The American Journal of Science/Series 1, Volume 1/Journal of the Progress of Vegetation

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[[../../../]] by Benjamin Silliman
Volume 1, Number 1 (1818)
"Journal of the Progress of Vegetation, &c."
by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque
pp. 77–82.
Art. XVI.  A Journal of the Progress of Vegetation near Philadelphia,
between the 20th of February and the 20th of May, 1816,
with occasional Zoological Remarks.
By C. S. Rafinesque.

THE  importance of observations on the annual progress of vegetation is obvious, and, as connected with agriculture, gardening, &.c., eminently useful.  Comparative observations acquire a particular degree of interest, when made by skilful observers, at the same time, but at different places.  Dr. Bigelow, of Boston, issued a circular, proposing that such contemporaneous observations should be made in the spring of 1817; and I wish that his request may have been attended to, when the collection of those observations may afford valuable materials for an American Calendar of Flora.  The blossoming of plants is easily watched, but their foliation and budding ought not to be neglected.  Having been prevented, by various causes, from keeping an exact record of the progress of vegetation near New-York in 1817, I submit an accurate journal which I had kept the year before, at Philadelphia, in which I hope that some interesting facts may be noticed.  Dr. Benjamin Barton has published a sketch of a Calendar of Flora for Philadelphia, in his Fragments on the Natural History of Pennsylvania; by comparing it with mine, many material differences may be traced, which evince a gradual change of temperature, although the spring of 1816 was remarkably cold and late.  The greater quantity of species observed by me may, besides, render this journal a sort of vernal Flora of the neighbourhood of Philadelphia; and many species found by me are not to be met in the Flora Philadelphica of Dr. William Barton.

78[edit]

February  20.

The Hyacinthus orientalis begins to show its flowers, and on the

24.

In full blossom, as well as Convallaria majalis, in rooms.

25.

The grass begins to look greenish in some parts.

26.

Seen the first larva of insect in a pond.

27.

The Motacilla sialis, or bluebird, is heard for the first time.

28.

The first shad (Clupea sapidissima) is taken in the Delaware, while on the same day, the first smelt (Salmo eperlanoides) was taken in the Raritan, at New-Brunswick.

79[edit]

March   1.

The Tulipa gesneriana, and Hesperis matronalis, are in blossom at the windows: the suckers (genus Catostomus) appear in the fish-market.

2.

The catkins of the Alnus serrulatus begin to swell.

3.

Those of Salix Caprea begin to appear.

4.

The grass looks green by patches in the country.

5.

The leaves of Veronica officinalis, Plantago virginiana, Saxifraga virginica, &c. are quite unfolded.

6.

The new leaves of Kalmia latifolia begin to appear.

7.

The spathas of Spathyema fetida, or Fothos fetida, begin to appear in blossom.

8.

The Alnus serrulatus is in full blossom.

10.

Found several mosses and ferns in blossom; these last were covered with capsules or old fructification: they were Asplenium ebeneum, Aspidium marginale, Asp. acrostichoides, Polypodium medium, N. Sp.,&c.

11.

Seen the first spider, in the country, brown, oblong, walking.  A fall of snow at night.

12.

Seen in blossom, at the windows.  Narcissus tazzetta, N. janguilla, and several saffrons, genus Crocus, &c.

14.

The grass looks quite green; the Draba verna? is in blossom in the State-House garden, the Viburnum tinus, Primula acaulis, &c. in the rooms, &c.  The following fish are at market: white perch (Perca mucronata, Raf.), yellow perch (Polyprion fasciatum, Raf.), mamoose sturgeon (Accipenser marginatus, Raf.), elk-oldwives (Sparus crythrops, Raf.), &c.

15.

The Populus fastigiata, Lombardy poplar, begins to show its catkins.

17.

The big-eye herring (Clupea megalops) begin to be seen at the fish-market.

18.

Many plants begin to grow and show their leaves.

19.

A fall of snow.  The first shad (Clupea sapidissima) appear in New-York: they are now common here.

20.

Crocus aureus in blossom in gardens; likewise Iris persica, &c.

21.

Betula lenta begin to show the catkins.

22.

Galanthus nivalis, and Lamium amplexicaule, are in blossom in gardens at Cambden.

24.

Populus fastigiata, and Salix caprea, are in full bloom. — The gooseberry bushes shoot their leaves.

25.

Populus angulata in blossom at Cambden.

26.

Salix babylonica begins to blossom and shoot the leaves.  Viburnum prunifolium is budding.

27.

Draba verna? is in seed already in Cambden: the Rhododendron maximum begins to shoot in gardens.

28.

Juniperus virginiana is in bloom.  Saxifraga virginica begins to show its flowers.  Laurus benzoin, and Cornus florida, are budding.

80[edit]

April   1.

In the morning, a large flight of wild geese went over the city northwards, making a great noise.  In the afternoon there was a thunder storm from the southwest.

2.

The frogs begin to croak.  Found in blossom near Cambden,   Arabis rotundifolia, Raf.,   A. lyrata,   Saxifraga virginica,   Draba verna ?Betula lenta, &c.   Pinus inops is budding.

3.

