Arbor foliis pinnatis, nullo impari Alam claudente, nervo ad latus
unum excurrente, fructu anguloso magno, semine alato instar Pinus:
The Mahogany Tree.
These Trees grow to a great Height, and are usually four Foot Diameter;
the Bark is of a brown Colour, the Leaves are pinnated, growing
by Pairs on Mender Stalks, the Ribs of the Leaves (like those of
the Talia) run on one Side, dividing the Leaf unequally.
Not having an Opportunity of seeing its Flowers in their perfect
State, I was necessitated to figure the best Fragment of it I could
find, which was withered and imperfect, but by spreading the Petals
I could distinguish the little Flowers to be pentapetalous, as represented
by a Sprig at N°1. The curious Structure of the Seed-Vessel is thus:
The whole Fruit before the Parts are divided, is a very hard smooth
Cone, in Size and Form of a Goose's Egg, growing erect on a Stalk
four or five Inches long: As this Fruit grows ripe it begins to
open, and separate into five equal Parts, each consisting of an
hard Shell, near half an Inch thick, lined within by a thin Skin
or Membrane, which immediately encloses the Seeds; the Seeds lie
disposed in the Manner of those of an Apocynum; they are
winged, and are attached to the hollow Sides of an hard pentagonal
Core, which forms the Middle of the Cone: When the Shell falls off,
the Seeds are left exposed to the Wind, and are soon dissipated
by it, leaving the Core standing, which continues so many Months
after. The Excellency of this Wood for all Domestick Uses is now
sufficiently known in England: And at the Bahama Islands,
and other Countries, where it grows naturally, it is in no less
Esteem for Ship-building, having Properties for that Use excelling
Oak, and all other Wood, viz. Durableness, resisting Gunshots,
and burying the Shot without Splintering.
No one would imagine, that Trees of this Magnitude should grow
on solid Rocks, and that these Rocks should afford sufficient Nutriment
to raise and increase the Trunks of them to the Thickness of four
Feet or more in Diameter; but so it is, and the Manner of their
Rise and Progress I have observed as follows: The Seeds being winged
are dispersed on the Surface of the Ground, some falling into the
Chinks of the Rocks, and strike Root, if the Fibres find Resistance
from the Hardness of the Rock, they creep out on the Surface of
it, and seek another Chink, into which they creep, and swell to
such a Size and Strength, that at length the Rock breaks, and is
forced to admit of the Roots deeper Penetration, and with this little
Nutriment the Tree increases to a stupendious Size in a few Years,
it being a quick Grower.
1. The Flowers.
2. A Cone beginning to open.
3. A Cone opened, with its winged Seeds as they lie in it.
4. A single Seed.
5. One of the Parts of the Shell of the Cone.
6. The Core to which the Seeds hang.
7. A Plant of Misleto, growing on the Mahogony Tree.
Viscum foliis longioribus baccis rubric.
This Misleto had long smooth shining green Leaves, growing by Pairs,
the Berries were round, red, and somewhat smaller than those of
the common Misleto. They grow in Clusters to Stalks of above an
Inch long, which Shoot forth by Pairs, from between the Joinings
of the Leaves to the Stalk. They grow to Mahogony and other Trees
of the Bahama Islands.