Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/586

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

regia) and the California black walnut (J. californica). Burbank says:

The hybrid grows twice as fast as the combined growth of both parents. The leaves are from 2 feet to a full yard in length. The wood is compact, with lustrous, silky grain, taking a beautiful polish, and as the annual layers of growth are an inch or more in thickness and the medullary rays prominent, the effect is unique.

Another of Burbank's walnut hybrids detained by crossing the black walnut with pollen of the Californian black walnut, produces fruit of very much larger size than either parent. When we come to plant large areas to trees, as we are rapidly coming to do, imagine the immense value to the world if we could plant hybrids of rapid growth such as Burbank's walnuts.

Who has tried to produce hybrids of maples, oaks, hickories and pines to get quick-growing hybrids for planting purposes? Who has hybridized such trees to get larger and better fruits? The world should not be compelled to wait much longer for such improvements. We need the improved stock for planting. Some trees live a century before they reach young manhood.

Persimmons, pawpaws, huckleberries, elderberries, hawthorns and hosts of other native fruits are well worth improvement and might be utilized not only for human food but for hogs, sheep and poultry.

Mr. Frank Babak, of the Department of Agriculture, has recently shown that the black sage (Ramona stachoides), a wild California plant, and the swamp bay tree (Persea pubescens) of the southeastern United States, both contain a fairly high percentage of camphor and could be utilized for the manufacture of this valuable product. Doubtless these plants could, by breeding, be adapted to cultivation and the percentage of camphor increased.

The value of improving native plants has been strikingly demonstrated by the amelioration of our native grapes. The attempts of our early ancestors in America to grow European grapes uniformly met with failure, and finally, as a last resort, attempts were made to cultivate the native wild types. The marvelous success achieved, which has resulted in the production of a large number of fine varieties, and established vine growing in the eastern and central United States, is one of the important achievements of our many-sided national history.

The same was time in the ease of the gooseberry. The European varieties failing to succeed here because of the mildew, the small fruited native species were introduced into cultivation, and the size of the fruits has been more than quadrupled in the improved sorts. Plums, raspberries, blackberries and the like furnish other illustrations of interest.

The native wild beggar weed (Desniodium tortuosum) has been introduced into cultivation in Florida, and, without breeding or im-