London Journal of Botany/Volume 2/Swan River Botany
|←Plants of Caucasus and the Volhynia||London Journal of Botany Volume 2
Swan River Botany by James Drummond
|Additional Observations on the pollen-collectors of Campanula→|
every where along the coast line of road, there was less difficulty in choosing our resting place. On such occasions, I have only to let Cabbine, who is one of the best and quietest of the Timor race, go loose, when he eats his fill, and, having done so, comes and lies down by my side.
Early in the afternoon of the 19th we arrived at Mandurah, the residence of Thomas Peel, Esq. one of the largest land proprietors in this Colony, where we stopped for the night. Mandurah is situated close to the outlet of that great estuary, which receives the waters of the Serpentine, Murray and Harvey rivers, and is about forty miles to the south of Freemantle. Few spots are more beautiful and the soil excellent, lying over limestone. Mr. Peel's garden is in a rich valley near his dwelling, and abounds with vegetables throughout the year, which here grow almost spontaneously. In it I noticed a very pretty species of Aster, growing like a weed, and near it I observed, so as to recognise it, your Lawrencia spicata (Icones Plantarum, Tab. CCLXI, and CCLXII;) but I have seen the same, or what is perhaps an allied species, on the rich flats at the head of the Swan; and also a dwarf-growing, broad-leaved kind, between the Swan and Wallup. The large sheets of water, many miles in extent, into which the three above mentioned rivers empty themselves, appear to me one of the remarkable features in this part of the country; they abound with fish of many sorts, ducks, &c. as well as black swans.
On the 20th Mr. Harris and I started for Pinjarra, about fifteen miles distant, whither our road lay across the estuary, so as to avoid crossing the Serpentine, over which there is neither ford nor bridge. But missing our way, we got to the south of the Murray as well as the Serpentine. On discovering our error, we had to retrace our steps, plodding in the water above our middles for four hours, so that it was dark ere we reached Mr. Armstrong's farm, called Ravenswood, about nine miles only from Mandurah, where we staid all night. The next day, as neither Mr. Harris nor I felt inclined, after our exploits in the water, to travel very far, we dined with Mr. Tate, a young Irish gentleman, who has lately settled on the right bank of the Murray, about two miles above its junction with the Dandelup. This latter is a small river, remarkable for the fertility of its banks, which are nearly level with the stream; unlike those of the Murray, which are much elevated above its waters. In the latter case, of course, there is no alluvial deposit, though the soil, a strong loam, when manured, will yield heavy crops of wheat. The margins of the Murray river are covered with a beautiful Banksia, with nearly entire leaves, which I suppose to be Mr. Brown's B. verticillata; though, to me, it hardly appears specifically distinct from the long narrow-leaved kind, of which I have sent you specimens in the last collection. A fine new Manglesia, to judge from its foliage, grows on the sloping bank of the river, immediately at the back of Mr. Tate's present residence, for he is not yet moved into his new house. This species is much like Tab. CCCXXXVII, of your Icones Plantarum; but with leaves more than twice as long and narrower, perfectly smooth, of a deep green and not glaucous, as in that species. It attains the size of a small tree, with a rough bark, very different in these respects from the one you have figured, which is a spreading bush, remarkable for its glaucous foliage and stems. Both are aquatics, at least inhabitants of river-banks, and their seed-vessels are much alike. On the banks of the Murray I also observed a shrub, with willow-like foliage and seeds in clusters, resembling those of Hornbeam, which I had never seen elsewhere.
