The taste is mucilaginous, sweetish and slightly bitter and aromatic. The root is frequently forked, and it is probably owing to this circumstance that medicinal properties were in the first place attributed to it, its resemblance to the body of a man being supposed to indicate that it could restore virile power to the aged and impotent.
When these fires occur while the trees are full of sap, a curious mucilaginous matter is exuded from the half-burnt stems; when dry it is of pale reddish colour, like some of the coarser kinds of gum-arabic, and is soluble in water, the solution resembling gumwater, in place of which it is sometimes used; considerable quantities are collected and sold as " Orenburg gum "; in Siberia and Russia it is occasionally employed as a semi-medicinal food, being esteemed an antiscorbutic. For burning in close stoves and furnaces, larch makes tolerably good fuel, its value being estimated by Hartig as only one-fifth less than that of beech; the charcoal is compact, and is in demand for iron-smelting and other metallurgic uses in some parts of Europe.
Resins when soft are known as oleo-resins, and when containing benzoic or cinnamic acid they are called balsams. Other resinous products are in their natural condition mixed with gum or mucilaginous substances and known as gum-resins.
The oil which exudes is mixed with water and heated till the water boils, and the mucilaginous matter in the oil separates as a scum.
They are then pressed in a large powerful screw-press, and the oily matter which flows out is caught, mixed with an equal proportion of water, and boiled to purify it from mucilaginous and albuminous matter.
Gelatinous or mucilaginous degenerations of cell-walls are frequently employed in the interests of spore dispersal.
Newly pressed rape oil has a dark sherry colour with, at first, scarcely any perceptible smell; but after resting a short time the oil deposits an abundant mucilaginous slime, and by taking up oxygen it acquires a peculiar disagreeable odour and an acrid taste.
There is usually distinguishable upon the surface of the oosphere an area free from chlorophyll, known as the receptive spot, at which the fusion with the antherozoid takes place; and in many cases, before fertilization, a small mucilaginous mass has been observed to separate itself off from the oosphere at this point and to escape through the pore.
While there is a general tendency in the group to mucilaginous degeneration of the cell-wall, in Laminaria digitata there are also glands secreting a plentiful mucilage.
The brown testa contains, in the outer of the four coats into which it is microscopically distinguishable, an abundant secretion of mucilaginous matter; and it has within it a thin layer of albumen, enclosing a pair of large oily cotyledons.
On storing, moisture and mucilaginous matter gradually settle out.
Frequent doses of a teaspoonful of tannin dissolved ' in water should be administered, together with strong tea and coffee and mucilaginous fluids.