Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/13

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3
THE GRAPE PHYLLOXERA.

the same year I also established the identity of the gall and root-inhabiting types, by showing that in the fall of the year the last brood of gall-lice betake themselves to the roots and hibernate thereon. In 1871 I visited France and studied their insect in the field; and in the fall of that year, after making more extended observations here, I was able to give absolute proof of the identity of the two insects, and to make other discoveries, which not only interested our friends abroad, but were of vital importance to our own grape-growers, especially in the Mississippi Valley. I have given every reason to believe that the failure of the European vine (Vitis vinifera) when planted here, the partial failure of many hybrids with the European vinifera and the deterioration and death of many of the more tender-rooted native varieties, are mainly owing to the injurious work of this insidious little root-louse. It had been at its destructive work for years, producing injury the true cause of which was never suspected until the publication of the article in the "Fourth Entomological Report of Missouri." I also showed that some of our native varieties enjoyed relative immunity from the insects' attacks, and urged their use for stocks, as a means of reestablishing the blighted vineyards of Southern France.

The disease continued to spread in Europe, and became so calamitous in the last-named country that the French Academy of Science appointed a standing Phylloxera Committee. It is also attracting some attention in Portugal, Austria, and Germany, and even in England, where it affects hot-house grapes.

The literature of the subject grew to such vast proportions that, after publishing a biographical review, containing notices and summaries of 484 articles or treatises published during the four years of 1868-'71, MM. Planchon and Lichtenstein gave up the continuance of the work as impracticable.

At the suggestion and with the coöperation of the Société Centrale d' Agriculture de l' Hérault, the French Minister of Agriculture last autumn commissioned Prof. Planchon to visit this country and learn all he could about the insect and its effects on our different vines. Prof. Planchon arrived here the latter part of August and remained over a month, during which time he visited many prominent vineyards in the Eastern States, on Kelley's Island, in Missouri, and in North Carolina. His investigations not only fully corroborated all my previous conclusions regarding the Phylloxera, but gave him a knowledge of the quality of our native grapes and wines which will be very apt to dispel much of the prejudice against them that has so universally possessed his countrymen, who have not followed our recent rapid progress in viticulture and viniculture, but found their opinions on the inferior results which attended the infancy of those industries in America. Such, in brief, is the history of the grape Phylloxera. Let us now take a closer insight into the nature of the insect.

The genus Phylloxera is characterized by having three-jointed an-