For the Fiscal Years
1931 and 1932
THE PANAMA CANAL PRESS
MOUNT HOPE, C. Z.
For additional copies of this publication address The Panama Canal, Washington. D. C., or
Balboa Heights, Canal Zone.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
CANAL ZONE EXPERIMENT GARDENS,
Summit, C. Z., July 30, 1931.
SIR: I present herewith and recommend for publication* a condensed
Report of the Canal Zone Experiment Gardens for the fiscal year ending
June 30, 1931.
J. EDGAR HIGGINS,
Mr. Roy R. WATSON,
Balboa Heights, Canal Zone.
Through Mr. J. H. K. HUMPHREY,
Assistant Chief Quartermaster.
Publication suspended during depression period. Publication authorized
July 12, 1937.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
Personnel -------------------------------------------------------------- 7
Maps and Records of Plantings--------------------------------------------- 8
Mangosteen I-- ------------------------------------------------------- 10
Hawaiian Cooking Bananas------------------------------------------------ 12
Pineapple, Variety Cayenne ("Hawaiian")----------------------------------- 13
Solo Papaya------------------------------------------------------------ 13
Sugar Cane Disseminations----------------------------------------------- 14
Other Noteworthy Plants of the Year--------------------------------------- 14
Nursery Operations and General Sales--------------------------------------- 15
Irrigation Installation ----------------------------------------------6------ 6
Buildings ------------------------------------------------------------- 17
Gavilan Area Townsite------------------------------------------------ 18
Requisite Care of These Trees------------------------------------- 19
Coco Solo---------------------------------------------------------- 20
Routine Inspection Calls----------------------------------------------- 20
Report of a Trip to Botanic Gardens and Similar Institutions in the United
States and Cuba--------------------------------------------- ---- 21
Cuba Sugar Club Experiment Station------_------------------------- 21
Harvard Botanical Gardens in Cuba-------------------------------- 22
Chapman Field Plant Introduction Garden-------------------------- 23
Plants Received from Florida on the Yacht Utowana------------------ 24
South Florida to Jacksonville via Gulf Coast------------------------- 24
Arnold Arboretum--------------------------------------------------- 24
Botanical Gardens in New York and Brooklyn --------------------------- 26
Conferences in Washington ---------------------------------------- 27
PLATE I Fruit of Mangosteen.
PLATE II Key map to 18 survey sheets.
PLATE III Detail map of Section "A" of sheet 6.
PLATE IV Figure
PLATE V Figure i.
PLATE VI Figure i.
PLATE VII Figure i.
Hawaiian Cooking Banana variety Manaiula.
Spathodea nilotica forming a new head after being cut back to
The Julie Mango.
Sugar cane variety P. 0. J. 2878, I I months after planting.
Casuarina equisetifolia in Havana, pruned as a formal street tree.
Spathodea nilotica.-The tall tree to the left in flower and full
foliage: S. campanulata, tallest tree to the right, in seed but
very little foliage.
Some of the plantings and a group of buildings at the Plant
Introduction Garden at Coconut Grove, Florida.
Arnold Arboretum showing a vista along one of the principal
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, showing some of the main buildings.
Tree-moving canvas at the Arnold Arboretum.
Figure x. Accession card.
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Fruit of Mangosteen
.. . . .......... ....................... ... ... . . ............... .....
CANAL ZONE EXPERIMENT GARDENS FOR 1931
J. EDGAR HIGGINS, Director
The Canal Zone Experiment Gardens continue to grow more deeply
into the life of the community. Its purposes are coming to be more
clearly understood in the introduction, testing, establishing and dis-
seminating of valuable plants; in the conducting of experimental work
with plants and in fostering plant life in every way possible as a factor
in community betterment and development. To this end the Gardens
maintain exchanges of seeds and plants with botanic gardens, agricul-
tural departments, experiment stations, and individuals in many parts
of the world. The number of local visitors is increasing regularly, and
each year brings a larger quota of visitors from abroad. Each year
witnesses the coming to maturity of some plants not seen before in this
part of the world, as well as the introduction of new species. Since
water is being made available for use in the dry season, a large number
of plants that have been awaiting opportunity are now being set out.
Soon it will be necessary to expand the borders of the Gardens to make
room for new plantings. The inflow of new introductions that are
expected to be of value is maintained by exchanges through corres-
pondence and by a policy of active personal collection in foreign countries
on the part of the Director as opportunity offers.
About the beginning of the fiscal year, Mr. W. C. Dewey severed his
connection with the Experiment Gardens to undertake work in the care
of plants and grounds with the District Quartermaster of Balboa-Ancon.
Mr. John E. Johnson was temporarily transferred to supervise the
Experiment Gardens during the absence of the Director in Cuba and the
United States. His appointment was effective about the first of July
and continued until early) in January.
On December 31, 1930, Mr. Walter R. Lindsay arrived to assume the
duties of the Supervisor of Cultures. Having a background of horticul-
tural and botanical education received in the University of Hawaii and
in the State College of Washington at Pullman, Washington, as well as
experience and familiarity with tropical plants in Hawaii, Mr. Lindsay
comes well equipped to take up his new duties in the Canal Zone.
MAPS AND RECORDS OF PLANTINGS
In a large collection of plants including thousands of accessions
widely allocated it is always a problem to keep accurate records, so that
the history of every tree or plant can be fully traced. First it is neces-
sary to know where every permanent specimen of any given accession
is located among the plantings so that all may be found at any time.
This is working from the office outward. Again it becomes necessary,
when examining any specimen, to be able to trace it back to the records.
It is important not only that trees and plants be labeled with their
names so that anyone may know what they are, but also that the label
bear an identification number which will connect it with the office
records so as to determine when and whence it came and to reveal what-
ever data may have been recorded concerning it. It seems needless to
say that all this is necessary, not only because of the fallibility of memory
but also in order that such data should be available to any who may
desire to study the plants and especially to those who in future years
may be responsible for the care of the collections.
ACCESSION RECORD CARD
SCIENTIFIC NAME ACC. NUMBER
Seeds, cutting, Plants Common Name
Date Amount From Address Catalog Number
Planted, grafted, budded
Date Place Remarks
Fi.i'RE 1.-Accession Card
Key iliul, to eighteen survey sheets
The system which has been adopted at the Canal Zone Experiment
Gardens and which is being put into operation as effectively as possible
may be described briefly as follows: An accession book is kept in which
entry of each accession is made in chronological order and in numerical
sequence. Each entry in addition to accession number and date of
receipt, gives source, the scientific name and the common name, if any.
This information and such other relative data as may have been received
are transferred to a card which is filed alphabetically in the card catalog
by genus with subdivisions in species. On this card future notes may
be added as desired. The form of the card is shown in Figure i.
When the trees or other plants are transferred from the propagation
houses or nurseries to their permanent place in the Gardens, the exact
location or locations must be recorded on the card. This requires
mapping. During the year the Section of Surveys has completed the
mapping of some of the principal plantings of the Gardens. Plate II
shows the key map and Plate III shows Section "A" of Survey Sheet
No. 6, one of the eighteen survey sheets or detail maps. It will be noted
that survey sheets are divided into sections designated by letters. Each
of these sections has a series of location numbers which proceed by
multiples of ten, each number designating the location of a more or less
permanent plant. The numbers intervening between the. multiples of
ten are held in reserve for any future plantings which may be made.
It will be noted that these are not accession numbers but refer only to
specific locations. Thus a card shows Bambos tulda, common name
bamboo, accession number 578, with other data that may have been
recorded, and indicates the locations of the individual plants, one of
which is shown on sheet 6, section "A" Location No. 740. The exact
location of No. 740 among the plantings can be determined at once by
reference to the map. Each map is accompanied by a complete list of
the plants which are shown on it, with their location numbers. Thus
when a label is lost, an accident which sometimes occurs even with the
exercise of the greatest diligence and watchfulness, it is an easy matter
to determine exactly the identity of the tree, not only as to species and
variety but likewise as to individuality and to refer at once to all records
required in order to restore its proper label.
It will be noted that the name of the plant is not shown on the map.
