The British Cyclopaedia: America (osa).

The British Cyclopaedia
of the arts, sciences, history, geography, literature, natural history and biography; copiously illustrated by engravings on wood and steel by eminent artists.
Edited by Charles F. Partington, professor of mechanical philosphy, author of various works on natural and experimental philosophy, &c., assisted by authors of eminence in the various departments of science.
Complete in ten volumes.
Volume VI.
Natural history.
London: WM. S. Orr and Co., Amen Corner, Paternoster Row.

Passing the isthmus of Panama southward, we come to a country in many respects new in the characters of its vegetation. Here are the same esculent plants as in the hot plains of Mexico; but as the soil is in many places rich, and the surface much diversified, the plants and trees are so numerous, that a mere list of them would occupy a considerable space. The chocolate-tree (Theobroma), the nopal (Cactus opuntia), upon which the cochineal insects, which yield the finest scarlet dye, are fed; and the various species, the juice of which forms caoutchouc, or India rubber, are among the most curious; but the last-mentioned substance is the produce of many trees, some of them natives of other parts of the globe.


To the south of the Amazon, the vegetable riches of Brazil are even, if possible, more luxuriant than those that have been mentioned. The country stands out more to the sea, and takes the sea-wind loaded with humidity, upon two of its sides. The soil and surface are, however, both very much varied, and that gives much change of scene to the country. There are not, perhaps, in any part of the world finer bowers and forests than those which are met with in the dells and by the watercourses of Brazil, whether we regard the beauty of the trees, or of the plants which those trees support. The dye-woods of Brazil are of much value, and so are the rose-woods, which are the timber of certain species of robinia, the colour and qualities of which are, like those of the mahogany, understood to depend very much on the nature of the soil and situation.


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