Изображения страниц
PDF

qualifications are needful, and no trees should be introduced which will not eventually repay the Government by an increase of revenue; thus, those which are chosen, should, if possible, be trees of rapid growth, be able to resist both heat and drought, and to adapt themselves to the soil of the island; they should, moreover, supply the requisite material for fuel, and for manufacturing pur» poses. The suitability of the eucalyptus globulus for planting in the plains is universally insisted upon from a directly hygienic point of view; its capacity for destroying the malaria of marshy lands, and its rapid growth in almost any soil have already been alluded to in Chapter VI. But there are numerous other trees equally, if not more, important, which may well be mentioned. Several varieties of the Australian acacia would prove invaluable acquisitions in a manufacturing point of view; amongst these the

Acacia cyanophilla and the Acacia leiophylla resist heat and drought p

in a wonderful manner, and are not particular as to the quality of ^

the soil in which they grow. The wood of these trees makes ex- i«.

cellent fuel, and is useful for cabinet work. The bark is extremely rich in tannin, yielding as much as 25 per cent., against 6 or 7 per cent, in the ordinary oak bark. Some of these Australian acaciafl have been planted in Algeria, and at ten years of age have been found to have bark about six times as thick as oak trees of the same age. The careful removal of the bark at proper intervals, does not affect the growth of the trees, so that in this way alone a new and important industry would be introduced into the island,

and at the same time the quantity of firewood that would be available •

from the proper lopping of the trees would be enormous.* It is also quite possible that the jarrah tree of West Australia, the timber of which is superior to any other variety for ship-building purposes, might llourish in the island. The pinus maritima, which even now abounds in parts of the island, is a fine and useful tree; more of these should be planted, and the existing trees tended and encouraged. On the mountains may be found spots where there is a young growth of this tree, but in most cases the plants are not allowed to reach maturity, for those which are not destroyed by man, are irreparably injured by the sheep and goats which wander at will amongst them.

Amongst other trees which flourish in the Levant, the walnut is one of the most valuable, and fine specimens now exist in Cyprus;

The Spanish chestnut would probably flourish; it is important as a crop-bearer, and its timber is very valuable for housebuilding, being almost imperishable. It should also be remembered that amongst the exports of the Levant, valonia, the cup of tthe acorn of the (/iterate agilops, is very largely consumed in England, being the chief aid of the tanner. This article varies in marketable> value from £20 to £30 per ton, and is at present gathered only in its wild state. Any quantity of acorns can be collected, and there can be little doubt that should oak forests be planted \ipon Crown lands in Cyprus, they would eventually yield an important revenue.

• When our troops first arrived in Cyprus, it was reported that everything wa# cheap nnd plentiful, except fuel and fodder.

Forest ticca The trees which are at present to be found in the island are the

now existing following:—the pinus maritima covers most of the mountain in Cyprus. regions to the height of 4,000 feet above the sea, as one of the commonest trees; the pinus laricio abounds on most of the heights to 4,000 feet, and on the western mountains it rises to 6,000 feet, giving the slopes a dark appearance when seen from a distance; the wild cypress (cupressua horizontalis) is the next most abundant tree; it is very common in the eastern part of the island, and in some places forms woods by itself; throughout the northern chain this wild cypress often grows to the height of from 2,000 to 3,000 feet above the sea, and it is probable that in ancient times large forests of this tree covered a great portion of the island. A shrub, the Juniperus phamicea is also common, and was once very abundant indeed, especially in the southern part of the island.

Several varieties of the oak, and the cork-oak, are found in the northern mountains; the arbutus abounds everywhere, and on the banks of the rivers and streams, the carob and olive trees flourish, and extend up to an elevation of 1,000 feet above the sea.

Dr. Unger and Kotschy, in "Die Insel Cypern," Chapters V. VI. VII. pages 97-401, supply most valuable botanical information regarding the forest and fruit trees, and the vegetation of the island generally.

The fruit trees of Cyprus deserve special notice; they have acquired some notoriety, and, as may be expected from the geographical position of the island, are mostly those peculiar to southern countries.

Orange, citron, and lemon trees are largely cultivated in the gardens throughout the island, but not in sufficient quantity for their fruits to be an article of exportation; indeed oranges are occasionally imported into Cyprus from Tripoli and Jaffa.

Pomegranates are very abundant, and a quantity of this fruit is annually exported to Alexandria.

