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leaving the shells very smooth, with a greasy feel. The French walnuts, which are extensively imported under the general name of Grenoble walnuts, are usually bleached with sulphur before they are shipped, and while this adds nothing to the quality of the kernel, the sulphur is an excellent insecticide and fungicide, and may be of some use on that account; but otherwise it is likely to be more injurious than beneficial. As bleaching both walnuts and almonds is often insisted upon by dealers, I give the process suggested by Director Hilgard, of the California Agricultural Experiment Station, which he believes will prove more satisfactory than the one usually employed, and is as follows:
“The nuts, placed in small baskets (such as the Chinėse úse for carrying), are dipped for about five min. ates in a solution containing to every fifty gallons of water six pounds of bleaching powder and twelve potnūs of sal soda. They are then rinsed with a hose, and after draining, again dipped into another solution containing one per cent of bisulphite of lime; after the nuts have assumed the desired tint, they are again rinsed with water and then dried. Instead of the second dipping, the nuts may be sulphured (fumigated) for ten or fifteen minutes. The cost of fifty gallons of chlorine dip will be about forty cents; the same bulk of the bisulphite dip, probably considerably less. The time occupied in handling one batch (two dips) is from twelve to fifteen minutes."
Insect Enemies. The walnut is attacked by the same kinds of insects that infest the hickories, with, perhaps, a few exceptions; as, for instance, the bark beetles and the nut weevils. The leaves appear to be more or less acceptable food for the caterpillars that feed on the hickories, and the same insecticides and means employed for destroying these pests on one will answer for the other.
The caterpillars of some of the smaller kinds of moths are, as a rule, far more destructive to the leaves than the larger, and their ravages often escape notice until it is too late for the use of preventives, or for their destruction with insecticides.
Ever since I became connected with the New York city press, some thirty odd years ago, scarcely a season has passed during which one or more specimens of the Regal walnut caterpillar (Citheronia regalis), shown in Fig. 99, have not been received from some correspondent who had found them crawling down the stem or on the ground near a walnut tree. Such a large caterpillar would naturally attract the attention of almost any person, but to the timid its appearance is exceedingly ferocious and repulsive, while to the entomologist it is a beautiful and interesting creature, and far more likely to be handled with care than injured. This caterpillar is of a green color, and transversely banded across each of the rings with pale blue. The head and legs are of an orange color, also the long spine or horns, with the points tipped with black. It is certainly very formidable in appearance, but perfectly harmless, and may be handled with impunity. The parent moth (Fig. 100) has fore wings of an olive color, ornamented with small yellow spots and veined with red lines. The hind wings are orange-red, with two large irregular yellow patches before, and a row of wedge-shaped olive colored spots between the veins behind. Although this insect appears to be widely distributed over the country, and the caterpillars feed on the walnuts and occasionally on the hickory, it has never been known to be sufficiently numerous to attract any special attention.
MISCELLANEOUS NUTS—EDIBLE AND OTHERWISE,
In the following list of plants there are a few that in no way can be considered as related to the true nutbearing trees and shrubs; but as the word “nut” has been attached as a prefix or affix in commerce, or elsewhere, they are admitted, even if for no other purpose than to designate their true position in the vegetable kingdom. For convenience, they are recorded in alphabetical order, the most familiar of the common nameswhere there are more than one-being given precedence, the botanical or scientific following, with a brief description, as my limited space will not permit of anything more extended.
It is not claimed that this catalogue of nuts is complete, but it is probably as near it as any heretofore compiled and published, and it may serve as the basis for a better and more extended one at some future time.
ACORN, OR OAK NUT.-The fruit of the oak, Quercus (Cupulifera), monocious, evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs, with alternate and simple straightveined leaves. A very large genus, of about two hundred and fifty species, mainly in the temperate region of the northern hemisphere. There are some forty species native of the United States. The nuts are, on the whole, rather too harsh and bitter flavored to be esteemed or considered edible by civilized nations at the present day, but in former times some of the oak nuts were often an important article among the garnered food
of the household. They were used and are still, in some countries-boiled, roasted, and even ground and made into bread and cakes. They have also been used as a substitute for coffee, and for malt in making beer. Strabo says that in the mountains of Spain the inhabitants ground their acorns into meal, and Pliny affirms that in his time acorns were brought to the table with the dessert, in Spain. Every student of English history is well aware of the importance of the acorn, not only as food for man, in Great Britain, in the time of the Druids, and later, but also for feeding swine, deer, and other wild and domesticated animals. But with the advance of civilization and the production of better food, the oak nut ceased to be classed among the important culinary supplies. There are, however, a few species of the oak yielding nuts fairly edible in their raw state, and these are much improved by roasting. The best of those among our native species are to be found in the varieties of the white oaks of the North, and in the evergreen (Quercus virens) of the Southern States. But with so many far superior species of edible nuts, it doubtful if
of the oaks will ever be cultivated for their fruit.
AUSTRALIAN CHESTNUT. — The seeds of a large tree, native of Australia, the Castanospermum australe, the name of the genus being derived from Kastanon, chestnut, and sperma, a seed, because the seeds resemble, in size and taste, the common chestnut.
But the tree belongs to the bean family (Leguminosce), and the seeds are produced in large, long pods. They are about an inch and a half broad, somewhat flattened, and of the color of a chestnut when ripe. They are roasted and eaten by the natives, but are rather unpalatable to those who have been accustomed to something better in the way of edible nuts. These seeds are also known as “Moreton Bay chestnuts.”