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berg (Flor. Jap. 33) distinguishes his F. pumila, B. (=F. erecta, Thb, gerius, and of subsequent authors) from the true F. pumila, by its edible fruit. But, to say nothing of his very imperfect means of acquiring information, the fact of a fruit not being generally eaten by no means disproves its wholesomeness ; and, indeed, Thunberg himself at first considered his two later species inseparable.

Doubtless F. stipulata and F. pumila are very closely allied species, 90 near, indeed, that I cannot myself pretend to distinguish sterile specimens. M. Schultes, in a rather scarce work (* Hoffmann et Schultes, Noms indigènes d'un choix de plantes du Japon, déterminées d'après les échantillons de l'herbier des Pays-Bas, Paris, 1853), reprinted from the 'Journal Asiatique, remarks under F. stipulata : “Les échantillons de cette espèce conservés dans l'herbier portent les mêmes noms japonais et chinois que F. pumila, et elle ne paraît être qu’un drageon de F. pumila.Whatever error may exist in the nomenclature of the herbarium specimens referred to, no botanist who has examined the syconi of the two species would, I imagine, for a moment think of uniting them.

8. Catapodium unilaterale, ß. aristatum, Grisebach. I am indebted to the well-known Sinologue, Dr. S. W. Williams, at present Secretary to the United States' Legation at Peking, for specimens of this pretty little grass, found sparingly by him, in July 1864, in damp places by the borders of fields, about twelve miles west of the capital. It had previously been recorded from the mountains of northern China, by Bunge. I notice it for the purpose of alluding to its presence in Peking as a singular instance of geographical distribution, for it is found neither in Dahuria, Mongolia, in the Ussuri or Amur territories, nor in any part of the whole Russian empire, except perhaps the Crimea ; and its occurrence there rests only on the doubtful testimony of Georgi. It may, at first sight, seem strange that a grass which is mainly confined to the south of Europe should be found at Peking, where the thermometer in January sometimes falls as low as 17.6° F., and where the advent of a rigorous winter is heralded by piercing northerly winds, and accompanied by the almost entire disappearance of herbaceous vegetation ; but fugacious plants like this, which only exist for a short time in the height of summer, are not exposed to such inimical influences. The mean temperature of Peking, calculated from thirteen years' observations, according to Kuppfer, as quoted by Maximowicz, is, when reduced to Fahrenheit's scale :- Winter, 29-4° ; spring, 51.8°; summer, 68.8°; autumn, 50:4o. The mean summer temperature is quite similar to that of several of the European localities where the grass is met with, as will be seen from the following list, reduced to Fahrenheit's scale from Mahlmann's tables, given in the third volume of Humboldt's · Asie Centrale :'~Paris, 64:6°; Turin, 71.6°; Naples, 74.8°; Marseilles, 69.2°; Madrid, 741. M. Godron (Gren. et Godr. Fl. de France, iï. 616) has the following observation under the genus Nardurus, to which he refers this plant :-" C'est en 1844 que j'ai créé ce genre, sur la simple indication que m'a fournie Reichenbach, en publiant une des espèces sous le nom de N. enellus. Depuis, M. Boissier, qui sans aucun doute ne connaissait pas l'existence de ce genre, l'a admis dans son Voyage botanique en Espagne,' et, chose remarquable, sous la même dénomination.” Now, in the • Flora Germanica Excursoria,' published in 1830, Reichenbach had already remarked under Brachypodium tenellum :-"Gramen habitu fere Nardum referens, Nardurus / gen. propr., quasi Vulpia spicata ;" and in the second edition of Bluff and Fingerhuth's Compendium Floræ Germaniæ,' published in 1836 (I have not the first to refer to), the aristate and muticous-flowered varieties of this group will be found divided between two sections, Nardurus and Catapodium. I have adopted the latter name, because the plant I am writing of seems to associate naturally with C. loliaceum (the oldest generic name), which is however placed in a separate tribe by Godron. In the present unsatisfactory condition of agrostography, the limits between various Triticoid and Festucoid genera, and especially the value of the numerous small groups split off from Festuca and its allies by Grisebach, Ruprecht, Parlatore, and others, cannot be determined, and we must await the promised revision of this vast and very difficult family by Colonel Munro, before we can expect to see the existing class reduced to order.

Whampoa, S. China, September, 1865.