The chief reason for this is the lack of sufficient space in which to record
legibly the somewhat long scientific names on maps in which there are
many plants quite close together. On maps of orchards or any other
plantings affording sufficient space, specific or varietal names can easily
be inserted on blueprints for ready) reference. The system that has been
worked out for use here involves considerable office work but we have
not yet found anything simpler which includes accuracy and availability
Labels are an ever-present problem in most botanic gardens and
experiment stations. The perfect label at reasonable cost has not yet
been invented. Here several kinds are in use. One of these is a zinc
plate about 42" by 12", mounted upon a pointed strap-iron standard to
which it is attached by bolts. On this the name, the number, etc., are
stenciled in black. The standard is driven into the ground in front of
the tree. The legibility is fairly enduring and the label serves well
until by some accident it is knocked down and after a time is picked up
by some thoughtful but uninformed person who places it in front of
some other tree. Many of our trees are yet too young to have a slab
of zinc of this size attached to them. Labels of embossed aluminum
tape are being used on orchard trees and on many plants in the propagat-
ing houses. The embossing, which is done at the Gardens by a special
machine for this purpose, is permanent and legible but the label is fragile
especially at the point of attachment where the wire passes through it
and consequently many are lost. Furthermore this label is not suffi-
ciently conspicuous and easy to find on a large tree. Perhaps it might
be attached by rust-proof tacks to a termite-proof slab of wood of
sufficient size to be conspicuous. Wooden pot labels, everywhere sub-
ject to rapid decay, become of the most temporary value here in the
tropics. At some botanic gardens, the zinc pot label is being used with
a good degree of success. On this the inscription is made with a pen
dipped in a five percent solution of platinic chloride.
THE MANGOSTEEN (Garcinia mangostana)
The Mangosteen (Plate I) is one of the most highly prized fruits of the
Oriental tropics, being native to Malay and the East Indies. The
fruit is nearly spherical but slightly flattened, presenting a five to seven
rayed, star-shaped marking at the apex, as shown in the illustration,
and a characteristic collar composed of a four-parted persistent calyx
surrounding the green stem, which is about three-eights of an inch in
diameter. The fruit is about two and five-eights inches in diameter,
is dark purple in color when ripe and bears some resemblance externally
to the purple star-apple (Chrysophyllum cainito) but is more handsome.
The rind is thick and tough, affording excellent protection to the white
pulp which is in segments and easily removed, affording a delicate
morsel of unique flavor. The Mangosteen was introduced into the
Isthmus even before these Gardens were in existence by Dr. David
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Fairchild, then Chief of the Office of Foreign Plant Introduction of the
United States Department of Agriculture. Two or three of the first
trees were planted at Frijoles and have produced some fruit for several
years. The progress of those at the Experiment Gardens has been
watched with deep interest. The trees have made excellent growth
and in June and July of 1931, about six years from planting, several
have yielded a few fine fruits. This is considered rather precocious
for mangosteen trees and together with their vigorous, healthy and
undisturbed growth, gives much promise for the future. As no insect
pest or plant disease here is known to menace seriously the trees or
their fruits there should be no difficulty in shipping them into the United
States. The tree being strictly tropical, production in Panama can
never come into competition with similar fruit produced in the United
States but may be expected to meet some competition from other
countries of the Caribbean region, although no extensive plantings have
yet been made in the Western Hemisphere. Observations upon the
behavior of the trees at Summit have led to the belief that they are
much more adaptable to atmospheric and soil conditions within the
tropics than has been commonly supposed. In wet soil they have
kept on growing through the rainy season and in dry season before
irrigation water was available in sufficient quantity, the mangosteen
trees appeared to suffer less than some of the other fruit trees. Also
shade has been regarded as a requisite. Here, in the early years of
their growth in the orchard, the trees were shaded by various devices
and such leaves as were exposed by the breaking down of the shade
frames, showed considerable sunburn but during the past two or three
years no shade has been maintained and there has been no appreciable
evidence of injury.
One obstacle that has retarded progress in the dissemination of mango-
steen trees, for which there has been much demand in the Isthmus, has
been the difficulty of securing sufficient seed. The seed is quite perish-
able and unless specially packed can not endure the long shipment
from the Orient. Also there are few if any seed merchants handling
tropical seeds in the countries where the mangosteen abounds. The
magosteen seed, like that of many other tropical fruit trees, cannot
endure severe drying and, on the other hand, is easily destroyed or
germinated by too much moisture. Hence it becomes necessary to
pack the seed in coconut fiber dust or similar medium with just sufficient
moisture to prevent its shriveling.
There has been considerable speculation and some experimentation
among tropical horticulturists on the subject of possible stocks upon
which to bud or graft the mangosteen. Although apparently good
unions have been effected upon several species no other species has come
into prominence as a stock and the most of the trees now growing are
on their own root system. It is possible that some other stocks may
be found to be of value to bring about a wider adaptability to soils and
climatic conditions and it is not unlikely that the budding of selected
varieties upon mangosteen roots will become important. In the
conditions existing at Summit the mangosteen root itself seems quite
satisfactory. Because the fruit of the mangosteen is well protected
with a very thick rind and can be shipped long distances and because of
its unique appearance and delicate unusual flavor and texture it is quite
likely to become a tropical speciality in the markets of the United
States and Europe as well as in those nearer to the tropical countries
where it can and will be grown.
THE HAWAIIAN COOKING BANANAS
The cooking bananas, as they are commonly called in Hawaii and
other islands of the Pacific, are like plantains in their culinary uses but
are quite different in appearance and in quality. There is a considerable
number of varieties of these, the more important being classed in the
Maoli group. These are characterized by rounded fruits of large size
and blunt or rounded ends, quite in contrast with the pointed or horn-
like fruits of the plantain of the West Indies and Central America.
Two or three varieties of this group were introduced from Hawaii early
in 1929, and some of these have fruited. Plate IV, Figue I, shows a
bunch of one of these varieties known as the Manaiula. This bunch
of 132 fruits in 9 hands weighed 70 pounds. These fruits were distrib-
uted among officials on the Isthmus for trial and to learn how this new
introduction might compare in public favor with the plantains that are
well known and much used here. They were pronounced excellent
and by nearly all were considered far superior to any plantain that
they had eaten. In fact they are in a class by themselves. If allowed
to become thoroughly ripe, even to the degree of the blackening of the
skin, this Manaiula variety of banana when baked is a most delicious
food used either as a vegetable, like baked plantains, or with cream
and sugar as a dessert fruit. One of the favorite methods of cooking
these bananas is to bake them in the skins. They are sometimes baked
in honey. As the Manaiula has prospered so well here, the Gardens will
now propagate this and other Hawaiian varieties as rapidly as possible
for dissemination. Another variety of the same group which has fruited
here is the Eleele. In quality it appears to be equal to Manaiula.
FII'RE 1. Hawaiian ( .kinl Baniana variety Manaiula
LFIG;tRE 2. /,',Pal.,,h',e nilolica fi,','in a new head after
1',inig cut back to a itlIump
PINEAPPLE-VARIETY CAYENNE ("Hawaiian")
In the latter part of October 1929 about three thousand slips and
suckers of Cayenne pineapple were received from Hawaii. This is the
variety upon which the Hawaiian pineapple canning industry is founded
and because of the leading place which Hawaii has taken in pineapple
canning and the prominence which it has given this pineapple, the
variety is often spoken of popularly as the Hawaiian, although the
recognized name is Cayenne. The plants were set out promptly when
received, but they had only two months of good growing weather before
they were overtaken by the dry season. No irrigation water was applied.
However, the plants have made good growth and began to ripen fruit
in June 1931, twenty months after planting, but many of the strongest
plants have not yet fruited. This result is about the same as that
experienced from October plantings in Hawaii. In fact the period
required for maturity in the Isthmus appears to be rather shorter than
in Hawaii, probably due to the fact that weather conditions here are
ideal for growth from the beginning of the rains in April or May until
the first part of January, for even after the rains have ceased there is
sufficient soil moisture for optimum growth of the pineapple for several
weeks. In the major portion of the Hawaiian pineapple belt, growth
is retarded and the plants lose their normal green color during several
months because of a lack of sufficient heat. In Panama, on the Pacific
slope, the time required for maturity could be further shortened by
irrigation during a few months of the dry season, while in the moister
conditions of the Atlantic slope there would be very little time when
irrigation would be of any benefit. In flavor, texture and general
appearance the Cayenne pineapples, grown at Summit, do not appear
to be inferior in any way to the high standard of excellence that has
been attained in Hawaii. Some of the fruits of the Cayenne and of the
Queen variety which has been mentioned in earlier Reports, have been
delivered to the Commissary Division and are reported to have found a
ready sale at prices considerably higher than those received for other
varieties. Both the Cayenne and the Queen have received very high
praise. It will be possible to disseminate a considerable number of
plants during the present year.
THE SOLO PAPAYA
The Solo Papaya, another introduction from Hawaii, has been men-
tioned in earlier Reports. During the year just closed, it has been
grown in sufficient quantity to get the opinion of many residents of the
Zone with whom it has found the highest favor. MNlany have pro-
nounced it to be in a class entirely by itself and superior in flavor and
texture to any other papayas that have been tried. Many plants and
a large quantity of seed of this variety have been disseminated in the
Canal Zone and Panama and seed has been used in exchanges with
many parts of the world.
SUGAR CANE DISSEMINATIONS
It has been mentioned in one or more of the earlier Reports that a
function which the Gardens are performing consists in the introduction
and dissemination of new varieties of sugar cane that may be better
adapted than the old varieties for Panama. Slightly under thirty-six
hundred canes have been sent out. As these would average at least
five cuttings per cane, it is estimated that they represent approximately
eighteen thousand cuttings.
The canes that have been distributed during the past few years have
demonstrated their value and created a demand for more. The varieties
for which there has been the most call are P. 0. J. 2725, P. 0. J. 2714, and
more recently P. 0. J. 2878, which as noted elsewhere has been highly
successful in Cuba.
Calls for the supply of sugar cane cuttings have come also from several
of the neighboring republics.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY PLANTS OF THE YEAR
Among the plants that have become sufficiently established to attract
special attention during the year a few may be mentioned. A shade
tree, Spathodea nilotica, should be noted here. Its congener, S. cam-
panulata, the Tulip Tree or African Fountain Tree, is better known and
is greatly admired wherever it prospers. The species nilotica although
botanically distinct appears to be very similar to its better known relative
but from the practical point of view of the horticulturist and landscape
architect, its chief value appears to be in the fact that it tends to hold
an abundant supply of green foliage and brilliant flowers at a time in
the rainy season when S. campanulata is only sparsely clothed with
over-ripened foliage and has no flowers (Plate VI, Figure 2). If
planted as companion trees, it appears that they would maintain a good
supply of foliage and flowers throughout most of the year.
The Julie variety of mango, introduced from Trinidad early in the
history of the Gardens has come to fruiting this year for the first time
in the Isthmus. Its fruit (Plate V, Figue i) is of large size, somewhat
flattened, free from fiber and of very delicious flavor and texture. It
has been pronounced excellent here by those who are thoroughly
familiar with the best Philippine mangoes.
FIGURE 1.-The Julie Mango
FIGURE 2.-Stii.i, cane variety P. 0. J. 2S79. eleven months after iil.initing
Among the outstanding ornamental plants of the year should be
mentioned Congea tomentosa, a strong growing, vigorous vine, presenting
a mass of magnificent pink-purple clusters of bracts and remaining
in flower for several months. As cut flowers, for decoration, they are a
great success because they retain their beauty for many days. Congea
has flowered here for two or three years but this year a vine came into
flower for the first time at a season when the flowering of the original
plant was about over. If this proves to be a permanent character, the
season for Congea can thus be extended to cover more than six months
of the year. Fortunately Congea is easily propagated by cuttings.
Other new flowering plants that have been universally admired are
thirty or forty varieties of Hawaiian hibiscus. An exhibit of these
exquisite creations in plant life was made in a show window at the
Balboa Commissary and drew large numbers of admirers. The col-
lection included many shades of red, pink, and yellow, and also pure
white single and double flowers. Most hibiscus flowers last less than
one day and only a few persist until evening. A peculiarity lies in the
fact that a flower which on the plant lasts only one day or until late
afternoon, will remain in good condition quite as long or longer if cut
and removed to the house. Also it lasts as long without water as when
water is provided. Because of the rapid wilting of hibiscus flowers and
the fact that they always open in the early morning, they have not
usually been considered available for evening decorations or even for
late afternoon use. However, following a practice which seems to
have developed in Hawaii, it has been found quite practicable to use
hibiscus flowers in the evening. For this purpose it is only necessary
to gather the unopened buds before daybreak, lay them carefully in
shallow pasteboard covered boxes, and place them in an ordinary iced
refrigerator thus keeping them cool and in the dark until the hour when
they are to be used in decoration. They open immediately in daylight
or in electric light and retain well their beauty for six or seven hours.
As the flowers need no water, they are mounted on the prepared midribs
of the mature leaflets of the coconut palms. Hibiscus branches freshly
cut and preferably without too much new and tender growth may be
placed in water in the vase with the flower supports to give a natural
background for the flowers.
NURSERY OPERATIONS AND GENERAL SALES
The operation of the nursery as a separate and self-supporting depart-
ment, carried on at the Gardens, under the Revolving Fund, has been
explained in earlier reports. It has proved to be one of the most
important services which the Gardens can render here in the center of a
vast undeveloped agricultural region where there are no commercial
nurseries to supply these classes of nursery stock. From the nurseries
of the Gardens the progenies of many plant immigrants find their way
into different parts of the Canal Zone, Panama, and the neighboring
republics. The total number of plants disseminated during the year
ending June 30, 1931, is 18,323, including approximately 3,6oo00 sugar
canes of the newly introduced varieties. There were approximately
3,000 grafted or budded fruit trees of mango, avocado and citrus. Not
included in the above are 1,098 sacks of cuttings of grass for use on
lawns and the binding of the shoulders of roads, principally the new
Madden Road. The nursery also sold 6S sacks of sterilized prepared
soil for use in pots and boxes for house plants.
In nursery practice some slight changes have been developed. In
the grafting of young mango seedlings, a tongue graft has in part re-
placed the crown bark graft that has been in use for some years. This
tongue graft is inserted on the side of the stock and the latter is not cut
off until the scion has united. Thus if the scion fails, the stock remains
in good condition for another grafting. In avocado propagation, the
general trend is towards the growing of trees in nursery row rather than
in tubes or tiles as formerly, although a few are still grown in concrete
tubes to satisfy a limited demand. Experiments are still in progress
with the seedling graft in the herbaceous stage as a method for extensive
In the annual report for 1930, reference was made to the special
allotment of about $14,400 for the installation of an irrigation system,
approximately one-half of the amount to be expended in the year 1930
and the balance to be available in 1931 and thereafter. The work
performed in the first year has been described in the report for 1930.
In 1931, the Municipal Engineering Division, with the aid of the
Gamboa labor gang at the Gardens, laid about 3,000 feet of six-inch
cast-iron pipe, connecting with the main line which runs approximately
parallel to Spathodea Road, the principal concrete road passing through
the Gardens. Approximately 1,8oo feet of this pipe lies on the north
side of this road and conducts water to one of the principal nurseries
in Division, or Sheet 7 shown on the survey key map (Plate II); also
to a high promontory in Division 13 (Plot 3); and through Divisions
16, 17, and 18 to the citrus orchards and to new plantation of avocados,
papayas, and nursery stock. About 1,2oo00 feet of the six-inch cast-iron
pipe was laid from the main line through Divisions 12, II, 9, and one
corner of Division 5, there connecting with a small line of the old system
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FIGURE 1.-Casuarina e.-uisetiiilia in Havana, pruned as a formal street tree
FIGURE 2.-Spuathoile' nilotica.-The tall tree to the left in flower and liull f,,i.l1.-
S. campanulata, tallest street to the r iiht. in seed but very little 6,li.i.g
still intact. In all of this 3,000 feet of pipe line, crosses with plugs or
valve outlets were installed at suitable distances so that smaller pipe
may easily be connected for further distribution. There remains an
unexpended balance of approximately $3,550 with which to make
necessary extensions and branch lines.
The shade house at the upper or east side of the Gardens has been
rebuilt by the Constructing Quartermaster during the year. The old
building which was about I5o feet long by 16 feet wide was constructed
many years ago when the present site of the Gardens was used for a
poultry farm. It had become so dilapidated that rebuilding was
necessary. The new construction of the same dimensions was made in
the form of a slat house of the same general type as those built at the
lower end of the Gardens in 1929 and with a small part of one end covered
with a corrugated iron roof to provide a work shed. This type of shade
house with grooved slat roof to prevent the dripping of water upon the
plants has proved quite satisfactory in operation but its durability is
yet to be determined. All lumber was treated with the usual dip to
render it, to some degree, resistant to termites and to decay.
The house which was constructed of galvanized iron pipe and wire
trellis in 1928 is now quite well covered with vines and should give good
service for many years. The most rapidly growing vine on the house is
Tetrastigma hermandii. This is a vine, long-lived, very vigorous, and to
date uninjured by any insects or diseases. It tends to make a shade
rather too dense and must be pruned to admit sufficient light.
An overhead irrigation system has been installed during the year
in all of the plant houses except the one that has just been rebuilt.
Not only is this a great saving in labor during the dry season but it
insures a much more uniform and efficient distribution of water than is
possible by the use of the hose. The effects are clearly to be seen in
Minor repairs have been made on the office building, chiefly because
of termite attacks.
The Gardens, through the Director, have continued to render service
to the Canal Zone towns, the U. S. Army posts, and the Fifteenth Naval
District, by way of advice concerning planting plans for new areas
and in relation to the care of trees, shrubs, and vines in the older and
GAVILAN AREA TOWNSITE
The chief single piece of work in the way of landscape planning
accomplished during the year has been the laying out of plans for the
planting of the Gavilan area townsite, an extension to Balboa. These
plans consisted of designs for street tree planting and also for trees and
shrubs for the yards or little gardens surrounding each house. The map
work recording these designs has been done through the cooperation of
Mr. H. R. Stettin who was designated for this service by the Office
Engineer. The streets, sidewalks, automobile runways approaching the
houses, lampposts, etc., had already been laid out by the engineers and
the work had been completed with the building of the houses before the
question of planting designs was taken up. Briefly it may be said
that the general layout consists of a 35-foot roadway on Gavilan Road,
20-foot roads elsewhere, and 4-foot sidewalks separated from the roads
by a curbing and a 5-foot grass plot. The houses which are of the
design for two families are located about 25 feet from the sidewalk.
A 4-foot concrete walk at each end of the houses leads from the sidewalk
to the front steps. Four 2-foot ribbons of concrete for automobiles
lead to the two garages located in the concrete basement of these
houses. The roofs have a heavy overhang for the necessary protection
of the walls and windows from the tropical sun. This makes a space
of about four feet of soil surface which receives very little rainfall.
The shrubbery has been planted almost entirely outside this area so as
to benefit by the rainfall. This arrangement leaves an excellent spot
back of the regular shrubbery for the growing of such shade-loving plants
as ferns, caladiums, alocasias, dieffenbachias, and others in which the
tenants may be specially interested. The groups of shrubbery have
been placed chiefly with a view of giving an easy, informal, home-like
effect and providing a natural screen to afford privacy in the open base-
ments. These groups have been placed chiefly within a belt about
14 feet wide just outside the drip from the roof. Hedges have been
avoided except as screens for clothes lines in the rear of the houses.
The plants used in the group plantings have included many that are
uncommon, and some of them new in Canal Zone plantings, such as
Cryptostegia madagascariensis, the Madagascar rubber vine or shrub,
Melastoma, a very beautiful free-flowering shrub with dark pink
blooms, a bright shiny green, strong-growing Cordyline, several unusual
Dracaenas, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, the yellow palm or Madagascar
palm, and several new and beautiful varieties of hibiscus
The trees for street plantings are of kinds that are of special attraction
because of their magnificent displays of flowers. These trees have been
placed about six feet from the inner edge of the sidewalks where with
proper training, they should provide shade for the walk without being
in the way of pedestrians. On Gavilan Road the prevailing tree is
Cassia nodosa, the pink-and-white shower, the branches of which are
literally covered with flowers like apple blossoms which persist for many
weeks about the beginning of the wet season. On Akee Street, the
flowering trees are Spathodea, probably S. campanulata, the African
Fountain tree or Tulip tree. It is not impossible, however, that some
of these trees may be hybrids for the seed was collected where trees of
S. nilotica were close enough to cause cross-pollination. Both of these
Spathodeas have attracted much attention at the Experiment Gardens
and have been greatly admired. On Almond Street have been planted
trees of Cassia fistula, the Golden Shower. Of this there is at present
only one really good representative in the Zone towns of the Pacific
slope. This tree which stands in front of the Balboa Fire Station is
probably familiar to all residents because of its large pendant clusters
of yellow flowers which make it an object of conspicuous beauty for
many weeks at the close of the dry season and during the first of the
rains. Calabash Street has been planted to Guaiacum officinale, the
true Lignum-vitae, the source of perhaps the hardest wood in commerce.
This species also is represented in this immediate vicinity by only one
mature specimen so far as we know. This is located in the Santa Ana
Plaza in Panama City. The tree is of good form, retains green foliage
.throughout the year and in season is well supplied with beautiful blue
or purple flowers.
On the streets where Cassias have been planted, these have been
omitted in the spaces immediately in front of the houses and have been
replaced by trees of more upright habit such as Eugenia malaccensis and
Acacia auriculiformis which will rapidly attain a sufficient height to
afford some shade for the houses.
Other trees, some of quite large habit, have been planted where
sufficient space is afforded between and about the houses. Among
these may be mentioned the majestic native Espave, Anacardium
excelsum, and the Palo Maria, Calophyllum calaba. The very beautiful
little pa'm, Seaforthia elegans, has been placed on the sides of the roads,
just at the entrance of the automobile runways.
Requisite Care of These Trees:
Some of the shade trees recently planted in the Gavilan area are of
such habit as to require very careful attention and training during the
first few years of their growth in order to induce an upright form. The
natural tendency of both species of Cassia is to spread near the ground
while young. If trained straight up to a stake, for two or three years,
they will assume good form for street trees and afford shade on the
sidewalk. Side branches below five or six feet should be persistently
removed or cut back so as to retard their growth and force the straight
upward growth. When the main stem of the tree becomes three or
more feet high, we find that leaving a few side branches, cut back within
a few inches of the stem, tends to reduce the number of new side shoots
and will strengthen the main trunk. The side shoots can be cut off close
when the main trunk is well established and the wounds will heal without
injury to the tree. The Spathodea trees will not require so much at-
tention to induce an upright form and may even need to be headed
back after a few months to keep their branches sufficiently near the
ground. The Spathodeas are magnificent trees when young and are
universally admired with their clusters of large, red tulip-like flowers
which give rise to the name Tulip-tree. While comparatively young,
often as early as nine or ten years, they may begin to lose their beauty
of form by the dying of the lower branches, especially if the trees are
crowded. Fortunately, however, these trees lend themselves readily
to a renewal system and if carefully cut back so as to avoid splitting
and bark injury, the wound being covered with asphalt paint, the trees
will send out new branches and form a new head. Plate IV, Figue 2,
shows a Spathodea tree which was cut back a few months before the
photograph was taken for reasons other than those stated above and
much lower than would be recommended for street tree treatment.
It will be seen that a profuse growth of new branches has been sent
out and from these a new head could easily be formed.
Another extension service has been in connection with the plantings
of the new Naval Air Base at Coco Solo. Several consultations on the
subject have been held with Lieutenant C. W. Coryell, the Engineer-in-
charge of construction. Two or three visits to Coco Solo have been
Similar, although less extensive, attention has been given to horti-
cultural problems at the Submarine Base, Coco Solo, at Fort Sherman,
Fort Clayton, Quarry Heights, and Albrook Field.
ROUTINE INSPECTION CALLS
Inspection calls concerning trees and plants in the Canal Zone towns
have been made quite frequently, some of them being for the Govern-
ment and others for private parties. Trips have been made as usual to
a number of farms on the lake to give advice or suggestions.
REPORT OF A TRIP TO BOTANIC GARDENS AND SIMILAR
INSTITUTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES AND CUBA
BY THE DIRECTOR
An abridged form of a report, with illustrations, presented for file and for official reference.
I was absent from the Isthmus on official business from August 3 to
September 21, 1930. I sailed from Cristobal on the S. S. Ulua and
disembarked at Havana on August 6.
In Cuba I visited first the Cuba Sugar Club Experiment Station at
Baragua. This experiment station, under the direction of Mr. D. L.
Van Dine, is devoted exclusively to the problems of sugar-cane culture
and has developed results of great significance to the sugar interests of
Cuba and likewise to those of Panama. Notable among these are the
achievements in the determining of suitable and disease-resistant
varieties of cane and the devising of methods for their very rapid
multiplication and dissemination. One of the chief agricultural ob-
stacles in the way of a successful sugar industry in Cuba, as in Panama,
has been the prevalence of cane diseases. The older varieties there, as
here, have been extremely susceptible to disease, especially to Mosaic.
Several highly resistant forms have been found, notably among the
Java or P. 0. J. varieties. One of he most interesting features of the
work from the standpoint of Panama's cane industry, is the rapidity
that has been achieved in multiplying planting material. On July 29,
1927, a cutting of the variety P. 0. J. 2878 consisting of three buds or
"eyes" was received at the Experiment Station. This represented the
entire stock of the variety in Cuba at that time. After experimenting
rather unsuccessfully with propagation by shoots as a means of rapid
multiplication, a method of propagation by single-eye cuttings was
worked out. This has been so successful that, in 1930, it was estimated
that 30,000 acres of this variety were under cultivation in Cuba, all
the progeny of three eyes or buds introduced three years earlier-
thirty thousand acres from three buds in three years. The methods
worked out by the Experiment Station in Cuba are described in full
by the Director.* Briefly it may be stated that this highly successful
method consists in forcing a rapid growth of vigorous stools from which
canes are removed for seed purposes as soon as each will produce an
Van Dine, D. L.: The intensive propagation of sugar cane for seed purposes. Asociacion de
Tecnicos Azucareros de Cuba. Third Annual Conference Proceedings.
average of about ten buds or "eyes." Such young canes are divided
into single-eye cuttings each of which is planted as the beginning of a
new stool. As soon as the new stool has developed sufficiently, it is
used as a source of more planting material to be handled in the same
manner. In the meantime ratoon canes from the first stools have
developed and these in turn are removed, converted into single-eye
cuttings and planted out. Thus the process is carried on making use of
all canes as soon as they have arrived at a sufficient degree of maturity
to carry out the plan as it has been worked out.
On the part of some cane growers in Panama, there has been a very
natural desire to import seed cane in large quantities to replace as
rapidly as possible the old and failing varieties. This practice, however,
would be fraught with the danger of introducing cane diseases, new to
this country. The most outstanding varieties that have proved success-
ful in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii have been introduced by the Canal
Zone Experiment Gardens and have been disseminated in small lots
among planters in the Republic of Panama. It now remains only to
multiply these extensively on the plantations by the methods just
referred to and it will be only a matter of a year or two when the failing
varieties can be replaced entirely. Other varieties will be introduced
experimentally with the usual precaution in order to avoid insect pests
and plant diseases.
The variety P. 0. J. 2878, mentioned above, is proving to be of
leading importance in Cuba. A growth of eleven months at Baragua,
Cuba, is shown in Plate V, Figure 2. This appears to be a very promis-
ing variety for Panama also but it is yet too soon to know with certainty
what place it must take under conditions here.
HARVARD BOTANICAL GARDENS IN CUBA
The Harvard Botanical Gardens, under the direction of Mr. Robert
M. Grey and located on the Soledad Estate at Cienfuegos, Cuba, have
brought together such a remarkable collection of tropical economic and
ornamental plants that many days would be required to get an adequate
view of what has been achieved there and to collect the seeds and other
propagating material that is so freely offered to the Canal Zone. I
hope to make at some future time a special visit to Cuba for that pur-
pose, as the crowded schedule of the trip last August and September
permitted less than one full day at Soledad. Through the courtesy and
personal attention of Mr. Grey it was possible to make a tour through
the Gardens, collecting seeds of several species and noting very many
others that must be obtained for the Experiment Gardens at Summit,
when opportunity offers.
FIGURE 1.-Some of the plantings and a group of buildings at the Plant Introduction Garden at
Coconut Grove, Florida
FIGI KE 2. --Arnold Arboretum shliwing a vista along one if the pimin ii.il drives
One of the most striking features of the landscape in parts of Cuba
is the Royal Palm (Roystonea regia Cook) standing in magnificent
groves frequently where nature has placed them. In places they
form thickets with their stately trunks and graceful foliage and are so
abundant as to furnish in their seeds a valuable feed for hogs, while the
leaves are sometimes cut and laid on the ground to form a mulch in
citrus orchards. The "heart" or central tender growing portion fur-
nishes the highly prized "palm-cabbage," perhaps not less delicious as
a salad than that of its close relative of other West Indian islands, the
Cabbage palm (R. oleracea Cook). One such feast, however, represents
the sacrifice of the whole tree and, it is said that the Government of
Cuba has sought to protect these magnificent trees by the passing of a
law prohibiting the cutting of them.
Havana has featured the formal type of landscape gardening in its
use of certain varieties of street trees which are common in Panama and
the Canal Zone in their natural forms. Notable among these trees
may be mentioned the so-called Australian "pine" or Australian "oak"
(Casuarina equisetifloia) which, as shown in Plate VI, Figure i, is
pruned in very exact and uniform shapes. The Ficus nitida, or "Chinese
banyan," so familiar to the people of the Canal Zone because of the
universally admired specimens on Roosevelt Avenue, is another tree
which receives the same formal treatment in parts of Havana. In this
formal treatment, as well as in the natural form, the effect is beautiful.
Under conditions prevailing in the Canal Zone, however, the natural
form would be preferred.
On Tuesday, August 12, the journey was continued to Miami, Florida,
and on the morning of the i3th to the United States Plant Introduction
Gardens at Coconut Grove. This is the principal sub-tropical plant
introduction garden of the Office of Foreign Plant Introduction of the
United States Department of Agriculture and is under the immediate
superintendence of Mr. Edward Simmonds. Plate VII1, Figure I,
shows some of the plantings and a group of buildings at this Garden.
Here have been brought together plants of practically all the tropical
and sub-tropical species that have been introduced by the Federal
Government. In view of the fact that the Office of Foreign Plant
Introduction, now under the direction of Mr. Knowles A. Ryerson,
has always manifested the utmost willingness to place plants in the
Canal Zone for trial, Chapman Field was obviously one of the most
important places to be visited in relation to plant introduction on the
Isthmus of Panama. The Gardens are located at Coconut Grove in
South Florida on land that is of coral formation with much coral rock.
One of the interesting features of the region is the luxuriant growth
made by trees and shrubs when they have once become established
in this rocky soil.
Very many plants which were freely offered for use in the Canal Zone
were selected and arrangements were later made with the Washington
Office for the shipment of these to Cristobal. It was expected that
these would be shipped via New Orleans but it was our good fortune
that Mr. Allison V. Armour, with his yacht Utowana, accompanied by
Dr. Thomas Barbour and a group of botanists, made another scientific
expedition into these waters and up the West Coast, bringing the plants
direct and with special care throughout the voyage, so that they arrived
here in excellent condition. The Canal Zone Experiment Gardens and
through them all the people of the Isthmus are greatly indebted to Mr.
Armour and his party as well as to the United States Department of
Agriculture for this assistance in introducing rare and valuable plants
into this country. The complete list of plant accessions in this shipment
is presented in the unabridged official report.
The journey was continued in Florida over the Tamiami Trail, up
the Gulf Coast as far as Tampa and thence over to Orlando through the
Citrus belt, examining en route some excellent commercial collections
of plants, including many species well worthy of introduction here.
A brief call was made at the United States Department of Agriculture
Field Laboratory for the Study of Diseases of Citrus and Sub-tropical
Fruits. This is located at Orlando. The journey was then continued
via Jacksonville to Boston for the purpose of making observations and
studies at the Arnold Arboretum, arriving at Boston on the evening of
Saturday, August 23.
THE ARNOLD ARBORETUM
The Arnold Arboretum is probably the oldest large and general
collection of native and introduced trees under cultivation in America.
As such it is of special interest to the Canal Zone Experiment Gardens,
yet very young, and particularly in matters of general lay-out, botanical
arrangements, records, mapping, etc. Naturally it would not be
expected that an out-of-door collection of plants in Massachusetts
would afford much in plant material for a tropical country and hence the
objective at the Arboretum was not to collect seeds or plants but rather
to study these other features to which reference has just been made.
A feature which is apparent as soon as one enters the main gate is
" -- --, :
FIGURE 1.-Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, showing some of the main buildings
* ~, _
FIGURE 2.-Tree-moving canvas at the Arnold Arboretum
that although the Arboretum is a highly scientific institution for the
culture and study of plants, notably trees and shrubs, nevertheless
service to the general public has not been forgotten. Border plantings
along many parts of the main avenues have been arranged with such
shrubs as will afford a succession of flowers for a long season. Plate VII,
Figure 2, shows a vista along one of these beautiful drives, with oc-
casional benches where the visitor may rest and enjoy the scene.
In the matter of arrangement of trees and shrubs, while those closely
related are grouped together so far as possible, it naturally has not been
possible to maintain a general botanical sequence through the Arboretum.
There are so many different conditions entering into the requirements
of plants of the same family and even of the same genus that they do
not lend themselves well to a wholly taxonomic arrangement.
A valuable piece of equipment in the technique of tree moving was
observed at the Arnold Arboretum, in what may be designated as a
tree-moving canvas. This appliance which has been used very success-
fully, in the moving or large trees is shown in Plate VIII, Figure 2.
This consists essentially of a piece of heavy canvas eighteen inches wide
and twelve feet or more in length, reinforced by heavy ropes, running
at right angles across it and sewn securely into folds in the canvas.
Heavy brass rings are attached to the ropes at both ends. Through
these eyelets or rings, ropes are passed so that when the canvas is put
around a large ball of soil, it is possible to draw in on the ropes, thus draw-
ing the canvas under the edge of the soil and also over the top of it.
The ball of soil is then further bound with ropes to whatever extent
may be necessary to prevent its being broken. The device can be made
in any desired length, or two of moderate length may be tied together
if desired. Mr. Schmidt, the superintendent of plantings reports very
favorably on the success of the device in moving large trees. This
equipment is made in Boston and costs about $20 for one canvas.
It would seem that the appliance would be well adapted to use in the
Canal Zone where it becomes necessary occasionally to move a large
tree with a ball of soil attached. In the tropics where there is no
dormant season for most trees and no frozen soil to hold the ball together,
some device for preventing the earth from falling from the roots is
Other valuable and instructive notations were made among the
plantings of the Arboretum.* Professor Jack, Mr. Schmidt and others
greatly facilitated the work of this brief visit. I regret having not met
For a very interesting and complete statement concerning the Arboretum, the reader should consult
"America's Greatest Garden-The Arnold Arboretum" by E. H. Wilson, M. A., V. M. H., 1925-
The Stamford Company. Boston, Mass.
Dr. E. H. Wilson, at the time Director of the Arboretum, who was
absent on official duty and who, a few months later, met a tragic and
untimely accidental death.
While in Boston the herbarium of Harvard University and the col-
lections of living plants were visited and also Harvard Museum where
was examined the very unique and instructive collection of glass flowers,
illustrating, by enlarged forms, the evolution of the flowers of the plant
BOTANICAL GARDENS IN NEW YORK AND IN BROOKLYN
After a little less than one week in Boston, the journey was continued
to New York for the purpose of making similar observations at the
New York Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In
each of these large and well-established institutions it was possible to
spend only a few days but very much was found of interest and of
value to the comparatively young and undeveloped Gardens of the
Canal Zone. The large conservatories shelter many tropical plants
and in the extensive plantings out-of-doors were large and magnificent
collections of varieties of several flowering plants which have reached
their highest perfection in the Temperate Zone but which can be grown
even in the lowlands of the Isthmus, and more luxuriantly at the higher
altitudes. There were remarkable displays of a very wide range of
varieties in dahlias, gladioli, roses, and cannas. Notations were made of
varieties for trial in the Zone, for although our work is not primarily with
plants of this class, all of them enter into the commercial life of the
community and also add so much to the enjoyment of residents and
visitors that no opportunity to introduce and establish them should be
overlooked. Most of these varieties are obtainable from commercial
houses. Plate VIII, Figure i, shows some of the main buildings of the
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
An observation which impressed me and which must be mentioned
here is the educational use which is being made of the Gardens by the
schools, both at the Bronx and in Brooklyn. Also, in New York
Botanical Gradens, prizes have been offered for the best designs for
cottage gardens of prescribed and very limited dimensions, such as
could be found in a suburban residence lot. The prize-winning designs
are then worked out in actual plantings and these stand throughout the
season as demonstration gardens, at once a source of inspiration and
suggestion to all visitors who may have yards that might thus be trans-
formed into similar, although not necessarily identical, beauty spots
about the home.
Every courtesy was extended to me by the staff of the Gardens both
in New York and in Brooklyn and every opportunity to examine the
herbaria and other permanent collections as well as the growing plants
in the conservatories and out of doors which show a very wide range
of plant life from that of the temperate zone to the strictly tropical
Among the many tropical plants under cultivation in the Canal Zone
Experiment Gardens, there are at least some not now represented in
New York or in Brooklyn, that could be grown in conservatories of
the North. Some exchanges have already begun.
CONFERENCES IN WASHINGTON
I proceeded to Washington on September 8 and continued in service
there until September 21 in conference with officials of the Department
of Agriculture in relation to cooperative and other work in agriculture
being carried on in the Canal Zone. By invitation of the Secretary of
Agriculture of the United States, I attended a number of the sessions
of the "Inter-American Conference on Agriculture," held under the
auspices of the Pan-American Union. The fact that this important
convention was in session, afforded special opportunity to examine some
of the work of the Federal Department of Agriculture, as programs had
been arranged for inspection tours to Arlington Farm and other points
of interest. Here for example was shown the sugar cane introduction
and breeding work of the Department where are grown under glass
the varieties of canes introduced as the result of extended explorations
in New Guinea and other distant countries. After a period of quaran-
tine, these canes, with others from all cane-growing countries, are being
assembled at a recently opened station for sugar cane tests in Puerto
Rico, under the Federal Department of Agriculture. The Inter-
American Conference offered also a unique opportunity to meet men
in similar or related work from most of the Latin-American countries,
and from some of the West Indies including Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto
Rico. The Conference was considered a great success from the stand-
point of the laying of a foundation for mutual understandings, mutual
interests in each others problems and cooperative work. A statement
of the resolutions covering about two hundred pages has been issued
under the title "Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Agri-
culture." The resolutions are printed in four parallel columns in the
English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French languages. Another impor-
tant publication issued by the Pan-American Union as a result of the
Conference is"Lista Selecta de Publicaciones sobreAgricultura Tropical."
This bibliography covers some ninety mimeographed pages of titles,
arranged by subjects, and by authors.
In the conferences at the Federal Department of Agriculture, I called
upon the Secretary of Agriculture, the Chief of the Bureau of Plant
Industry and the chief of many offices for the purpose of discussing the
relation of our work in the Canal Zone to that of the Department of
Annual Report of the
Canal Zone Experiment Gardens
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
CANAL ZONE EXPERIMENT GARDENS,
Summit, Canal Zone, July 13, 1932.
SIR: In the unexpected and unavoidable temporary absence of the
Director, I have prepared and present herewith the Annual Report of
the Canal Zone Experiment Gardens for the year ending June 30, 1932.
WALTER R. LINDSAY,
Supervisor of Cultures,
Acting in Charge.
Mr. RoY R. WATSON,
Balboa Heights, Canal Zone
Through Mr. J. H. K. HUMPHREY,
Assistant Chief Quartermaster.
Vegetable Project ---------------------------------------------------- 34
Roses ------------------------------------------------------------------- 35
Sugar Cane-------------------------------------------------------------- 35
Insect and Plant Diseases-------------------------------------------------- 36
Nursery Operations and Sales---------------------------------------------- 37
Extension Activities ---------------------------------------------------- 38
Buildings and Construction----------------------------------------------- 38
Report of Plant Collection Trip by the Director----------------------------- 39
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE
CANAL ZONE EXPERIMENT GARDENS FOR 1932
By WALTER R. LINDSAY, Supervisor of Cultures
Acting in Charge
The work at the Gardens during the fiscal year just ended has been
carried on along similar lines to that of former years. A great many
valuable plants have been disseminated throughout the Canal Zone,
Panama, and the surrounding countries. Plant and seed exchanges
have been carried on with experiment stations, botanic gardens, and
individuals in different parts of the world. Thus numerous valuable
introductions have been made. Since water is available in all parts
of the Gardens, several hundred new plants were placed in their perma-
nent locations. Each year many new plants or trees are fruiting or
flowering for the first time. At present the Experiment Gardens possess
the largest orchard of fruiting mangosteen trees that exist on the
PERSON N EL
For some years past the Director of the Experiment Gardens has
been trying to secure a trained man to prune and train the trees in the
various townsites. This work has never been properly done, and con-
sequently many trees have been lost or misshapen. In January 1932,
Mr. John P. Keenan, a local young man who has had two years college
training in this work and some experience with the Department of
Agriculture and the United States Forest Service, was secured for this
position. On January 20, 1932, he took up his duties as Agricultural
Aide attached to the organization of the Experiment Gardens and
under the direct supervision of the Director.
Mr. Keenan's work has been greatly appreciated as shown by the
constant demand for him in the different districts. Since January he
has spent the major part of his time in the Balboa District. He has also
done considerable work in Cristobal, Naval Air Base at Coco Solo, and
in the Pedro Miguel District. Practically all the work he has done so
far, with the exception of the training of the young trees in the Gavilan
Area and along Amador Road, has consisted of the treatment of old
trees which have been suffering from neglect for years.
Every year the Experiment Gardens have numerous requests for
vegetable seeds and information regarding vegetables in this region.
Although the Gardens have confined their efforts chiefly to the estab-
lishing of more permanent plants and have not been able to conduct any
extensive experiments in vegetable culture, some simple tests have been
made as a means of securing first-hand information to meet these in-
In January, seeds of summer squash, variety "Paddy Pan," musk-
melon, and watermelon, were planted., The squash grew very rapidly
and produced an average of about twenty-five pounds per plant of
beautiful fruit before the rains started in May. Each fruit was con-
siderably larger than those received from the States and sold in the
Commissaries. During the rainy season the squash continued to
produce an abundance of fruits but the fruits became so badly infested
with Diaphania (the pickle and melon worms), that regardless of our
efforts, none of the fruits were marketable. Up to the present time no
effective control for these worms has been noted.
The muskmelons did as well as the summer squash during the dry
season, each plant producing three distinct crops of fruit and each crop
having an average of eight fruits per plant. Most of the fruits of the
second and third crops matured during May and were infested with
larvae of the melon fly. Thus the melons were not marketable. It
seems quite probable that by planting early (the latter part of October),
two very good crops of melon should be expected before the rains
commence in May.
The watermelons made a very excellent growth but were slow in
setting fruit. A good crop finally set, however, but never matured as
the vines were killed in May by disease. Spraying about once a week
would have been required to have kept the watermelon vines in a
healthy condition. This would certainly not be profitable. It is
possible that watermelons could be grown here profitably if they were
planted early enough to have the fruits ripen during the dry season.
In March the Landreth Seed Company, Bristol, Pennsylvania, sent
the Gardens the following vegetable seeds: Six varieties of sugar corn;
nine varieties each of bush beans and tomatoes; seven varieties of peas;
four varieties of peppers; two varieties each of squash, spinach, and
pumpkins, and one package each of ruta-baga, kale, and beets. It
was desired that these seeds be planted and a report made of their growth
and success or failure.
It is still too early to give a comprehensive report upon these vege-
tables. However, a report can be made of the following:
The tomatoes, peas, and spinach showed nearly one hundred percent
germination, but died off very soon afterwards.
