Abies larix. Larch.
Also see: Abies balsamea. Balm of Gilead. - Abies canadensis. Hemlock spruce. - Abies excelsa. Norway Pine. - Abies larix. Larch. - Abies nigra. Black spruce. Double spruce. - Abies picea. Silver pine.
Nat. Ord.— Pinaecae. Sex. Syst.— Monoecia Monadelphia.
Resinous Exudation. Venice turpentine. (See Oleum Terebinthinae.)
Description. — The Larch is a tree of straight and lofty growth, with wide-spreading branches, whose extremities droop in the most graceful manner. The buds are alternate, perennial, cup-shaped, scaly, producing annually a pencil-like tuft of very numerous, spreading, linear, bluntish, entire, smooth, tender, bright-green, deciduous leaves, about an inch long. Male flowers, drooping, about half an inch long, yellow; female catkins, erect, larger than the male flowers, and variegated with green and pink ; cones, erect, ovate, about an inch long, purple when young, reddish-brown when ripe, their scales spreading, orbicular, slightly reflexed, and cracked at the margin. It is a native of the mountainous regions of the north and middle of Europe.
History. — The trunk of the tree furnishes Venice Turpentine ; and a peculiar saccharine substance exudes from the branches, called Manna of Briancon. When the larch forests in Russia take fire, a gum issues from the trees during their combustion, which is termed "Gum Orenberg," and which is wholly soluble in water like Gum Arabic.
Genuine Venice Turpentine is a viscid liquid, of the consistence of honey, of a yellowish or slightly-greenish color, and imperfectly transparent ; it flows with difficulty, has a strong, not disagreeable odor, and a warm, bitterish, and very acrid taste. It is wholly soluble in alcohol. The factitious Venice turpentine is of a brownish color, and is made by dissolving resin in oil of turpentine.
Properties and Uses. — (See Oil of Turpentine.)
Off. Prep. — Unguentum Stramonii Compositum.