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mens so named in the herbarium of the Linnean Society. At the present moment I am also sending to Mr. Watson for his inspection ordinary examples of that common plant which I have figured and described under the name of Equisetum fluviatile. I shall feel much obliged to Mr. Watson if he will state in an early number of the 'Phytologist,' whether he considers the Linnean specimens and those of the common London plant which I have sent him, are or are not individuals of one and the same species?
Believing that Mr. Watson will at once decide that the specimens in question belong to the same species, and will with his usual candour give the public the benefit of his decision, I will venture on a second question. Knowing that a discrepancy has not unfrequently been detected between descriptions and the specimens to which they are supposed to refer, I would ask Mr. Watson whether he detects any discrepancy between the descriptions and specimens of Linneus in the present instance that induce any doubt as to their perfect accordance?
Supposing that Mr. Watson's answers favour my view of this subject, I shall consider it worth while to point out what I believe to be an original error on the part of Fries, and a copied error on the part of Mr. Babington; but on the other hand, supposing Mr. Watson answers my questions in the negative, I shall not presume to trouble the readers of the 'Phytologist' with any further remarks upon the subject.
Botanical Extracts from James Backhouse's Visit to the Mauritius,
Signal Mountain.-" The soil of this narrow, basaltic ridge is good, and produces grass and bushes, with many beautiful plants, some of which have originally belonged to other countries, but have become naturalized. Here we gathered an elegant fern, Adiantum rhizophorum, growing in the crevices of the rocks. The facility with which plants establish themselves in such a climate and soil, renders it difficult to distinguish between those originally native and those introduced. Among the latter is Omocarpum sennoides, the plant producing the little, scarlet, bead-like peas with black ends, often seen
in cabinets in England: it is a trailing bush, with spikes of small, pink pea-flowers, and rather dirty-looking pods.
most of the pods had Before ripening, they
"Before breakfast, I walked to the ascent of the hills behind Port Louis. The trees in this part are not lofty. The tamarind (Tamarindus indicus), is about as large as the ash: its branches are slender, and its leaf small: its fruit was nearly over; become dry, and were perforated by insects. are powerfully acid, but in this state they are used in curries, and are eaten with salt, which is also used in this country to moderate the acid of sour oranges, &c. The fragrant Mauritian jasmine (Jasminum mauritianum), with eight-cleft flowers and trifoliate leaves, andn umerous other shrubs, were growing thickly in various places, and great numbers of a beautiful butterfly were feasting on the nectar of Tiaridium indicum, a plant resembling heliotrope, and called in this country herbe aux papillons, or butterfly's plant."-p. 7.
3rd Mo. 19th.-"I walked to the Cemetery, which is at a short distance from the town, and near the sea. It is approached by a long avenue of the Filao (Casuarina lateriflora), a leafless tree from Madagascar, attaining to a considerable height, and having drooping branches, clothed with green, slender, pendant, jointed, rush-like spray, through which the wind whistles with a mournful sound.". -p.
"On the borders of a shady part of the road near Pamplemousses, the beautiful orange and white varieties of Thunbergia alata were growing, much in the manner that ground-ivy grows in England; and by the side of a brook, there was a species of Papyrus or paper reed; and a remarkable palm from Madagascar, from the fibres of which beautiful cloth, resembling stuff, is manufactured.”—p. 16.
"In the rocky wood at the head of the aqueduct there are several fine ferns; among them is one which closely resembles Acrostichum fraxinifolium of Moreton Bay. A beautiful climber of the Convolvulus tribe, Quamoclit angulata, produces such a profusion of scarlet flowers among the shrubs that border the river, as to have obtained a name signifying "fire in the bush.”—p. 23.
"The traveller's tree (Urania speciosa), forms a striking feature in the prospect. Clumps of these trees, composed of several stems rising from the same root, are scattered over the country in all directions. The trunks, or more properly root-stocks, which are about three feet in circumference, sometimes attain to thirty feet in height; but whether of this elevation, or scarcely emerging above ground, they support grand crests of leaves, of about four feet long, and one
foot wide, but often torn into comb-like shreds. The head is of a fan-like form, and the flowers, which are not striking for their beauty, are white, and produced from large, horizontal, green sheaths. The foot-stalks of the leaves, which are somewhat shorter than the leaves themselves, yield a copious supply of fresh water, very grateful to the traveller, on having their margins cut away near to thebase, or forced from contact with those immediately above them, especially those about the middle of the series. The root-stock is of a soft, cellular substance, and the fruit, which resembles a small Banana, is dry, and not edible. This remarkable vegetable production is said to grow in the most arid countries, and thus to be provided for the refreshment of man in a dry and thirsty land. Probably the water may originate in the condensation of dew, and be collected and retained by the peculiar structure of the leaf: it has a slight taste of the tree, but is not disagreeable. The Badamier (Terminalia Badamia), a handsome tree, with large, obovate leaves, and fruit the size of an almond in its husk, abounds in this direction. The spongy shell is so tough as to render access difficult to its small kernel, which is like a young hazelnut in flavour. A species of cinnamon (Laurus cupularis), forms a handsome bush in the borders of the woods. I also noticed a species of Mimusops, forming a small tree, with a fruit the size of a nonpareil apple.
