Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/705

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PYRETHRUM—PYRGI


and the olive; the vine grows to the height of 1800 ft.; next come the chestnut (2625 ft.), the rhododendron (from 4330 to 8330 ft.), pine (6400), and birch (6560); while stunted junipers grow to the summit.

The drainage of the department is shared by the Tet and the Tech, which rise in the Pyrenees, and the Agly, which rises in the Corbières. All three flow eastwards into the Mediterranean. The Aude, the Ariège (an affluent of the Garonne) and the Sègre (an affluent of the Ebro) also take their rise within the department and include a small part of it in their respective basins. The Tet rises at the foot of the Carlitte Peak and descends rapidly into a very narrow valley before it debouches at Ille (between Prades and Perpignan) upon the plain of Roussillon, where it flows over a wide pebbly bed and supplies numerous canals for irrigation. It is nowhere navigable, and its supply of water varies much with the seasons, all the more that it is not fed by any glacier. The Agly, which soon after its rise traverses the magnificent gorge of St Antoine de Galamus and, nearing its mouth, passes Rivesaltes (famous for its wines), serves almost exclusively for irrigation. The Tech, which after the Tet is the most important river of the department, flows through Vallespir (vallis aspera,) which, notwithstanding its name, is a green valley, clothed with wood and alive with industry; in its course the river passes Prats de Mollo and Arles-sur-Tech, before reaching Amélie-les-Bains and Céret. In the lowlands the climate is that of the Mediterranean, characterized by mild winters, dry summers and short and sudden rain-storms. Amélie-les-Bains is much frequented on account of its mild climate and sheltered position. The thermometer ranges from 85° to 95° F. in summer, and in winter only occasionally falls as low as 26° or 27°. The mean amount of the rainfall is 27 in. on the coast, but increases towards the hills. The most common wind is the tramontane from N.N.W., as violent as the mistral of Provence and extremely parching. The marinada blows from the S.S.E.

The cultivated land in Pyrénées-Orientales is devoted to wine-growing, market-gardening and fruit culture, the production of cereals being comparatively unimportant. The main source of wealth to the department is its wine, of which some kinds are strongly alcoholic and others are in request as liqueur wines (Rivesaltes, Banyuls). The cultivation of early vegetables (artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, green peas), which is specially flourishing in the irrigated lowlands, and fruit-growing (peaches, apricots, plums, pears, quinces, pomegranates, almonds, apples, cherries, walnuts, chestnuts), which is chiefly carried on in the river valleys, yield abundant returns. The woods produce timber for the cabinet-maker, cork, and bark for tanning. Large flocks of sheep feed in the pastures of the Pyrenees and Corbières; the keeping of silkworms and bees is also profitable. In iron Pyrénées-Orientales is one of the richest departments in France, the greater part of the ore being transported to the interior. Lignite and various kinds of stone are worked. The mineral waters are much resorted to. Amélie-les-Bains has hot springs, chalybeate or sulphurous. In the arrondissement of Céret there are also the establishments of La-Preste-les-Bains, near Prats de Mollo, with hot sulphurous springs, and of Le Boulou, the Vichy of the Pyrenees. Near Prades are the hot sulphurous springs of Molitg, and a little north of Mont Canigou are the hot springs of Vernet, containing sodium and sulphur. In the valley of the Tet the sulphurous and alkaline springs of Thuès reach a temperature of 172° F. The baths of Les Escaldas, near Montlouis, are hot, sulphurous and alkaline. There are oil-works and sawmills, and the manufactures of the department include the making of whip-handles, corks, cigarette paper, barrels, bricks, woollen and other cloths, and espadrilles (a kind of shoe made of coarse cloth with esparto soles). Of the ports of the department Port Vendres alone has any importance. Imports include timber, Spanish and Algerian wine, cereals, coal; among the exports are wine, timber, vegetables, fruit, honey, oil and manufactured articles. The department is served by the Southern railway. The chief route across the Pyrenees is from Perpignan by way of Montlouis, a fortified place, to Puigcerda, in the Spanish province of Gerona, through the pass of La Perche, skirting in the French department an enclave of Spanish territory. Three other roads run from Perpignan to Figueras through the passes of Perthus (defended by the fort of Bellegarde), Banyuls and Balistres, the last-named being traversed by a railway. The chief towns of the three arrondissements are Perpignan, Céret and Prades; there are 17 cantons and 232 communes. The department constitutes the diocese of Perpignan, and is attached to the appeal court and the academy of Montpellier and to the region of the XVI. army corps, of which Perpignan is the headquarters.

