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Prunus is the genus which contains the various kinds of the plum, cherry and sloe: this genus, according to ancient writers, was brought from Syria into Greece, and from thence into Italy. The Roman poets often notice its fruit. We have several native species of it.
The pomegranate (PUNICA), is a shrubby tree, which is a native of Spain, Italy, and Barbary, and flowers from June till September. The Greek writers were acquainted with it, and we are told by Pliny, that its fruit was sold in the neighbourhood of Carthage. It is cultivated in England and in the United States; not on account of its fruit, which does not come to perfection so far to the north, but as its large and beautiful scarlet flowers render it an ornamental plant.
At Fig. 115, a, is the flower of the pomegranate (Panica granatum); b, represents the stamens of the same, as adhering to the calyx.
The genus AMYGDALUS contains the peach and the almond. The latter is a native of warm countries, and seems to have been known in the remotest times of antiquity.
Di-pentagynia. The four orders in the class Icosandria, which follow the first, are included under one, called Di-pentagynia, signifying two and five pistils. · We find in this order the hawthorn (Cra. tægus), a shrub with deep green foliage, white flowers and scarlet berries, and with very large and strong thorns.
The genus Pyrus which contains the apple and pear, belongs to the natural order Pomaceæ.* The varieties of these fruits are the effect of cultivation, not the produce of different spe. cies. By means of grafting or inoculation, which consists in inserting the bud of one tree into another, good fruit тау
be produced upon a tree which before produced a poorer kind.
Linnæus' natural order, Pomaceæ, is included by Jussieu in his family Rosacea, having rosaceous corollas. This family is divided into sections; as the Pomacea, having its fruit fleshy like the apple and pear; the Rose, having urn form calyxes ; Amygdala, having drupe like fruits, &c.
Polygynia. In the 13th order we find the Rose; this, in its natural state, contains but five petals ; it is remarkable for the change of its stamens to petals by cultivation. Several species of the Rose
* So called from Pomum, an apple.
Prunus-Pomegranate Amygdalus-Order Di-pentagynia-Pyrus, varieties by grafting Family Rosaceæ divided into sections—Order Polygynia-Rose.
are indigenous to North America; as the small wild rose, the sweet briar, and swamp rose.
Red and white roses are remarkable in English history as emblems of the houses of York and Lancaster ; for when those families contended for the crown, in the reign of Henry the sixth, the white rose distinguished the partizans of the house of York, and the red those of Lancaster. Among the nations of the east, particularly in Persia, the rose flourishes in great beauty and is highly valued. The Persians poetically imagine a peculiar sympathy between the rose and the nightingale.
The Blackberry (Rubus), has a flower resembling the rose in general aspect; there are several species of the Rubus, one which produces the common blackberry, another the red raspberry, another the black raspberry, and another the dewberry. One species, the odoratus, produces large and beautiful red flowers, the fruit of which, is dry and not eatable.
• The Strawberry belongs to the same natural and artificial order as the Rose. The gathering of strawberries in the fields, is among the rural enjoyments of children, which are in after life, recollected with pleasure, not unfrequently mingled with melancholy reflections, upon the contrast of that happy season, with the sorrows, with which maturer years are shaded. The fruit of the strawberry, as was remarked in the classification of fruits, is not really a berry, but a collection of seeds, imbedded in a fleshy receptacle,
Icosandria furnishes us with a great variety of fine fruits, more perhaps than any other of the artificial classes. A great proportion of the genera to be found in this class, are natives of the United States.
In this class we find the stamens separate from the calyx, and attached to the receptacle or top of the flower stem. The number of stamens in this class varies from twenty to some hun. dreds. This class does not, like the one we have last examined, contain a great many delicious fruits, but rather abounds in poisonous and active vege. tables. The mode of insertion of the stamens is to be regarded in considering the wholesome qualities of plants ;
it is asserted that no plant with the stamens on the calyx is poisonous ; we know that very many with the stamens upon the receptacle are so.
In the analysis of the Poppy we have already examined the peculiar characteristics of this class.
Monogynia. We find in the first order some flowers of a curious appear. ance, as the Mandrake (Podophyllum); the distinction be. tween this and the mandrake of the ancients, was remarked under the class Pentandria. This plant is very common in moist, shady places, where you may often see great quantities of it growing together; each stem supports a large, white flower and two large, peltate, palmate leaves ; its yellow fruit is eaten by many as a delicacy.
