This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A California correspondent says : "I am shocked to find in your February number that what I wrote as a piece of pure fun, must have been mistaken for earnest, at least I judge that your remarks about growing toy colored candles on the Stillingia sebifera must have come circuitously from my foolish pen.
"I enclose a copy of my article, that I may be justified in thinking that no sane man would take it for earnest".
[After reading the jocular slip enclosed by our correspondent, it seems likely that the paragraph at p. 57 was in some roundabout way suggested by it. But there is nothing in that paragraph to be shocked about. The little toy candles used on our Christmas trees are made from wax obtained from Myrica cerifera, the wax-berry of the Atlantic seacoast. If any are imported from China, they are probably made from Rhus succedanea, one of the Sumachs. Stillingia sebifera produces wax equal to these, and one might in all seriousness inquire whether wax suited to toy candles could be profitably produced by the Stillingia.
The " light house " joke is equally reasonable. For a long time it was a question whether wax from the Myrica would not wholly supersede tallow on the score of cheapness; but tallow continued to keep the inside track in the race for low prices, and the Myrica had to give up. But there is now so much demand for lubricating oils, and so much improvement in the arts of preparing vegetable substances, that it did not at all strike us as incredible that the Chinese tree might perhaps be brought into successful competition with tallow ; nor do we think it so yet.
Our correspondent's piece of fun we therefore take to illustrate the old law, that "There is many a true word spoken in jest". - Ed. G. M].