Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 10.djvu/45
|Mr. Brown, on the Proteaceae of Jussieu.||23|
Genera consisting of one or very few species, and which exhibit generally the most remarkable deviations from the usual structure of the order, are the most local, and are found either in the principal parallel, or in the highest latitude.
The range of species in the whole of the order seems to be very limited; and the few cases which may be considered as exceptions to this, occur in the most extensive genera, and in such of their species as are most strictly natives of the shores. Thus Banksia integrifolia, which grows more within the influence of the sea than any plant of the order, is probably also the most widely extended, at least in one direction, being found within the tropic, and in as high a latitude as 40°. It is remarkable, however, that with so considerable a range in latitude, its extension in longitude is comparatively small: and it is still more worthy of notice, that no species of this family has been found common to the eastern and western shores of New Holland.
The celebrated traveller Humboldt is the first who has expressly pointed out a remarkable difference in the distribution of the species of plants.
He observes that, while the greater number grow irregularly scattered and mixed with each other, there are some which form considerable masses, or even extensive tracts, to the nearly absolute exclusion of other species. Of plants growing this in society, the greater number occur in the temperate zones; and of these, the most decided instances will readily present themselves to every botanist. I venture to add, that such as exist within the tropic, are found, either at considerable heights or on the sea-shores.
To this class very few of the Proteaceæ can be said to belong. Protea argentea of Linnæus is the most striking example among