Page:Cyclopaedia, Chambers - Supplement, Volume 2.djvu/157
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and it has two long ortes, like the hare, in the front oi the mouth; its eyes are very beautiful, (ina!I, round, and vivid ; hs ears long, fmooth, and very foft, placed erect, like thofe of the fox, and very thin and tranfparent. It has black whis- kers, like thofe of a cat ; and has other hairs of the fame kind on the other parts of its face, and over its eyes ; its tail is round, and a foot long, and is of great fervice to it, as it ufes it to twiff round the branches of trees, hanging itfelf to them by that means. The tail is hairy near the infection, but na- ked all the other part, and is partly black, partly of a brown- ifh white ; its hinder feet are confiderably longer than the fore ones, and each has five toes ; they much refemble hands, and the nails are white and crooked, the hinder one being as in the monkey kind, the longefl. Its head, and legs, as Hernandez obferves, fomething refemble thcfe of the badger. It has a broad, longitudinal, black ftreak, on the face ; it is of a blackifh colour with a mixture of a brown and grey on the back and fides, and has fomewbat of a faint yeliowrfh caft on the belly. Rnys Syn. Quad, p, 183.
What diftinguifb.es this creature, however, from all the other animals of the world, is, that it has a bag or pouch into which it receives its young as foon as deliver'd ; this is a fort of open uterus, and is placed under the belly near the hinder legs; in this the young are fhelter'd till they are able to fhift for themfelves, and when they begin to be wrong enough they frequently run out and return in again. The creature is of a ftinking fmell like our fox or martin. It feeds on fugar canes, and fome other vegetables 5 but not wholly on thcfe, for it frequently preys on birds which it catches on the trees, and often plays the fox's trick of fteallng poultry. The Opqffwn has been called Marfufiale by fome authors, from the Marfupium or pouch for the receiving its young. This pouch is a membranous body, not very thick, though confifting of feveral coats. It has four pair of mufcles, ferv- ing to contract and diftend, as alfo to open and fhut it at the mouth, and there are two bones in this part of the body peculiar to this animal, and ferving only for the infertion of thefe mufcles. The pouch itfelf is to be rang'd among the veficulous parts of the body, which feem to be part mufcles, part glands, and to perform the office of both motion and fecretion. The hollow part of this pouch is lightly coloured with hairs, but thefe are not placed fo thick but that the fkin is feen between them. Thefe hairs are ufually matted to- gether in feveral places with a tough, yellow, and glutinous matter arifmg out of feveral glands there. This fubilance is of a very naufeous and offenfive fmell. Mr. Ray, and others, have obferved that this animal, while alive, funks like a pole-cat, or even worfe than that animal This (link is principally owing to the matter contain'd in this bag ; and yet fo nearly is this matter ally'd to that contain'd in the fcent-bag of the civet-cat, and other animals, that when ex- pofed to the air for fome days, it lofes its offenfive fmell, and becomes a very grateful perfume like them. The fame ob- fervation holJs good of the fcent bag of our weazel, and pole- cat, which (particularly in the laft animal) arc very offenfive while frefh, but when expofed to the air and dry'd, become only a perfume refembling that oi civet.
John Faber relates out of Lerius, that the opojfum or ferigii ■[finks fo that the barbarous Indians refufe to eat it ; but that if the kidneys be taken out, the ffink goes off in a great mea- fure, and the creature becomes eatable, and his flefh very Well tafted ; but it is very probable that Lerius, v/ho had (een the operation performed, but examined only in a curfory manner, miftook the feat of the offenfive fmell, and that the perfon who performed it, cut deeper than he was aware, and took out this bag or pouch as well as the kidneys. The kidneys, and the fat about them, have no iil fmell at ail.
The pouch of the oprffum has, befide its glandular coat, a mufcular one, which ferv'd to contract or diitend the whole fubftance of it together, as its mufcles did its particular parts ; befide this, alfo, it has a vafcuiar coat, in which ^he blood veffels are difpofed in very great abundance. The male epiffitm, as well as the female, has this kind of pouch under its belly, and takes upon himfelf, at times, the care of carrying and prefcrving the young in cafe of any im- pending danger. Phil. Tranf. N°. 239. p. 123. OPT IO, among the F.omans, an afliftant orlicutenant belong- ing to every centurion.
They were called optimes from opto, I choofe; becaufe it was in the option of the centurion to choofe whom he pleafed for this employment; though at firft it was otherwife, the optto being chofen by the tribune or chief commander of the le- gion. Pitifc. in voc.
