Slike strani

The "Fresh-water Mussels" are found in all the larger interior streams, but rarely eaten, though not unpalatable. Pearls may be found in them occasionally, especially in the first. (26. Margariiana falcata; 27. Anodonta angulata; 28. A. Californiensis; 29. A. Oregonenm; 30. A. Wdhlamatensis.)

Several species of Scallops are found along the coast, but not much eaten, though doubtless as good as those of the Atlantic. The largest species are mentioned, growing four inches wide and an inch thick. (31. Pecten Jiastatus; 32. P. ventricosus). A very large kind, often with a shell six inches long and four wide, but irregular and rough outside, is rather common, and the shells often mistaken for those of Oysters, though when young they are perfect Scallops. (33. Hinnites giganteus).

The Oysters native in our bays are rather small in size, but great quantities of larger ones are brought from the more northern coast and planted in San Francisco Bay, where they become very good. A Mexican species is also brought here, which grows four or five inches long, but these large ones are considered too tough. The attempt is being made to naturalize them in the bay. (34. Ostrea lurida; M. 0. conchaphila).

Of the Univalves very few are eaten, though they will probably be more used when better known, as many of their allies are on both coasts of the Atlantic. Some of the largest Snails are eaten, chiefly by foreigners, and are said to be equal to the European species, so much prized by some epicures. They grow about an inch or an inch and a half high and wide. (36. Helix arrosa; 37. H. tudiculata; 38. H. fidelis; 39. H. infumata, and perhaps others).

Some of the "Abelone's," or "Ear-shells," growing here ten inches in width and two deep, are much sought for, though the foot, which alone is eaten, is very tough and needs much pounding. They are numerous on many parts of the coasti and large numbers are dried by the Chinese. (40. Haliolis Cracherodii; 41. H. rufescens; 42. H. splendens; 43. H. corrugata, the last two rare). The shells are also exported for inlaying work.

The Limpets are eaten on other coasts, and our largest species here also occasionally, but not much in request. It grows two inches long. (44. Lotlia gigantea, and probably some Acmeas).

Some of the large Top-shells, found here from two to three inches high, and the same in width, are eatable, but have not been much used. (44. Pomaulax tondosus; 45. Pacliypoma gibberosum). Our "Periwinkles " (LiUorina) are too small to be eaten.

Our large '' Sea Snail," (46. Lunatia Lewisii), growing five inches

wide and nearly globular, is eaten by the Indians, but has not attracted much attention from others.

Several, which may be called "Whelks," as they resemble more or less the Atlantic species so called, grow four or five inches long, and are doubtless quite as good as that animal for food, but have not yet been offered for sale, though many could be obtained by proper means. (47. Prime Oregonensis; 48. Ranella Californica; 49. Nassa fossata; 50. Purpura crxspata; 51. Chorus Behheri; 52. Chrysodomus tabulaius, and many smaller kinds).

Of "Cuttle-fish" and "Squids," of which many kinds are eaten in Europe, and much used for bait on the Atlantic coast, we have several species, some growing three feet long, their arms stretching seven feet. They are much used by the Chinese, who consider them a luxury, and dry many for export to China. Among them is the kind which forms the beautiful Paper Nautilus, or Argonaut Shell. (53. Argonauta Argo; 54. Octopus punctatus; M. Ommastrephes giganteus).

Crabs, Lobsters, Shrimps.

These animals are abundant and large on our coast, but few species are used as food, although many more might doubtless be so.

The "Crabs" common in San Francisco market are of the following species, the first and largest of which grows six or eight inches in width, and all are excellent eating. (1. Cancer magister; 2. C. anteitnarius; 3. C. productus). A vast number of strange and little known species of Crabs are found in the salt waters, some of them growing over a foot in breadth, but too rarely caught to be used as food.

The "Lobster," which, however, has not the large claws of the Atlantic species, grows a foot and a half long, and is a favorite luxury, brought by steamers in large numbers from Santa Barbara. (4. Pan- ulirus interruptus).

The "Shrimps" are caught abundantly in the bays, and almost always plentiful in market. They grow three inches long. (5. Crangoo Francisc&rum; 6. C. nigricauda).

"Crawfish" are also found in the interior, burrowing in the muddy banks of fresh water streams, and are doubtless very good eating, some being four or five inches long. (7. Aslacus ?)



General remarks —Sequoia—The Mammoth or Big Trees-- Redwood—California PinesOaks—Cedars—Firs—California Nutmeg—California Yew Tree—Laurel—Manzanita— Hadrona—Horse Chestnut, or Buckeye—Shrubs and Plants—Poison Oak—Alder—Barberry— Canchalagua—Pitcher Plant—Yerba Buena—Flaxworts—Flea-bane—Soap Plant Grasses—Catalogue of Native Trees of California.