The Side-saddle flower (Sarracenia), is a very curious and elegant plant; it has large leaves proceeding directly from the root. These leaves form a kind of cup, capable of containing a gill or more of water, with which liquid they are usually filled. The stem is of that kind called a scape, growing to the height of one or two feet, bearing a single large purple flower. This plant is found in swamps ; its common name, Side-saddle flower, is given in reference to the form of its leaf. It is sometimes called Adam's cup, in reference also to the shape of the leaf. The name of the genus SARRACENIA, is derived from an imaginary resemblance of the flower, to the head of a Saracen or Turk enveloped in his crimson turban. No foreign plant as an object of curiosity, can exceed
Class Polyandria-Order Monogynia-Podophyllum -Sarracenia.
this native of our own swamps ; it is well worth the trouble of cultivation by those who are fond of collecting rare plants.
The White Pond Lily (Nymphæa*), is a splendid American plant, very fragrant and with a larger leaf than almost any other northern plant. This flower closes at evening and sinks under the water; at the return of day its blossoms expand and rise above the surface.
The Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar), though less showy, is equally curious in its structure.
In this artificial class and order is the Tea tree (THEA); of this plant there are two species, the bohea tea (bohea), and the green tea (viridis). It is a small ever green tree or shrub, much branched and covered with a rough, dark coloured bark. The flowers are white, the leaves are lanceolate and veined, the capsule or seed vessel is three celled, opening ; the seeds are three, oblong and brown. This shrub is a native of China and Japan. Some suppose, that all the teas are taken from the same botanical species, and that the different flavour and appearance of them depend upon the nature of the soil, and cul. ture, and the method of preparing the leaves.
On account of the secret and jealous policy of the Chinese, the natural history of the Tea plant is less known than might be expected from its very general use. The Chinese begin in February to gather the tea leaves, when they are young and yet unexpanded. The second collection is made in April, and the third in June. The first gathering, which consists only of the young and tender leaves, is the Imperial tea; the other two kinds are less odorous; the last collected is the coarest and cheapest kind. Tea was introduced into Europe, by the Dutch East India Company, in the year 1666, when it sold for sixty shillings a pound, and for many years its great price limited its use to the most wealthy. In considering the effects of tea upon the human system, medical writers differ in opinion, and a doubt seems to remain whether the use of it is on the whole beneficial or injurious to the health of mankind. If it is not injurious to health, the use of it no doubt promotes the happiness of society, as it is exhilarating, and adds to the enjoyment of social intercourse.
The Poppy (Papaver) was one of the flowers early given you for analysis. Its númerous stamens standing upon the receptacle around the base of the germ, and its large stigma, with
An extensive locality of this plant exists upon the Saratoga lake. I have seen its surface for a quarter of a mile whitened by these lilies, occasionally intermixed with the yellow lilies, and the rich blue of the Pontederia, another beautiful aquatic plant.
Pond lilies—Tea tree-Poppy.
its two leaved caducous calyx,, must be well remembered. Single poppies have but four petals; but the change of stamens to petals is very common in this flower, and most of the cultivated poppies are double. From the papaver somniferum is obtained the opium of commerce. The juice which issues from incisions in the green capsules, is dried in the sun and usually made into cakes. Six hundred thousand pounds of this drug are said to be annually exported from the banks of the Ganges. The narcotic property of opium renders it highly valuable as a medicine.
Why it is that certain substances, acting upon the human system, have power to affect the mind, no physiologist has yet been able to explain. But in the power of fermented liquors to produce changes in the mind, or of opium to lull its faculties into temporary oblivion, there is nothing more wonderful, than that the presence of light should produce vision, or the vibrations of the air sound. All are equally beyond our knowledge; we may trace a series of organic changes, but the last link of the chain, that which connects body and soul, is concealed from our observation. Thus why it is we know not, but the fact is evident, that narcotics can for a time,
“Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
Which weighs upon the heart. Yet but for a time does this effect remain ; and they who would drown sorrow by artificial means, whether of the intoxicating bowl or the stupefying opium, find their sensibilities return with aggravated terrors. When properly used to allay bodily anguish, the product of the poppy may be considered one of our greatest blessings; but like all our blessings it may, by our own misconduct, be made a curse.
The genus Citrus, which contains the orange and lemon, is found here. Jussieu places this in his 70th order, Aurantia, or golden fruits. The fruit is a berry with a thick coat. It furnishes citric acid.
Few valuable fruits, with the exception of this genus, are found in the class Polyandria.
Di-pentagynia. The four orders following Monogynia, are, as in the preceding class, united into one, called as before, Di-pentagynia, having from two to five styles.
We find here some plants of a poisonous nature, as the Larkspur, Monk's hood, and the Columbine; these belong to a natu.
Opium--Power of opium and fermented liquors to affect the mind-Genus Citrus-Order Di-pentagynia.