Parts used - Generic History and Description - Magnolia glauca - Common names - Botanic history - Magnolia acuminata- History - Magnolia umbrella - Magnolia grandiflora - Other species - Magnolia macrophylla - Magnolia cordata - Magnolia fraseri - Geographical distribution - Description of the drug - Microscopical structure - Pharmacopoeial history
Natural Order Magnoliaceae, Tribe Magnolieae.
GENERIC HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION.—The genus Magnolia was established by Charles Plumier [Charles Plumier was a devout monk, belonging to an order known as Minims, and a large part of his life was spent in a cell at the convent of that order in Paris. He acquired a love for botany while studying at Rome, from lectures given by Father Sergeant. On return to France he obtained permission to botanize in the Alps and elsewhere, and while at Marseilles he met Begon, (in whose honor the genus Begonia was named), of the French navy, who procured for him government support. Plumier was sent to the West Indies three times at the expense of the King of France, and published, with government aid, two works—"Description des Plantes de l'Amerique," in 1693, and "Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera," in 1703. Plumier was a close friend of the great Tournefort, and contributed many plants to his collection. He died in 1704, aged 58 years.] in 1703, on a specimen collected by him in the West Indies. [Plumier's description of the genus can be found on page 38 of his "Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera," and his illustrations on plate seven of the same work. The drawing is of necessity rude and inaccurate, and would hardly be recognized now as a picture of the plant, Plumier called the species "Magnolia amplissimo, flore albo, fructu caeruleo," and it is now known to botanists as Talaumn Plumieri, (Swarts). It is of special interest to note that the plant from which the genus Magnolia was established, is no longer included in the genus. The distinction was not, however, known until the name had become so firmly fixed to the American genus of tree, that it was thought preferable to retain the name for them and invent a new name, Talauma, for the West Indian species. Talauma is a tropical genus, with the habits and flowers of Magnolia but with indehescent fruit.] He named the genus after Pierre Magnol [Pierre Magnol was a physician, who practiced medicine in Montpelier in France; he was born in 1630, and died in 1715. In connection with his medical studies he pursued the study of plants with such ardor that he soon established a widespread reputation for his knowledge of botany, and numerous students went to Montpelier to be under his instruction. As the tutor and life-long friend of the illustrious Tournefort, Magnol is perhaps more renowned than from his own works. He published a work on the local plants of Montpelier in 1676, and in 1697 on the plants of the Royal Botanical Garden of Montpelier; both of which works were, however, of the nature of catalogues. He left a manuscript which was published after his death by his son. It is called "Novus Character Plantarum," and on this work Magnol's fame as a systematist chiefly rests.], who was at that time next to Tournefort, the most illustrious botanist in France.
The genus Magnolia is a magnificent family of forest trees, differing from most of our trees in having large, showy and fragrant flowers. On this account the Magnolias are well known in localities where they grow, even to persons who pay little attention to objects of nature, for the Magnolia is so conspicuous that it forces itself to the attention of the most unobserving.
For the most part the genus is American, excepting a few species in Japan and Eastern Asia, and it is confined to a comparatively limited territory in this country. Our map (Plate xxxi.) shows the distribution at a glance. In the South it reaches its greatest development, and its natural home is the spurs of the Alleghenies in the Southern States.
Magnolias are all trees; while one of the species in the swamps of the Northern States is a low shrub, in similar localities of the South it attains the size of a large tree. The flowers (see the plates) of Magnolia are without exception large and showy. They are solitary, and borne at the end of the branches. The sepals are three, usually spreading or reflexed, and early falling away. The petals are from six to twelve, generally nine, and are arranged in series of three. They are concave, forming a cup-shaped flower. The stamens are numerous and imbricated in spiral rows on the conical receptacle. The anthers are long, yellow, and attached to the inner side [This is one of the constant generic characters that distinguishes this genus from Liriodendron; in the latter genus the anthers are attached to the outer side of the filament and open outward.] of the filament and open by a longitudinal slit. The pistils are numerous and imbricated on the upper part of the receptacle. The fruit of all Magnolias is a fleshy cone, red or rose-colored, consisting of numerous coalescent carpels, firmly attached to the central receptacle, and, when mature, opening clown the back. Each carpel contains normally two bright scarlet seed (usually by abortion only one or none). Each seed is attached to base of carpel by a slender thread, by which, when it escapes from the carpel, it hangs suspended, instead of falling at once to the ground.