About two miles above Mr. Tate's house is the far-famed Pinjarra, a most excellent farm of Mr. Oakley's, who also keeps a comfortable inn and store there. This spot is noted in the history of our Colony, as being almost the only place where any approach to a pitched battle has occurred between the settlers and natives, ever since the first occupation by Europeans of these districts; the aborigines, owing to the extraordinary idea which they entertain, that the white people are the spirits of their deceased relatives, have always been disposed to receive the new-comers as friends. Even Yagan, who for many years was the terror of the Swan and Canning Districts, never hurt a white person except in revenge for injuries, real or imaginary, which he or his friends had sustained; and thus he eventually became the murderer of six or seven Europeans, soldiers and civilians. Up to the time of Yagan's death, about as many black men had been killed by the settlers. But it is a most unfortunate characteristic of these natives, in common with many savage nations, that when they cannot take reprisals on the offending parties, they wreak their vengeance on the relatives and friends; thus making the innocent suffer for the guilty, too often on both sides. Shortly previous to the battle of the Pinjarra, it so happened that a Serjeant Barron, of the 63rd regiment, the first soldiers sent to do duty at the Swan River, and who had become a settler at Perth, went into the bush in search of some horses, which belonged to him, near Mr. Peel's residence, and was accompanied by a private of the 21st, which had succeeded the 63rd. A native whom they met, offered his services; but instead of leading the two whites to the horses, as he had promised, he conducted them into a thicket of Blackboys, where they found themselves surrounded by the armed aborigines, who speedily killed the soldier, and would have done the same to the Serjeant, had not the fleetness of his horse enabled him to escape. He received however, two spears in his body, and there can be no doubt he was a marked man, for he had rendered himself obnoxious to the black people, while in the army, probably in the performance of his duty. I may mention that the soldier who was set to flog Yagan, when the latter was a prisoner on the island of Carnac, had six spears driven into him by Yagan after the latter made his escape, the very first time afterwards that he was met on the mainland.
Such was the state of affairs in the Murray District, when the Governor, Sir James Stirling, Captain Ellis, superintendent of police, Mr. Norcote and several individuals of the mounted police, some soldiers of the 21st, and gentlemen on horseback, being engaged in a surveying expedition, arrived at Pinjarra, which is the nearest ford across the Murray River, after leaving the estuary. On reaching this place, having learned that a large body of natives had encamped a little to the south, the Governor directed Captain Ellis, with the officers, to go and demand some of those black men, who were charged with the murder of the soldier above mentioned, and the attack on Serjeant Barron. These functionaries were received with a shower of spears, and one having struck Captain Ellis on the temples, he tumbled from his horse, and either in consequence of the injury or the fall, died in a fortnight. One of the policemen was wounded in the arm, and several horses received spear wounds. After the officers had fired repeatedly on the natives, the latter divided into two parties; one, taking to the south got clear off, but the other which made for the ford, were followed by the police, and met in front by the Governor and his company. They then plunged into the water, and continued swimming about, hiding under the banks and among the bushes: but, sixteen or eighteen were shot, among them some women. It is sad to think there is no reason to suppose that these natives either anticipated any attack from the white people, or intended doing them injury, but had simply congregated for the purpose of hunting and feasting upon the Kangaroos.
We spent the night of the 20th at Pinjarra, and I examined the banks of the river for plants, and gathered Anigozanthus flavida, the large green variety, which I had never seen nearly so far to the north. Also a large Leguminous shrub, with whorled leaves, that I had only found in one locality, many miles to the south.
On the 21st we proceeded on our way towards Australind, and in about twenty miles reached the estuary of the Harvey, or the southern extremity of the embouchure of the Murray. We had two miles of water to pass through, but accomplished it in safety before dark. We had still to spend a couple of nights in the bush before reaching Australind, but nothing worthy of record took place.
Australind is situated on the Leschenault estuary, which is formed by the waters of the rivers Collie and Preston. In the immediate vicinity of the town, the soil is sandy; but the situation highly beautiful. My companion, Mr. Harris, had long been anxiously expected; and I had letters of introduction from His Excellency Governor Hutt, to Mr. Clifton the Chief Commissioner, which procured me the notice of his amiable family, who invited me several times to dinner. Mrs. Clifton is a near relation of the late Mr. Barclay of Bury-hill. Mr. C. expressed his willingness to assist my views in any way in his power, and introduced me to Messrs. Plowes and Gibson, two young gentlemen, merchants in Australind: the latter is well acquainted with the Reverend Mr. Bree, an English botanist, whom I had known both by sight and by reputation; but as my botanical pursuits led me farther from Australind, I started from that settlement on the 30th of May, and after spending a day with Mr. Andrew Stirling, a near relation of our late Governor of that name, at Bury-hill, near Bunbury, the seaport for Australind, I visited a farm on his (Sir James Stirling's) estate, held by Mr. John Scott, an old settler at the Swan. The establishment of the town of Australind has been highly advantageous, as affording a ready market for the produce of their farm, both to Mr. Scott and his industrious, kind-hearted gude-wife, named Nelly Scott. The 1st of June, the anniversary of this colony, proving a most wet and tempestuous day, I found myself storm-staid at Mr. Scott's, but it was impossible that I could have been in better quarters.
