« PoprzedniaDalej »
include other matters the omission of which we must regard as an actual defect in the work. But we are not wishing to censure this publication just because it is not found to harmonize with our own individual standard of perfection. Whether taken by itself and for itself, or viewed in comparison with other volumes of its class, the 'Flora of Forfarshire' may be honestly pronounced a work creditable to its author's abilities and taste, and an useful contribution to science; and while it exhibits occasional defects and inaccuracies, these are much more than counterbalanced by that which is accurate and valuable.
Among the recommendations of the work, we may probably say that it gives a very full list of the plants, cellular as well as vascular; the latter likely to prove almost a complete list for the county. They are arranged by natural orders, which every local flora ought to be, as was long since particularly urged on local authors by the illustrious Humboldt, the laborious collector and connector of local facts in Natural History. Generally, too, the author appears to have written with truth and good faith his opinions respecting the nativity or otherwise of the species, and the reasons for supposing them to be one or the other. And when we look at the reprehensible custom with many other local writers, of straining the truth for the silly vanity of making their district (or its flora) appear rich in botanical rarities, we must regard the greater sincerity of Mr. Gardiner with no small approval. Some notices are occasionally given about the range of altitude over which the species extend, and we could wish they had been more frequent and more precise.
Among the superfluities we would particularly instance a most unreasonable quantity of poetry, irrelevant in a scientific publication, and not of high quality in its own character, being either feebly pretty versifications, or poems of higher mark which have been rendered stale by reiterated quotation. Thus, Hypericum pulchrum and Bellis perennis usher in some sixty lines of verse apiece; Primula vulgaris and Rubus fruticosus have over thirty lines each; some two dozen lines are devoted to Myosotis in general or generically, and then the Myosotis alpestris has near three dozen more for its own particular share,—being mentioned probably for the purpose of bringing in the verses, as that species has not been found in Forfarshire. Numerous other plants are be-tailed with their half-dozen, or one dozen, or two dozen lines of rhyme. Another superfluity is seen in the running references to the pages of Hooker's 'British Flora' and Babington's Manual for each species in succession; as if anything more could be
required for identification, than the giving of synonymes for those species which stand under a different name in the 'Forfarshire Flora.' Nor are these two kinds the only superfluities which might better have been omitted.
Among the defects we reckon the want of regular and sufficiently precise notices relating to the range of altitude for the species. Probably the requisite time and care could not be devoted to actual measurement with instruments; but successive zones might have been adopted, after the example of Wahlenberg, Webb, Watson, and many others; or, failing the power of generalising thus far, the extension of the species inland from the coast, into the glens, and up the mountain acclivities, or to their table-lands, might have been readily indicated in the form of individual facts. In some instances the alleged time of flowering must have been borrowed from the general floras; at least it has been entered not on the author's own observation within the county, Various localities are cited on the authority of parties whose names we have never before met with among those of botanists; and being thus quite unprepared to estimate the reliance which may be placed upon their knowledge of plants, we greatly miss the needful intimation whether the author of the Flora had, or had not, seen a specimen of the species from the alleged locality for it. In looking at the species enumerated or commented on under certain genera, such as Bromus and Hieracium, we cannot escape a conviction that some grave errors have been committed, perhaps attributable to the disadvantages attendant on a provincial residence, far from good botanical libraries and standard herbaria. It is to be regretted also, that the author should not have had the advantage of studying the second editions of Newman's Ferns and Babington's Manual before printing his own volume. The fifth edition of the 'British Flora,' which is Mr. Gardiner's standard for nomenclature and species, was scarcely brought up to the existing state of botanical knowledge in Britain at the date of its publication, in 1842; and since that time no inconsiderable progress has been made in correcting errors and adding to knowledge on the subject. We regret, also, to see how very little the author of the Forfarshire Flora' has been able to effect towards solving the doubts respecting many of Don's plants and localities. Indeed, several of the most dubious county plants are given without a word of doubt or uncertainty, as if their existence there were a point clearly ascertained and admitted. One of the first species concerning which we sought information from the Flora, was Centaurea Jacea. It is enumerated among the Forfarshire plants
without a word of comment, and in such form as to make it appear a genuine native.
Various circumstances combine to give more than ordinary interest to a 'Flora of Forfarshire.' Wide diversities of elevation, and consequently of climate, within an area of small extent, offered excellent opportunities and facilities for giving a philosophical character to its published Flora. The botanico-historical and scientific interest which attaches to its localities, through the discoveries of Don, the writings of Smith, and the recorded visits of the Scottish professors and many other distinguished botanists, also add no little to its botanical importance. It is the consideration of such circumstances as these which has given a more general character to our present remarks; and lest it be thought that Mr. Gardiner's volume has suffered by being thus subjected to a more trying comparison than usual with such local publications, we take leave to repeat our honest conviction that, if taken by itself, apart from such considerations and the remarks which may have flowed from them, the 'Flora of Forfarshire' is a valuable and acceptable addition to the published records of British Botany.
