=Habitat and Range.=--Rhode Island,--occasional but doubtfully native;
Connecticut,--at Lighthouse Point, New Haven, near the East Haven
boundary line, there is a grove consisting of about one hundred
twenty-five small trees not more than a hundred feet from the water's
edge, in sandy soil just above the beach grass, exposed to the
buffeting of fierce winds and the incursions of salt water, which comes
up around them d
ring the heavy winter storms. These trees are not in
thriving condition; several are dead or dying, and no new plants are
springing up to take their places. A cross-section of the trunk of a
dead tree, as large as any of those living, shows about fifty annual
rings. There is no reason to suppose that the survivors are older. This
station is said to have been known as early as 1846, at which date the
ground where they stand was grassy and fertile. These trees, if standing
at that time, must assuredly have been in their infancy. The
encroachment of the sea and subsequent change of conditions account well
enough for the present decrepitude, but their general similarity in size
and apparent age point rather to introduction than native growth.
South to Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana; west to Iowa, Kansas, and
=Habit.=--One of the Rhode Island trees measured 3 feet 11 inches girth
at the base, and gradually tapered to a height of more than 40 feet (L.
W. Russell). The trees at New Haven are 15-20 feet in height, with a
trunk diameter of 6-10 inches, trunk and limbs much twisted by the
winds. Their branches, beginning to put out at a height of 6-8 feet, lie
in almost horizontal planes, forming a roundish, open head.
=Bark.=--Trunk in old trees dark, rough, deeply furrowed, separating
into small, firm sections; large limbs dark reddish-brown; season's
shoots green, turning to brown.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds oblong, conical, short. Leaves simple,
alternate, 3-6 inches long, about half as wide, dark green and mostly
glossy above, somewhat lighter and minutely downy (at least when young)
beneath, ovate to oval, entire; apex acute to acuminate; base acute,
rounded or truncate; leafstalk short; stipules none.
=Inflorescence.=--June. Sterile and fertile flowers on separate or on
the same trees; not conspicuous, axillary; sterile often in clusters,
fertile solitary; calyx 4-6-parted; corolla 4-6-parted; about 1/2 inch
long, pale yellow, thickish, urn-shaped, constricted at the mouth and
somewhat smaller in the sterile flowers; stamens 16 in the sterile
flowers, in fertile flowers 8 or less, imperfect; styles 4, ovary
=Fruit.=--A berry, ripe in late fall, roundish, about an inch in
diameter, larger farther south, with thick, spreading, persistent calyx,
yellow to yellowish-brown, very astringent when immature, edible and
agreeable to the taste after exposure to the frost; several-seeded.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy along the south shore of New England;
prefers well-drained soil in open situations; free from disfiguring
enemies; occasionally cultivated in nurseries but difficult to
transplant. Propagated from seed.
1. Winter buds.
2. Branch with sterile flowers.
3. Vertical section of sterile flower.
4. Branch with fertile flowers.
5. Section of fertile flower.
6. Fruiting branch.