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[21] example, the “pasture-hill gravel.” This gravel is used extensively for garden walks, and its fineness and color make it a general favorite. The soil is composed mostly of silex and argilla, a mixture favorable to vegetation.

The flora of Massachusetts would be a fair one of Medford. The high hills, rocky pastures, large plains, alluvial intervales, deep swamps, and extensive marshes, here give food to almost all kinds of trees, plants, shrubs, grasses, and sedges. The presence of fresh water and salt, also the mingling of them in Mystic River, produce a rich variety of herbaceous plants; and the salt-marsh flowers, though very small, are often very beautiful. Of lichens there are great varieties, and some rare specimens of the cryptogamous plants. Of the forest-trees, we have many of the white and black oak, and some of the red and grey. The oldest survivor of this family of quercus stands in a lot owned by Mr. Swan, and is about half a mile north-east of the meeting-house of the First Parish. It is almost disarmed by time; and it therefore better stood the strain of the tornado of August 22, 1851. Its trunk is six feet in diameter near the ground; and it is probably as old as Massachusetts Colony. Two varieties. of walnut are found among us, and “nutting” is yet a cherished pastime with the boys in October. The sycamore or plane-tree, commonly called buttonwood, abounds here by plantation. Of late years it has been suffering from a sort of cholera, which has destroyed its first leaves, and rendered its appearance so disagreeable as to induce most persons to remove it from sight. The violence of the disease seems past, and the tree gives signs of rejuvenescence. The graceful elms rejoice our eye wherever we turn, and our streets will soon be shaded by them. The clean, symmetrical rock-maple has come among us of late, and seems to thrive like its brother, the white. Of the chestnut, we have always known two large trees in the woods, but have never heard of more. The locust is quite common, and would be an invaluable tree to plant on sandy plains in order to enrich them; but a borer-worm has so successfully invaded, maimed, and stinted it that its native beauty is gone. The locust is the only tree under which the ruminating animals prefer to graze. Of beach-trees we have not many, and what we have are small. So of the black and white ash, there is not an abundance. Once there was a good supply of the hornbeam; but that has ceased. Of birch, the black, white, and yellow, there are flourishing specimens.

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