Page:Miscellaneousbot01brow.djvu/69

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51
BOTANY OF TERRA AUSTRALIS.

south end of Van Diemen's Island, and is also found within the tropic.

A plant of a very similar habit to Xanthorrhœa, agreeing with it in its caudex and leaves, having, however, a very different inflorescence, was observed abundantly at King George's Sound, but with fructification so decayed and imperfect that I have not been able to determine the structure either of its flower or fruit. This plant is introduced by Mr. Westall in the view of King George's Sound published in Captain Flinders's account of his voyage.

I had annexed Hypoxis and Curculigo to the Asphodeleæ, chiefly on account of a similarity in the testa of the seed; but they differ so much from this order in other parts of their structure, and from Amaryllideæ both in this respect and in the singular umbilicus of the seed, as well as in habit, that it is better to consider them as forming a separate family.

Of this family, which may be called Hypoxideæ[1] only five species have been observed in Terra Australis, four of [577 these belong to Hypoxis, which is chiefly an extratropical genus, the fifth is a Curculigo very like those of India.


PALMÆ. Only six species of this order have been observed in New Holland, and of two of these the fructification is at present unknown.

The New Holland Palms exist chiefly within the tropic, but one species is found in 34° S. lat.; it seems, however, that this is nearly the southern limit of the order in that country, no species having been seen on any part of the South coast.

In New Zealand a species of Areca was observed by Sir Joseph Banks, in about 38° S. lat., which is probably nearly the limit of Palms, in the southern hemisphere. In the northern hemisphere their extent is not materially different from this: in North America, indeed, they do not appear

  1. Hypoxideæ. Perianthium superum: limbo sexpartito, regulari, æstivatione imbricata. Stamina sex, imis lacinis inserta. Ovarium 3-loc. loculis polyspermis. Capsula evalvis, nunc baccata, polysperma. Semina umbilico laterali rostelliformi; testa atra crustacea. Embryo in axi albuminis carnosi: radicula vaga.