The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees


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This tree grows in great perfection in the forests of New Spain. It was first described by a Spanish naturalist, Dr. Hernandez, who observed that a fragrant and transparent gum issued from its trunk in that country, to which, from its appearance, he gave the name of liquid amber. This is now the common name of the tree in Europe; and the gum is at present an article of export from Mexico, being chiefly valued in medicine as a styptic, and for its healing and balsamic properties. "This substance, which in the shops is sometimes called the white balsam of Peru, or liquid storax, is, when it first issues from the tree, perfectly liquid and clear, white, with a slight tinge of yellow, quite balsamic; and having a most agreeable fragrance, resembling that of ambergris or styrax. It is stimulant and aromatic, and has long been used in France as a perfume, especially for gloves."* (* Arboretum Brit. 2051.) In the middle states a fragrant substance sometimes exudes from the leaves, and, by incision, small quantities of the gum may be procured from the trunk; but a warmer climate appears to be necessary to its production in considerable quantities.