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Botanical Notes

By J. H. MAIDEN,
Consulting Botanist.

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THE DORRIGO FOREST RESERVE.

(Previous references, 1894—218, 559.) THROUGII the zeal of Mr. Forester MacDonald, in charge of the district which includes the above forest reserve, I have been enabled to supplement the list of plants collected by me. I trust that travellers through the reserve will communicate with the Department in regard to any plants tbey may find, as hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of plants still remain to be recorded from the locality.

TILIACEÆ.
Echinocarpus (Sloanea) woollsii, F. v. M.

Locally known as “ Coachwood.”
Trees on the Dorrigo, 5 feet in diameter and 50 feet to the first fork.

RUTACEÆ.

Evodia (Melicope) micrococca, F. v. M. Called “ring-wood” by some of the cutters, because the grain of the wood shows rings from the centre to the circumference. The timber is very free and straight in the grain ; it is also tough and light. It is moderately plentiful. (Rocky Creek.)

Geijera salicifolia, Schott.

“Teak”; native name, " Bailgammon.” Plentiful; nearly 200 feet high ; wood of extreme toughness and hardness, and an excellent burning wood.

MELIACEÆ.

Dysoxylon rufum, Benth. Not rare; a tree of moderate size.

LORANTHACEÆ. O Loranthus dictyophlebus, F. v. M.; or Cryptocarya australis, Benth. I collected this plant (1894, p. 615), but failed to record its host plant.

free and storings from the center of the cutter

EUPHORBIACEÆ.

Aclephila grandifolia, Baill.
A small tree. Not abundant. Full size 12 in. diameter (Lower Dorrigo.)

CONIFERÆ.
Callitris (Frenela) parlatorei, F. v. M.

“Turpentine Pine.” Trees 80 feet high and 18 inches in diameter. Timber used for lining, flooring, and ceilings of houses, and proved to be very durable and suitable for these purposes. The wood is of a pale colour, easy to work. Smells strongly of resin when fresh; hence the common name. South-west of the Dorrigo Forest Reserve.

LILIACEÆ.

Drymophila moorei, Baker.
With pretty orange fruit. At the edges of the brushes.

A USEFUL MEDICK.

Previous reference, 1894, p. 5 (with figure). Mr. V. C. Wigfall, of Crookwell, in seuding Medicago scutellata, Baubin, to the Department, writes : “ This plant grows all through the winter, is very hardy, and sheep like it very much indeed. This is one of the medicks which has no priekles on its twisted pod; hence they do not attach themselves to the fleece. The plant is gradually spreading over the Colony, which is a matter for congratulation.

THE MIGRATION OF WEEDS. Mr. John F. Tabrett, of Mount York Farm, Hartley Vale, writes:-“Wbilst reading Mr. Maiden's paper in the October number of the Agricultural Gazette on the subject of the weeds of New South Wales, a peculiar phenomenon has been brought to my mind dealing with the above subject. Some five years since I noticed on Liddleton sheep-station, in the Hartley district, there was a tract of land, some 5 acres, densely covered with the common thistle, * at that time about half a mile from the Caves Road. Year by year I have noticed that these thistles were gradually but surely travelling in a westerly direction until they are now located fully a mile from their original position. Curiosity having prompted me within the last few days to inspect the locality, I was astonished to find the thistles had virtually abandoned or exhausted the soil, and in their place there now exists a huge bed of horehound. I may mention that the situation is high and exposed, the timber is ringbarked and dead, there is no scrub, and the soil is shallow and of a hard granite nature. The conclusion I have personally come to is that at the time of the thistle seeding, the prevailing winds are from the east, and the seed is thus blown in a westerly direction ; and the plant being burnt by the sun, or exhausting the soil, it dies out. I can only account for the horehound taking the place of the thistle by

* Carduus lanceolatus (sce Gazette for April, 1895).

the fact of different owners of the station baving brought fresh mobs of sheep from other districts where the horehound might exist, and the seed was carried in the wool or manure. (Accompanying Mr. Tabrett's specimens is a grass (Hordeum murinum), a weed introduced into the Colony many years ago, but, according to Mr. Tabrett, a stranger in the Hartley district.)

I should be pleased to know if my theory is correct, and perhaps some of the many readers of the Gazelte may be interested or have noticed the same course of events in other districts."

Mr. Tabrett opens up a very interesting subject, and I trust that readers of the Gazette may favour us with their observations. The fact is that we have very few reliable observations to go upon at present, and the registering of the facts should precede explanation of them. I have incidentally referred to the subject on more than one occasion already. We know that Paddy's lucerne (Sida rhombifolia), and thistles of various kinds come and go in one tract of land ; in fact, if the maxim, “once covered with thistles always covered in thistles," applied to all lands in New South Wales, very few tracts would be free; but a weed maintains its supremacy in a particular place because of a combination of circumstances, and these circumstances vary. Weeds are brought by animals, amongst other agencies, and Mr. Tabrett's idea about the dissemination of the feathery seeds of thistles by the prevailing winds is not only ingenious, but very largely true, I doubt not. Whether weeds die out in particular places because they exhaust the soil is probable, as we know, in regard to cultivated crops, that we cannot indefinitely grow the same plant in the same spot. Doubtless, the removal of the weed (or other plant) is aided by attacks on the roots, leaves, &c., of fungus and insect pests of various kinds. It may be that some of our readers have worked out this problem of weed migration and dissemination as regards different weeds and different districts. If so, it would be desirable to collate the various results obtained, and thus we might arrive at some general conclusions which would enable us to state with certainty tho chief causes which lead to weeds abandoning particular spots after certain periods.