There are seven native species of Magnolia, which can be readily classed into three sections, as follows:
|FLOWERS WHITE, FRAGRANT. Leaves, thick, evergreen. Magnolia grandiflora, Linn. Magnolia glauca, Linn.||FLOWERS GREENISH-YELLOW, COVERED WITH A GLAUCOUS, WAXY BLOOM [These two species which have flowers greenish-yellow and glaucous, were considered by Spach sufficiently distinct from other Magnolias, to constitute a genus which he called Tulipastrum.], SLIGHTLY FRAGRANT. LEAVES DECIDUOUS. Leaves acute at base. Magnolia acuminata, Linn. Leaves cordate at the base. Magnolia cordata, Michaux.||FLOWERS WHITE, TINGED WITH PURPLE, FRAGRANT. Leaves acute at base. Magnolia Umbrella, Lam. Leaves auricled at base. Magnolia macrophylla, Michaux, and Magnolia Fraseri, Walt.|
From the preceding description and figures there can be no trouble in determining what are Magnolia trees, and it only remains to distinguish the different species. This can be done by the leaves alone, as follows:
|LEAVES EVERGREEN, VERY THICK. Rusty pubescent beneath. Magnolia grandiflora. Pale and glaucous beneath. Magnolia glauca. (In the northern localities the latter species is deciduous.)||LEAVES DECIDUOUS, ACUTE AT THE BASE. Leaves clustered at the end of the branches. Magnolia Umbrella. Leaves scattered on the branches. Magnolia acuminata.||LEAVES DECIDUOUS, CORDATE OR AURICULATE AT THE BASE. Cordate. Magnolia cordata. Auriculate, medium size, six to ten inches. Magnolia Fraseri. Auriculate, very large, one to two feet long. Magnolia macrophylla.|
MAGNOLIA GLAUCA.—This is a common shrub in swampy situations near the coast, from New Jersey southward. It extends over a wider range than any other native species, and is found as far north as Cape Ann in Massachusetts, as far south as Florida, and westward into Texas and Arkansas (see map plate xxxi.) Its natural habitat is swampy grounds covered with undergrowth, and especially in pine barren streams and swamps of the Southern States, where it is the most common tree found in these localities.,
In the swamps of New Jersey it is also abundant, and when in blossom it is largely gathered and sold in the markets of Philadelphia and New York.
Ordinarily the plant is a shrub, a few feet in northern localities, twelve or fifteen feet in more favorable situations, but in the Southern States, especially in the rich hummocks of Florida and along streams in pine barrens, it becomes a medium tree, often eighty feet high. The leaves are from four to six inches long, oval, entire, and with a blunt point. They are dark green above and glaucous white beneath, which contrasts strongly with the upper surface. In the Northern States they are regularly deciduous, but become evergreen in the South.
In the bud the leaves are enclosed in the stipules, which fall as the leaves expand, leaving circular scars around the branch. All portions of the young branches, leaves and leaf stalks are covered with a soft, silky pubescence which disappears with age.
The flowers (See plate xxviii.) appear from May to June, according to climate, and remain sometimes into August. They are very showy, pure white or cream-colored, and very fragrant. As before stated, they are often gathered in great quantities and sold in the cities of New York, Boston and Philadelphia. The fruit is a nearly globular cone about two inches long, and reddish-brown when mature, containing bright scarlet seeds.
COMMON NAMES.—There are a variety of common names applied to the plant. Generally it is designated as a Laurel or Bay from the evergreen leaves. The names by which it is usually known are Sweet Bay and Swamp Laurel, but it is called, also, White Bay, White Laurel, Red Laurel, Holly Bay, Swamp Bay, etc. Small Magnolia, Swamp Magnolia, Sweet Magnolia are names often applied to the tree.
From a fancied resemblance of its aromatic bark to sassafras it has been called Swamp Sassafras.
