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SPIRIT OF MAGAZINES.

The Cultivation of Fiorin Grass, has lately excited so much interest in Great Britain and Ireland, that we are disposed to publish an engraved plate of it, accompanied with a brief sketch, taken from the Agricultural Magazine.The engraving, thus presented to the view of our readers, may possibly enable them to discover this curious grass in our own land, and induce them to turn their attention to its cultivation.-If it should not be found among us, it can easily be imported. This engraving is not, however, to be considered as one of the three which are promised in each volume of the Select Reviews, but is furnished with a desire of illustrating the sketch which accompanies it, and rendering the latter more acceptable to our readers.] Ed. Select Reviews.

FROM THE AGRICULTURAL MAGAZINE.

ON FIORIN GRASS.

(With a Plate.)

THE tribe of GRASSES, ranks high in the vegetable system. It is the best known, and most general of any family of plants. being easily recognized in the first place, and in the second, growing spontaneously in more or less profusion, in every country in the world, from the scorched regions within the tropics, to the frozen territories adjoining to the Poles. This class, too, is not only the most pleasant to the eye, but also of the most extended use, since it includes corn, and consequently furnishes man with perhaps the best and assuredly the most innocent portion of his nourishment, while nearly all the animals under his dominion, and a large portion of the birds, are supported by it. Notwithstanding this, no branch of natural history has been more neglected, for although there are upwards of three hundred different species of grasses, which have been divided into at least forty genera, yet it is only within the last fifty years that any attention has been paid either to their names or arrangements. It was the

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celebrated Mr. Stillingfleet, who, about the year 1760, first directed the attention of the curious to the subject, and by exciting inquiry, tended not a little to throw new lights on so useful a pursuit, as well as to discover the many national advantages that might accrue from it. After a short interval, public curiosity was again drawn forth by means of Mr. Curtis, and the influence of the treatise, has been productive of much good. With an exception to the spirited exertions of the Society for the Promotion of the Arts, Sciences, Agriculture, Commerce, &c. in the Adelphi, and a single publication by an individual, but little more was achieved on his subject until the year 1808, when Dr. Richardsong disclosed his very important communications to the

* Benjamin Stillingfleet, B. A. a naturalist and poet, was educated first at Norwich School, and then at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took a degree, and then travelled in Italy. He was the author of the "Calendar of Flora," &c. &c. and died in 1771, at the age of 69.

William Curtis, the original author of the "Floran Londinensis," was bred a surgeon, and after planting two botanical gardens, published an excellent work on the British Grasses.

+ Mr. Swayne's "Gramina Pascua."

SW. Richardson, D. D. was bred in the University of Dublin, where he was a contemporary with the celebrated Mr. Malone, and after retiring from college, settled at Moy, in the county of Armagh, where we believe he has a living. Having addicted himself to agriculture, and possessing not only a liberal education, but a spirit of inquiry, he determined to unite theory with practice, and accordingly began by making himself acquainted with the natural history of the different vegetables cultivated on his farm. Entertaining a notion that the management of the grasses might be greatly improved, and that in consequence of the speculations of agricultural book-makers, they had hitherto been greatly neglected, more especially in that part of Ireland, he determined to engage in an active course of experiments. With this view he made small plots in his garden, into which he introduced all the kinds reported valuable, and when warranted by the result, they were tranferred to the farm, on a larger and more suitable scale. While thus occupied, fame brought him acquainted with the Fiorin, and after being made fully sensible of its value, in consequence of due and regular cultivation, he communicated an account of his discovery, first in the transactions of the board of agriculture, and then in the literary society of Belfast. In proportion as the facts accumulated, his publications became more frequent, and the various discoveries were promulgated at length in small pamphlets and single sheets, which were not sold, but printed for the use of, and distributed among friends.

Having formerly engaged in a controversy on geological subjects, it was urged against Dr. R. that, like his quandam adversaries, he endeavoured to support a favourite theory, by accommodating facts to opinions; but the Doctor urged in reply, that all his facts were established antecedently to the discovery of the principles. He, at the same time, showed that most of the properties of the Fiorin, and particularly the extraordinary one, of the facility with which it could be made and saved in the middle of winter, proceeded from the radical and essential differences between this and all other hay.

Dr. Richardson resides nearly half way between the towns of Armagh and Dungannon, and we mention with equal pride and satisfaction, that we have been honoured with his correspondence. At his farm at Confecle, in the coun

people of this country, which, on one hand, have aroused both the wonder and attention of the public, while on the other, they have as usual, given birth to a paper war, and an animated, not to say vituperative, discussion.

After this short introduction it is proposed to arrange every thing important, hitherto made known on this subject in a popular form, but under distinct and scientific heads, so as to make the readers of our Magazine as much acquainted with the facts at a single glance, as the nature of the intelligence, and the distant residence of the original discoverer will permit.

English, and Botanical Names.

Fiorin, or Fioreen Grass.-Agrostis Stolonifera, of Linnæus. Classification and Description.

Class III. Triandria.-Natural Method, 4th order, Gramina. 1st. CHARACTER AND DESCRIPTION.

