Written by French botanists who explored North American forests in the late 1700s, The North American Sylva is a monumental work with masterful illustrations and extensive botanic profiles. The book would help France reforest its post-war countryside, and become a landmark in North American forestry. Today, it remains readable and interesting—certainly a work of evergreen value.
"This tree, which surpasses most others in North America in height and in the beauty of its foliage and of its flowers, is also one of the most interesting from the numerous and useful applications of its wood.
In the large towns in the United States, [the tree's] boards ... are exclusively used for the panels of coaches and chaises. When perfectly dry they receive paint well and admit of a brilliant polish. The vicinity of Boston does not produce this tree, and the coach-makers procure it from New York and Philadelphia.
In the spring, [the flowers] are gathered by the women and children in the neighborhood of New York, and sold in the markets of that city."