This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
By Baron Ferd. Von Mueller. Published by the Colonial Government. This is a new edition of a very valuable work which the Government of New South Wales has encouraged under the intelligent supervision of Baron Mueller. As a sample of what is done for the information of the colonists by this work, we open at random, and at page 281 select the following: " Quercus Prinus Linnaeus, the North American swamp oak or chestnut oak. A tree ninety feet high, stem up to fifteen feet in girth, available for wet localities; foliage deciduous; wood strong and elastic, of fine grain; according to Porcher it is easy to split and not hard, used for building purposes, also cooperage. A red dye is also produced from the bark. The bark is one of the most important among oak barks for tanning, furnishing a very solid and durable leather. Quercus bicolor of Willdenow is closely allied to Quercus Prinus; trunks have been measured thirty feet in circumference." Thus the work proceeds through every plant known to have in likelihood any interest to Australian people. Of course in gathering together such an immense amount of facts about strange plants and trees, Dr. Mueller has had to make use of the best information he could get, and some will necessarily be imperfect.
Thus in the case we happened to turn to and quote, much of what is said of Quercus Prinus really refers to Q. bicolor, which, notwithstanding the classification of many authors, is much more nearly related to Quercus macrocarpa than to the ordinary chestnut oak. The name swamp chestnut oak, often given to Q. Prinus by authors, is misleading, as whether we take the typical form or the " variety monticola," it is never found in swamps that we know, notwithstanding its original name of Quercus Prinus palustris by Michaux. It makes a fine tree when it grows in low alluvial soil, as it sometimes does, and this gives it some peculiarities not evident in those trees which grow in more hilly places. It is one of the most useful of all oaks, especially, as Dr. Mueller suggests, for tanning purposes. But the oak bark is almost always taken from the trees which grow in the mountain districts. In the Cumberland mountains chestnut oak bark is an important item of trade.