The apricot is said to be the finest fruit of Cyprus, and the best variety is grown at Famagusta. Dr. Clarke says that the apricot tree appears to be indigenous in the island, and that it seems to flourish there in greater perfection than in any other country. He notices the great size of some of the trees at Nicosia, and mentions that the branches were supported by props to prevent their being broken by the load of fruit upon them. One variety has a smooth shining skin like a nectarine; another, called the "caisha," is sweet-kernelled and very luscious, and there is besides a small variety which is of poor quality, and is considered unwholesome. Figs. The fig-tree is very common, and is found in the neighbourhood

of all villages. Prickly pears. The prickly pear grows in large quantities; it often lines the

road-sides, and is also found in gardens. The fruit is cooling and wholesome, and is much eaten by the lower classes. Grapes. Grapes are abundant and of excellent quality; the vines grow

to a great size, the bunches of grapes are huge, and the fruit is highly flavoured; in some varieties the juice is said to resemble a concentrated essence. Some of the best vines have a yellowish

Fruit trees.

Oranges, citrons, and lemons.

Pomegranates.

Apricqta.

Cherries.

Apples and pears.

Melons.

[ocr errors]

Olives.

grape from which the Commanderia wine is made. The manufacture of wine, and its export from Cyprus, are considered in Chapter VIII. It was from this island that the vine was introduced with so much success into Madeira, and when the grape disease destroyed so many of the vines at the latter place, fresh shoots were sent from Cyprus to supply their places.

A small description of cherry is to he found in the island, and it is sold in the markets of Nicosia and Larnaca.

Small quantities of apples and pears are raised, but their quality is very inferior.

Melons and water-melons are produced in considerable quant;ties; the ordinary melons have little of the aroma of the cultivated fruit, but rather resemble the cucumber in flavour; there is however, another description, called " tumburae," which is sweet and well-flavoured. The water-melons are smaller than those of Jaffa, and by no means equal to them in taste.

The palm tree abounds in Nicosia and Lefca, and is also found in smaller numbers in Larnaca and Limasol. Its presence in a village generally indicates that the majority of the inhabitants are Turks, the Mussulmans being much attached to this tree. The dates produced by the Cyprian palms are much inferior to those of Egypt, and never attain to the same degree of maturity.

Olives are one of the chief indigenous trees in Cyprus. They are constantly found with the carob trees at the base of the mountains and skirting the plains, forming a line of demarcation between the uncultivated mountain sides, and the tilled land below. The olive tree requires a certain amount of culture, and as it has been much neglected is now less common in the island, and lees fruitful than in former times, consequently, instead of the oil forming a valuable article of export, barely enough is now produced for the supply of the inhabitants, and in spite of the profusion in which the tree is found, it is sometimes necessary to import olive oil into Cyprus to meet tho requirements of the local consumption. Vast quantities of the trees in a wild state are scattered over the island, particularly in the vicinity of Baffo, but these are entirely unproductive, though all that they require to make them fruitful is merely to be grafted. From Consul Watkins, Report for 1877, we learn that the produce of olive oil in that year was estimated at 250,000 okes against 200,000 okes in 1876. Prices ranged from nine to ten piastres per oke. The presses which are used in the island are very imperfect, and it is said that twelve pounds of olives yield about three pints of oil. A tree often bears 150 lbs. of fruit.

The oil-producing districts are Cerinea, Kythrsea, Larnaca and Limasol. As a rule the olive tree only produces abundantly once in five years, the conditions required for a good yield are cold and wet weather, then the quantity produced may reach 400,000 or even 500,000 okes. The oil is rarely exported; when it is cheap, soap is made in such quantities as to supply Mersine and other parts of Caramania.

Mulberry trees are grown in small plantations in various parts Mulberry of the island, in order to supply leaves for the food of silkworms, trees.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

The culture of the tree is, however, almost entirely neglected, and consequently the quality of the silk has deteriorated. The best and finest mulberry trees are found near Baffu.

Walnut and almond trees are comparatively rare, but they are found here and there in the island. General di Cesnola mentions the " two noble walnut trees , close to his house at Dali.

The utilization of the fruit of the island as a means of profit is but little thought of, as the amount sold in the bazaars of the town bears but a very small proportion to what is, or might be,

greduced. Von Loher says that even the celebrated vegetables of yprus are but little cultivated, and some varieties are becoming almost unknown, as the inhabitants content themselves with gathering wild cresses, artichokes, purslane, and asparagus. Of the vegetables which have been cultivated with success in Cyprus, and which can be procured there at the present time, the following are those most worthy of notice:—potatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, pumpkins, cucumbers, gherkins, marrows, lettuces, tomatoes, spinach, celery, broad beans, trench beans, lentils, onions and brinjals.