It is said that the wood is a favorite with the beavers, which use it to construct their dams whenever possible, and that it is a favorite food with them. On this account it is called Beaver Wood and Castor Wood. The Indians used the bark as a domestic remedy, and hence it is sometimes called Indian Bark [According to Barton, the native Delaware Indian name for the shrub is Gach-hach-gih.], a term, however, that is applied to a large number of other barks. Mr. A. B. Clute informs us that in the swamps of New Jersey the shrub is called "Brewster" by the inhabitants.
BOTANIC HISTORY.—This was the first species of true Magnolia known to European botanists, and it was transplanted and grown in England for many years before any other species was discovered. It is said that Banister sent it to Bishop Compton, who cultivated it in 1688 [Rev. John Banister was a missionary, who was sent by Bishop Compton to Virginia in 1663. He was much interested in both plants and insects, and contemplated writing a natural history of Virginia. He sent many rare plants and drawings to his patron, Bishop Compton. Banister never returned to England, but was killed by falling from some high rocks on one of his trips in quest of plants.
Bishop Compton was an eminent Bishop, born in 1632 and died in 1713. He was Bishop of London from 1675 until his death in 1713. He lived a retired life at Fulham, a suburb of London, where the Bishop of London has a palace, and grounds covering about forty acres of land. Compton took great interest in introducing foreign trees and shrubs, which he carefully cultivated in the grounds attached to the palace, and he was the very first in England to engage in the pursuit. His garden was noted among all the botanists of the day for the foreign novelties it contained. At Compton's death the garden came into the possession of his successor, who, not being interested in the subject, allowed most of the collection to be removed for the purpose of planting more common but more showy trees. Compton's name is commemorated by the American genus Comptonia.]. It was, however, noticed and mentioned by travelers previous to that date. As early as 1584 we have a record of the plant [In Churchill's "History of Voyages and Travels," published in London in 1733, it is stated that in 1584 Arthur Barlow proceeded up Pamlico Sound to Roanoke Island, meeting "among other objects of natural history, the tree that beareth the rind of black synamon, of which like Captain Winter brought from the Streights of Magellan." This evidently applied to Magnolia glauca.—Pickering.], and it was mentioned by many pre-Linnaean writers.
When Linnaeus published his first edition of Species Plantarum (1753), the genus Magnolia had been well defined and contained four well known species, all of which Linnaeus considered varieties of one which he called Magnolia Virginiana, and this plant he named var. glauca. In the next edition, however, he established them all as separate species, calling our plant Magnolia glauca [The specific name glauca has reference to the glaucous undersurface of the leaves.]. Under this name it is known in all works, excepting by Salisbury (who seems to have had a penchant for changing specific names), who called it Magnolia fragrans. The leaves are liable to vary in different localities, hence several varieties have been specified (latifolia, longifolia, argentea, etc.,) and in early times the deciduous and evergreen forms were supposed by some botanists to be different species, the latter called Magnolia longifolia by Sweet.
MAGNOLIA ACUMINATA.—This species extends over more territory than any other, and further inland, but it is usually not of common occurrence. It grows from fifty to ninety feet high, and is most abundant in the moist valleys in the northern Allegheny mountains. It is sparingly found in western New York [A grove is recorded near Niagara Falls.] and Pennsylvania, extending southward almost to Florida and westward to Texas, Arkansas and Iowa [We are in receipt of fruit from this tree collected in Iowa.]. It is sparingly found over Kentucky and Ohio (see map, plate xxxi.)
It is more hardy than any other Magnolia, and excepting Magnolia Umbrella and the shrub Magnolia glauca, it is the only species found native in Northern States. The leaves are six to eight inches long, oval, acute, thin, and green on both sides, but much lighter beneath. They are scattered on the branches (not clustered as the next species).
The flowers (see plate xxix.) are two or three inches in diameter and have petals more spreading (not cup-shaped) than other species. They appear about May 1st, and at that time the leaves are full grown, but have the light-green color of young leaves. The color of the flower is dull greenish yellow, and the petals are covered with a bluish glaucous bloom both inside and out. They are faintly fragrant. In these characters the flowers differ from those of other species, except Magnolia cordata.
Each petal is about two inches and a half long, concave, leathery, and with three prominent veins on the outside.