The next morning I started for the Vasse, but found the road very indistinctly tracked. In fifteen miles I reached the Capel River, the property of Sir James Stirling, and having heard a description of a highly beautiful Convolvulus, growing near the fording place, and forming lovely festoons from tree to tree, I looked out for it, but could find nothing of the kind. Soon after crossing the Capel, I observed the elegant Beaufortia decussata and Johnsonia lupulina, which I had never seen before, except near King George's Sound.
Five miles farther on, I crossed some hills of secondary limestone, covered with immense trees of Eucalyptus (I think E. occidentalis, Hugel); but whatever be the species, this was by far the largest tree in Western Australia; the footstalks of this gigantic species are united, several together, flat, nearly a quarter of an inch broad. It surpasses all the other inhabitants of the forest, both in height and breadth, and thickness. Some miles before reaching this forest, I met with a remarkable plant, whose foliage bore some similitude to the European Yew, but rather longer, more pointed and glaucous; it is a low growing diœcious shrub, forming patches, several yards in extent. The male flowers resemble a compound of many blossoms of the Yew, but I must state that I only observed them remaining on the plant in a withered and dry state; the female flowers I did not see, but they had been succeeded by ripe fruits, about the size of a middling plum, and of a beautiful purple colour, covered with rich glaucous bloom. It is impossible to present a more tempting appearance to the eye than does this fruit, and when I showed it, and specimens of the shrub which bore it, to Mrs. Molloy, she assured me that it was equally good to the palate, and when she had resided at Augusta, that a soldier had brought it to her from somewhere on the Blackwood River. To me, this small tree appears more closely allied to the Yew, than anything else with which I am acquainted. A curious plant also came in my way, near the Vasse, very much like what is figured and described in the Icones Plantarum, Tab. CCXXXVII., it belongs to Compositæ, and under the yellow flowers there are five glandulous filaments.
I reached Mr. Chapman's farm at the Vasse Inlet, soon after dark, and received there the kindest possible welcome, and next morning proceeded up the Vasse Inlet, to Cattle Chosen Busseltown; which, as the name implies, is one of the best dairy farms in Western Australia, though the whole district of the Vasse is noted for butter and cheese. Mr. Bussel is brother-in-law to Mr. Taylor, late of King George's Sound, a Scotch gentleman, who, having realized a considerable fortune, and relinquished the intention of returning to his native land, now lives with him. By these gentlemen and Mrs. John Bussel, wife to the eldest son, I was kindly pressed to stay at their house, but Mrs. Molloy being a Botanist and an old acquaintance, I could not do otherwise than remain with her, during my abode in this neighbourhood.
I have already given you some account of the plants which I met with to the south of the Vasse, but I omitted one, a lanceolate-leaved Stylidium, which I found in flower, and had already sent you some specimens of, from King George's Sound. The weather rendered this excursion both unpleasant and unprofitable, the heavy rains keeping me wet, day and night: the whole time, nearly a fortnight, my shirt was soaking on my back; so I will not annoy you with a recapitulation of disagreeable particulars; but proceed to say that Captain Molloy, being an old Waterloo man, would not suffer me to depart till after the 18th of June, the anniversary of that battle: and on the night of the 17th there came on, one of the most extraordinary storms I ever knew; accompanied with rain, wind, thunder and lightning. On my return to Australind I found that the Leschenault district had suffered from a similar visitation at the self-same time. Its effects were first visible on a narrow belt of land which lies between the Leschenault Estuary and the sea, where, for about four hundred yards wide, in a direction from north-west to south-east, every tree in the forest had been levelled. The kind of lane, thus formed in the forest, was two hundred yards long, and not a tree was left standing, except a few bare trunks. The storm, after traversing the before-mentioned narrow belt of land, appears to have crossed the Estuary, there about two miles broad, and struck its eastern shore, about a mile from the town of Australind, laying prostrate every tree in its course for about a similar width of space, then ascending the hills and descending into the valleys, right over the Collie and Preston Rivers; but how far it might proceed into the interior, is unknown. In all my travels, I have never witnessed any thing like the effects of this storm, nor heard or read of aught similar. It could not have been a tornado or whirlwind, because the trees were levelled flat all one way. At Perth, the night between the 17th and 18th of June was excessively tempestuous, the hailstones having broken several hundreds of panes of glass.
