The threatened exhaustion of the turpentine forests in the United States has directed the attention of Americans to the large pine forests of Mexico. Experiments made in a turpentine orchard in Morelia, state of Oaxaca, with modern methods and tools yielded very satisfactory results. The outcome was an expansion of this industry which formerly had but slight dimensions.
For the production of turpentine in Mexico, it is characteristic that the trees prosper at an altitude of from 5000 to 9000 ft., whereas in the United States altitudes up to 1500 ft. only are considered. With the exception of a few regions, where the sap flows all year round, it is true that the higher altitudes in Mexico are unfavorable to the excretion of sap during the night. But the season in Mexico lasts longer, viz., from the beginning of February to the beginning of November, whereas in the United States it lasts only from April to November. One of the principal difficulties in Mexico is found in the absence of railroads to the forests. One of the few exceptions is the three million acre forest of Col. W. C. Green and his associates which lies on a track to Madera, in the state Chihuahua. Their turpentine distilleries near Madera are operated with a profit. Eight of such distilleries are reported to exist in Mexico, viz. in the states Michoacan, Chihuahua, Oaxaca and Durango2).
According to G. Weigel3), Mexican turpentine is a crystalline mass of a slight lemon-yellow color and with a limonene-like odor; A. V. 107,54; S. V. 115,12. Upon distillation with water vapor it yielded about 14 p. c. of oil with a pleasant odor: aD + 33° 40'.
1) Chem. Ztg. Repert. 32 (1908), 365.
2) Nachrichten f. Handel u. Industrie 1908, No. 141, p. 4. - Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter 74 (1908), No. 9, p. 23 (August 31). 3) Pharm. Zentralh. 47 (1906), 866.