THE FUTURE VEGETATION OF AUSTRALIA. . As soon as New Holland shall have been broken up into islands [as Unger predicts it will be], we may expect its vegetation to assume the same aspect as that now presented by the Polynesian islands. The bulk of the plants, adapted as they are to the peculiar dry climate of the extratropical parts, would perish as soon as the climate became insular, and the Asiatic flora, which even now presses hard upon the northern parts of New Holland, would get the upper hand, as has been the case in the Pacific after the dissolution of its continent into those innumerable islands now called Polynesia. Plants with dry leathery leaves would be superseded by those having a more luxuriant but weedy look; for that I take to be the principal physiognomic difference between the floras of extratropical Australia and tropical Asia. It must be evident that the inquiry Unger has set on foot [about the former continental connection of Europe and Australia) cannot stop here. The abundance of the most typical forms of Australian mammals--the marsupials (opossum and kangaroo)-in tertiary European deposits, will doubtless tempt some comprehensive mind to treat the subject from a zoological point of view. It is most important to ascertain whether the present fauna of Australia was always associated with the present flora. I do not know of any reason why it should not ; but a closer examination of all the facts may possibly point to a different conclusion. It will probably turn out that in the Australian native population we behold the oldest as well as the lowest race of men-a race in many instances without any religion whatever, and incapable of mastering any religious teaching,-a race unfitted for civilization, and so near the brute creation that it might be appropriately classed with it, if it was not for its power of language and the only ingenious thing in its possession-the boomerang. The reasons why New Holland could not make any great strides in civilization, conceding even that the natives as a race were capable of it, are easily found in the nature of the country. It wants moisture and nutritious plants for man and beast. Extensive tracts of land are required to feed even a flock of sheep; wild animals are scarce; and whilst every other part of the globe has added edible plants to our table, we have not received a single addition from New Holland ; indeed, Europeans who should have to rely for their food upon what Australian vegetation can supply, would share the melancholy fate of Burke and Wills when they tried to eke out their existence by eating the wretched nardoo-fruits of Australian swamps. There could be no flocking together of men as long as these conditions were not remedied, no permanent interest in

property, and no improvement. All was hopeless stagnation. But if, - under these unfavourable conditions, man has existed in Australia, at least as far as we historically know, for several centuries, we may conclude that he could exist in Europe, even during the Eocene period, when the same, or a closely similar climate, vegetation, and perhaps fauna, prevailed there. We may also be sure that, with such surroundings, whatever his race may have been, he could not have arrived at a much higher degree of civilization than the miserable aborigines who are now disappearing in Australia.

Bearing in mind that, at one period of the earth's history, there flourished in Europe a vegetation very similar, not to say identical, to that still beheld in Australia ; but that the whole of it has been swept away, to make room for other vegetable forms, leaving no trace behind except what is recorded in the great stone-book of nature, New Holland is highly instructive. It is a faithful picture of what the aspect of our flora must have been ages ago; and on paying a visit to Australia we are, as it were, transporting ourselves back to antehistorical periods. The effect which such an inspection produces on the mind is very singular. It kindles in us (and I speak from personal experience) feelings of curiosity, but no sympathy. We delight in bright green foliage, sweet-smelling flowers, and fruits with some kind of taste in them. But we have here none of all these. The leaves are of a dull, often brownish, green, and without any lustre, the flowers do not smell, and the fruits, without any exception, are tasteless and insipid. Is the whole of this vegetation, and the animals depending upon it for support, to disappear before the continent becomes a fit abode for the white man ?-B. SEEMANN, in “ Popular Science Review,' 1866, p. 26.

ERICA TETRALIX IN AMERICA. Professor Reichenbach calls attention, in the Gardeners' Chronicle, to Erica Tetralix, as indicated in his father's · Flora Germanica Excursoria,' p. 143, sub n. 2774, having been collected in Dutch Guiana by Weigelt. He states that he possesses himself one of Weigelt's specimens. Now that we have dispelled every doubt about Calluna vulgaris being indigenous to the New World, the question is worth re-examining.

same aspect as that now presented by the Polynesian islands. The bulk of the plants, adapted as they are to the peculiar dry climate of the extratropical parts, would perish as soon as the climate became insular, and the Asiatic flora, which even now presses hard upon the northern parts of New Holland, would get the upper hand, as has been the case in the Pacific after the dissolution of its continent into those innumerable islands now called Polynesia. Plants with dry leathery leaves would be superseded by those having a more luxuriant but weedy look; for that I take to be the principal physiognomic difference between the floras of extratropical Australia and tropical Asia. It must be evident that the inquiry Unger has set on foot [about the former continental connection of Europe and Australia) cannot stop here. The abundance of the most typical forms of Australian mammals--the marsupials (opossum and kangaroo)--in tertiary European deposits, will doubtless tempt some comprehensive mind to treat the subject from a zoological point of view. It is most important to ascertain whether the present fauna of Australia was always associated with the present flora. I do not know of any reason why it should not ; but a closer examination of all the facts may possibly point to a different conclusion. It will probably turn out that in the Australian native population we behold the oldest as well as the lowest race of men—a race in many instances without any religion whatever, and incapable of mastering any religious teaching, --a race unfitted for civilization, and so near the brute creation that it might be appropriately classed with it, if it was not for its power of language and the only ingenious thing in its possession-the boomerang. The reasons why New Holland could not make any great strides in civilization, conceding even that the natives as a race were capable of it, are easily found in the nature of the country. It wants moisture and nutritious plants for man and beast. Extensive tracts of land are required to feed even a fock of sheep; wild animals are scarce; and whilst every other part of the globe has added edible plants to our table, we have not received a single addition from New Holland ; indeed, Europeans who should have to rely for their food upon what Australian vegetation can supply, would share the melancholy fate of Burke and Wills when they tried to eke out their existence by eating the wretched nardoo-fruits of Australian swamps. There could be no flocking together of men as long as these conditions were not remedied, no permanent interest in

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