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The Swamp Bay M


M. glauca, Linn.

The swamp bay has lustrous, bright green leaves with silvery linings. In Florida and across to Texas and Arkan sas it grows into a superb evergreen tree, fifty to seventy five feet in height. Northward along the Atlantic Coast its growth is stunted as the climate becomes more rigorous, until it reaches Massachusetts and Long Island, where it becomes a many-stemmed shrub, whose beautiful leaves fall in the autumn. On the streets of cities near the New Jersey swamps the flowers of the swamp bay are offered for sale in May. The buds are almost globular, and each one is surrounded by a cluster of new leaves. To spring back these waxy white petals, that arc marred by a touch, is criminal; but it is the common practice with boys who hawk these flowers on the streets. Most of the charm is

gone from flowers thus defiled by dingy fingers.

The finest flowers are borne on strong young shoots. The florists collect and handle them with extreme care. Much of the swamp land now useless along the Atlantic seaboard could be profitably planted to this magnolia, for the florist trade alone. The flowers bloom slowly through a period of several weeks. The enterprising owner of tracts planted to swamp bay could reap two harvests a year, al most from the first season: the flowers in spring and the leafy shoots for holiday decorations. In the South the leaves are evergreen.

flowers and leaves