The optiones wee not peculiar to the camp, but were ufed alfo in many other offices of life. id. ibid. OPULUS, the water-elder, in botany, the name of a genus of trees, the characters of which are thefe: The flower ennfifts of only one leaf, hut puts on a various form in the different ones. Some arc rotated and pierced at the bottom by a piftil ; thefe are barren. Others are hollowed into the fhape of a bafin, and pierced in the fame manner at their bot- tom by the pointall of the cup : In thefe the cup finally be-
comes a foft juicy berry, containing a flatted and hear?- falhion'd feed. See Tab. i. of Botany, Clafs 20. The fpecies of opulm enumerated by Mr. Tournefort, are thefe: 1. rile common ««fa or M/<r-*r. 2. The opu- lm with globofe flowers. Torni. inft. p. 607. DPUNTIA, in botany, the name of a large genus of plants, the characters of which are thefe : the flower is of the rofa- ceous kind, or confifts of feveral leaves difpofed in a circular form. The cup, after the flower is fallen, becomes a feed- veilel of a Seihf fubftance, umbilicated, and unicapfular, Ml'd with feeds ufually of an annulated appearance. The fpecies of opuntia enumerated by Mr. Tpurnefort, are thefe : j. The common opimt'm or Indian fig. 2. The mid- dle feed opuntia, with oblong leaves. 3. The oi-untia with final! roundifh and comprefled leaves. 4. The lar'geft opuntia with long, broad, and thick leaves. 5. The fmalleft, round- leaved, Indian ohimtia. 6. The fmall American opuntia with long and very Mender fpines. 7. The little, narrow-leaved, American opuntia. 8. The tall tree opuntia of America, with cereus leaves, and white flowers. 9. The tall tree' opuntia of America, with articulated leaves and yellowifh flowers. See Tab, i.of Botany, Clafs 6. We have feveral fpecies of this plant, propagated in the gar- dens of the curious ; they are all early raifed by cuttine; oft" their branches at the joints during any of the fummer months ; thefe cuttings are to be laid by for a fortnight, in a dry, warm place, that the wound may heal up, otherwife they are very fubjedt to rot, as are alfo all the other fucculent plants. The proper place for planting thefe, , is one third part common pafture land, one third fea land, and one third more of an equal mixture of lime rubbifh and rotten tanner's bark. This mixture mould be made three or four months before it is to be ufed, and the larger ftones and clods fepa- rated, and laid at the bottoms of the pots, and the reft filled up with the finer part ; the cuttings are to be planted in thefe pot--, which are then to be plunged into a hot bed of tanner's bark, where they muft be gently watered, and when they be- gin to moot they mult have as much air as poffible ; and, fi- nally, removing them into the ftove, they muft be placed near the glades, and have as much air as may be : they may be expofed to the open air in the fummer months, but they fucceed much better when they are kept continually in the ftove. MiUer's Gard. Difl. '
ORACH, atrip/ex, in botany. See Atriplex.
Stinking orach is a powerful medicine. The very fmell of it will fometimes recover patients out of hvlteric fits, when all the common means fail ; and a decoction of the plant is an excellent medicine in the fame cafes. A decoction of it, made very ftrong, and given in a glylter, in hyftcric cafes, is alfo excellent; and a conferve of the leaves, one of the bell forms it can be given in, has the fame virtues in a very high degree, alone; and is a good medium to bring other medicines into the form of an ele£tuary for the fame purpofes. A fyrup of it is fometimes kept in the mops, and is not without its merit, though a great deal of the virtue of the plant be loft in fuch a form. ORANGE, awantium, in botany, the name of a genus of trees, the characters of which are thefe: the flower is of the rofaceous kind, being compofed of feveral petals, arranged in a circular form ; the piftil arifes from the cup, and is fur- rounded by a number of little leaves, which terminate in the ftamina. This piftil finally becomes a fruit of a roundifh figure, covered with a thick and flefhy rind, and divided within into feveral cells, which are full of juice and ve- ficules, and contan feveral callous feeds. To this is to be added, tha: the leaves are heart-fafhioned at the bottoms. The fpecies of orange, enumerated by Mr Tournefort, are thefe: 1. The common (west orange. 2. The common-fharp- tafted orange. 3. The winter orange, with a lefs juicy fruit. 4. The fnarp-tafted wild orange. 5. The orange-tree with curled leaves. 6. The deflated rok-erange. 7. The va- riegated orange. 8. The variegated, narrow-leaved orange 9. The corniculate orange.^ 10. The narrow leaved cor- niculatesr«»^r, with fmaller fruit. u. The ftriiUgd orange. 12. The fcetiferous orange. 13. The manyfold fcetiferous orange, with one fruit, including two or three others. i4i The Lisbon orange. 15. The China orange-. 16. The large-fruited orange. 17. The manyfruited orange. 1 8, The orange with very narrow fpear-pointed leaves.^ Town. Inft. p. 6 >o. ORANGE-yJoxwrt. Thefe flowers are very juflly cfteemed one of the iineft perfumes. The water diftilled from them is accounted ftomachic, cordial, and carminative. Same al- fo fpealc of it as a fudorific.
There are a very great variety of orange- trees in the gardens of the curious. The manner of raifing them from feeds is this: When you purpofe to raife flocks for burling, they fhould be raifed from citron feeds, taken out of the rotten fruit in fpring ; for the ftocks of this kind are preferable to any other, both for their quicknefs of growth, and their readily taking buds either of oranges, lemons, or citrons. A good hot bed mull be prepared, either of horfe dung of tanners bark. The laft, where it can be had, is much the