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others appearing like the laurel. They sustain themselves by means of undivided tendrils; and send out a succession of the most curious and splendid flowers, of which no other part of the world offers any counterpart."* Of this genus a number of species produce fruits of great excellence; this fruit in South America is called Purchas. Sixty species of this genus are collected at the Linnæan garden near New York. The generic characters of the passion-flower are a 5 parted, coloured calyx, 5 petals inserted upon the calyx, 5 stamens and 3 pistils, the nectary, a triple crown of filaments. The very singular appearance of this flower in the arrangement of its stamens in the form of a cross, and its triple crown, has suggested the idea of its being emblematic of the passion or suffering of our Saviour; this idea is supposed to have given rise to its name.
This plant was at one time placed in the class Gynandria, upon the supposition that its stamens stood upon the pistil
. An English botanists thinks it should be placed in the class Pentandria, and order Trigynia. Its situation in the class and order under which we have described it, is, however, that generally assigned it by American botanists.
In this order is also placed the stork's bill geranium (Erodi. um), it is an exotic, and belongs to the natural family Geraniæ.
Heptandria. The Seventh Order contains the genus Pelargonium; this belongs to the family Geraniæ; this genus includes the greater number of green-house Geraniums; it is taken from the tenth order and placed-here, because, although its flowers have 10 filaments, but 7 of them bear anthers, or they have but 7 perfect stamens. The flower of this genus is somewhat irregular. Among the varieties of the Pelargonium now cultivated in the United States, are,
The Fairy queen geranium, with striped flowers, large and handsome leaves. The Fiery flowered, with cordate leaves, and black and scarlet flowers.
The Balm scented, with leaves deeply five lobed, the flowers dark red and black.
The Grandiflorum, has an erect stem, little branched, with smooth leaves from five to seven lobed ; as its name implies, the flowers are large.
The Large bracted, has an erect stem ; leaves cordate or heart-shaped, flowers large and white, with some streaks of purple.
Frequent flowering, or fish, a shrubby, brown stem, with flat, cordate, five lobed leaves, and red flowers, with spots of black and deep red.
Peppermint scented, or Velvet leaved, a shrubby stem, much branched; leaves cordate, five lobed, soft to the touch like velvet, flowers small, white, and purple.
+ See Prince's Horticulture.
Different species-Generic character and name--Stork's-bill geranium-Pe. largonium-Different geraniums.
Nutmeg scented or fragrant, an erect stem much branched, leaves small, cordate and three lobed, flowers small and pale, tinged with blue.
Royal purple, stem branched; flat cordate leaves, five lobed ; flowers large and of a bright purple. Another genus of the Geranium
family is called the Hoarea—this contains several varieties, differing chiefly from the Pelargonium, in having a tuberous root, with radical leaves ; most of the species are yellow. The plants of the natural family Geraniæ are mostly natives of the Cape of Good Hope, a region to which we are indebted for many of our finest exotics.*
Decandria. The Tenth Order contains the genus Geranium, which differs from the Pelargonium, in having a regular calyx and corolla, and also in producing 10 perfect stamens, which vary in length, every alternate one being longer; 5 glands adhere to the base of the five long filaments. We have some native species of this genus ; the common Crane's bill (GERANIUM maculatum), with large, showy, purple flowers, is often found in meadows during the first summer months. At Fig. 119, a, is a flower of the
Geranium. The three families Erodium, Pelargonium, and Geranium, were formerly all united in one genus; but the difference in the number of stamens seems decidedly to separate them.
genera which compose the natural order COLUM. NIFERÆ, of Linnæus; the stamens are united in the form of a column ; (see Fig. 119, b.) by Jussieu they have been collect. ed into an order, under the name of Malvaceæ, so called from the genus Malva. The peculiar characteristics of the whole group are, a calyx often double, 5 regular petals, stamens numerous, united by their filaments into a tube, and rising like a column in the centre of the flower; in the centre of this tube are the styles, forming an inner bundle; the number of these is various, though often found to be eight. The number of seed vessels, each of which contains one seed, equals the number of styles; the seeds stand round in circle.
Among the plants which compose this family, are the holly. hock, the mallows, and the cotton, (Gossypium.) The CAMELLIA japonica, or Japan rose, a very splendid flower, equal in size to the largest rose, is found here. Its beauty of form and richness of colouring have a fine appearance, when contrast. ed with its dark green leaves.
Most of the native species of the class Monadelphia may, in
of a group
* Prince's Horticulture.
Order Decandriam-Order Polyandria-Columniferæ-Plants which compose this family.
the season of flowers, be easily procured for analysis. The hollyhock is in almost every garden, the common mallows grows wild about dwellings; both are good examples of the class Monadelphia.
