This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A lady from Ohio sends us. some leaves of Bumelia lycoides. and the following letter, which we give because it has an interest, though the true shittim wood was most likely Acacia Farnesiana, which is by no means extinct:
" Have you ever become interested in the discussion concerning the idenity of the Biblical shittim wood ? Some claim that the tree was a sort of acacia and others a laurel. Still others beleive it to have been an evergreen, and all agree that the species is non-extinct. The question is a peculiarly interesting one to me since I have for a dozen years been acquainted with a tree in the Neosho Valley, Kansas, called shittim wood, and believed to be identical with the shittim of the Bible. I enclose some of the leaves, which you will see closely resemble laurel. But contrary to the habit of other laurels the leaves color in December, yellow and red, and hang on until the sap starts in the Spring. The branches are slender, tortuos, thorny, and of that peculiar toughness of fibre which marks the Acacia family. Any one seeing a branch destitute of leaves wonld pronounce it an acacia. Yet it bears black berries like the laurel, called ink-berry in Massachusetts. It is a remarkably slow growing tree, no appreciable difference having been marked in its size during the fifty years which it has been known, and that in a land noted for its rapid and gigantic growths. It is a small tree with wood as hard as iron, in a country where these qualities are exceptional.
This one of which I speak is believed to be the last one of its kind in the world, at least it is so far as I know, unique. Have you ever seen anything of the sort, and are the settlers in the Neosho Valley wrong in their veneration for it ? What do you call it ?"