« PreviousContinue »
Journal of Botany, coincide very closely with those advanced by Link, Schleiden, and at one time by Gay. Not to occupy your space with well-worn controversial matter, I would again merely refer for the history of the subject to M. Gay's papers, in the 6th and 7th volumes of the 'Bulletin of the Botanical Society of France,' and to the brief summary that I have prefixed to my former communication on this subject, Journ. of Botany, vol. iii. p. 105.
Considered abstractedly, there is of course no reason why petals should not be provided with appendages, "ligules" as Schleiden calls them, or rather as his translator renders the term ; and no reason why they may not become confluent into a “corona." However true this may be in some cases, it is not correct, I believe, in this particular instance. Nor can I agree with Mr. Smith that it is indefensible to account for “the presence of the corona by a duplication or triplication of the perianthial segments, or an imperfect condition of an additional series of stamens or two series." Mr. Smith's words, which I now quote, are very plausible,- so much so, that they will no doubt carry conviction to those who read them without having perused what has been written by others, or who have not investigated the matter for themselves. “There is," says the gentleman to whom I have just referred, “as much reason to suppose the corona an abnormal growth of an additional series of the perianth, when it is petal-like, as it is to suppose it an abnormal condition of another series of stamens, or two series when it bears anthers.” Now, on the surface this is so reasonable, that no one could withhold assent; when the relative position, and especially when the anatomical conformation of any supplementary organ coincides with those proper to the petals or to the stamens, as the case may be, it is surely “defensible” to consider such supplementary organ to be a modification of a petal or a stamen, etc.; and so if, in certain flowers, the corona puts on more or less of the appearance of the anther-lobe, one is justified in considering the corona to be a modification of the anther-lobe; the latter is constant and as it were perfect; the former is exceptional, transitional, and rudimentary.
In Mr. Smith's own figures (t. 47. f. 9), I find evidence of a similar structure to that which I myself drew attention. There is in the figure to which I have just referred a stamen whose connective is relatively very large and petal-like and which bears on either margin, near the base, two corona-like processes which I should look on as rudimentary anther-lobes. I do not know whether these have escaped Mr. Smith's notice ; if they have done so, he might fairly have considered the supernumerary segment to be an adventitious petal.
As to the term “stipule,” every morphologist will admit that under this head several widely-different things have been and are grouped together; and therefore until the true nature of the so-called "petal-stipules” shall be better understood than it is at present, it will be preferable to make use of some general term, such as scales or corona. Not having examined the stigma of Sarracenia in a fresh state, I am hardly in a position to definitely assent to or dissent from the analogy drawn by Mr. Smith between that organ and the leafy stipules of Trifolium, the petal-scales of Silene, or the dilated filaments of Ornithogalum ; but I cannot help expressing a surmise that more extended ob
servation will show that the analogy between these several organs is more remote than Mr. Smith seems to consider.
That flowers may and do become “double” by the adventitious development of appendages on their petals by a sort of prolification, or rather by overluxuriant growth (for the term prolification should be strictly confined to those cases in which an adventitious bud is formed), I freely admit, though in none of the treatises on this subject, so far as I am aware, is this mode of doubling alluded to. Mr. Berkeley has seen something of the kind in double Primroses, but I believe most of these cases may more correctly be referred to a modification of the anther structure.
For the present, at least, I consider the explanation of the formation of the corona of Narcissus, as offered by Lindley, Gay, and Morren, to be nearer to the truth than any other yet given, though it is unfortunately not so simple as that offered by Mr. Smith, and indeed has led a writer in a contemporary (probably by an oversight, though it might serve for a pun) to assert that I con. sider the corona as a series of “mystified stamens”!
MAXWELL T. MASTERS.
Tree-Vegetation of Australia. As one of the Commissioners for the Intercolonial Exhibition, I am called upon to prepare an essay on the vegetation of all Australia, especially in reference to the resources of the country. As one item of interest, this essay will embrace an enumeration of all the trees of Australia, as far as known, so tabulated that at a glance it may be seen what species are peculiar to each colo. nial territory. The tree-vegetation, moreover, impresses on each flora its main physiognomy and points largely to its affinity. Thus, no tree of New Zealand is identical with Australian species, and thus a greater discrepancy becomes apparent between the flora of New Zealand and Australia than between that of India and our continent. If lists of the trees of any part of the globe could be carefully and extensively compiled, undoubtedly very many interesting data, not only for phytogeography, but also for industry and commerce, would be obtained.
I am, etc.,
FERDINAND MUELLER. Melbourne, 26th February, 1866.
Callitris (Frenela) Parlatorei, F. Muell. This new coniferous tree was recently discovered by Walter Hill, Esq., the Director of the Botanic Garden of Brisbane, at the Darlington Range of Queensland, where it attained a height of fully 60 feet. In its character it approaches nearest to Callitris Gunnei and C. fruticosa. It shows the coarse foliage of both, but the partitions of the branchlets are shorter than in C. Gunnei. From the latter, moreover, this new species is readily recognized by the pointed fruit-valves, which are quite of equal length. From Callitris fruticosa it differs besides in having no protuberances on the dorsal apex of the valves. Callitris actinostrobus (F. M., Essay on the Pl. of the Burdek. Exp. 19) is also closely allied to this new congener, so far as the equally 6-valved fruit is concerned; but the number of seeds remove the Sandarock Pine from the section Actinostrobus of Callitris, and bring it to the Frenela group. The seeds, not seen ripe, are seemingly 2-winged. The species is to bear the name of the illustrious Italian phytologist, who is now engaged in working up the noble coniferous Order for De Candolle’s great work.
FERDINAND MUELLER. Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, 17th May, 1866.