The plants of this class vary in size from the low mallows to some of the largest trees that have yet been discovered; “the Silk cotton tree, (BOMBAX pentandrum,) is so large, and spreads its branches so widely that twenty thousand persons might stand under its branches. This tree is a native of Af. rica and South America. The Adansonia, a native of Sene-, gal in Africa, is said to grow to the size of seventy feet in cir. cumference; this tree also attains great age. In 1749, the learned Adanson saw two of these trees in the neighborhood of Gorrea, upon one of which was inscribed the date of the fourteenth, and upon the other that of the fifteenth century! yet there were good reasons to suppose that the trees were not young when the dates were cut. It
may be conjectured that they have sometimes attained to the age of eight or nine hun, dred years ! an immense period of time for the existence of any species of organized bodies."*
Having now considered the class Monadelphia in its most important particulars, we will pass to the next class, which in common with this, is founded upon the union of the filaments.
This is the class of two brother. hoods, the stamens being united by their filaments into two sets. The flowers of this class have already been described under the head of Papiliona. ceous, which you will recollect means
butterfly shaped; this peculiar form 6
of their corollas is an important mark of distinction in this class.
There are, however, two circumstances to be noted here, in order to prevent you from falling into error
with respect to this class. 1st. There are some plants here which have their filaments
* B. S. Barton.
Plants of this character variable in size-Adansonia. -Class Diadelphiam-Two circumstances to be noted.
united in one set ; where a flower is papilionaceous, it is still kept in this class, although there may be no apparent division in the brotherhood or set.
2nd. Although the flower be papilionaceous, if it has ten sepa. rate stamens, it is placed in the 10th class; this is the case with the cassia and wild indigo. This circumstance was remarked under the tenth class.
The distinction of the filaments into sets is often somewhat difficult to be ascertained ; in the pea, for example, it is necessary to take a pin, and separate the filament which is alone, in order to perceive that it is not united to the other nine filaments. When they are separated, it is mostly with nine filaments to. gether, and one which seems disconnected: there are but few examples of stamens being arranged in equal sets of five each.
The nature of the fruit in the papilionaceous plants is legu. minous, or bearing a pod, like the bean and pea, called a legume.
The orders in this, as in the preceding class, are founded up. on the number of stamens, the class not having appropriated to itself a character drawn from the same circumstance.
Pent-Octandria. We could not expect from the character of the class, “sta. mens united into two sets,” to find any plants with but one sta. men; therefore there is no order until we find some plants which answer the classic character. Those with five or eight stamens are all placed in one order called Pent-octandria (five and eight stamens); here we find Corydalis and Fumaria, belonging to a natural order Corydales, which includes such plants as are spurred, or are anomalous ; the latter term signifying that their corolla is not such as can be described by any thing else. The Corydalis is an elegant plant with bulbous roots ; the corolla is rather ringent than papilionaceous. In some ca. ses the stamens have very broad bases, and scarcely seem united.
We find here POLYGALA, one species of which is called Seneca snake-root; this not only produces a beautiful flower, but is valuable as a medicine. We have many species of this genus, and you will no doubt be able to find specimens of it in the woods and meadows.
Decandria. The Tenth Order is wholly composed of plants with legu. minous pods; the general character of these plants is a calyx
Flowers Papilionaceous- 3-Fruit leguminous-Order Pent-Octandria-Natural order Corydales-Polygala-Order Decandria.
often 5 parted, corolla 5 petalled, inserted on the calyx, con. sisting of a banner, two wings and a keel; stamens generally 10, mostly united into two sets, 9 and 1; germ free; style 1 ; legume generally 2 valved, 1 celled, sometimes transversely divided into many cells, seeds affixed to the edge on one side.
At Fig. 120, a, is a flower of this kind ; b, shews the sta. mens divested of their petals ; C, shews the pistil, the ger already exhibiting the form and appearance of the legume.
In this large family of plants with leguminous pods are many of great importance in the vegetable kingdom; but when we are able to give some general natural characters, there seems to be less need of particularizing each genus. This circum. stance of being able in description, to include the general characters of the plants of a large order in this class, shows it to be composed of a natural assemblage. The singular form of the corolla and the nature of the fruit, with few exceptions, settle the character of this class.
We have here many important plants which serve for food to man.
The most savage nations usually pay some attention to Diadelphous plants. When Ferdinand de Soto marched his army into Florida, before the middle of the 16th century, he found the granaries of the natives well stored with Indian corn and certain “ leguminous seeds;" which were probably the Lima bean (Dolichos), or some species of that genus ;
for the natives still continue to cultivate them.
This class furnishes valuable medicinal articles, as the li. quorice and snake-root. It also furnishes us with plants for dyeing; as the Indigo (INDIGOFERA tinctoria), this is to be distinguished from the Wild Indigo (Baptisia), which during the revolutionary war was used for colouring. Some plants of this class seem to possess active properties; the seeds of the Lupine are said to be poisonous.“ A traveller states, that the inhabitants of the banks of the Nile, are often visited in the night by the hippopotamus or river horse, a large animal which does great damage to the gardens and fields; and that they destroy the animal by placing a quantity of the Lupine seeds near where he is expected; these he devours greedily; they soon swell in his stomach and distend it so much as to cause death.
The Furze (Ulex Europæus), is a very common plant in Europe, though not found so far north as Sweden. It is a flower of beautiful appearance ; so much so, that Linnæus, as is said, when he first beheld it, fell upon his knees, in a trans
General character of the order-What circumstance shows this order to be composed of a natural assemblage ?- These plants useful for food-For Medicino, &c.Furze.