Handbook of the Trees of the Northern States and Canada: East of the Rocky Mountains (Classic Reprint)by Romeyn Beck Hough
It has been thought by the writer, and has frequently been remarked by others, that a series of carefully made photographic illustrations of the fresh leaves, fruits, leafless branches and typical barks of our various trees would be appreciated alike by the
Excerpt from Handbook of the Trees of the Northern States and Canada: East of the Rocky Mountains
It has been thought by the writer, and has frequently been remarked by others, that a series of carefully made photographic illustrations of the fresh leaves, fruits, leafless branches and typical barks of our various trees would be appreciated alike by the professional botanist, the less technical nature student, the forester and the lumberman. My natural interest in the subject and peculiar vocation made the task of the preparation of such a work peculiarly inviting to me. I am required to be much in the field observing the trees, making it my personal duty to gather the woods used in the publishing of my American Woods - in order that I may be able to vouch for authenticity - and this gives me unusual opportunities. I accordingly entered upon the task with enthusiasm, providing myself with an excellent camera, and adapting it to the peculiar requirements of the work.
It was not until after much experimenting, as to proper lighting, the elimination of shadow, etc., that satisfactory results were obtained. The thought of a measured background - one ruled into square inches for convenience - occurred as a most satisfactory way of indicating size, which I deemed of greatest importance, owing to the great range of sizes of the objects which I must show on plates of uniform size. It is hoped that this feature of the work will meet with the approval bespoken for it.
When once entered upon the work it was found that many and various vicissitudes must be encountered, which would unexpectedly prolong the work. Chief among these were the "off" years, during which a species does not bear fruit. For example: One season I could not find a single tree of the common Sugar Maple bearing fruit, though I examined many from northern New York to North Carolina and westward to Missouri. One winter not a solitary twig could I find of the Yellow Birch bearing its dormant catkins, and, naturally, not a tree bearing flowers or fruit the next summer. I searched in vain two successive seasons for the pistillate flowers of the common Butternut, so regularly did the late frosts of spring destroy them, though the staminate flowers appeared annually.
The shortness of the period, too, during which the flowers or fruits of certain trees are in their prime, or even exist on the trees, has necessitated close watch. The exact time must be ascertained by observation, and if, perchance, I miss it I must wait until another year for another opportunity. Then I may find it an off year (imagine my disappointment!), and still another year must be waited. Procuring specimens from lofty tree-tops are trivial ordeals compared with instances like these.
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