Experiments with Pulses.

(Continued from Vol. VI, p. 768.)

BY GEORGE VALDER,
Wagga Wagga Experimental Farm.

7. Chick Pea or Gram (Cicer arietinum, Linn.) A PLOT was sown on the 12th October, 1894, with the white, red, large red, and Tipoo Tib (black-sceded) varieties. The seed of the latter two was presented to the Department by Baron von Mueller, Botanist to the Victorian Government. They were both large-seeded varieties, and proved to be very suitable for this district, the yield being even and heavy. "The four varieties ripened their seeds at nearly the same time, viz., from 4th to 18th January. The first picking of dry peas was made on the eighty-fourth day from the time of sowing. A portion of the seed of this crop was sown on the 21st January, 1895, in order to see if two crops could be obtained in the one season. The result was very satisfactory, as a heavy crop was obtained from this sowing at the end of April. As a test as to the bardiness of this plant, I decided to make another sowing, and a plot was therefore sown on the 19th April. The seed germinated in four days from the time of sowing, and the weather being favourable the plants make rapid growth, producing a heavy crop of foliage at least double the weight of that produced by the slimmer crops, but they did not mature any seed. The plants flowered freely and formed their pods, but they did not fill. Eventually they were cut down by a severe frost at the end of July. This yield of foliage was made at a time when green feed is scarce, 1.2., midwinter, and numbers of farmers who saw the crop were of opinion that it would prove valuable as a forage-plant. I intend, therefore, to carry out experiments next autumn and winter, in order to see if it would pay to cultivate this plant for forage. The experiments carried out this season plainly show that the chick-pea is a valuable plant for this district for its pulse alone, two heavy crops of peas being obtained in the one season. As the plots under trial were small, and different sized plots of each variety were grown, it is rather difficult to give the comparative yields, but this season large plots of the same size have been sown, and particulars of the yield obtained will be published later on.

This pea is largely used in the dry state for horse-feed in hot countries, principally India, and I certainly think it should be grown in the hot dry portions of this Colony, especially in districts too dry for maize. The plant requires but little moisture, and with very little cultivation produces a heavy crop. The samples grown at Wagga Wagga were very fine, the peas being even, full, and a good bright colour.

8. Horse Gram (Dolichos biflorus, Linn.) A small sowing of seed of this plant was made on the 12th October, 1894, with the object of testing its suitability as a forage-plant for this district. The result was satisfactory to a certain extent, as a fine crop of forage, which the cattle seemed to do well on, was produced in the warmest part of the summer, but the yield was much behind that of cow-pea and several other pulses sown at the same time. It certainly thrives remarkably during the hot dry weather, and might perhaps be valuable in times of drought, or in districts with a lower rainfall than Wagga Wagga; but I do not think that it will ever be a popular forage-plant in this district.

9. Square-podded Pea (Lotus tetragonolobus). Seeds of this plant were received from California and from Baron von Mueller. The plant has been strongly recommended for green-manuring, being richer in nitrogen than even cow-pea, but the experiments carried out here tend to prove that it is nothing like as suitable for that purpose in this district. Cow-pea will produce from five to six times as much foliage as that of lotus in the same time; it stands the heat much better, and yields a much heavier crop of seed. It is true that the lotus stands the cold weather well, but the growth is so small that it will not compare with other leguminous crops sown at the same time. Several sowings were made at Wagga Wagga, and all grew well, the best yield being obtained from that sown in May.

10. French Beans. Three new varieties were under trial, the seed of which was received from Chicago Exposition, viz., “ Celery," “ Early Refugee,” and “White Navy." Of these the “Celery” and “Early Refugee” varieties were found very suitable for using in the green state, producing a heavy crop of fairly large and nearly stringless beans, although as an all-round bean I doubt if either of them are equal to“ Canadian Wonder.” The “ White Navy" is a suitable variety for using in the dry state as a haricot, yielding a heavy crop of small but plump beans, which were found to cook well, and were of very fine flavour.

11. Lentils (Ervum lens, Linn.) Two varieties were under trial, the Spanish and Egyptain. Neither of them appeared to thrive very well, and although they both matured their seed the growth was stunted, and the yield very poor.

12. Dolichos, Sp. Two varieties, one a dwarf and the other a climber, were received from Japan. The plants of both grew well, and produced enormous pode, but did not mature their seed, being cut down by early frosts. Although these beans are said to be edible it was found that they were a very coarse vegetable, and appeared to be more suitable for cattle feed. These giant beans attracted much attention at the Agricultural Shows at which they were exhibited.

A number of other species and varieties of beans from Japan were under trial, but none of them so far bave proved to be of much value in comparison with the varieties grown here.

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