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.
A gentleman who has passed much time in America, communicates to the London Gardener's Chronicle some remarks on the maclura aurantiaca as a hedge plant, and recommends it strongly for the defence of railroads, and as useful to keep up the banks by means of its powerful roots. He says that in the Southern States the wood is preferred in ship-building to that of the live-oak (quercus virens). In addition, the wood of the maclura is used in various articles of cabinet work, such as tables, bureaus, bedsteads, etc., and the chips serve as dyestuff, affording a yellow color which can be extracted by ebullition. His remarks on its use for railroads are these: " It recommends itself particularly to railroad companies, as a means of defence of the roads, and particularly for preserving the slope of the banks; for its long, fibrous roots, extending horizontally, are a powerful barrier to the slides occasioned by rains, or other atmospheric agents".
The Revue Horticole, Paris, takes up the subject and adds: "The maclura is not the only wild plant which may succeed along our iron roads, either to strengthen their slopes, or to use to advantage on the vacant and often extensive plots of ground near them. Without neglecting the American tree, we might think of more than one of our indigenous species which, while they preserve the soil, are capable of being made profitable. Now that an excellent paper can be manufactured from the fibres of several plants which were long considered useless, would it not be well, for instance, to attempt the cultivation of the genistre, the spartium, or some of the yuccas, along the arid slopes of the railroads in the South of France?"
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