This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Mr. Berkeley tells us in the London Gardener's Chronicle about a fungus on the grapes of Australia that may interest our people to know about. He says:
"In the Gardener's Chronicle, June 8, 1872, p. 762, I gave an account of a disease which had proved extremely formidable to vines in Australia, where it is known under the name of the " black spot." The specimens were not so perfect as might have been wished, but it seemed highly probable that it was due to an obscure fungus belonging to the genus Glseosporium. This, like many allied fungi, is probably a mere form of some more perfect organism, connected possibly with it by an alternation of generations. I have now numerous specimens of live shoots sent to the editors by Mr. Edwin Rice, from New Senakie, near the seaport of Poti Caucasus, which are affected apparently in the same way, and in a most disastrous condition. Varieties received from England three years since equally with a large quantity of vines from the Crimea, have fallen a prey to the destructive malady, the former having not at present produced a single bunch of grapes. 'The malady first shows itself at the latter end of June; the leaves begin to shrivel round the edges, diminish in size, and partly curl up from the contraction of the edges; all the young shoots wither as soon as they appear, the first appearance of the disease, as observed under a good lens, being a small blister or bladder containing liquid exactly like a scald in the human flesh; this blister darkens gradually, till it becomes almost black, and turns to a scale, which extends and destroys not only the bark of the shoots, but penetrates a considerable distance into the wood.
The bunches of grapes are likewise affected with black spots, which eventually entirely destroy them. The vines at the end of the season have the appearance of plants nearly scorched to death, all the young wood being consumed, and none left for the next year's training.' It is curious that the American Catawba is not affected, a circumstance agreeing with the fact that American varieties are in great measure unaffected by the oidium. On examining the shoots I cannot find any perfect Glseosporium, though there are plenty of minute tubercles which, from their internal structure, I should conceive to be their early stage, as I find perfect sporophores; but, on the contrary, on one of the specimens there is a Sphaeria. which appears to be identical with Sphreria acuminata, Sow., or, at least, is identical with what is figured under that name by Mr. Currey in the Linnean Transactions. It is quite possible that this may be the perfect form of the Glseosporium. It is greatly to be hoped that the disease may not visit us after the fashion of the Puccinia malvacearum."
The Pear (Pyrus communis) and Apple (Py-rus malus) are found in their wild state in the mountain woods of the greater part of Europe, and from these indigenous species have been raised the whole of our orchard and garden varieties. Their amelioration by cultivation, and the perpetuation of varieties by grafting, have been celebrated by poets from the time of Ovid, and continue to the present day. Pliny enumerates thirty-nine different pears known to the Romans, several of them being also mentioned by Virgil, Cato, Columella, Juvenal, Macrobius, etc. Fee has endeavored to identify some of them with modern French varieties, and Gallesio with Italian ones, as in the following examples: -
Supposed Corresponding Modern Names.
Amerina serotina .
Perle or Blanquette.
Dolabelliana . . .
Falerna succosa . .
Superba parva . .
A variety of Bon-Chre-tien.
Picena or picentina
. Spadona vernina, considered by Gallesio as a most ancient Italian Pear.
. Another Bon-Chretien.
In Tuscany, under the Medici, we find, in a manuscript list by Micheli of the fruits served up in the course of the year at the table 'of the Grand Duke Cosmo III, an enumeration of two hundred and nine different varieties of pears, and another manuscript of that time raises the number to two hundred and thirty-two. Among them, grafts of the Dorice Pear of Portugal were introduced by the same Grand Duke, at a cost of one hundred golden doubloons, whence it re" ceived the name of Pera cento doppie, by which it is still known, as well as by that of the Ducal Pear. - Gardener's Magazine.