Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/783

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

trees," writes the author, "if you ask what takes the place in Oregon and California of all these missing kinds which are familiar on our side of the continent, I must answer, nothing or nearly nothing. There is the madrofia (arbutus) instead of our kalmia (both really trees in some places); and there is the California laurel instead of our Southern red bay-tree. Nor in any of the genera common to the two does the Pacific forest equal the Atlantic in species. It has not half as many maples, nor ashes, nor poplars, nor walnuts, nor birches, and those it has are of smaller size and inferior quality; it has not one-half as many oaks; and these and the ashes are of so inferior economical value that (as we are told) a passable wagon wheel cannot be made of California wood, nor a really good one in Oregon." He then states that, whereas the Atlantic forests contain sixty-six genera and one hundred and fifty-five species, the Pacific has only thirty-one genera and seventy-eight species.

 

Artificial Cold in the Treatment of Yellow Fever.—Dr. Bushrod W. James proposes, in the Philadelphia Ledger, a method of treating yellow-fever patients by artificial cold. He would have in every quarantine-station a ward or room capable of holding several patients, and so arranged that ventilation can be effected solely through ventilators and by means of small anterooms with spring-doors. There must be no entrance or exit to the ward save through the anteroom. The anteroom should be kept at the same low temperature as, or even lower than that in the ward, so that the temperature in the latter may not be raised by the opening and closing of doors by the attendants, nor any of the disease-producing germs escape before they are thoroughly subjected to the low temperature and destroyed. The ward and anteroom must be kept at a temperature not higher than 25° Fahr., the patients being made comfortable by a sufficient amount of bed clothing; and everything that goes from the room, such as clothing, excretions, all emanations, etc., must be exposed a sufficient length of time to the cold. This will kill the poisonous germs, or reproducing cause, and prevent, as far as the cases under treatment are concerned, any risk of the disease spreading. If patients cannot bear so much cold during treatment, an adjoining warmer room can be made, with no mode of access or ventilation except through the cold room, and everything going out of the warmer room must be allowed to remain a sufficient length of time to get rid of the contagion. If no attendant occupies the anteroom, the degree of cold can be kept near zero, in order the more quickly to destroy all the disease-producing agencies.

 

A Drought-Proof Fodder-Plant.—In a paper on the progress of agriculture in Natal, South Africa, Dr. P. M. Sutherland, surveyor-general of that colony, speaks of the advantages possessed by the Caucasian prickly comfrey (Symphytum asperrimum) as a fodder-plant, in regions characterized by annually-recurring seasons of drought. His remarks will doubtless be of interest to farmers settled in some of our States and Territories where like meteorological conditions exist. The plant named is allied to the borage, is a native of the mountainous regions of Circassia, and has long been used as forage both in that country and in Russia. Its original home is at a height of 4,000 feet above the sea, but it thrives well in a great diversity of climates, and bears hot and dry seasons with impunity, on account of the depth to which its strong root penetrates into the ground. There are two varieties of the plant, one with a hollow and the other with a solid stem. The latter is an excellent food for stock of all kinds; especially does it increase the quantity and improve the quality of cows' milk. It grows with marvelous rapidity and luxuriance. Land which yields eight tons of grass per acre gives from sixty to a hundred and fifty tons of comfrey. The plant is four or five feet high when near flowering, and the leaves attain a length of three feet. The flowers abound in honey. The solid stem is like a succulent root, and the plant is easily propagated by cuttings from this stem, containing a couple of eyes each. When once well rooted it will go on producing from fifteen to twenty years. The fodder may be cut six or even eight times a year; and if the leaves are stacked green, or partially dried, with a little salt between the layers, they keep well through the winter.