The sepals are about an inch long, concave, reflexed, and early caducous. The fruit is more slender than other species, and is from two to three inches long and an inch in diameter [We received a quantity of the fruit of the tree from Iowa which presented some unusual characters. Each cone was about two inches long and one-half inch in diameter, and each had only one or two fertile, seed-bearing carpels, that gave the cone the appearance of having a protuberance on one side, as shown in our figure 117.]. It is usually slightly curved, and, when green, somewhat resembles a cucumber; hence the tree is generally known as Cucumber Tree. The same name is applied to other species, but properly belongs to this which was known as Cucumber Tree to the earliest settlers and was so called by Marshall in 1785. In addition to this name the tree is called Blue Magnolia and Mountain Magnolia.
HISTORY.—This tree was discovered by Clayton [Clayton came to America from England when he was about twenty years old, in 1705, with his father, who was appointed Attorney General for Virginia; he was placed in the office of the county clerk of Gloster County, Virginia, to which office he afterwards succeeded, holding for fifty years. Clayton was a close student of the plants of the territory then known as Virginia, and he prepared a manuscript description of the plants, and an herbarium, with directions for engraving the plates of his proposed work. These were all destroyed by an incendiary fire by the British during the Revolutionary war, and thus the life-long work of this pioneer botanist was entirely lost.
During his lifetime he sent many plants to John Frederick Gronovious, a physician and botanist of Leyden, who, with the aid of Linnaeus, arranged them by the sexual system, and in 1739 published, under the title of "Flora Virginica," a description of such plants as he had received from Clayton. Most of the names of this work and descriptions were probably furnished by Clayton.] early in the eighteenth century, who named it and sent specimens to Gronovius, who published it under Clayton's name [Magnolia flore albo, folio majore acuminato, subtus haud albicante.] in 1739 [Flora Virginica, Vol. I., 1739.].
Catesby [Mark Catesby was an English botanist, born in 1679. He studied in London for a few years, and at the age of twenty-three went on a visit to some relatives in Virginia, where he busied himself for seven years making collections of plants and seed and transmitting them to English correspondents, mostly to Dr. Sherard.
He returned to England and was induced by the leading scientists, who raised a subscription for his support, to return to America for the express purpose of delineating the objects of natural history. He resided three years (1822 to 1835) in the Carolinas, making trips inland as far south as Florida. He spent the year 1826 in the Bahama Islands, from whence he returned to England. He acquired the art of etching, and spent about twenty years in producing a most magnificent work entitled, "The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands." This work was issued in parts of twenty plates each, the first appearing in 1730; two volumes were printed of one hundred plates each and were finished in 1743. In 1748 an appendix of twenty plates was issued, and this appendix contained the plant we are considering. The plates were highly colored, and this was the most magnificent work that had appeared to that day. Catesby died in 1749 at the age of seventy years. An inferior reprint of Catesby's work, by Edwards, appeared in 1754, and another in 1771. Both are poor in comparison to the original.], who received the tree from Clayton in 1736 [Pickering states, on authority of Sprengle, that the tree was discovered by Catesby on his first trip to Virginia in 1711. That such was not the case, however, is evident from Catesby's notes; he says that he first received the plant from Clayton in 1736, and from the then only known tree.], illustrated it in his magnificent work in 1748 [The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, by Mark Catesby, second volume, 1843, plate 13 of the Appendix (or plate 115 of the second volume). The picture is a poor representation of the plant; the petals are too broad, flat (not concave), and white (not yellowish green).], and called it by the name given by Clayton. Bartram [See note on page 293, Volume I.] about the same time discovered the tree growing on the Susquehanna River and sent it to Collinson [Peter Collinson was a wealthy merchant of London, who, about 1740, maintained a private residence and garden at Mill Hill, ten miles north of London. He was a liberal patron of Bartram, and obtained many American trees and shrubs from him for his garden. It is to Collinson that the world is indebted for the appearance of Catesby's magnificent work, for he furnished the money that enabled Catesby to engrave and publish it.] in 1736, who was the first to cultivate it in England.
When Linnaeus published his Species Plantarum, 1753, this was one of the four species known, and he called it Magnolia virginiana var. acuminata. In the next edition (1762) he elevated it to specific rank under the name Magnolia acuminata. [So named from the acuminate leaves.]
