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and possesses among its numbers the tallest tree known in the State.
To persons who have not visited the Pacific coast and seen the immense forests of California, Oregon, and Washington Territory, a description of these forests of the Sierras sounds like romance. To the lumbermen of the Baltic and Penobscot, who look upon a pine of eighty to one hundred feet high and three to six feet in diameter as a monster, a description of the “Big Tree Grove" of Calaveras county, some of the trees of which are four hundred and thirty-five feet in lengthi and one hundred and ten feet in circumference at the base, or more than thirty-three feet in diameter, must seem ridiculous. One of these monsters was cut down some years ago, by boring with long augers, which occupied five men constantly for twenty-two days, equal to one hundred and ten days labor of one man; the stump, levelled and planed off, being twenty-seven feet in diameter, has often been the scene of cotillion parties and festive gatherings—not of children, but of fullgrown, able-bodied California men and women. Another of these giants now fallen is hollow, forming a tunnel so large that parties have often rode into it on horseback for seventy feet, turned the horse around and rode out without dismounting. The top is broken off, and two horsemen can ride abreast through this tree for its entire length without stooping.
These trees grow in a deep, rich soil; the wood is soft, light, and dry, splitting freely, of a reddish color, and is valuable for building purposes; it much resembles red cedar.
The Calaveras grove is situated in Calaveras county, between the Stanislaus and Calaveras rivers, twenty miles east of Mokelumne Hill, and 4,760 feet above the sea-level. There are ninety-two of the “Big Tree" species in the group; ten of them are over thirty feet in diameter, and eighty-two of a diameter from fifteen to thirty feet, ranging from two hundred and forty to three hundred and sixty-six feet in height. A list of twenty-five of the largest trees of the Calaveras group is here given, with the names:
The Mariposa group, in Mariposa county, is situated about thirty miles southeast of the town of Mariposa. It consists of four hundred and twenty-seven trees, varying in size from two hundred and seventy-five to three hundred and twenty-five feet in height, and from twenty to thirty-four feet in diameter. They extend over an area of about five hundred acres, about six thousand feet above the level of the sea. One of these giants now prostrate indicates a length of four hundred feet, and a diameter of about forty feet. "The Grizzly Giant” is the king of this group, being about thirtyfour feet in diameter, and three hundred and twentyfive feet in height. There are three other groups in this county, near the Mariposa grove: one contains eighty-six and the other thirty-five mammoth trees, averaging about the diameters of those already described.
Throughout Tuolumne county groups of the “Big Trees” are found; and still further south, in Tulare county, at an elevation of about sixty-five hundred feet, and about forty-six miles northeast of the town of Visalia, scattered over a range
range of fifty miles in length, hundreds of these trees are found; and, although the average height is not so great as those of Calaveras and Mariposa, some now prostrate are as great in girth as the largest in the State. The largest standing tree of this group is two hundred and seventy-six feet in height, and one hundred and six feet in circumference; a portion of it had been burnt away; originally its girth is supposed to have been about one hundred and twenty feet.
Not the least remarkable about these mountain monarchs is their age, ascertained by scientific observation to be in some cases from one thousand to three thousand years; and still there they stand, in primeval majesty, defiant of sun, rain, frost, and storms, unencumbered by branches, erect, well proportioned. In their crowns of evergreen they look down from their aerial heights upon their offspring, young giants in the bud or a few hundred years of age, struggling for the mastery over the oak and sturdy pitch and sugar pine, soon to be dwarfed in comparison, as the young sequoia lifts his arms into the clouds.
SHRUBS, PLANTS, FLOWERS, AND GRASSES. Of the classes of indigenous shrubs, plants, flowers, and grasses there is a great number and a great variety, many of them of much beauty, fragrance, and value. Alder, cottonwood, lilac, wild cherry, plum, grape, bamberry, current, blueberry, (a few of this latter, only in the Coast Range) strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, salmonberries, tar-weed, white lervisia, pitcherplant, soft arnica, wild flax, and wild mustard abound all over the coast, valleys, and hill-sides. The wild mustard grows in great fields, or forests, some of the stalks attaining twelve and fourteen feet in height, with branches, to which a horse can safely be hitched, and upon which the birds lodge. The berry of this plant attains a size, quality, and perfection unequalled in the world; and the gathering of it of late years has proved a source of profitable employment to thousands of people. There is enough mustard growing wild in California to supply the market of the whole world.
The poison oak of California exists pretty generally over the State; but abounds in the lower valleys and Coast Range. Generally it is a little, straggling shrub, three or four feet high, with dark red, glaze-like leaves; in the shade of trees, it climbs like a vine, the leaves being broader and of a light green. Many persons are affected by this poisonous shrub, either by coming in contact with it or having its poisonous gases carried in the air; it generally affects the face and exposed parts with swelling and itching, which is very painful and unpleasant. Those persons subject to this affliction are
liable to repeated attacks; and, as but little is generally known about the treatment necessary, some of the most effective remedies are here given, all of which are simple and applied externally: constant applications of hot water to the parts affected, steam or hot baths, warm solutions of sugar of lead, water of ammonia, warm vinegar and water; all applied as hot as can be comfortably endured. On the authority of Dr. Colbert A. Canfield, of California, a recipe is here given, which beyond doubt is most effective: a decoction made by stewing either the dried or green leaves or by rubbing the bruised green leaves of the grindelia, a plant growing in many parts of California, especially in the south. It is a tall perennial belonging to the composite family, and looks like a small sunflower. It is from one to two feet high, has bright yellow flowers in heads of one or two inches in diameter; the buds, and even the leaf, contain a sticky balsam or resinous matter; its medicinal qualities are supposed to be contained in its resinous or balsamy matter. It has long been known to the Indians and native Spanish of California, not only as a cure for poison oak, but in many skin diseases, as saltrheum, nettle-rash, and many others. A small quantity of this herb gathered in season, and kept in every family, would, if properly applied, save much anxiety and suffering from the effects of poison oak.
Of the grasses and plants, many species abound, but in no part of the State do they form a sod: the roots die out by the heat of summer, except with the "bunch grass,” which grows in many parts of the whole Pacific coast, springing from the roots, and forming large and high clumps. It affords excellent pasturage, and the new crop is generated from the seeds which fall into the