The prices asked for these vegetables have hitherto been very moderate.

Sweet potatoes are said to be indigenous to the country, but are not cultivated, and the people appear to be ignorant of the value of this esculent. Potatoes yield two crops a year, producing from 50 to 75 cwt. per acre; they are of fair quality, and do not appeal" to be affected by any disease.

It is said that Cyprus is the native place of the cauliflower, which in its English form has been produced by the art of the gardener from the Brassica oleracea, the part used for food being the deformed flower stalks.

The cultivation of rhubarb, saffron, hemp, and other valuable vegetable natural products is almost entirely neglected.

Colocynth is somewhat largely grown in the island and forms an article of export. The plant is the cucumis colocynthis, or citrullus colocynthis, but is known in Cyprus as colloquintida. The plants spread over the ground like the water-melon, which they also resemble in leaf and flower, as well as in fruit, whilst the melons are young: the spongy inside, or pith of the fruit, is used medicinally as a cathartic.

Sumac grows hi a wild state in Cyprus, and is an indigenous shrub. The quality of the Cyprian sumac is considered superior to that of the Tyrolese, but in the European markets, the Sicilian plants command a higher price. This maybe due to want of special cultivation, to imperfect preparation of the leaf, or to a natural inferiority of the plant. It is generally exported from Limasol in the leaf; very little goes to England, but in 1877, £500-worth was sent to Turkey, and £450-worth to Greece. Various parts of the plant are used for tanning, dyeing, and in medicine.

At the time when the Venetians possessed Cyprus, large plantations of sugar canes were made, and it is said that the plant succeeded in the districts of Episcopi and Lefca, as well as in Egypt. Buildings in which the sugar was refined were erected on these spots, and the profits derived from the production of sugar so near Europe, must doubtless have been large. The plantations have now been entirely abandoned, though the soil and climate are probably as suitable at the present time for the growth of sugarcanes as at any previous period.

The soil of Cyprus is in various parts favourable for the Coffee, growth of the coffee plant, and Sonnini thinks that it might be successfully cultivated.

At one time a lucrative trade was carried on with Syria in the Jujube oil. oil extracted from the seed of the jujube tree, zizyphus jujuba. This oil, as well as that obtained from glasswort, is used when the supply of olive oil is insufficient.

The mastic tree (pitachia lentiscus) grows abundantly in the Masiie. torrent valleys; on incision a resinous gum exudes, which is very useful as an astringent, an aromatic, and an ingredient in drying varnishes.

From various plants found in the island, liquid storax, also Store*, called liouid simbcr, is obtained; it is a fragrant resinous substance, medicinally used as an expectorant, and by the natives it is burnt for incense.

This substance is a gum resin of dark colour and pungent Ladnnum oil. odour. It is distilled to some extent in Cyprus from the cistus ladanifcrus and the cistus crelicus, and is chiefly used medicinally as a mild stimulant in external applications.

One of the most important plants of the island in respect to Ferula Grwca. its economical uses is the Ferula Gram; of the stalks the Cypriote forms a great part of his household furniture, and the pith is used instead of tinder for conveying fire from one place to another.

Drs. Ungur and Kotschy in " Die Inscl (!ypern" give a complete The Flora, synopsis and enumeration of the flora of Cyprus, together with their commercial and medicinal uses; thcy say that prairie or meadowland does not exist in the island, but arable land entirely takes the place of it.

The want of hay for the food of the animals belonging to the British army of occupation, was much felt when the troops first landed, and a quantity of fodder had to be imported.

After the rains, but only for a short time, cereals give a satinlike green to the landscape, and among them grow a profusion of flowers; but these artificial rather than natural fields fade more quickly than the flowers, and scarcely last more than a few weeks after the end of the spring rains. The great heat of summer destroys all the tender plants, and only those survive which, through their anatomical construction, or hard substance, can resist the effects of the heat. This description applies, however, only to open plains where there is no water, for throughout the island wherever the earth is sufficiently supplied with moisture, thousands of plants spring up in rich profusion, and there nan be no doubt that the soil is almost everywhere luxuriantly fertile. One of the principal difficulties experienced by agriculturists is to keep their corn from being smothered by weeds. The valleys of the rivers and torrents are clothed with immense quantities of shrubs and flowers; of these the most abundant are the arbutus, myrtle, oleander,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »