Sassafras Oil.—The manufacture of sassafras oil has been conducted for the past two years in Richmond, Va., on an extensive scale. The oil manufactured amounts to two per cent. of the stock used, 800 pounds of unrectified oil being made from 40,000 pounds of the root. This quantity is further reduced by rectification and cleansing from sediment and impurity. A gallon of the fine oil weighs 10 pounds, and about 40 gallons are produced every week. The root is first cut up fine by a chopping machine, and the raw materials are placed in a large tub, which is closed, and steam is then forced through the mass. The oil is then distilled by the ordinary process. It is largely used for scenting toilet soap, and for flavoring tobacco.—Med. and Surg. Rep., Aug. 26, 1871.
Cinchona Plantations.—In a report of Mr. W. G. McIvor, the Superintendent of the Government Cinchona Plantations in British Sikkim, he says that the state of the plantations near Darjeeling is very unsatisfactory. The plants have not the luxuriant foliage of those grown in the south of India, and trees of equal height do not produce an equal amount of bark, the trees being of more slender growth and the bark thinner. The climate is very moist, being rarely free from rain, and seems admirably adapted for the growth of cinchona; but the trees appear to thrive for three years at most, and then to become diseased.—Pharm. Journ. and Trans., Lond., Aug. 12, 1871.
Plants Killed by Frost: Do they Die in Freezing or in Thawing?—That in certain cases plants die in freezing, is shown by Prof. Goeppert, of Breslau, in a very satisfactory way, in an article in a recent number of Bot. Zeitung. The flowers of certain Orchids, notably the milk-white blossoms of Calanthe veratrifolia, produce indigo; but only upon a chemical reaction, which takes effect upon the death of the parts. When crushed, or the cells in any way destroyed as to vitality, they turn blue immediately. Now, upon exposure to cold, the flowers turn blue at once upon freezing, showing that life then departed. Phaius grandiflorus and another species of that genus, are said to show the same thing.—Amer. Journ. Science and Arts, Sept., 1871.