Perpignan, the capital town and a fortress of the first class, Amélie-Les-Bains and Elne are the more noteworthy places, and are treated separately. Rivesaltes (5448) is the most populous town after Perpignan. Other places may be mentioned. Planès has a curious church, triangular in shape, and of uncertain date. Popular tradition ascribes to it a Moslem origin. The church and cloister at Arles-sur-Tech are also of the 12th century. Boule-d'Amont has a Romanesque church which once belonged to the Augustine abbey of Serrabona. It is peculiar in that its aisles open out into lateral porches, instead of communicating with the nave. The church of Casteil, which is of the 11th century, is a relic of the ancient abbey of St Martin de Canigou. At St Michel-de-Guxa, near Prades, are fine ruins of a Benedictine abbey. The hamlet of Fontromeu, near Odeillo, has a chapel with a statue of the Virgin, which is visited by numerous pilgrims.


PYRETHRUM. The pyrethrum or “feverfew” (nat. ord. Compositae), now regarded as a section of the genus Chrysanthemum, flowers in the early summer months, and is remarkable for its neat habit and the great variety of character and colour which it presents. The type form is the Caucasian species P. roseum of botanists, hardy perennial, with finely cut leaves and large flower heads, having a ray of deep rose-coloured ligulate florets surrounding the yellow centre or disk. They bloom during the months of May and June, as well as later, and are always most welcome ornaments for the flower borders, and useful for cutting for decorative purposes. There are now many excellent varieties, both single and double-flowered, in cultivation.

The pyrethrum grows best in soil of a loamy texture; this should be well manured and deeply trenched up before planting, and should be mulched in the spring by a surface dressing of half-decayed manure. The plants may be increased by division, the side shoots being taken off early in spring rather than in autumn, with a portion of roots attached. Plants disturbed in autumn frequently die during the winter. They may be placed either in separate beds or in the mixed flower border as may be required. In beds they can be supplemented as the season passes on by the intermixture of later blooming subjects, such as gladioli. Slugs are often destructive tpto the young shoots, but may be checked by a few sprinklings of soot or lime. Seeds should be sown in spring in a cold frame, and the young plants should be put out into beds when large enough, and should flower the following May. New varieties are being constantly introduced; the reader is referred to the catalogues of nurserymen for named kinds. The powdered root of P. roseum and other species is used in the manufacture of insect powders. P. parthenifolium var. aurem is the “golden-feather” of gardens, so much employed as an edging to flower-beds. P. parthenium, pellitory or “feverfew,” was formerly used in medicine. Its double-flowered form is well worth growing. P. uliginosum is the, “great ox-eye daisy” that flowers in September and October.


PYRGI (mod. S. Severa), an ancient town of Etruria, Italy, on the south-west coast, 9 m. W.N.W. of Caere. The name is Greek (πύργοι, towers), and the place of considerable antiquity. Remains of its defensive walls exist in polygonal blocks of limestone and sandstone, neatly jointed. They enclosed a rectangular area some 200 yds. in width and at least 220 yds. in length. The south-west extremity has probably been destroyed by the sea. It contained a rich temple of Leucothea, the foundation of which was ascribed to the Pelasgi. It was plundered by Dionysius in 384 B.C. Later it became dependent on Caere, though it is not probable that it was originally merely the harbour of Caere; Alsium (q.v.) is a good deal nearer (5 m. south). The Romans planted a colony here, which is first mentioned in 191 B.C. Later still it supplied fish to the capital, and became a favourite summer resort, as did also Punicum (S. Marinella) 5 m. to the north-west, where are many remains of villas. Both were stations on the coast road (Via Aurelia).

See H. Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, i. 289. (London, 1883).

 (T. As.)