Two or three days after my return from the Vasse to Australind, I was so fortunate as to meet with an opportunity of forwarding all my specimens as far as the Murray in Mr. Singleton's cart, and accompanying the driver myself, I reached this gentleman's residence, after a four days' journey; which was as pleasant as can be expected in the bush, at this season of the year. Mr. Singleton is the Government-Resident of the Murray District, and the day after my arrival at his house I proceeded to examine the land in his enclosure, where many horses have died, no less than nine, within the last year. Mr. S. was firmly persuaded that this mortality was attributable to some plant, which the animals had eaten among the grass, on its first springing up after the rains. He had carefully examined, after death, the bodies of the horses, and had found that they invariably perished from inflammation in the kidneys and neck of the bladder, producing stranguary, and of course intolerable suffering. My own opinion is that the Ranunculus Coloneus of Hugel is the cause of this mischief, for it grows thick among the grass of Mr. Singleton's enclosure, and I have strong reasons for believing that the same plant occasions the blindness with which sheep and goats are commonly seized, after feeding on the rich flats at the head of the Swan and on the Helena and Canning Rivers; several of Mr. Singleton's horses having gone blind, before any other dangerous symptoms supervened. I suspect this Ranunculus to have the same effects on animals as are produced by cantharides, when taken internally, upon the human frame.
After spending two days with Mr. Singleton, I found an opportunity of proceeding to Freemantle by Mr. Oakley's cart, and noticed in this journey those species of phosphorescent Agarics to which I have alluded in my letter.
Additional Observations on the pollen-collectors of Campanula.
In reference to his paper on this subject, given at p. 601 of our First Volume, Mr. Wilson remarks; “I find the same structure in C. ranunculoides, as in C. rotundifolia, except that the three branches of the stigma become decidedly revolute, and thus come into contact with the pollen lodged upon the collecting hairs; but this does not occur until after the hairs are retracted into their cavities, and consequently long after fecundation may be supposed to have taken place.
"The pollen sends out tubes from four points which are previously visible as circular disks. The pollen-tubes appear to be branched, and much entangled; their diameter not more than one fifth of the tubular cells composing the stigmatic tissue, and on that account they would be very distinguishable if they penetrated that tissue, but I could never find any in that part, and still less within the ovarium. On the other hand, I extracted a grain of pollen from one of the cells of an invaginated hair on the style which exhibited traces of four pollen-tubes. Page:London Journal of Botany, Volume 2 (1843).djvu/187 Pages 185 to 188 omitted in pagination. Page:London Journal of Botany, Volume 2 (1843).djvu/189 Page:London Journal of Botany, Volume 2 (1843).djvu/190 Page:London Journal of Botany, Volume 2 (1843).djvu/191 Page:London Journal of Botany, Volume 2 (1843).djvu/192 Page:London Journal of Botany, Volume 2 (1843).djvu/193 Page:London Journal of Botany, Volume 2 (1843).djvu/194
- The species of Xanthorrhæa are so called, because their stout cylindrical trunks are blackened by the natives burning the grass which surrounds them.
- Carnac is a small island, between Rottenest and Garden Island, whither Yagan and some other natives had been sent as prisoners. Thence they contrived to give their keepers the slip, and securing a small boat, escaped to the mainland, but Yagan had particularly observed the soldier, who had been deputed to flog him for misconduct while on the island, and dogging him from place to place, fell on him and left him for dead. The soldier, however, recovered.