Spach (1839) [Histoire Naturelle des Végétaux, Paris, i339, Vol. VII., p. 483.] established a new genus founded on this species and Magnolia cordifolia, both of which he considered varieties of one species, which he distinguished from the others of the genus Magnolia principally by the glaucous hue of the flowers. He called the genus Tulipastrum [Regarding the name Tulipastrum, Dr. Chas. Rice writes as follows: "It is formed quite correctly, on the analogy of other Latin words ending in -aster, -astro, and -astrum, nearly all of which denote something a little inferior in quality. A familiar modern example is poetaster, which has been coined in modern times as a term to denote a 'would-be poet' and which is derived from the classic 'poeta.' In ancient writings we have Apiastrum, a sort of apium, Oleaster, a sort of olea, etc., and modern writers have applied the principle to other names, as Cotoneaster and Tulipastrum. Tulipastrum, therefore, denotes a plant that has some resemblance to, or affinity to Tulipa.], and the species Tulipastrum americanum var. vulgare. [We also find the synonyms Magnolia pennsylvanica and Magnolia rustica applied to this plant, but do not know by whom they were originated.]
MAGNOLIA UMBRELLA.—This tree, being a Northern species, is an officinal source of the bark, although it is doubtful if it has ever yielded any of the drug. The tree grows in the mountains of Pennsylvania, though not abundant, and extends south into Georgia and Alabama, and, as with most others of the species, its most abundant occurrence is in the moist and woody valleys in and near the mountains of the Southern States.
It is usually known as Umbrella Tree, a name applied to it by the earliest settlers, and as early as 1789 given as a specific name by De la Marck and adopted by all recent botanical writers. The large, thin leaves grow close together almost whorled near the extremity of the branches, and spread out over a large surface, giving the appearance of an umbrella, and this is the principal characteristic of the tree. In a few localities, chiefly in the mountains of Virginia, it is known as Elkwood, presumably from the resemblance of points of the shoots to the horns of an elk. In some of the Southern States it is called Cucumber Tree, a name more properly belonging to the previous species.
Magnolia Umbrella is a small tree, seldom more than thirty feet high, with smooth light-gray bark. The leaves are fifteen to twenty inches long and six to eight inches broad, and grow in a cluster near the end of the branches, and as before stated, spread horizontally over a large surface, giving the appearance of an umbrella, hence the name of Umbrella Tree.
The flowers are borne in May or June on the extremities of the last year's shoots. They are white, fragrant, and have an odor described as strong but not pleasant. The fruit is similar to that of Magnolia acuminata, but larger.
Botanical History.—This tree was discovered by Mark Catesby [Note § page 30.] about 1712, on his first trip to what was then known as Virginia. It was illustrated in the second volume of his work [Natural History of Carolina, Florida and Bahama Islands, by Mark Catesby, Volume II., (1743) plate 80, described under the name Magnolia amplissimo flore albo, fructu coccineo.] published in 1743, and the common name Umbrella Tree applied to it. The tree was introduced into Europe about 1752, by whom it is not known.
When Linnaeus published his first edition of Species Plantarum (1753), he called this Magnolia Virginiana var. tripetala, and in the next edition (1762) Magnolia tripetala. This name was applied to it by all the early botanists, but for nearly fifty years has been discarded, and the only recent work which uses it is the Pharmacopoeia. The name is manifestly inaccurate and misleading, because the tree, instead of being three petaled, is six to twelve petaled, and the three exterior reflexed organs from which the name is derived are not petals at all, but sepals.
In 1789 [Encyclopedic Methodique Botanique, Paris, 1789, Vol. III., p. 673. This work was a French Dictionary that considered plants alphabetically. The author, after the French revolution, changed his name to Lamarck, hence is often quoted under the abbreviation Lam.] De la Marck, a French botanist, very wisely changed the name to Magnolia Umbrella, giving the specific name by which the tree has always been known to the people. He was followed by Torrey & Gray and all recent botanists, and it is the name by which the tree is now recognized by all botanical authority.
MAGNOLIA GRANDIFLORA.—This is a peculiarly southern species, and does not extend farther north than 32° 30' [—Mohr.] and is eminently a type of the flora of the South. It extends west into Texas, and south into Mexico. It reaches its greatest development on the "Bluff" formations of the Mississippi River below Vicksburg [—Sargent.]. This species is the noblest forest tree of the extreme South. It rises with a perfectly erect columnar trunk, unbranched below, to the height of a hundred feet, and is covered at the summit with a magnificent head of evergreen foliage. The trunks are often from three to four feet in diameter at the base.