The bush beans are growing nicely and are very prolific. Up to date
over six hundred pounds of beans have been harvested for which the
Commissary paid from nine to twelve cents a pound. The crop has
not been entirely harvested yet.
The mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), as noted in previous reports,
is growing exceptionally well at the Gardens. Trees which fruited in
1931 for the first time are producing considerably more fruits this year
than last. There are also several trees coming into fruit for the first
time this year. There is much interest on the Isthmus in mangosteen
trees; consequently all available seed is being planted. It will be
possible to disseminate approximately one hundred plants during the
Among the outstanding introduction to the Experiment Gardens
during the past year was a large collection of roses from the Brooklyn
Botanic Gardens, New York. These roses, shortly after their arrival,
were budded on three types of root stocks, namely, Haitian or Savage,
I. X. L., and Native Red Rose. Notes were taken at various intervals
comparing the growth of the varieties on each of the stocks. The
purpose of this experiment was to find a superior type of root stock
suitable to conditions on the Isthmus. Very little difference has been
noted between these stocks so far, but it is during the rainy season
that the differences are most likely to be seen. The roses, to a large
extent, were varieties new to the Isthmus and have been received
with a great deal of enthusiasm.
In February, 1929, a strain of the Isabella grape was introduced from
Hawaii. This grape, which is a subtropical fruit, does very well in
Hawaii, often producing two crops a year, and should be tried in this
region. This variety is making only fair growth at the Experiment
Gardens and elsewhere in the Canal Zone and in Panama.
The growing of introduced varieties of sugar cane for distribution
among the cane growers of Panama has been continued along the lines
indicated in former reports. One of the chief objectives in this work is
to find choice canes, well adapted to the conditions in Panama, and
resistant to the Mosaic disease which has been devastating most of the
cane fields of the Isthmus. Most encouraging reports have come in from
the plantations concerning some of the varieties, notably the P. 0. J.
numbers 2725, 2727, 2878, and 2714. Santa Cruz 12 (4), EK 28 and
H o109 have also been reported as doing very well and are worthy of
mention here. Undoubtedly there will be other varieties added to this
list when those varieties, listed elsewhere as having been introduced
from Puerto Rico, become established here.
INSECTS AND PLANT DISEASES
As has been said in a former report, the Gardens do not attempt to
carry on any technical entomological investigations, and all problems
in the identification of insects are referred to Mr. James Zetek, Asso-
ciate Entomologist of the United States Department of Agriculture,
located at Balboa. Mr. Zetek has identified many insects, some of
which cause considerable trouble at the Gardens as well as elsewhere on
the Isthmus. For this reason brief mention is made herein of a few
such problems as seen from a horticultural rather than from an entomo-
One of the most serious insect troubles during the past year was caused
by one or more species of Diaphania (Lepidoptera Pyraustidae), the
larvae of which enters melons, cucumbers, and other cucurbits, thus
destroying hundreds of dollars worth of these fruits every year. No
effective means is known by which these larvae may be combated.
Spraying with arsenates is of very little value. In the North where the
climate is cold, early planting gives some protection. The planting of
squash as a trap crop also aids some but does not give complete satis-
faction. Once these moths get established in a locality the best thing to
do is to burn every cucurbit, including vines and leaves, and not plant
them again in the same plot for at least two years.
A considerable number of citrus fruits, principally oranges, were
destroyed by what appeared to be a yeast-like fungus. From all
external appearances the fruit seemed to be in excellent condition, but
upon cutting them they were found to be exceedingly dry and in many
instances had large brown discolored areas. The fruit was thus worth-
less. The assistance and cooperation of the pathologists of the Bureau
of Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture, Wash-
ington, was solicited and was gladly extended to the Gardens. Con-
sequently, two dozen specimens of oranges were preserved in three
percent formalin and sent to Washington where they were given a careful
microscopic examination by citrus pathologists. These pathologists
reported that they did not find any evidence of infection by yeast,
bacteria, or filamentous fungus, and that they were quite certain that
the condition of the fruit was not caused by the Nematospora which is
prevalent in certain tropical citrus-growing sections.
The papaya fruit fly, Texotiypana Car'icauda, is still doing con-
siderable damage to the papaya industry. Eggs of this fly are deposited
within the fruit at almost any stage of development. Fruits in which
eggs have been successfully deposited may fall off prematurely, but if
the papaya is nearly mature when stung it may remain upon the tree
until ripe. Unfortunately it is not always possible to distinguish
infested fruits by their external appearance; thus not all stung fruits
can be detected and destroyed. Seemingly the only solution to the
problem is to grow varieties of papaya that are not susceptible to the
attack of this fly. The varieties with thick flesh offer much resistance.
The Annual Report for 1931 was not printed owing to lack of sufficient
funds. It is hoped that it can be published this year in conjunction
with the 1932 report as there have been a great many requests for the
Experiment Gardens' Annual Reports.
A revised mimeographed list of plants for sale at the Canal Zone
Experiment Gardens was issued and distributed locally and to corre-
spondents in the neighboring Republics. This, as in the case of the
earlier list, was not sent out to the general mailing list in the United
States and foreign countries as most of the plants covered in this
enumeration are intended for use on the Isthmus or in nearby loca-
tions and cannot easily be shipped long distances by mail. A copy of
this will be mailed to any botanic garden or experiment station, if re-
NURSERY OPERATIONS AND SALES
The operation of the nursery as a separate and self-supporting depart-
ment, carried on at the Gardens under the Revolving Fund, has been
explained in earlier reports. It has proved to be a very important
service to the people of the Isthmus and neighboring countries.
Until recently Mangosteen seedlings have been vxery difficult to raise.
Formerly they were planted in tin cans or clay pots and less than fifty
percent of the seedlings ever reached maturity. In February 1931,
Dr. Wilson Popenoe visited the Gardens and related very successful
experience in planting out very young seedlings into nursery rows.
Consequently very young 'seedling trees were set out early in May.
These young plants have made excellent growth and are ready to be
planted out in their permanent places. It appears to have been fully
demonstrated that young mangosteen seedlings are retarded by root
The Gardens, through the Director, have continued to render service
to the Canal Zone towns, the United States Army posts, and the
Fifteenth Naval District, by way of advice concerning planting plans
for new areas and in relation to the care of trees, shrubs, and vines, in
the older and more established settlements.
BUILDINGS AND CONSTRUCTION
Building No. 12, near the Panama Railroad Station, Summit, which
was formerly occupied by the Cattle Industry, was turned over to the
Experiment Gardens to be used for an office. After some reconstructing
by the Constructing Quartermaster, the building was ready for occu-
pancy about the middle of May. Due to lack of sufficient funds, only
half of the building was renovated. However, the new office is more
convenient, better ventilated, and has considerably more storage space
than the old office.
During the past year an overhead irrigation system has been installed
in all of the plant houses and in the cutting nursery. Not only is this a
great saving in labor during the dry season, but it insures a much more
uniform and efficient distribution of water than is possible by the use
of the hose. The effects are readily seen in the plants.
A new galvanized iron pipe and wire trellis was constructed on the
west side of the greenhouse to accommodate a number of new vines
received within the last year. The metal trellis has proven itself to be
the most economical type for use in this part of the tropics, primarily
because of its resistance to termite attack.
REPORT OF PLANT COLLECTION TRIP IN FEBRUARY AND
By J. E. HIGGINS, Director
On February 14, 1932, I sailed from Cristobal on the S. S. Crijnssen
for La Guayra, Venezuela, calling en route in Colombia at Cartagena and
Puerto Colombia, at Willemstead, Curacao of the Dutch West Indies,
and Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Short trips were made from each of these
ports as time would permit, including a brief visit at Barranquilla from
Puerto Colombia. At most of these points of call, even in the very
short time available, it was possible to get seed of some plant or plants
of value and not yet represented at the Experiment Gardens. Among
these was a handsome flowering shade tree, a species of Cordia (probably
C. sebestina) related to the "Laurel" of Panama, the latter a white
flowered tree rather conspicuous when in full flower towards the end of
the dry season. The species of which seed was collected in Curacao
and seen also in Colombia and Venezuela, was found in two varieties,
one bearing orange-colored flowers and the other red. The trees
appealed to me as worthy of special consideration because they were
holding abundant dark green foliage during the dry season and were
also in flower. The dry season was well advanced and these trees,
wherever seen, were showing a very high degree of drought resistance.
In Curacao where the seed was collected, the most conspicuous plants
in the natural landscape are Cacti indicative of the prolonged drought
which characterizes the climate of Curacao.
A drought-resistant hedge plant, bearing violet-colored flowers, also
attracted attention and supplied seed for testing at Summit. This is
a Barleria, related to the yellow-flowered, moisture-loving species of
this genus, found in Panama. The plant of which seed was collected may
add variety to our somewhat limited list of hedge plants in common
use, and particularly in places where some other kinds would suffer
from insufficient moisture.