Remarks on certain "Excluded Species" placed at the end of the 'London Catalogue.' By JOSEPH SIDEBOTHAM, Esq.
AT the conclusion of the second edition of the 'London Catalogue is a list of excluded species, in which I am sorry to see the names of several favourites, besides a considerable number of species which I always considered on the authority of others as fully naturalized. Would it not be well for every reader of the 'Phytologist' to look over the list, and if he can restore any of the species to an honourable place in our flora, to do so through the medium of its pages? Allow me to notice one or two.
Oxalis stricta.--I know little of the localities for this plant in the south of England. Mr. Ralfs sent specimens some years ago, which were the first I ever saw they were from the neighbourhood of Penzance. It is rather a common plant here, occurring as a weed in many gardens and nursery-grounds. In some gardens and potatofields near Didsbury it is quite a troublesome weed, and my late friend E. S. Wilson found it equally common in the neighbourhood of Congleton.
Gentiana acaulis. — Mr. Townley, of Manchester, gathered this plant several times on sand-hills near Liverpool, where he described it as growing in abundance, far apart from any cultivation. I have seen and possess some of his specimens which were brought in a living state to the late Mr. Crozier.
Datura Stramonium.-Ought we not to consider this plant as fully naturalized as any of our occasional visitors? I have known several instances in this neighbourhood and near Nottingham where it has made its appearance in considerable quantities, where land has been cleared for building, &c.
Castanea vulgaris.-Surely this ought not to be excluded and the poplars retained in our lists. If a thousand years' residence in one country is not sufficient to naturalize a species, I fear many others must be similarly banished.
Notes on Shropshire Rubi. By the Rev. W. A. LEIGHTON, B.A., F.B.S. E. & L.
In publishing a series of dried specimens of brambles in illustration of my Flora of Shropshire,' it may be perhaps useful to those who possess both these works, as well as to botanists generally, if I insert in the pages of the 'Phytologist' a few notes explanatory of the changes which the valuable researches of Messrs. Babington, Dr. Bell Salter and others have rendered necessary, and the additional knowledge and information which continued investigation in this perplexing genus has brought to light.
In doing this, as every trivial distinguishing mark between various forms in so difficult a genus seems, in our present unsettled state of knowledge, worthy of being noticed, I purpose to set down such characters as I have observed, which, if constant, may prove useful as points of discrimination. They have been gathered from a comparison of a tolerably extensive collection of our British forms, and are offered, not in a decided tone of absolute certainty, but are rather thrown out as hints to students, to test them on the living plants, and
* I may as well take the opportunity of stating that a few copies of the 'Fasciculus of Shropshire Rubi' still remain on hand, and may be had on application to the writer.
if found to be correct to adopt and use them; if otherwise, to reject or correct them. I therefore would wish them to be received and understood in the spirit of Linnæus's mind when he penned the following words: "Quanquam multas observaverim plantas et sedulo quidem, tamen non confido me semper veritatem invenisse."
1. R. Idæus, Linn.—I am not aware of any change here.
2. R. suberectus, And.
This includes R. suberectus and R. plicatus, Fl. Shropsh. 223. the time of the publication of the Fl. Shropsh. I was not acquainted with the true suberectus. But having subsequently an opportunity of showing my friend Babington the plant described as plicatus in the Flora, in its native locality, he at once recognised it as the true suberectus. The synonymy of this species as regards our Shropshire Flora will stand thus :
R. suberectus, And.
R. suberectus and R. plicatus, Fl. Shropsh. 223. R. suberectus, And. Linn. Trans. xi. 218, t. 16. E. Bot. t. 2572. E. Fl. ii. 406. a. Bab. Syn. R. suberectus (not of And.) Lindl. Syn. 2nd ed. 92.
The specimens sent by Mr. W. Wilson from Woolston Moor, Lancashire, mentioned in Fl. Shropsh. 224, are referred by Mr. Babington to plicatus (Bab. Syn.).
The sharply pointed, rather elongated and mucronate, double serratures, all directed more or less forward to the apex of the leaves; the prickles of the barren stem confined to the angles, few and distant, short and stout, arising from a dilated base, which they scarcely exceed in length; may be perhaps, as characteristic marks of this species, added to the "attenuated base of the floral leaves," as pointed out in Babington's Synopsis.
Of this plant specimens are given in the 'Fasciculus of Shropshire Rubi.'
3. R. fissus, Fl. Shropsh. 225.
This plant Lindley identified as R. fissus of his Synopsis, 2nd ed. p. 92, but Babington, in his Synopsis, rather questions their identity; inclining to believe this a state of suberectus. Be this as it may, have never seen anything as yet in the plants themselves, which grow together in the same locality, to shake my opinion as to their being distinct. The habit and general appearance of the two plants when seen together are totally different. The colour of the fruit is similar
in both, as Babington describes it, "atro-sanguineus:" but the calyx is reflexed in suberectus; erecto-patent in fissus.