The leaves are evergreen and very thick and leathery; they are six to ten inches long and three to four inches broad, and are oblong in shape and have margins very entire. Above, the surface is smooth and glossy, and beneath, with strong contrast, it is covered with a dark rusty brown pubescence.
The flowers are very large, from six to ten inches in diameter, and expand in early spring; they are pure white and have thick concave petals, They are remarkable for the strong odor they emit, which is very pleasant and agreeable at a distance, but is oppressive when concentrated, as in a close room, and, with some persons, causes headache. [It is said that the Indians will never sleep under the tree when in bloom, and that they believe the perfume when inhaled from a group of trees, is overpowering and strong enough to cause death.] The flowers are largely shipped in moss to Northern cities and sold by florists.
There are a number of names applied to the tree. It is simply known in its native habitats as Magnolia, as, if not the only species in most places, it is the only one known to the generality of the people. It is also very commonly known as Big Laurel [The common Laurel of the South is Rhododendron maximum.] and Bull Bay. The following names we also find applied to it in books: Laurel-leaved Magnolia, Large-flowered Magnolia, Evergreen Magnolia, Bay Tree, Laurel Bay.
Botanical History.—This tree was discovered by Catesby on his second trip to America, about 1722, and was illustrated in the second volume of his work in 1743 [Catesby called it "Magnolia altissima, flore ingenti candido," Natural History of Carolina, vol. ii. plate 61.]. Linnaeus, 1762 [In the first edition of his Species Plantarum (1753), Linnaeus was confused regarding the American species of Magnolia, all of which he called varieties of Magnolia virginiana. This plant he enumerates under two names, Magnolia virginiana var. foetida and Magnolia Virginiana var. grisea.], named it Magnolia grandiflora, which name it has always retained without exception.
OTHER SPECIES.—There are three small, rather rare species of Magnolia, distinguished from the preceding, by having leaves cordate or auriculate at the base. They are only found in the woods of the Southern States and near the mountains.
MAGNOLIA MACROPHYLLA.—This is a remarkable tree from the size of the leaves, which are from two to three feet long, and larger than the leaves of any other native tree. They are disposed in a cluster at the summit of the branches, fruit of Magnolia grandiflora (natural size). like the Magnolia Umbrella, with which it always grows, hence the tree is known as Large-leaved Umbrella Tree, Large-leaved Magnolia. The flowers are very large and fragrant; the bark is smooth and silvery white, by which it can be distinguished from Magnolia Umbrella (even in winter), and it can also be readily recognized by the lobes at the base of the leaf, as shown in our drawing (plate XXX.)
At the time of flowering the leaves are but partly grown.
Michaux discovered this tree in 1786 and named it in his Flora Boreali Americana.
MAGNOLIA CORDATA.—This is the rarest of all the species. It was discovered by Michaux in the Northwestern corner of South Carolina in 1788, and by him taken to Europe, where it was cultivated; but has probably never since been found in a wild state by any botanist. [Dr. Chas. Mohr discovered in Northern Alabama, a tree, which at first was supposed to be Magnolia cordata of Michaux, and was so classified in Prof. Sargent's Report of the Forests in North America, Tenth Census Report. After long consideration, however, it has been decided that the tree is only a form of Magnolia acuminata, with golden yellow flowers, and broad, less acuminate, and sometimes slightly cordate leaves. The result of Prof. Sargent's investigation this summer (1886); is that the species "will best be considered a variety of Magnolia acuminata." (See his article following.)]
It differs from all other species in having yellow flowers, hence, it is called Yellow Cucumber Tree; cordate leaves, hence, known as Heart-leaved Magnolia; and flowers covered with a glaucous bloom agreeing in this latter respect with the Magnolia acuminata alone.
As before stated it formed with Magnolia acuminata, Spach's genus of Tulipastrum. Spach called it Tulipastrum Americanum var. subcordata.
MAGNOLIA FRASERI.—This tree is also of comparatively little interest, being a native only of a restricted locality in the South. It can be known by the peculiar shape of the leaves, which are somewhat similar to those of Magnolia macrophylla, but much smaller, being only eight to ten inches long. They are obovate, acute at the apex, and taper to the base, and have two short, obtuse, ear-like lobes at the base.
