Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/239

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217

��CHINCHONA PLANTATION IN JAMAICA.

According to the reports of 1870, published in the Jamaica papers, the progress of the 40 acres of chinchonas, planted at the end of the year 1868 continues satisfactory. The tallest plant of Chinchona offlrinaHs is 11 feet, of C. S2iccirubra 9 feet, and of the other species 8 to 9 feet. The circumference of the stems near the ground of all the species, except C. offichialls, which is of more slender habit, is from 10 to 12 inches (double of what they were twelve months ago). The writer of the reports continues: — I speak of the finest specimens in the plantations, but all the others have made proportionate progress. The diameter of ihe branches from side to side in some of the best plants is over 6 feet. These plants had withstood the severe drought, which lasted nearly five months, in the most satisfactory manner. The opposite extreme of wet weather has pre- vailed in the past year. From the beginning of August till the end of the year it rained, on an average, four days a week. I was not in a position to keep a record of the rainfall, together with other meteorological observa- tions of the past seasons. By way, however, of intlicating the excessive rain- fall experienced in these months, I would remark that the extraordinary fall of 24 inches occurred in thirty hours on the 17th and 18(h of November. From this and other isolated measurements I have reason to believe that during the five months above referred to, the rain-f\xll must have con- siderably exceeded 150 inciies. Frequently recurring with the rain-fall violent winds prevailed, which, in these altitudes, almost approach to a hurricane, but from which the plants have sustained little injurv. The incessant rains, however, have caused several landslips, sometimes forming gullies to a depth of about 12 feet, cutting across roads, thereby necessi- tating the alteration of their course to the extent of nearly a mile. The total damage done to the plantations in this way, and the consequent rolling of huge stones and roots down the steep mountain slopes, has resulted in the loss of about 500 to 600 trees. When, however, it is borne in mind that this has been an exceptionally rainy year, and tiiat the land is steep in some place, and newly under cultivation from a state of nature, — the surface denuiled, the forest roots decaying, and the soil loosened, the powerful action of tropical rains may be easily conceived, and the extent of injury must be considered as, under these circumstances, trivial. The plants have thus passed satisfactorily the ordeal of two years, exhibiting the most nuirked extremes of seasons to which tropical countries are liable.

The 40 acres of forest land, alluded to in my report for 1869 as having then been prepared for the extension of the plantations, were planted out, except 10 acres in December, 1869, in the months of February, March and April. The plants were placed 6 and 7 feet apart, which gives approximately 1000 plants per acre — 40,000 plants. 'The average height of these plants is now 2 or 3 feet, in a healthy and pro- mising condition. The principle of planting 6 and 7 feet apart — the previous year's planting being 10 feet apart — lias occurred to me from a similar system of close planting recently adopted in the chinehona planta- tions of India, there, imleed, planted 4 and 5 feet apart. The prospcc-

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