Seen the first swallow.  Found in blossom on the Schuylkill,   Fumaria cucullaria,   Anemone thalictroides,   Saxifraga virginica,   many ferns and mosses.

4.

The fresh-water turtle (Testudo picta) begins to show itself.

7.

Found in blossom to-day, Hepatica triloba,   Laurus benzoin,   Sanguinaria canadensis,   Spathyema fetida,   Acer rubrum, &c.    The first bee is seen.

10.

In blossom at the woodlands,   Viola blanda,   Luzula filamentosa, Raf.,   Gnaphalium? plantageneum, &c.

12.

In blossom at Cambden,   Viola lanceolata,   and Houstonia cerulea.

14.

The apricot-trees begin to blossom in gardens.  Acer negundo is in bloom at Gray's Ferry.

15.

Seen the first butterfly — it was small and gray.  Found in blossom, near Cambden,   Phlox subulata,   Arabis parviflora, Raf ,   and Vaccinium ligustrinum.

18.

Seen in blossom, Epigea repens,   Carex acuta,   and Taraxacum dens-leonis.  In gardens, the peach and cherry trees are in bloom.  Observed many insects.  The Camellia, the Magnolia chinensis, &c. are seen in the hot-house of the Woodlands.

20.

The first snake is seen, Coluber trivittata, Raf.  Also a beautiful large butterfly, red and black.  The Salix vitellina, and Capsella bursa, (Thlaspi bursa-pastoris,) are in blossom.

21.

Found in blossom, near Gray's Ferry, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, and Sedum ternatum, both naturalized.  Likewise the Populus tremuloides, and Mespelus canadensis.  The leaves of Podophyllum pettatum are fully expanded.

23.

Seen in full bloom in gardens, the pear-tree, plum-tree, Riber grossularia, and R. rubrum.

24.

Found in blossom along the Schuylkill,

Aguilegia canadensis, Hyacinthus botryoides, Ranunculus fascicularis, Violapapilionacea. V. decumbens, Raf., Houstonia cerulea, Cerastium pumilum, Raf.

25.

Found in blossom near Cambden, Viola pedata, V. lanceolata, V. ovata, Raf., V. primulifolia, Arabis parviflora, Raf., Cerastium pumilum, Raf., Carex acuta, Meopilus botryapium, Laurus sassafras, Cercis canadensis, Potentilla simplex, Andromeda racemoca.

28.

Seen in blossom in gardens, Calycanthus floridus, Syringa persica, Phlox pilosa, &c.  The leaves of Liriodendron tulipifera, Æsculus hippocastanum, Populus fastigiata, P. angulata, are unfolded.

30.

In blossom on the Schuylkill, Obolaria virginiana, Anemone trifolia, Hydrastis canadensis, &c.

81[edit]

May   1.

In blossom in the Neck, Cerastium vulgatum ?  Veronica serpyllifolia, V. arvensis, Ranunculus bulbosus, Viola cucultata.

3.

Found above the Falls of the Schuylkill, Viola striata, V. concolor, V. primulifolia, V. blanda, Fumaria aurea, F. cucullaria, Charophyllum procumbens, Uvularia sessitifolia, U. perfoliata, Cercis canadensis, Arabis falcata, Stellaria pubera, Erigeron pulchelum, Orchis spectabilis, Hydrastis canadensis, Dentaria diphylla, Azalea nudiflora, &c.

4.

Found on the Vissahikon, Arabis bulbosa, Panax trifolium, Viola pectata, V. rotundifolia, Cardamine pennsylvanica, Krigia virginica, and several grasses.

7.

Found in blossom over the Schuylkill, Laurus sassafras, Viburnum prunifolium, Aronia arbutifolia, A. melanocarpa, Frugaria virginica, Cerastium nutans, Raf., Convallaria majalis, naturalized, and several species of the genus Vaccinium.

10.

Found below the falls of the Schuylkill, Floerkea uliginosa, Viburnum acerifolium, Oxalis violacea, Cerastinm tenuifolium, Glechoma hederacea, &c.; and the following above the Falls — Trillium cernuum, Viola pubescens, V. pennsylvanica, Hydrophyllum virginicum, Polemonium reptans, Senecio aureus, Saxifraga pennsylvanica, Staphylea trifoliata, Oholaria virginica, Caltha palustris, Ranunculus abortivus, &c.

11.

Seen the first bat.

12.

Near Haddonfield, Bartsia coccinea, Helonias bullata, Trifolium repens, &c.

15.

Found between Cambden and Haddonfield, Trifolium pratense, Silene virginica, Antirrhinum canadense, Lithospermum tenellum, Raf., Festucatenella, Seleranthus annuus, Oxalis bijiora, Raf., Poa rubra, Vaccinium corymbosum, Viola palmata, V. parvifolia, Raf., Rubusfagellaris, &c. Also in blossom, Quercus rubra, Q. obtusiloba, Q. alba, &c.

20.

Found near Burlington, Plantago virginica, Euphorbia ipecacuanha, Comptonia asplenifolia, Myosotis lappula, Senecio obovatus, Scirpus acicularis, Lithospermum, trinervum, Raf., L. tenellum, Raf., &c.; besides several Carex.

End.[edit]