewhat pitcher shaped, arranged in a circle around the base of the stem, their open mouths turned upwards to catch the falling rains. At the orifice of each leaf is a broad lip, furnished with short stiff
' hairs pointing downwards, and forming a trap, for numerous insects, that seek the water, always contained in them. A luckless fly once entered, it is impossible for him to return; and he is forced to go onwards, until dropping, he perishes in the water beneath. Of what use, in the economy of the plant, these dead insects are (the cup being often half filled with them) is not, as yet, well known; but possibly they serve in some degree as nutriment.
Another plant well worthy of notice for its elegance and exquisite fragrance, is the white Pond Lily (Nymphæa odorata). The roots, which are rough and knotty, creep along the muddy bottoms of ponds and slow-flowing streams ; while the large round leaves, of a bright and glossy green, cover the water above, in many instances for acres, contrasting well with the pure white flowers. Like the primrose and wonderful four o'clock, which almost serve to mark the hour, Nymphæa expands its buds early in the morning, and whether the day be clear or cloudy, before noon, regularly closes, and sinks beneath the surface. The leaf stalks are long and fexile, varying with the depth of water, and forming, as every wandering school boy knows, a secure retreat for fish.
Spatter Dock, or Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar advena), is common in every ditch, but an allied genus (Nelumbium), or Sacred Bean, is rare ; Big Sodus Bay, Lake Ontario, is the only known locality in the state.
In shallow water, along the Hudson, above the Highlands, and through the western counties, is the Vallisneria or Tape Grass, remarkable for the peculiar spiral form of its stems, which always permit the flower to float upon the surface whatever may be the rise of tide.
Besides those just mentioned, the more frequent plants of low grounds and margins of streams are the Iris, Sweet Flag, or Calamus root (Acorus calamus), Yellow Lily, (Lilium Canadense), Forgetme-not (Myosotis), whose bright blue flowers continue from early spring till frost, Arrow leaf (Sagittaria), Cat-tail flag (Typha palustris), with numerous varieties of Rush (Juncus), and Sedges (Carex), the last sometimes eaten by cattle, Tor want of more nutritious food. Virgin's bower (Clematis Virginiana), a handsome indigenous vine creeping over bushes and fences is often cultivated for its quick growth and abundant blossoms.
In the Lobelia tribe, we have the Cardinal Flower (L. Cardinalis), noted for the splendor of its scarlet blossoms ; Indian Tobacco (L. Inflata), the grand panacea of the Thompsonians; the L. Syphi. litica, also used by them; Water Glaliole (L. Dortmanni), much less common than either of the preceding, and L. Nuttallii, confined to the sandy swamps of Long Island.
In the deep recesses of woods and swamps, the Arum and the Orchis tribes are met with. Of the former, Indian Turnip (Arum triphyllum), well known for its acrid root, and Water Arum (Calla palustris), are good examples.
The Orchids, from the strange forms and brilliant colors of their contorted flowers, are well worth the trouble it takes to cultivate them. Platanthera grandiflora, or tall purple Orchis, is one of the most beautiful, although Arethusa, Pogonia, our three species of Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium), and the graceful White Lady's Tress, are not less deserving a place in the garden.
Plants of the great group Composite, to which the Asters and Goldenrods belong, forming one ninth of our entire flora, are characteristic of the autumnal vegetation. Some Asters are fine garden plants, but, like the whole class, chiefly interesting for their gorgeous appear
From the sweet scented golden-rod (Solidago odora), a fra. grant volatile oil, sometimes used in medicine, is distilled. Yarrow (Achillea), Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), and some few others are medicinal; most of the order, however, are but weeds, as every farmer who has had his lands overrun with Canada thistle and pigweed, can testify. The seeds of the Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) yield, under pressure, an oil similar in quality and uses to that of linseed. Jerusalem Artichokes are the tuberous roots of the Helianthus tuberosus. They are too watery to be used as food. Neither of the two last are natives of the state, but they are occasionally found in waste places near habitations.
Angelica, Sweet Cicely (Osmorrhiza), Sanicle (Sanicula), Cicuta (Cicuta maculata), types of the order of umbelliferous plants are well known; Wild Carrot (Daucus carota), poisonous in its wild state, is, when cultivated, the esculent carrot of the garden.
Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), by a draught of which Socrates is related to have died, with some other introduced and native plants, as the Milkweed (Asclepias), Plantain. Canada Thistle, Poke weed (Phytolaccu decandra), Thorn Apple (Datura Stramonium), Oxeye Daisy (Chrysanthemum), and Dandelion (Leontodon), belong to a class that might be named “wayside plants,” from their commonly occupying a position beside the roads and fences.
