This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
I wonder, very seriously, Mr. Editor, whether we shall ever be able to say that the time has arrived when the nomenclature of our fruits is perfectly free from confusion? At present, the prospect is not very encouraging; for, although within ten years past much has been done towards effecting such a consummation, there is still a large number of fruits whose names are in a very uncertain condition. Some pears are so particularly unfortunate in this respect, that no two authorities can be found to agree upon their proper cognomens. Had we in this fair country an experimental garden, we might hope to make more rapid progress in this important branch of pomological science, but in the absence of the best method of accomplishing the desired object, we must await the slow and not always satisfactory results of individual experiment.
I am led to these reflections by my own recent experience. Having a great fondness for pomological study, as well as practice, I have been lately devoting some leisure hours to a comparison and examination of authorities, with a view to solve to my own satisfaction, if possible, the doubts which obscure the fair names of certain varieties. In this attempt I do illy succeed, and find myself so completely puzzled by contradictory assertions and descriptions, that I have determined to state one case, to the solution of which my moderate extent of pomological lore is totally inadequate, in your pages, in the hope that pomologists of more age and experience may give their opinions upon it.
In Mr. Downing's work the Beurre" de Beaumont is described as a "highly delicious" pear, medium, roundish, obovate; ripening in October: and the Bezi Vaet as a medium, obovate variety; ripe from November to January, but ranking only as " a good second rate " sort.
In the revised edition of the same work, the latter description is reproduced without alteration, and Beurre de Beaumont placed as a synonym, while upon another page I find the same outline which in the former edition was used for Beurre de Beaumont, placed under the name of Beymont, with the synonym of Beurre Bieumont, which is described as " medium, or above obovate, truncate, or obtuse pyriform;" ripe from October to December; and "gives promise of great excellence." In the same work, Beurre Le Fevre (synonym, B. de Mortefontaine) receives this brief notice: "Fruit large, irregularly oval, very transient, not valuable".
Mr. Hovey, in his fruits, gives a description of the Beurre Beaumont, which agrees nearly with that of Mr. Downing of the Beurre de Beaumont, and speaks of it as "a most excellent pear." He gives as synonyms, B. Le Fevre and B. de Montefortaine. If, as I presume, Mortefontaine and Montefortaine are intended to mean the same thing, there is a wide difference in the two characters ascribed to the variety.
A pomological congress was held at Lyons, (France), in 1856, a notice of which is given in "Hovey's Magazine " of the following year, with a list of names and synonyms of pears, as established by that body. Among them is Beurre Beaumont, with the following synonyms, B. de Beaumont, Beyraont, Belmont, Bezy Waet, Bezy de St. Wast; appended to this is a note by Mr. Hovey, to the effect that, "Bezy Waet is the proper name; Belmont is one of Mr. Knight's".
Again, in Lcroy's catalogue, Beyraont is placed as a synonym of Beurre" de Ranee; ripe from January to April, while Beurre de Beaumont is a synonym of Bezi St. Vaast, and spoken of as "medium, first quality', December to January." And Beurre" Le Fevre, with which B. de Mortefontaine is synonymous, is classed among the cooking pears, as "medium, third quality; September and October".
If I am not mistaken, I have heard Col. Wilder state that Bezi Vaet and St. Vaast were identical, some years since, so that, we have all these conflicting statements to choose from.. If the same pears are cultivated by each under the same names, some one is wonderfully mistaken about the quality and season.
Downing: - B. de Beaumont, Oct.; Bezi Vaet, Nov. to Jan.
Chas. Downing: - Bezi Vaet, B. de Beaumont, Nov. to Jan.; Beymont, B. Bieumont, Oct. to Dec; B. Le Fevre, B. de Mortefontaine.
Hovey: - B. Beaumont, B. Le Fevre, B. de Montefortaine, Sept.
Pomological Congress of Lyons: - B. Beaumont, B. de Beaumont, Beymont, Bezy de St. Wast, Belmont, Bezy Waet Leroy: - B. de Ranee, Beymont, Jan. to April; Bezi St. Vaast, B. Beaumont, Dec. to Jan.; B. de Mortefontaine, B. Le Fevre, Sept., Oct.
Wilder: - Bezi Vaet, St. Vaast.
Now, Mr. Editor, is not all this extremely unsatisfactory? I shall not attempt to reconcile the contradictory descriptions, but trust to some one more capable than myself. If such an one will take the trouble to solve the problem, he shall receive the thanks of A Young Pomologist.
Dear Sir: - Will some of your readers, who can suggest a remedy to prevent the flow of sap, or "bleeding," as it is usually called, from the grape-vine, when cut or broken, favor us by communicatiug their experience, that if anything new is successful, growers of this excellent fruit may have the benefit of it? And oblige, Francis A. Brower.
Woodland Park. Mast.
I am looking with much interest for a solution of this question, and sympathize sincerely with the "young pomol-ogist" by whom it is propounded, having experienced similar difficulties regarding names of fruits. Can none of the "authorities" give us the facts? Where are our much-esteemed Belgian friend, and the Boston pomol-ogists?