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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/101

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HERBS, SHRUBS, AND TREES

oak (Quercus dilatata), whose wood is used for making charcoal, and two small trees of the Heath order, Rhododendron arborea and Pieris ovalifolia. The former in April and May lightens up with its bright red flowers the sombre Simla forests. The kharshu or rusty-leaved oak (Quercus semecarpifolia) affects a colder climate than its more beautiful glossy-leaved relation, and may almost be considered sub-alpine. It is common on Hattu, and the oaks there present a forlorn appearance after rain with funereal mosses dripping with moisture hanging from their trunks. The firs, Picea morinda, with its grey tassels; and Abies Pindrow with its dark green yew-like foliage, succeed the blue pine. Picea may be said to range from 8000 to 10,000 feet, and the upper limit of Abies is from 1000 to 2000 feet higher. These splendid trees are unfortunately of small commercial value. The yew, Taxus baccata, is found associated with them. Between 5000 and 8000 feet, besides the oaks and other broad-leaved trees already noticed, two relations of the dogwood, Cornus capitata and Cornus macrophylla, a large poplar, Populus ciliata, a pear, Pyrus lanata, a holly, Ilex dipyrena, an elm and its near relation, Celtis australis, and species of Rhus and Euonymus, may be mentioned. Cornus capitata is a small tree, but it attracts notice because the heads of flowers surrounded by bracts of a pale yellow colour have a curious likeness to a rose, and the fruit is in semblance not unlike a strawberry. Above 8000 feet several species of maple abound. The chindr or Platanus orientalis, found as far west as Sicily, grows to splendid proportions by the quiet waterways of the Vale of Kashmir. The undergrowth in temperate Himalayan forests consists largely of barberries, Desmodiums, Indigoferas, roses, brambles, Spiraeas, Viburnums, honey-suckles with their near relation, Leycesteria formosa,