It appears from the reports of Botanists, over eighty of whom pursued their labors in California and Oregon, between the years 1792 and 1865, that only eighteen hundred different species were collected during that period. Of these eighteen hundred species, seventy-four per cent. are found in the collections of the State Geological Survey and of the California Academy of Sciences. Five per cent. are new to science, and eleven per cent. New to California. The Flora of California presents many original and striking features ; the trees, shrubs, plants, flowers, and even the mosses, ferns, etc., while bearing a general resemblance to corresponding orders and genera elsewhere, are here marked by strong individual peculiarities; and in many instances the Flora exhibits examples wholly original—for instance, the Mammoth or Big Tree (Sequoia gigantea) and the Monterey Cypress (Cupressus Macrocarpa) occur nowhere out of California. The rapid growth of Californian vegetation is remarkable; the Botanist is surprised to find, after only a fortnight's absence, in revisiting the same locality, that not only most kinds of its flowering plants during that time have ripened their seeds, but that many new plants have made their appearance. The mountains of California are covered with forests of Pine, Cedar and Fir, exhibiting a great preponderance of coniferous over dicotyledonous trees, these conifers being restricted for the most part to the sea-coast and the mountain sides. Our streams are fringed with various deciduous trees and shrubs, whilst in the vast plains and prairie country of the valleys the prevailing plants are graminece, composite, leguminosce, with a greater number of liliacece than in any part of the Eastern States. This proportion seems to hold good until the foothills of the Sierra are reached, where a greater variety of species, as well as of genera and classes, are met with. Here the graminece diminish in number, while the cruciferee and the composite greatly increase. Here, also, the ranunculacece and geranue, with numerous variously colored and brilliant labiafce occur; some of these mountain meadows, by the great variety of their flowering plants, outvying in this respect the most carefully selected flower gardens of the East. The same remark applies to the vegetation covering the several mountain ranges, these differences of form being so notable as to entitle them to a special Flora. Sometimes these distinctions are so broadly marked and obvious as to strike the casual observer, while again they are so slight and difficult of detection as to be found only by careful scientific analysis. In some cases these differences go to-the essential properties of the tree or plant, while again they relate only to form, color, or other external characteristics. The principal reason of this mere dissimilarity is found in the fact that the Flora of California, owing to its isolated position, is purely indigenous. Cut off from all parts of the world by the great ocean that borders it on the west, and separated by the lofty Sierra and a succession of arid deserts from countries to the south and east, it has remained as when first shaped by the hand of nature. Its condition is normal, and, therefore, to some extent sui generis—a feature, that while it opens to the scientist a peculiarly inviting field, commands also, in many cases, the attention of the utilitarian and economist.

Confirmed by soil and climate, their original peculiarities have become so inherent in many of the species, that they do not thrive in other lands, and even refuse in some cases to grow at all; thus, Lilium Washingtonhtm, (Mill.), and many seeds and young plants of California growth, have in numerous instances been tried in foreign soils, and though planted under the most favorable conditions, have failed to fructify or take root, or, if they did begin to vegetate, died soon after, or maintained only a feeble and sickly existence. On the other hand, a few of these California productions take kindly to their new homes, and become even more fruitful and vigorous than when growing in their native soil; while it is worthy of remark that almost every plant of foreign origin finds in some part of this State a soil, climate, and other natural conditions, adapted to its constitutional requirements. In no other country is the range within which the products of the vegetable kingdom are capable of arriving at early and entire perfection so broad as in California. Practically it may be said, in this particular, to cover all the zones that belt the earth with in difference. In fact, there is scarcely a cereal, fruit, plant or tree, wherever the place of its nativity, that cannot be grown and matured in the open air in some part of California. It may not be found economical in all cases to attempt the culture of these products on an extended scale, nor is it affirmed that they can here be raised in every instance so readily as in the countries to which they are indigenous; but simply that such is the variety of our soil and climate, that a locality can be found in some part of the State, where all the vegetable products of the world can be grown at least as an experiment, and a very large class of them with the greatest success.

The number of forest trees, exclusive of shrubs, found growing north of San Francisco and south of the Columbia river, does not probably exceed fifty. Both in number and size, the Conifcree greatly predominate. The forest trees are distributed among the following genera : Pinus, 8; Abies, 5; Picea, 3; Sequoia, 2; Ctipressus, 2; Thuja, 1; Lebocedrus, 1; Larix, 1; taxes, Mai Torreya, 1; Quercus, Over populous, 3; Salix, 5; Fraxinus, 2 ; Acer, 2; Alnus, 1; Cornus, 1; Pkdanus, 1; Castanea, 1; JEscxdus, 1; Arbutus, 1; Oreodaphne, 1.

In California the forest growth ceases almost entirely at from ten thousand to eleven thousand feet altitude. On Mount Shasta all large trees disappear at an elevation of about eight thousand feet, only a few shrubs being found above this elevation. Of these shrubs a species of small pine, {Pinus albicaulis, or P. fiexilis of the English botanist), grows in favorable places at a height of about nine thousand feet; Some of these trees have here been so flattened and compacted in their foliage by the snow that a man can stand, and even walk upon them, without trouble. The Flora of this elevated locality conform more to that of the Arctic region than to that of most lofty mountains in the temperate zones.

At Mount Shasta, and in no other part of California, is found the Protococcus nivalis, or "red snow," one of the lowest forms of vegetable life, and peculiar to most high Alpine regions. It is the only sign of life above nine thousand feet, and makes its appearance from eight thousand to twelve thousand feet, tinging with a purple or crimson hue all this part of the mountain. When the snow is softened and warmed by the sun, the footprints of persons walking over it are stained with a blood-red color.

To collate within the space at our command the entire Flora of this State would be impracticable, wherefore only a brief synopsis of the same will here be attempted. Much of the matter contained in the

« PrejšnjaNaprej »