Fir. Linnaeus makes the fir-tree only a different species of the pine. The silver fir grows about Strasburgh and other parts of Germany, whence the turpentine is brought to England. The Norway, or spruce fir is common to the woods of Norway, and affords the white deals. From the spruce firs is made the spruce beer. A very good method of seasoning planks of deal and fir, is to throw them into salt water as soon as sawed, and to keep them there for three or four days. This renders them much harder, if dried afterwards in the air and sun.
Osier Or Willow is of the Salix genus. Of the willow there are many species ; Linnaeus enumerates seventy. The weeping-willow grows naturally in the Levant, and has been for many years cultivated in the English gardens. The common sallow requires a drier soil than the other species, and will thrive upon the highest hills, whence it is called mountain osier. The wood of this is converted into charcoal, for making gunpowder and drawing pencils. The Laplanders make a sort of leather of the bark, which they manufacture into gloves. The common willow loves a moist and open situation, and grows quick. The bark of this tree has been found a useful medicine in agues. It must be gathered in summer, when full of sap. Our common willows in the spring season, when they are in flower, produce a quantity of cottony matter. The Chinese are industrious enough. to collect, this cotton as it fails from their willows; and the women and children among the poorer people, card it, etc, and render it fit for many uses. The wood of the willow, though in itself very light and spongy, is yet of a nature to bear the injuries of wet, better than almost any other kind. It is used by the Chinese on all occasions, where the wood is to stand under water, and succeeds well.
Holly. The common holly is a beautiful tree in the winter ; it grows naturally in the English woods and forests, where it rises from 20 to 30 feet high. The seeds of the holly never come up for the first year, but lie in the ground as the haws do. The berries, therefore, should be buried in the ground one year, and then taken up and sowed at Michaelmas, upon a bed exposed only to the morning sun. In this bed the plants may remain two years, and then be transplanted. Holly hedges are a beautiful evergreen and strong fence; but they are liable to perish in hard winters. This is supposed to be chiefly owing to the field-mice, which, for want of other food, disbark the roots of these shrubs. The berries of holly are hot, dry, and carminative, and good against the colic ; ten or twelve being taken inwardly, bring away by stool, thick phlegmatic humours. The timber of holly is the whitest of all hard wood ; it takes a fine polish, and is, therefore, used by the inlayers. It is also fit for all strong uses, and hence preferred to all others by the mill-wright, turner, and engraver. It makes the best handles and stocks for tools, flails, cart whips, bowls, shivers, and pins for blocks; and is excellent for door-bars, etc.