The tree is known as Ear-leaved Magnolia, Auricled-leaved Magnolia, and Long-leaved Magnolia [This name is hardly appropriate as the leaves are not longer than others of the species.]. There are two names, also applied to the plant in the South, which are unfortunate to introduce into a medical work like this, because they properly belong to two other plants largely used in medicine. One is Indian Physic, which properly belongs to Gillenia trifoliata; the other is Wahoo, correctly applied to Euonymus atropurpureus. The name Indian Physic was applied to this tree at a very early date, and in the matter of priority, belongs to it.
In most botanical works, excepting late ones, the tree is known as Magnolia auriculata, a name given to it by De la Marck in 1789 [The name was first published by De la Marck, but it was probably the name by which Bartram introduced the plant into Europe. Bartram used the name two years later in his "Travels through North and South Carolina," and it is certain he did not obtain it from De la Marck.]. Walter had previously (1788) named it Magnolia Fraseri, in honor of his friend, a nurseryman of London. Walter's name was overlooked until 1840, when Torrey and Gray restored it on account of priority. A form of the tree was described by Bartram as Magnolia pyramidata as a distinct species, but it is not now thought to be even a variety.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF THE GENUS MAGNOLIA IN THE UNITED STATES.—(Written for this publication by Prof. C. S. Sargent.)—The Genus Magnolia in North America, represented by six or seven species, is confined to the Southern and Central Atlantic region with a single species reaching North to Massachusetts Bay, and with a second species reaching westward to the Valley of the lower Brazos River in Texas. The geographical center of distribution of the genus in America occurs in the Allegheny Mountain region of North and South Carolina, where six of the seven species are found.
Magnolia Glauca.—The most widely distributed of the American species is found in a single locality, in the town of Magnolia in Essex County, Massachusetts. It reappears in New Jersey and ranges South, generally, near the coast, to the shores of Tampa Bay and Bay Biscayne, Florida. A single station for this tree is reported on Slippery Rock Creek, in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, near the borders of Ohio; it is common throughout the basin of the Mississippi River, south of Kentucky, extending west to Southwestern Arkansas, and the valley of the lower Trinity River, Texas. It is most common in the South Atlantic and Eastern Gulf States, attaining its greatest individual development in Central Florida.
Magnolia Grandiflora,—is common along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the valley of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina to that of the Brazos in Texas; in Florida it extends across the peninsula, North of Mosquito Inlet and the shores of Tampa Bay; and through southwestern Arkansas and western Louisiana to the neighborhoods of Vicksburg in Mississippi. It is most common on the coast of the eastern Gulf States, attaining its greatest development on the "Bluff" formations of the Mississippi Valley and western Louisiana.
Magnolia Acuminata.—This species is found from western New York to southern Illinois; it extends along the Allegheny Mountains to southern Alabama; it is scattered through eastern and middle Kentucky and Tennessee, northeastern Mississippi, and northeastern and southern and southwestern Arkansas. It is most common and attains its greatest individual development in the slopes of the Southern Allegheny mountains from Virginia to Georgia.
Magnolia Cordata,—will best be considered, perhaps, a variety of Magnolia acuminate from which it differs in its smaller yellow flowers and broader rarely cordate leaves. Individual trees, intermediate in character between Magnolia acuminata and Magnolia cantata as known in cultivation, appear in the southern Allegheny regions from western. North Carolina to northern Alabama, although the exact prototype of the cultivated tree, introduced into Europe a century ago by the Elder Michaux, and later widely distributed in gardens, has not been rediscovered in a wild state.
Magnolia Macrophylla,—is widely scattered from western North Carolina to southeastern Kentucky, extending south to western Florida, southern Alabama, and the valley of the Pearl River in Louisiana, and in central Arkansas. It is the rarest and most local of the American Magnolias.
Magnolia Umbrella,—is found from southeastern Pennsylvania, southward along the Allegheny Mountains to central Alabama and northeastern Mississippi, extending west through Kentucky and Tennessee to central and southwestern Arkansas.