"The mango (Mangifera indica), which was introduced into this Island, had become naturalized here, along with several other fruit trees, such as the apple-fruited Guava (Psidium pomiferum), and the Jamrose (Jambosa vulgaris). The pineapple (Bromelia Ananas), forms impassable thickets: its fruit is sold for a few pence at the bazaars. Gloriosa superba, or an allied species of this beautiful plant, of the lily tribe, was growing in an elevated wood, by the side of a streamlet, on the borders of which Andromeda salicifolia formed a considerable tree. Numerous species of Pandanus, or screw-pine, ferns, climbers of the Convolvulus tribe, some of which were very beautiful, and many other interesting plants, were also growing here."- p. 31. "Here we explored some portions of the forest which covers the mountain territory lying toward the centre of the Island, and some of which is nearly 2,000 feet above the level of the sea. Some of the trees exhibit the luxuriance common to a tropical climate, and have a variety of Orchideous epiphytes, ferns, Peperomias, &c., growing on their trunks, while others are dead or dying, from the combined injury of hurricanes and white ants."-p. 33.
BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH.
Thursday, February 10th, 1848.-The Rev. Dr. Fleming, President, in the chair.
Donations to the museum and library were presented. From Colonel Low a collection of plants from Penang; from Mr. D. Boyle a large collection of plants from Geelong, near Port Philip; Scottish plants from Mr. Evans; the 'Flora of Forfarshire' from Mr. W. Gardiner, Dundee; 'Botany of the Bass' from Dr. Balfour, &c. thanks of the Society were voted to the donors.
The following communication was read: "Account of a Botanical Excursion to Braemar, Clova, and Ben Lawers, with pupils, in August, 1847," by Professor Balfour. Having made some general observations on the Botany of the alpine districts of Scotland, Dr. Balfour proceeded to give a detailed account of the localities visited and the plants gathered.
From Aberdeen the party went to Ballater, thence by Lochnagar to Castleton of Braemar, where they remained ten days, examining Ben Aven, Ben na Muich Dhui (on the top of which they slept for a night), Cairn Toul, Breriach, Glen Callater, Clova, Glen Isla, &c. Leaving Braemar, they walked by Glen Tilt to Blair Athol, and thence by the Pass of Killiecrankie to Kenmore, Ben Lawers, and Loch Lomond.
All the usual, and many very rare alpine species were gathered. Carex leporina was picked both on Lochnagar and on Cairn Toul; Carex vaginata was found on every hill in the Braemar district; Woodsia hyperborea was gathered in Glen Isla, Glen Phee, Clova, and on Ben Lawers; and Luzula arcuata was seen on all the lofty summits in the vicinity of Ben na Muich Dhui: Mulgedium alpinum was detected in considerable quantity on Lochnagar; also a beautiful variety of Hieracium alpinum, with remarkably long leaves, and involucres covered with long, white, silky hairs: it is probably the H. villosum of Smith, or H. alpinum, var. longifolium of 'Flora Silesia.'
In the vicinity of Ballater, and also in Glen Tilt, Equisetum umbrosum grew in profusion. The sides of Loch Etichan and the rocks near Loch Aven were covered with numerous alpine varieties of Hieracia, presenting remarkable transition forms; among them were H. alpinum, Halleri, nigrescens, Lawsoni, &c.
Orobus niger was gathered at the Pass of Killiecrankie.
Dr. Balfour then made some remarks on the progress of vegetation in the vicinity of Edinburgh, and the injury done by the late frost, in the course of which he stated that Galanthus nivalis was in flower in the Botanic Garden, and Eranthis hyemalis in Dr. Neill's garden, on the 10th inst.
The following gentlemen were elected ordinary fellows, viz., Alexander Christison, Esq., 40, Moray Place; John M'Gilchrist, Esq., 8, Keir Street; George Edward Allshorn, Esq., 63, Hanover Street; William Douglas, Esq., 47, George Square; J. H. Skinner, Esq., 18, Carlton Terrace; Dalhousie Tait, Esq., 7, Shandwick Place; Philip J. Van der Byl, 41, Clerk Street.-W. W. E.
Note on some examples of Polystichum angulare distributed by the Botanical Society of London. By THOMAS MOORE, Esq.
IN noticing some specimens of Polystichum angulare, which I communicated to the Botanical Society of London, Mr. Watson has remarked (Phytol. iii. 45) that he does not know why they are distinguished by a series of numbers-1 to 7. As most of those into whose hands the specimens have fallen are probably readers of the 'Phytologist,' I may perhaps be allowed to offer a few remarks explanatory of the reason why the specimens sent to the Society were thus distinguished. They were intended to illustrate some of the varieties of form and character which this species of fern assumes, even in the same locality, and growing under circumstances precisely similar. The plants from which were gathered the fronds which have been distributed, were all growing on the same bank, within perhaps twenty yards of each other, and subjected to no appreciable difference of circumstance; and yet each plant presented more or less apparent differences, and probably no two of the many plants there growing would be found exactly identical in the shape of their pinnules, and in the development of the spinose serratures, and the basal lobe. It was thought that those who had never paid attention to the variations which occur among the individual plants of these species of ferns, might be interested in this evidence of that variation, occurring under circumstances in all respects similar; and those who had not yet learned the lesson, that in nature the groups of individuals which we call species* are not moulded with the precision of an artist, might
* Can any reader of the 'Phytologist' give a good definition of what should be understood by a "species?"