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The Yellow Resin Tree

This is about the size of an English walnut tree. Its trunk grows pretty straight for about fourteen or sixteen feet, after which it branches out into long spiral leaves, which hang down on all sides, and resemble those of the larger kinds of grass or sedge. From the center of the head of leaves arises a single footstalk, eighteen or twenty feet in height, perfectly straight and erect, very much resembling the sugar cane, and terminating in a spike of a spiral form, not unlike an ear of wheat. This large stem or footstalk is used by the natives for making spears and fish gigs, being pointed with the teeth of fish or other animals, some of which are represented, in the plate of implements, from originals now in Mr. Wilson's possession.

But the most valuable produce of this plant seems to be its resin, the properties of which vie with those of the most fragrant balsams. This resin exudes spontaneously from the trunk, the more readily if incisions are made in its bark. It is of a yellow colour, fluid at first, but being inspissated in the sun it acquires a solid form. Burnt on hot coals, it


  ― 236 ―
emits a smell very much resembling that of a mixture of balsam of tolu and benzoin, somewhat approaching to storax. It is perfectly soluble in spirit of wine, but not in water, nor even in essential oil of turpentine, unless it be digested in a strong heat. The varnish which it makes with either is very weak, and of little use. With respect to its medicinal qualities, Mr. White has found it, in many cases, a good pectoral medicine, and very balsamic. It is not obtainable in so great abundance as the red gum produced by the Eucalyptus resinifera.

The plant which produces the yellow gum seems to be perfectly unknown to botanists, but Mr. White has communicated no specimens by which its genus or even class could be determined

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