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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Mikanias and Begonias, the dilated honey-scented branches of Paulinias, the caustic Dalechampias, and the singularly leafy Bauhinias, with leafless, milky spines that hang freely from the high crowns, or that narrowly girdle the strongest trunks, which kill little by little. Finally, the species of parasites that garnish the old trees with the garments of youth, the grotesque Potos and the Aruns, the magnificent orchids (2), the Bromeliads, whose leaves conserve water, the Tilandsias (3), dangling like the beard of an old man, and a countless number of ferns of the most wonderful form (4). All these magnificent products of the New World combine in a picture, which keeps the European naturalist in a continuous and alternating state of amazement and ecstasy.

Undertaking to describe the interior of a virgin tropical forest, we must not forget to draw attention to a circumstance concerning the instinct for the conservation of both trees among themselves. In such a great fullness of life and in the midst of such a mighty struggle to achieve development, a soil of such fertility and strength still does not possess the nourishment that the great need demands; The result is the continuing struggle for conservation among this gigantic vegetation, where the trees grow more tightly than those of our forests. Even the long-grown trunks that require a large amount of nourishment will suffer from the influx of their most powerful neighbors, and suddenly their growth is slowed by subtracting the food, and, shortly after that, natural forces will soon cause it to decay. Thus one sees that the noblest trees, after a few months of atrophy, are eaten by ants and other insects, and attacked from the ground to the top by decay, until, before the unforeseen fright of the lonely inhabitant of the forest, they fall with a thunderous crash. In general, the farmer has observed that trunks that are isolated among many of another species are more easily oppressed by the latter. Regulatory reforestation, which undoubtedly has not yet been thought so far in these sparsely populated forests, will in future require not only that the planting of the roots not be done in a tight neighborhood, but

(1) Mikania stipulacea, Vhl., M.Viscosa, Spr., M. Opifera nob. (Eupator crenatum, Gorn.); Venous Bignonia Ker.; Paulinia pinnata, Cururu, L.;

Bignonia venous

P. meliaefolia, P. thalictrifolia, Juss.; Dalechampia brasiliensis, D. ficifolia, D. pentaphylla, D. triphylla, D. convolvuloides, Lam.; Bauhinia guyanensis, Lam.

Bauhinia guyanensis

B. Aculeata, L.
(2) Pothos crassinervia, P. digitata, Jacq., P. Macrophylla, Sw., P. Palmata, L.;

Pothos pedata

Caladium lacerum, C. pinnatifidum, C. grandifolium, Jacq.; Oncidium barbatum

Oncidium barbatum

pictum Humb,. Janopsis pulchella Humb; Neottia speciosa, Sw.
(3) Bromelia Pinguin, B. Karatas, B. Acanga, B. Iridifolia, Nees et M.;

Bromelia pinguin

Tillandsia usneoides, L.
(4) Acrostichum calomelanes; Polypodium percussum, Cav., P. Submarginale, P. vaccinifolium, Fisch.; Aspidium exaltatum, Sw.; Pteris pedata, L.

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