Magnolia Fraseri—is a local species of the southern Allegheny Mountains from Virginia to western Florida, extending west to southeastern Kentucky, middle Tennessee, and through southern Alabama to Mississippi.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRUG.—The bark as found by us in market is that of the young limbs. It has an ash-colored surface, and is yellowish or brown beneath. The external part is generally smooth, but blemished by scattering warts and occasional fissures, this being especially true of the older specimens. The external layer of the bark is brittle, the inner layer fibrous and tough.
The dried bark is nearly inodorous, has an astringent bitter taste, but is not aromatic. It separates readily from the wood and appears in market as thin curved quills from one-sixteenth to one-eighth of an inch thick.
MICROSCOPICAL STRUCTURE OF THE BARK OF MAGNOLIA GLAUCA.—(Written for this publication by Robert C. Heflebower, M.D.)—On the outside of the bark is the usual layer of cork, consisting of several strata of cork cells. These cells are very regular in form, and resemble very much one another. The layer is from five to eight or nine cells in thickness, increasing or decreasing in thickness very gradually. On the surface of the bark are seen, in some places, warty excrescences, which are covered by an increased number of layers of cork cells. Beneath this layer of cork is a thin layer of parenchymatous tissue, the green portion of the bark. This is from four to seven cells in thickness, and is easily distinguished by the shape and size of the cells.
Next in order is a layer of elongated, spindle-like sclerenchymatous fibres, the strengthening tissue or bast. This layer of tissue is placed between the two parenchymatous layers, and is easily recognized by the thick cell-walls and the length of the cells. This is the third layer of tissue inward, and is located on the outside of the parenchyma, which contains the resin sacs.
The next layer, that of the sarenchyma, is the thickest of all the tissues entering into the bark formation, and is the one that contains the resin sacs found in the bark. These resin sacs are short, nearly iso-diametric, and occupy the space of one cell or little more. They lie mostly solitary, but are occasionally found in groups of four, five, or even more.
The next layer to the sarenchymatous, and the one to the inner side of it, is a thin layer of short schlerenchymatous elements, or stone cells, of a nearly iso-diametric form, as is seen by the sections, both longitudinal and transverse.
The cambium is the next layer, and is of only a few cells thickness, it being, for the most part, composed of cells with the shorter diameter from within out.
On the inner side of the cambium layer, and closely connected to it, is the woody structure of the stem. This contains, in the medullary rays, considerable starch; and in the inter-medullary spaces there is more resin, in proportion, than in the parenchyma of the bark. The sacs in which it is contained are similar to those of the parenchyma, and their size is about the same.
See plate xxxii. for a transverse section of the bark.
PHARMACOPOEIAL HISTORY.—The first (1820) pharmacopoeia failed to recognize any species of Magnolia. The 1830 revision (Philadelphia) gave place in the secondary list to three species, "Magnolia glauca, Magnolia acuminata and Magnolia tripetala ["Tripetala" is the discarded botanical name for the "Umbrella". See page 31.]; the officinal portion being "the bark." The New York edition of same date, (1830,) recognized the bark of Magnolia glauca, referring to it as "Bark of the Small Magnolia, or Sweet Bay." From 1830 to 1880 the three species of the Philadelphia edition remained officinal, occupying the secondary list until 1880, when the distinctions, primary and secondary were discarded.
The pharmacopoeia, excepting the New York edition, 1830, has it will be seen recognized three species, Magnolia glauca, Magnolia acuminata and Magnolia Umbrella (under the name tripetala). The reason for selecting these three is obviously because they are the most Northern species. In our opinion it would have been better to have specified the Magnolia glauca alone, as this shrub is the most aromatic, and presumably superior to others in medical action. Had it been the intention to mention the trees that supply the bark of commerce Magnolia glauca, Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia Umbrella, and Magnolia macrophylla should have been named. [The limited quantity of bark used in commerce is all collected in the mountains of North Carolina, and indiscriminately from these species, which are the ones common there.]
None of the species of Magnolia are in use at present by the medical profession of America, and have not been employed for a generation. This assertion is based upon the reports of correspondents from every section, and from all the large cities of America, in accordance with which we accept that Magnolia should not be retained in the Pharmacopoeia.
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Drugs and Medicines of North America, 1884-1887, was written by John Uri Lloyd and Curtis G. Lloyd.