Lacertus Viridis Carolinensis: The Green Lizard of Carolina.
These Lizards are usually about five Inches long, of a dusky green
Colour. They frequent Houses, are familiar and harmless, and are
suffered with Impunity to sport and catch Flies on Tables and Windows,
which they do very dexterously, and no less divertingly. They appear
chiefly in Summer, and at the Approach of cold Weather, they retreat
to their Winter Recesses, and lie torpid in the Hollows and Crevices
of rotten Trees. These Lizards change their Colour in some Measure,
like the Camelion, for in a hot Day their Colour has been a bright
Green, the next Day changing Cold, the same Lizard appeared brown.
They are a Prey to Cats, and ravenous Birds. It frequently happens
that a few warm Sun-shiny Days so invigorates them, that they will
come out of their Winter Retirements and appear abroad, when on
a sudden the Weather changing to Cold, so enfeebles them, that they
are incapacitated to creep to their Winter Holes, and die of Cold.
Liquid-Ambari Arbor, Seu Styraciflua, Aceris folio, fructu Tribuloide,
i.e. Pericarpio orbiculari ex quam plurimus apicibus coagmentato,
semen recondens: The Sweet Gum-Tree.
The Trunc of this Tree is commonly two Foot in Diameter, strait
and free from Branches to the Height of about fifteen Feet; from
which the Branches spread and rise in a Conic Form to the Height
of Forty Feet and upward from the Ground. The Leaves are five-pointed,
being divided into so many deep Sections, and are set on long slender
Pedicles. In February, before the Leaves are formed, the
Blossoms begin to break forth from the Tops of the Branches into
Spikes of yellowish red, pappous, globular Flowers, which when the
Apices are blown off by the Wind, swell gradually, retaining
their round Form, to the full Maturity of their Seed Vessels, which
are thick set with pointed hollow Protuberances, and spliting open
discharge their Seeds, each Cell containing a Seed, winged at one
End with many small Grains, distinct from the Seed.
The Wood is good Timber, and is used in Wainscoting, &c. The Grain
is fine, and some of it beautifully variegated, and very fit for
curious Works in Joinery, but when wrought too green, is apt to
shrink and fly from its Joints, to prevent which no lets than eight
or ten Years is sufficient to season its Planks; yet the regular
Form and Beauty of this Tree deserves the Regard of the Curious,
none of the American Trees affecting more our Soil and Climate.
From between the Wood and the Bark of this Tree issue a fragrant
Gum, which trickles from the wounded Trees, and by the Heat of the
Sun congeals into transparent resinous Drops, which the Indians
chew, esteeming it a Preservative of their Teeth: The Bark is also
of singular Use to them for covering their Houses, which has frequently
given me an Opportunity of gathering the Gum from Trees so strip'd
of their Bark, one of which would yield an Hat full of Gum. This
Gum smells so like the Balsam of Tolu, that it is not easy
to distinguish them.