Plantain (Plantago major) has been called by the Indians “ white man's footstep," because it is found wherever he has placed his dwelling; and with a faithfulness not equalled in the human race, is constantly in his path. The more it is trodden down the wider does it spread, and the more luxuriantly does it grow.
The Eglantine or Sweet Brier (Rosa Rubiginosa), such a general favorite with the old and young, is a member of the large family Rosaceæ, of which our state can boast many representatives. Among these are the Rose, seven or eight species of Blackberry (Rubus), Strawberry (Fragaria), Fivefinger (Potentilla), (one species of which (P. tridentata) is a little Alpine plant found only on the summits of the mountains), Thornbush (Cratægus), Service berry or Shad bush (Amelanchier), Wild Plum and lofty Wild Cherry. The last is used in cabinet work, being as dark and heavy as some inferior kinds of mahogany.
Of Labiatæ or the mint tribe, Spearmint, or Julep weed (Mentha Viridis), Peppermint (M. Piperita), Penny Royal, Catnep, Balm, (Melissa) and Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum incanum), are very generally known.
A few of the Nightshade tribe (Solanaceæ), are natives of the state, such as Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara), deadly Nightshade (S. Nigrum), and Winter Cherry. (Physalis), which are all of suspi. cious appearance, and reputed poisonous.
Buckwheat is one of the Polygonaceæ ; and of the same order are the common Sorrel (Rumex acetosella), Water Dock (R. crispus), and Smart weed (Polygonum).
Shrubby plants are numerous; many species are highly ornamental; others, from their virtues, are admitted into the Pharmacopæas; others, again, are poisonous. Of this latter class are some of the species of Sumach (Rhus); the most virulent of these, is the Swamp Sumach (Rhus venenatá), simple contact with which, or mere exposure to its effluvium, being sufficient in many cases to cause a most painful eruption on the skin. Mercury, or Poison Oak, is less active than the preceding, but sufficiently so, to cause all those who are easily affected by vegetable poisons to shun its neighborhood. The leaves of the common Sumach (R. glabra), are used in the manufacture of morocco.
The large flowering Rose bay (Rhododendron maximum) is a shrub from six to twelve feet in height, with broad and thick leaves, growing in tufts from the extremities of the branches; and large showy Aowers, in dense terminal clusters. It is said to be the most beautiful flowering shrub in the United States, and is sometimes cultivated in lawns and door-yards.
The wild upright Honeysuckle (Azalea, or Rhododendron nudiflorum), and the broad leaved Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) make the woods gay by the profusion of their purple blossoms. The dwarf Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), known also by the names sheep-poison and lamb-kill, is a pretty little bush, but has a bad reputation, the leaves being said to poison sheep. The last two are common in the southern counties, while in the west the glaucous Kalmia takes their place.
The Elder (Sambucus Canadensis) and the Hazel (Corylus Americanus), prized for its nuts, which, though sweeter, do not equal in size, the filbert of Europe, are to be seen in every coppice. Whortleberries are the product of several species of Vaccinium. The earliest in the market is the dwarf blue Whortleberry (V. Pennsylvanica), growing in sandy woods, and on hill sides and summits of the mountains. The Bilberry (V. corymbosum) is frequent in swamps and wet shady woods. The agreeably acid Cranberry, an almost indispensable article of food, is the fruit of two species of Vaccinium, (V. oxycoccus and V. macrocarpon). The former abounds in the northern and western parts of the state, and the latter, which is the common American cranberry seen in the market, is most frequent in the south.
The banks of every stream and rivulet are fringed with the Willow (Salix), Alder (Alnus), and Spice wood (Laurus Benzoin). This last is a shrub easily recognized, by its smooth brittle branches and glossy foliage. The bark has an agreeably spicy taste; and a decoction of the young twigs is often used, as a medicinal drink, in the spring of the year. In the moist thickets, conspicuous from its red fruit, is the Winter berry (Prinos), once used for the cure of fever and ague; but, for this purpose, it is much inferior to the Dogwood (Cornus florida), which possesses many of the peculiar properties of Peruvian Bark.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginica) is, in the eyes of the superstitious, a most notable shrub, because, in the moment of parting with its foliage, it puts forth a profusion of gaudy yellow blossoms, giving to November, the counterfeited appearance of spring.
The most important vegetable productions of the state are undoubtedly the forest trees, of which we can boast numerous species. The cone bearers (Coniferae), which are nearly all evergreen trees, are well represented in our Flora. We have no less than nine species of Pines. Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) forms nearly all the woodland of Long Island, and covers a great extent of barren country, west of Albany; it is serviceable for little else than fuel and making charcoal. White, or Weymouth pine (P. strobus) is met with in most parts of