Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/300

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
286
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

twisted off near the roots; heavy timbers are driven through the sides of buildings or deep into the solid earth; men and animals are terribly mangled by contact with flying débris, and by being swept over the surface of the ground; bowlders weighing tons are rolled along; railroad trains are thrown from the tracks; and iron bridges are carried from their foundations.

 

Economical Uses of Flowers.—The dried flowers of Hemerocallis graminea and the young flowers of the plantain pickled in vinegar are choice Chinese foods. Capers are the flower-buds of a Capparis or a Zygophyllum; and cloves are the unexpanded flower-buds of Caryophyllus aromaticus. The petals of safflower, Carthamus tinctorius, yield a beautiful dye of various shades of color between red and yellow. It is the carthamine of the pink saucers, and this, mixed with powdered mica or talc, forms a rouge for ladies' toilet-tables. The dried flowers of two species of Butea, locally known as dhak, tisso, toolse, and kassaree, are extensively used in India for the production of orange and red dyes. The orange-red flowers, which grow in clusters, are pressed when fresh, or boiled or steeped when dried, in a weak solution of lime in water. The flower-buds of Calasaccion, which resemble a clove, the blossoms of a larkspur of Khorassan, and the white flowers of Cedrela Toona, give yellow dyes. The Sophora Japonica, a well-known ornamental shrub of our gardens, is cultivated in China for the sake of the imperial yellow dye obtained from its bunches of flowers and undeveloped flowerbuds. Flowers of marigold are made into garlands in India for the idols and for the decoration of houses in festivals. The red flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis supply a red dye, and have been used to polish boots and shoes. A fleeting orange or buff dye is extracted in India from the corolla tubes of Nyctanthes, which are also strung in necklaces for women. The flowers of the teak and of the pomegranate are used in India for dyeing red. The dried stigmas of the crocus are a source of saffron. Cake saffron is made of the florets pressed together with mucilage. Insect-powder is the pulverized dried flowers of Pyrethrum, In medicine, the female flowers of hops are tonic and narcotic; the Provence rose is considered astringent; the flowers of the hollyhock are mucilaginous and demulcent; those of Grislea tomenfosa astringent and tonic; those of camomile tonic and anodyne. Infusion of linden-flowers is given as an antispasmodic. The flowers of the Abyssinian Brayera anthelmintica and the flower-heads of Artemisia act as vermifuges. Violets are considered purgative; but a conserve of the flowers with sugar has a grateful flavor for covering nauseous medicine. The flowers of the Indian Mohwa (Bassia latifolia) secrete much sugar, and are gathered by the natives during their season, in March and April. A single tree will yield many hundred-weights of corollas. They are eaten by the poorer classes in various parts of India. The ripe flowers have a sickly smell and a sweet taste, resembling manna, and are stored as a staple of food; when dried they have somewhat the odor and appearance of Sultana raisins; containing 631/2 per cent of sugar, they are as nourishing as grain, but people could not live on them alone for any length of time. They are distilled by the Parsees, and yield a powerful, coarse spirit. Cowslip-flowers are used in wine-making, and the flowers of meadowsweet to improve the flavor of certain wines. Some of the Chinese teas are often scented with flowers. The kinds of flowers and the processes are various, but the object of all is to make the tea more attractive.

 

Forestry in Spain.—Action was taken for the promotion of forestral science in Spain toward the close of the fifteenth century; and there is reason to believe that measures had been adopted to check the destruction of timber even previous to the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. The school of forestry, projected in 1835, went into operation ten years later, and was attached to the Escurial in 1868. It is under the direction of a head administrator and chief engineer, with nine professors and three assistants. The number of students, now ninety-two, is not limited, and is dependent on the number of successful candidates for entrance each year. On the completion of the course at the school, which lasts four years, the successful candidates are appointed to the corps of forest engineers. The course of instruction is divided into preparatory and profes-