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Of The Service, And Black Cherry-tree

( Originally Published Late 1800's )



1. Sorbus, the service-tree (of which there are four sorts) is rais'd of the chequers, or berries, which being ripe (that is) rotten, about September (and the pulp rub'd off clean from the stones, in dry sand, and so kept till after Christmas) may be sown like beech-mast, educated in the nursery like the chesnut : It is reported that the sower never sees the fruit of his labour ; either for that it bears only being very old, or that men are commonly so, before they think of planting trees : But this is an egregious mistake ; for these come very soon to be trees, and being planted young, thrive exceedingly ; I have likewise planted them as big as my arm successfully : The best way is therefore to propagate them of suckers, of which they put forth enough, as also of sets, and may be budded with great improvement : They delight in reasonable good stiff ground, rather inclining to cold, than over-hot ; for in places which are too dry, they never bear kindly. The torminalis (so called for its effects against gripings of the bowels) is the kind most frequent with us ; for those of the narrower, and less indented leaf, are not so common in England as in France, bearing a sort of berry of the pear-shape, and is there call'd the cormier ; this tree may be graffed either on it self, or on the white-thorn, and quince. To this we might add, the mespilus or medlar, being an hard wood, and of which I have seen very beautiful walking-staves. But there is yet a rare kind of service-tree, frequent in Germany, which we find not in our woods, and they speak of another sort, which bears poyson-berries.

2. The timber of the sort is useful for the joyner, and of which I have seen a room curiously wainscotted : Also for the engraver of wood-cuts, bows, pullys, skrews, mill-spindles and other ; goads to drive oxen with, &c. pistol and gun-stocks, and for most that the wild-pear-tree, serves ; and being of a very delicate grain for the turner, and divers curiosities, and looks beautifully, and is almost everlasting, being rubb'd over with oyl of linseed, well boil'd, it may be made to counterfeit ebony, or almost any Indian wood, colour'd according to art : Also it is taken to build with, yielding beams of considerable substance : The shade is beautiful for walks, and the fruit not unpleasant, especially the second kind, of which with new wine and honey, they make a conditum of admirable effect to corroborate the stomach ; and the fruit alone is good in dysentery's and lasks. The water distill'd from the stalks of the flowers and leaves in M. B. and twice rectified upon fresh matter, is incomparable for consumptive and tabid bodies, taking an ounce daily at several times : Likewise it cures the green-sickness in virgins, and is prevalent in all fluxes ; distill'd warm into the ears it abates the pain: The wood or bark contus'd, and applied to any green wound, heals it ; and the powder thereof drank in oyl olive, consolidates inward ruptures : Lastly, the salt of the wood taken in decoction of althaea to three grains, is an incomparable remedy to break, and expel gravel. The service gives the husbandman an early presage of the approaching Spring, by extending his adorned buds for a peculiar entertainment, and dares peep out in the severest Winters.

3. That I rank this amongst the forest berry-bearing trees, (frequent in the hedges, and growing wild in Herefordshire, and many places ; for I speak not here of our orchard-cherries, said to have been brought into Kent out of Flanders by Hen. vin.) is chiefly from the suffrage of that industrious planter Mr. Cooke, from whose ingenuity and experience (as well as out of gratitude for his frequent mentioning of me in his elaborate and useful work) I acknowledge to have benefited my self, and this edition ; though I have also given no obscure tast of this pretty tree in Chap. xx.

It is rais'd of the stones of black-cherries very ripe (as they are in July) endeavouring to procure such as are full, and large ; whereof some he tells us, are little inferior to the black Orleance, without graffing, and from the very genius of the ground. These gather'd, the fleshy part is to be taken off, by rolling them under a plank in dry sand, and when the humidity is off (as it will be in 3 or 4 days) reserve them in sand again a little moist and hous'd, 'till the beginning of February, when you may sow them in a light gravelly mould, keeping them clean for two years, and thence planting them into your nurseries, to raise other kinds upon, or for woods, copses and hedge-rows, and for walks and avenues, which if of a dryish soil, mixt with loam, though the bottom be gravel, will thrive into stately trees, beautified with blossoms of a surprizing whiteness, greatly relieving the sedulous bees, and attracting birds.

If you sow them in beds immediately after they are excarnated, they will appear the following Spring, and then at two years shoot, he fit to plant out where you please ; otherwise, being kept too long e'er you sow them, they will sleep two Winters: And this is a rule, which he prescribes for all sorts of stone-fruit.

You may almost at any time remove young cherry-trees, abating the heads to a single shoot.

He recommends it for the copse, as producing a strong shoot, and as apt to put forth from the roots, as the elm ; especially, if you fell lusty trees : In light ground it will increase to a goodly tall tree, of which he mentions one, that held above 85 foot in height : I have my self planted of them, and imparted to my friends, which have thriv'd exceedingly ; but till now did not insert it among the foresters : The vertues of the fruit of this cherry-tree against the epilepsy, palsy, and convulsions, &c. are in the spirits and distill'd waters. Concerning its other uses, see the chapter and section above-mentioned, to which add pomona, Chap. 8. annexed with this treatise. This tree affords excellent stocks for the budding and graffing of other cherries on.

And here I might mention the bitter cherry of Canada, (tho' exceedingly unlike to ours) which would yet be propagated for the incomparable liquor it is said to yield, preferable to the best limonade, by an incision of two inches deep in the stem, and sloping to the length of a foot, without prejudice to the tree. What is said of it, and of the maple, in the late discovery of the North-America, may be seen in the late description of those countries. For other exotic species, v. Ray Dendrolog. Tom. III. p. 45, 46.

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