P.S. It seems not to be generally known that all true Frenelas not unfrequently produce some 3-winged seeds.
Darlingia, a New Genus of Proteaceæ. Among several new genera which I have recently described, is one from N.E. Australia, belonging to Proteaceæ and closely allied to Knightia, with which it has a 4-seeded carpel in common. The wings however surround the whole seed, the latter resembling those of Cardwellia. The latter genus has however pendulous, very numerous seeds, the direction of the raphe very different, and the radicle lateral. The disposition of the flowers of the new genus, on which I bestowed the name Darlingia, is spicate. As long as the seeds of Knightia strobilina remain unknown, I should not feel justified to consociate my plant with Labillardière's; and, though in Orites species with half-winged and entirely winged seeds exist, I prefer to keep the Australian plant distinct as a genus until further comparisons can be instituted. Meanwhile the plant has passed to some museums as Knightia (Eucarpha) Darlingia, and to some as Darlingia spectatissima. The style is deciduous, but that character is of no avail in Grevillia.
FERDINAND MUELLER. February 24, 1866.
Le Specie dei Cotoni descritte da FILIPPO PARLATORE. Firenze:
Stamperia Reale, 1866. 4to, 64 pp. (with Atlas of 6 folio plates in chromolithography.)
When Barker Webb bequeathed his magnificent library and herbarium to the fair city of Florence, he provided at the same time ample funds for keeping them up. Every botanical periodical, every new publication, and every new collection of importance was at once to be added to the accumulated treasures. Florence was at that time merely the capital of Tuscany, and the funds were vested in the Grand Duke,
who professed himself, we believe, a personal friend of Mr. Webb. As long as the old state of things continued in the peninsula all went on well; but when Italy began once more to agitate for unity and nationality, the Duke of Tuscany had to fly from the vengeance of the people. In the hurry he forgot to leave behind the funds entrusted to his honour by the illustrious Webb, and though he has had several reminders, we understand that not a penny has as yet been restored. Science, especially botanical science, has constantly to struggle with poverty; and but few of the good things of this life are reserved for her. This was felt to its full extent by men like Smithson and Webb, both of whom entrusted their wealth to foreigners, on condition that it should be used for the advancement of science, free from the deadly influence of professional jobbery. It is vexatious when the good intentions of such noble-minded men are frustrated. There is much to be said about the Smithsonian fund, but the most serious charge does probably not amount to more than errors of judgment committed by its administration. But no language can be too severe in speaking of the way in which the Duke of Tuscany has behaved about the trust confided in him, and we hope that when peaceful times have once more set in, the Italian Government will do all in its power to recover the funds left for keeping up Webb’s Library and Herbarium. We felt it due to the illustrious botanist whose work is placed at the head of our article, to make this statement, because we know to what shifts he and his colleagues are put with Webb’s fund suddenly cut off, and hardly any money from the Italian Government to buy the most necessary new publications. It is impossible for him to be quite familiar with what is going on in the botanical world, and many a man with less enthusiasm for science would long ere this have folded his arms and excused his absolute abstention from work till better times by the obstacles before him. Knowing all this, we have no wish to dwell upon his shortcomings any more than is necessary for the due understanding of his labours.
We do not hold Gossypium to be so difficult a genus as it is generally represented to be. We in northern Europe can do little towards working it up, but a botanist of average ability residing in some tropical or semitropical country could easily put it to rights. All he requires is to procure the seeds of the different species for growing in his garden. At present, when there is direct steam communication between all tropical and semitropical countries, this can be speedily effected; and as soon as the various kinds flower and fruit he must figure and describe them carefully, and forward a coloured figure and description, accompanied by well-dried and complete specimens to some head-quarters of botany. Until this preliminary labour is accomplished, nothing definite can be settled about the synonymy, because our herbarium specimens are generally ill preserved—Cotton being a difficult plant to dry—and few of them have fruit and flower together. With good materials, such as those we have insisted upon, the synonymy will not present any serious difficulties.
We do not think there are more than about ten known species of Gossypium, all of which can be sufficiently well characterized to be rcadily distinguished. Parlatore describes and figures seven (besides the doubtful species); but he has overlooked G. anomalum (microcarpum), G. drynarioides, the finest flowering of all Cottons, and several other well-marked types contained in herbaria. He adopts all the old Linnæan species (viz. G. herbaceum, arboreum, hirsutum, and religiosum), and interprets them correctly, with the exception of G. religiosum. That species he takes to be what in our markets and colonies is called “ Kidney Cotton ;” easily distinguished from all other species by the seeds closely adhering to each other, instead of being free. Now, most authors regard the Kidney Cotton as G. Peruvianum, and restrict the name of G. religiosum of Linnæus, to a short-stapled tawny cotton, with loose seeds, of which the yellow dresses of the Buddhist priests are made, and which, from that connection, obtained the name of “religiosum.” Parlatore gives to this religiosum, of Linnæus, the name “G. Taitense,” and describes it from dried specimens. A full account of the plant, taken from Solander's manuscript Flora of Tahiti, has been published in Seemann's 'Flora Vitiensis.' From Solander we learn that this is one of the Cottons, the flowers of which undergo a marked change in colour between the time they open and fade, being first white then pink, a peculiarity it shares with G. arboreum. An allied species is G. tomentosum, Nutt. mss., published in 1865 in his ‘ Flora Vitiensis,' and now renamed, in 1866, G. Sandricense, by Parlatore. It is covered with a short canescent tomentum, has yellow flowers, and also produces tawny cotton.
That Parlatore, after a conscientious study of all the Gossypiums available to him, should have fixed upon the Kidney Cotton as the G.religiosum of Linnæus, when most botanists regard one of the Nankin Cottons as religiosum true, may appear less strange when we state that