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.
Bed eyed Echinocactus, (Bot. Mag. t. 4480) - Nat. Ord., Cactaceae § Cactae.- A green-house succulent plant of sub-columnar form, six inches (or more) high, longitudinally divided into eight or nine deep furrows, with obtuse ridges, formed by transverse lines into lobes or tubercles, each tubercle bearing a cluster of about nine strong, straight, spreading spines, about an inch in length, the central one longest, and standing forward. The flowers - from the top of the plant - are large, handsome, the petals linear-spathulato, rose colored, a dark red stain at the base forming a radiating circle around the staminal column.- From Mexico: San Luis Potosi; introduced about 1847, by F. Stains, Esq. Flowers in summer. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Mr. Prince: Is not productive, except it be fertilized; it is hermaphrodite. Mr. Hoag: Very productive. In Pa. and Central Ohio one of the best. Mr. Barry: One of the very best. Mr. Field: Largest, fairest, and finest fruit. Added for general cultivation.
A year or two ago a new system of fruit culture, discovered by a peasant on the Danube, was introduced to the public by Les Mondes. The system consists essentially in training the branches of fruit trees, vines, etc., so as to give them an inclination below the horizontal line, in which case there is a great increase in the fertility of the branch, which in fact throws out leaves and fruit-buds in an extraordinary manner. An essential condition of the process consists in having the line of the branch nearly straight, as, if curved, only the buds at the top of the arch are developed, while the rest remain in their original condition. In an instance related by Duchesne Thoreau, he took four vine plants and trimmed them so as to have one stem to each, arranging these vertically, obliquely upward, horizontally and obliquely downward. He then cut off the limbs alike, and found that from the limb inclined downward more than three times as much fruit was produced as from the others.
A new variety, discovered in Massachusetts in 1864, and carried to Ohio; said to be very hardy, and stood the winter of 1872-3 without injury; quality of fruit sweet and melting; flesh firm, productiveness remarkable, bearing canes are described as absolutely thornless. The new growth, however, has a very few small thorns on the under side of the leaf stalk, never to exceed one-eighth, and seldom more than one-sixth of an inch long; these shed off when the leaf falls, and the brush can be handled as readily as willow twigs.
The ancient Cedar of Lebanon may here be placed foremost: too well known to require description. The Cedrus Africanus will probably stand in this class; and that ponderous and dignified-looking tree, the Araucaria imbricata; the Silver Fir, and indeed several conifers belong here, which altogether is a most important class, especially with reference to architectural lines and forms.