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.
THIs beautifnl evergreen has not as yet been cultivated in this country, and we doubt whether it is even known upon the catalogues of our most extensive nurserymen. The plant is a native of Oregon and British Columbia, and was introduced into England by Jeffrey, who sent home some seeds while on his Oregon expedition, and from these, has been raised this fine specimen of a variety of the Hemlock spruce. It was at first called, Jeffrey's Abies taxifolia, then afterwards named by Gordon in his Pine turn, as the Abies Mertensiana. Murray, however, pronounced the two species entirely distinct in foliage, cones, and other particulars, and describes it as altogether a new variety, and gives to it the name of Abies Albertia, in honor of Prince Albert, and by this name it has since been known.
The accompanying illustration of a fine specimen was taken from a photograph of a tree growing on Mr. George Patton's property of the Cairnies, in Perthshire. This was raised from the first consignment of seeds received from Jeffrey, in 1851, and at the time of the sketch was eleven years of age, and fifteen feet high. The place where it was growing is on the southern slope of the Grampian hills, about ten miles west of Perth, and consequently in a much worse climate and more exposed district than will be found in three-fourths of the whole of Great Britain.
Another specimen, very beautiful, fourteen feet six inches high, is to be seen at Hafodums, the property of H. R. Sandbach, Esq.
Specimens of the cones and leaves of Abies Mertensiana and of the Abies Albertiana, are in the collection of the Royal Horticultural Society, London, England. Mr. Murray gives the following botanical description:
"A tree of 100 to 150 feet in height; branches, flexible and weeping; branchlets, slender, with a dirty, brown bark, pubescent; pulvini slightly angularly deoursent, thickened at apex, wholly, and pressed to the branchlet; phyllulae semi-orbicular; buds, small, surrounded at the base by pulvini, and enclosed by one row of about five scales ; leaves, from three to seven lines long, perennial; subdistichous, petiolate, linear, somewhat pointed, entire, above glabrous and without stomata, below with a midrib, on each side of which, are about nine or ten irregular and inconspicuous rows of stomata; inflorescence, not observed; cones, fawn colored, about an inch in length, elongate-ovate with five rows of scales in the longitudinal spiral, amounting to about twenty-five scales in all; scales elongate, oblong, oval, about six or seven lines in length, and three and a half lines in breadth; coriaceous, somewhat glabrous, and substriated on the outside where exposed, tomentose inside, and where covered by the neighboring scales, stipitate, eared at the base on one side, rounded on the other; margins, slightly irregular; braets linear, blunt at the point, with the margins entire, about three lines in length, and three-fourths of a line in breadth; seeds, small, inequilateral, easily separated from the wing, which is about three times the length of the seed, and one and a half times its breadth".