Fruit of a palm, probably a species of Bactris, but thought to be differ-
ent from those of Panama, was found in the market at Cartagena and
was brought for trial in the Canal Zone.
Arriving at La Guayra on the morning of February 20, I went at
once by automobile to Caracas which is located in a very beautiful
valley at an altitude of about 3,000 feet, with a flora affording plants
that may be of use at such altitudes in Panama or elsewhere in this
region, as well as others that will also prosper at lower elevations.
Seed of a quite unusual variety of citron was collected in the market.
Unfortunately the time was too limited to trace these fruits back to the
trees from which they came and to secure budwood which would be the
only way of making certain of establishing the variety. The fruit
was of large size, elongated, with very smooth surface and thick rind,
as is required for commercial citron peel such as is imported into the
United States in considerable quantities, in brine for use in the manu-
facture of confectionary.
Besides other things of interest but of minor horticultural importance,
I collected seed of a cypress tree (Cupressus sp) which may prove to be
To one interested in flowers, the flower section of the Caracas market
place, in the early morning, is well worthy of a visit. Here are to be
found many kinds of flowers familiar to travelers from the temperate
zone, for the altitude of 3,000 feet gives the necessary coolness required
by many such plants. The most impressive flowers in the market, how-
ever, are the huge and gorgeous orchids, Cattleya labiata, which in the
cities of America or Europe would be the proud possessions of only the
very wealthy, but are anybody's flowers in Caracas.
At Caracas it was my pleasure to meet Dr. H. Pittier, the distinguished
botanist formerly of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C.,
and who has done so much to increase the knowledge of the flora of the
region of which Panama is the center. I am very grateful to Dr. Pittier
whose courtesy greatly facilitated my observations during the three
days spent in Caracas and its immediate vicinity.
On February 23, I sailed for Puerto Rico which was the chief objective
point in plant collection because of the fact that the island, with its
several experiment stations for agriculture and forestry, has accumu-
lated a large number of introduced species and varieties and has also
developed varieties of much promise especially in sugar canes.
I arrived at San Juan on the morning of February 25, and continued
in plant collection and consultations with agriculturists until the
evening of March ii, when I sailed for Cristobal with the shipment
of plants contained in one wardian case, five boxes, and one package.
The shipment was by the Spanish Line, Compania Transatlantica de
Barcelona, via South American ports and Curacao, and arrived at
Cristobal on March 19. The plants were very carefully packed,
received good care en route, and arrived at Summit in excellent condition.
The plants were again carefully examined, and as an extra precaution
against the introduction of any plant diseases or insect pests, all plants
and cuttings were dipped in a combined insecticide and fungicide,
immediately after removal from the boxes. In all plant introductions
it is extremely important to take precautions against the accidental
introduction of pests along with the desired plants.
Among the most important economic plants in these introductions,
were several varieties of sugar cane new to Panama. These included
varieties P. R. 303 and P. R. 807, both originated at the Experiment
Station at Rio Piedras; F. C. 998 and F. C. 916 originated at the Farjarde
Central in Puerto Rico; and the Java seedling P. 0. J. 2952. Only
a very few selected cuttings of each of these were included in the ship-
ment in order to make possible thorough examination and to avoid
the introduction of cane diseases or insects. With present methods of
propagation, the multiplication of a variety can be effected so rapidly
that there is no need of more than a very few cuttings at the beginning.
In Puerto Rico, prolonged tests with a large number of varieties of
sweet potatoes have resulted in the selection of a very few for further
general propagation. Of these, the varieties Totiempo and Key West
appear to be the most promising and combine unusually heavy yields
with good quality. I brought one tuberous root of each of these
varieties and these have already sent out shoots which will insure the
propagation of the varieties here. Sweet potatoes should be more
generally grown on the Isthmus and it is hoped that these varieties
may be of value in extending cultivations.
Cuttings were obtained from a species of Tamarix (common name
Tamarisk). This is a small tree that may prove of special value for
planting near the seashore in New Cristobal and other localities where
there are heavy winds with salt spray. In such locations, trees of
Tamarix seem to thrive while most other kinds of trees are retarded
or killed by the salt. The genus Tamarix is also interesting as the
source of medicinal elements and it also yields vegetable dyes. One
species of Tamarix, when punctured by a certain scale insect, yields a
substance known as "Manna" similar to that produced by some Euro-
pean ash trees and supposed to resemble the manna referred to in
Biblical literature in connection with the wandering of the Israelites
in the wilderness after their escape from Egypt.
The Tamarix trees are readily propagated by cuttings. Those
that were brought back from Puerto Rico show indications of growth.
Lemasa, Champada, and Champeden are common names, as used in
the Dutch East Indies for Arocarpus polyphemia (.A. champeihen), a
relative of the Jackfruit but said to be far superior to the latter. It
was introduced into Puerto Rico some years ago by Mr. 0. W. Barrett.
The trees at the Trujullo Alto Substation have come into bearing and
from these seed was supplied. This should prove to be a well worth-
while acquisition to the list of tropical fruits in the Canal Zone and
Seed of a white gandule (Cajanus indicus), said to be very superior
for table use, was obtained. It is reputed to be very much more
delicate in flavor than the usual varieties. As the gandule is a standard
food and very commonly used, this new variety may prove to be valuable.
Many varieties of taro (Colocasia esculenta) have been introduced and
established in Puerto Rico. This plant, which is native to Malaysia
and Polynesia, has long been the chief food supply of the natives of the
Pacific islands and is highly esteemed by Caucasians as a most nutritious
and very palatable food. It is so easily digested that physicians
frequently recommend it for invalids. Some of the varieties as grown
in Trinidad are known as Dasheens. Twelve selected varieties of taro
were received from the United States Agricultural Experiment Station
at Maxaguez, P. R., for trial at Summit. This country is in need of a
wider range and larger supply of vegetable foods which can easily be
grown by the native farmers. Perhaps some of these taros will aid in
this diversification and increase in food supply.
Many handsome ornamental plants were included in the collection
among which were twenty-seven named varieties of Dracena (Dracaena
spp. and Cordyline spp.) Dracenas, with their erect stems and showy),
foliage, prosper in Panama and the Canal Zone and are much admired
here. The new kinds will add variety and beauty to the landscape.
The same may be said of the new croton (Codiaeum) and Hisbiscus
varieties which were brought from Puerto Rico.
The Traveler's tree (Raz'enala madagascariensis), sometimes called
the Traveler's palm, is a most unusual object in the landscape presenting
its banana-like leaves in fan-shaped formation. Trees of this kind are
well established at Summit and elsewhere on the Isthmus and always
attract the attention of local visitors as well as those from abroad.
There is a considerable demand for plants which it has not been possible
to supply because the Traveler's tree is tardy in fruiting and none of
our trees have yet produced seed. The tree is reproduced also by off-
shoots but these are few in number. We were fortunate therefore in
being offered some seed by Mr. T. B. McCelland, Director of the
United States Agricultural Experiment Station at Mayaguez, to whom
we are indebted also for a large number of the new kinds of plants
brought from Puerto Rico.
The climbing Star Jasmine (Jasminun pubescens) is a very graceful
and attractive climber with white flowers during most of the year.
Efforts have been made in years past to get this Jasmine. Several
plants were supplied by the Federal Station.
Many other species or varieties of tropical plants were included but
cannot be specifically mentioned in this brief report. There were in all
128 new accessions in the shipment resulting from this trip and other
kinds will follow as they become available.
Special mention must be made of our obligation to the various
organizations which not only supplied plants and propagation material
but also extended many courtesies which greatly facilitated the work of
collecting, packing, and shipping. These include the Insular Depart-
ment of Agriculture with several of its branches and substations,
especially the Insular Experiment Station at Rio Piedras, and the
substation at Trujillo Alto which has already been mentioned; the
Puerto Rico Forest Service; and the Federal Experiment Station at
Mayaquez. A very fine exchange collection of Dracenas and other
plants was received from the North-South Nursery Company located
near Rio Piedras. Dr. E. W. Brandes, Principal Pathologist in charge
of the Office of Sugar Plants of the United States Department of Agri-
culture, who was in Puerto Rico at the time of my visit, kindly offered
the assistance of his office in sending to the Canal Zone Experiment
Gardens, disease-free sugar canes of several varieties direct from
Due to the assistance of all of these institutions and the several
members of their staffs, this brief trip was a very highly successful
plant collecting tour and has added much to the interest of the Gardens
as well as to the economic plants of the Isthmus. As years pass and
these plants mature and are disseminated, their real value will be even
more highly prized.
The very fortunate fact that my stay in Puerto Rico was coincident
with the Conference of the International Society of Sugar Technologists
which was being held at San Juan, made possible a few personal con-
ferences with technical men in the sugar industry in different parts of
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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