This may be seen growing in its natural state, in the garden belonging to Mr. Gibbs, seedsman to the Board of Agriculture, at old Brompton, where the specimens were obtained, from which our plate has been taken. It is evidently a very lively and hardy plant, supposed by some to be the Orcheston long grass, of Wiltshire, but its two chief characteristics are the sudden and astonishing growth of this grass, as well as its amazing facility, by means of its strings, of spreading over a large surface of ground, within a short period of time. It is an aquatic of the Stoloniferous tribe, with culmi and panicles; and stolones, or runners. Before this was cultivated, that is to say, anterior to the last fifteen or twenty years, the twelve following grasses were most prized, not only in this country, but in Ireland, and they are here arranged pretty nearly in the order of their general estimation;

1. Poa pratensis; or great smooth stalked meadow grass, 2. Festuca duriusculo; hard fescue grass.

3. Festuca pratensis; meadow fescue grass.

4. Lolium perenne; ray, commonly called rye-grass.

5. Alopecurus pratensis; meadow fox-tail grass.

6. Festuca ovina; sheep's fescue grass.

7. Rough stalked meadow grass; poa trivialis.
8. Marsh meadow grass; poa palustris.

9. Compressed meadow grass; poa compressa.

ty of Armagh, might have been witnessed his efforts to introduce the Fiorin on a great scale, and he has been particularly attentive to transmit seeds, roots, strings, and instructions to every respectable person either likely to repeat or to profit by his experiments. The board of agriculture in England has presen ted him with a medal for the memoir on this subject.

10. Crested dogs'-tail grass; cynosurus cristatus.

11. Knotty cats' tail grass; phleum nodosum.

12. Anthoxanthum odoratum; sweet scented spring grass. The late Mr. Kent, in his "Hints," recommends the crested dog's-tail, the vernal, the sheep's fescue, and the fine bent*; but he is loud in his praises of annual meadow grass, which was noticed by Mr. Stillingfleet to prosper in an extraordinary manner on the surface of a much frequented walk on Malvern Hill. This greatly resembles the Fiorim in many points of view, and particularly in this, that those very obstacles which would probably prove fatal to every other species of grass, contribute most essentially to its prosperity.

2d. HABITS OF THE FIORIN.

It may be here necessary to premise that this is one of our own indigenous, or native grasses, and is not peculiar to Ireland, but commonly found in all the British Isles, although its singular and appropriate qualifications were first discovered in another portion of the united kingdom. The universality of the properties of this plant is truly wonderful, for according to Dr. Richardson, “ Fiorin thrives in all climates from Iceland to Indostan. It thrives, and I believe equally," adds he, "in all elevations, the top of the mountain, and the bottom of the valley; in all soils, wet and dry, the mire of the morass, the shallow summit of the gravelly hill, and the pave of a shut up turnpike-road, never covered with soil. Fiorin appears to thrive the better, the greater the hardships to which it is exposed, because the efforts of its competitors are thereby weakened." It is thus evident, that in addition to one of the essential qualities of that valuable plant, the annual meadow grass, and the astonishing fertility of the Orcheston long grass, it is also the most hardy plant, perhaps in existence.

3d. MODE OF PROPAGATION.

This may be effected two different ways, first by sowing the seeds from the rick of loft, and slightly sprinkling them with soil; and secondly by means of its strings or roots, which resemble those of the garden strawberry, and like it, after fastening in the soil come to the surface, and branch out anew. The time of planting is not much attended to in Ireland; but as that is a moister climate than our own, it would perhaps be the safest mode of committing it to the ground in England, either in the spring or autumn. Considerable space being allowed for the plants, one acre duly prepared may be dibbled for the sum of twenty-five shillings in some, and thirty shillings in other counties, by setting the roots in the same manner as young cabbages in Middlesex, and emPage 32.

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ploying ten men for one day in this occupation. The rapidity of the growth may be estimated from this fact, that if the land be laid down early in April, it will produce in the same year, a valuable crop, either of hay or green food.

4th. MODE OF HARVESTING.

It would have appeared not paradoxical but incredible, had any one asserted fifty years ago, that Christmas is a better season for hay-making than Midsummer, and that mowing might commence during the winter months, with greater benefit to the farmer, both as to the quality and quantity of the crop, than at the usual season. But let us attend to what the Doctor says on this subject:

"Fiorin hay is saved in the months of November, December, and January, with less labour, and greater security from injury by wea ther than other hay. Fiorin grass mowed October 18th, after sustaining sixteen days of the wettest weather ever remembered, was put into rick on November 7th; there it remained perfectly sound, until completely eaten up by sheep early in January." Grass with these proper ties would be particularly desirable, either in a moist climate or a bad

season.

5th. PRODUCE.

This article is perhaps the most wonderful of the whole, for we are told on authority, that the writer of this paper is neither prepared nor disposed to question, that the produce from a Fiorin meadow is far greater than what can be obtained from the coarsest, and bulkiest of our English grasses, such as the ray (loluim, perenne) or the marsh meadow grass (poa palustris, &c.)

"A portion of ground laid down with Fiorin, late in August 1806, twice mowed in 1807, and not manured, produced six tons the English acre, in 1808; and a portion laid down, November 15th, 1806, once mowed in 1807, and tolerably manured, produced in 1808 seven tons, four hundred, one quarter and eight pounds the English acre. The hay of both parcels," it is added, "when weighed was dry and rattling; and that it was in a fair merchantable state between man and man, was proved upon oath before the earl of Gosford, by the persons who weighed it, in the presence of the owner and other credible witnesses; his lordship also examined the hay not long after it was weighed, and found it in excellent order."

It is thus apparent, that without any manure, a very extraordinary crop may be expected, and that with a slight accession of this valuable substance, a great additional produce is to be obtained. It has already been tried according to the water-meadow

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