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On the History of the Introduction of Woody Plantsinto North AmericaAl fred RehderThis is one of the very few popular articles that Alfred Rehder ever wrote.While initially written in English in the early 1930s, it was never publishedbecause American horticultural magazines considered it too technical. Facedwith this rebuff, Rehder published the article in Germany in 1932. In 1936,the Arboretum librarian, Miss Ethelyn M. Tucker, translated the article backinto English for publication in the National Horticultural Magazine. Whileour knowledge of the history of the introduction of plants has increasedconsiderably since Rehder’s time, this work is still of value because itprovides a firm foundation for future studies.The introduction of North American woodyplants into Europe has been treated frequently,while of the introduction of woody plantsfrom other countries into North Americaalmost nothing has as yet been written. Itwill, therefore, be appropriate to give here abrief sketch as to when and how foreign andalso western American woody plants reachedthe gardens of eastern North America, as wellas to mention the earliest and the most impor-tant gardens and arboreta.The history of the introduction of ligneousplants into North America may be dividedinto three periods, the first of which embracesthe time from the arrival of the first Europeansettlers up to the middle of the 18th century.This period is characterized by the fact thatthe introduction of European woody plants isrestricted chiefly to fruit trees and other use-ful plants with the addition of but a fewornamental shrubs. This is not to be wonderedVolume 6(4, 5): 13-23, 1946.at since pioneers in a strange land have a hardstruggle for existence and are forced to seekfirst to assure for themselves the necessitiesof life, and only with increasing wealth andsecurity of possessions do they find leisure tothink of beautifying their surroundings.The first fruit tree introduced into the NewWorld was the peach, which as early as the16th century was brought into Florida by theSpaniards; from there it spread west and northand was planted by the white settlers as wellas by the Indians. The introduction of woodyplants in the North began in the first half ofthe 17th century. The first account of this wefind in Josselyn (New England Rarities Dis-covered, published in 1672; and Account ofTwo Voyages to New England in 1638 and1663, published in 1674) where he mentionsthe apple, pear, quince, cherry, plum, and bar-berry as thriving in New England; he men-tions also Salvia of ficinalis and remarks thatArtemisia abrotanum, rosemary, and lavenderwere not suited to the climate of New24England, which shows that their introductionwas attemnted, but was successful only in thesouthern states. Of ornamental shrubs hementions only the rose. We can, however, bealmost certain that some other ornamentalshrubs, such as the lilac, snowball (Viburnumopulus f. roseum) and box had already in thesecond half of the 17th century been foundhere and there, as in the garden of Van Cort-landt in Croton on Hudson establishedshortly after 1681, and in that of PeterStuyvesant in New Amsterdam (New York)which was established somewhat earlier; butas to what other plants these gardens mayhave contained we have no knowledge. Thesources of information concerning the gardenplants of this period are very few and unrelia-ble ; it is, however, to be assumed that somenative ligneous plants also were cultivated,especially shade trees such as sugar maple,elm (Ulmus americana), red oak, and farthersouth Catalpa. Here, too, it may be men-tioned that in the year 1645 Endicott, Gover-nor of Massachusetts, introduced Genistatinctoria as a dye plant, which soon escapedfrom cultivation and is now thoroughlynaturalized in eastern Massachusetts.The second period is characterized by theintroduction of an ever-increasing number ofornamental trees and shrubs, exclusively,however, from European gardens, and may beconsidered as extending from the middle ofthe 18th to the middle of the 19th century. Inthis period two men are outstanding figures,pioneers in garden-craft. One is John Bartram,who in 1728 established a botanic garden atKinsessing near Philadelphia, where heplanted and cultivated American trees andshrubs, which he had collected in his travelsextending from Lake Ontario to Florida. Hewas in active communication with Englandand introduced many American plants there;in exchange he received plants from Europeangardens and propagated them in America.Among these may be mentioned the horsechestnut, which probably came to America inthe year 1746. His work was continued by hissons, John and William. Bartram’s house andgarden stand today, preserved in their originalform. The second man is Robert Prince. whoin the year 1730 founded a nursery in Flush-ing, Long Island, which has been managedcontinuously through five generations of thesame family. Although in the beginningintended only for the raising of fruit trees, themanagement gradually broadened to includeornamental trees and shrubs, and since 1793the nursery has been continued under thename Linnean Botanic Garden. From the cata-logues which were issued it is evident whatforeign trees and shrubs were in commerce atthat time; from the catalogue of 1790 the fol-lowing plants may be mentioned, though onlythe English names are given: Cotinus cog-gygria, Koelreuteria paniculata, Coluteaarborescens, Laburnum anagyroides, Populusnigra var. italica, Viburnum opulus f. sterile,Hibiscus syriacus. In the earlier Prince estatestill stand the oldest specimens in Americaof the cedar of Lebanon and Atlas cedar,Paulownia, the copper beech, Asiatic magno-lias, and others.Toward the middle of the 18th century,wealthy landowners, especially in Pennsylva-nia and Virginia, began to lay out large gardensin which among other things one finds box,lilac, Taxus baccata, and Salix babylonica.Washington’s garden at Mount Vernon, begunabout 1760, was one of the most importantand contained many American and foreigntrees and shrubs. One other very rich gardenwas laid out some years later by WilliamHamilton on his estate, "The Woodlands,"near Philadelphia. This estate was later con-verted into a cemetery, "WoodlandsCemetery ;’ in which today many of the treesplanted by Hamilton still stand, among themthe first Ginkgo in America which wasplanted in 1784. Humphry Marshall, inspiredby his cousin, John Bartram, began in 1773 thefoundation of an arboretum in Bradford,


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