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Curtis's Botanical Magazine/Volume 74/Companion

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COMPANION

TO THE

BOTANICAL MAGAZINE.


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Notice of Mr Drummond's discovery of three remarkable plants
in South-West Australia.

We have much interesting matter to lay before our readers from
the correspondence of Mr. Drummond; but at this time we must
content ourselves with a brief extract from one of his letters
written from Cape Riche, Jan. 10, 1847, while on an extensive
botanical journey from Swan River to King George's Sound.

"I determined," he says. "to enjoy another view from the top
of Mongerup. I hid our supply of flour and pork as well as I
could, in case of a visit from the natives: I had now to bring
water from the native well. Starting at five o'clock, I reached
the highest summit of the hill by eleven. I ascended by the N.E.
angle, and at about the height of 2,000 feet I found, first making
its appearance, a splendid Banksia, with leaves more than nine
inches long, and about five wide, irregularly jagged and sinuated
like those of an English Oak. To this noble shrub I have given the
specific name of Hookeri. From the remains of the flowers, they
appear to have been scarlet. I had scarcely time to make myself
acquainted with this fine Banksia, when I found another ex-
ceedingly interesting and beautiful plant, a species of Genithyllis,
growing to the size of, and having a considerable resemblance in
habit and foliage to Beaufortia decussata,but with the inflorescence
inclosed by beautiful bracts, white, and variegated with crimson
veins; these bracts are as elegantly formed as the petals of the
finest tulip, and are almost as large, hanging in a bell-shaped
form from the ends of the slender branches. I thought I could
never gather enough of this charming plant; and I procured
abundance of perfect seeds. As one is obliged to employ the
hands as well, and almost as often, as the feet, in ascending
or descending these very steep hills, I had gone very lightly
equipped: I was therefore compelled to use my shirt and
neck-handkerchief (making the shirt into a bag), to bring down
a supply of Banksia cones. Securing the load so as not to im-

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pede the use of my hands, I reached our sleeping place at three
o'clock, much fatigued with my load, but highly gratified; having
this day found at least two plants, which will continue to be
admired while a taste for the beauties of nature remains to the
human race."

In another part of this letter he writes: "West Mount Barren
was distant about ten miles. Just before I reached this sleeping
place, and afterwards in greater abundance between it and Mount
Barren, I found a most extraordinary plant, a species of Hakea,
growing twelve or fourteen feet high: the true leaves of the
plant are seven or eight inches long, jagged and sinuated as in
Hakea undulata, but by far the most conspicuous part of the
foliage of this superb plant are its bracts, which make their ap-
pearance with the flower-buds. When the plant is three or
four years old, they are borne in regular whorls, each circle or
whorl being from seven to nine inches in height, formed of five
rows, which have each five bracts; the lowest bracts of the whorl
are the broadest, and vary from four to five inches, the whole
breadth across, in full-grown, middle-sized specimens, being
about ten inches; and they regularly decrease in size to the upper-
most bracts, which are only about four inches across from outside
to outside; each whorl is a year's growth of the plant after it
bears the first flowers. The variegation of these bracts is so ex-
traordinary, that I almost fear to attempt a description. The
first year they are yellowish-white in all the centre of the bracts,
and the same colour appears in the veins and in the teeth, which
grow on the margin; the second year, what was white the
first year has changed to a rich golden-yellow; the third year,
what was yellow becomes a rich orange; and the fourth year,
the colour of the centre of the same bracts, their veins and
marginal teeth, are turned to a blood-red. The green, which has
a remarkably light and luminous appearance the first year, varies
annually to deeper and darker shades; and the fourth year, when
the centre of the bracts has acquired a blood-red colour, the green
of the same series is of the richest hue, while the whorls below
change to darker and duller shades, until they ultimately fade
'into the dull and withered leaves of other climes. The flowers
I have not seen: the stem and buds of the upper series, which
are the only ones unopened, are white and velvety; the other
series contain seed-vessels, mostly with perfect seeds. To this, the
most splendid vegetable production which I have ever beheld, in
a wild or cultivated state, I have given the name of our gracious
Queen, Hakea Victoria. It will soon be cultivated in every garden
of note in Europe, and in many other countries. I thought it

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incumbent on me to send Hakea Victoria* in some form to my
subscribers, and, for this plant, pressure is altogether out of the
question, as the bracts break before they will bend in any direction.
I tied up sixteen of the bract-bearing tops in two bundles, fastening
them together with the creeping shoots of the Black creeper,
Kennedya niricans, and slung them one at each side of my old
grey poney, Cabbine. The load, although not very heavy, was a
most awkward one to get through the bushes, and he never bore
anything so unwillingly. One specimen, fourteen feet high, I
carried in my hand all the way to Cape Riche; but notwith-
standing all the care 1 took, the brilliant colours in the bracts of
this extraordinary plant were much faded before I could get
it to King George's Sound."


Nelumbium Jamaicense ; re-discovered in Jamaica.

NEARLY, if not quite, a century has rolled away since Dr. Patrick
Browne, a Naturalist and Physician resident in Jamaica, detected,
and soon after described in his Natural History of Jamaica, a
species of Nelumbium bearing yellow flowers, different from that
of the East Indies, growing in certain lagoons of the island in
question: and presenting an equally stately appearance with the
splendid and well-known species of the Old World. Strange
to say, notwithstanding the researches of succeeding botanists,
neither lacking in knowledge nor zeal, the Nelumbium Jamaicense
.has been sought in vain: so that all hitherto known of it has
been through the brief account of it by Patrick Browne above
quoted. No specimen exists, we believe we are correct in
saying, in any Herbarium; and, as the Nelumbium speciosum
had disappeared from the Nile, where it was formerly known
as a sacred emblem, so it has been by many supposed that our
plant had been lost to Jamaica; or others believed that Patrick
Browne had ignorantly taken some other well-known Nymphæ-
aceous plant for a new Nelumbium.

We can well conceive, then, with what pleasure our excellent
friend, Dr. M'Fadyen of Kingston, Jamaica, must have received
the agreeable tidings, in August last, of the re-discovery of this

* Noble specimens of the three plants here noticed have reached our hands,
and bear testimony to the correctness of Mr. Drummond's remarks. The
Banksia is probably the little-known B. Solari, Br.: the others are quite new.


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plant by James Dundas, Esq. Dr. M'Fadyen was not long in
sending to us roots, and seeds, and beautifully dried specimens
of this rarity, and in printing, for private distribution, a full
description with an accurate, coloured figure (on a large folio
size, as the subject truly deserved), and a second plate of
analysis. It must be acknowledged, indeed, judging from a
comparison of dried specimens in our Herbarium, that it is very
closely allied to the Nelumbium luteum of the United States:
and if, on further investigation, the two should prove to be
identical, we must observe that Patrick Browne's name has the
right of priority, although not quite unobjectionable, seeing that
it is more frequent in North America than in Jamaica. The
specific identity of the two, however, we are not now discussing;
nor do we think it necessary here to give the full and excellent
description of the plant from Dr. M'Fadyen's Memoir: but his
remarks are well worthy of being introduced into the supple-
mentary pages of this Magazine.

"I have followed Dr. Lindley," Dr. M'Fadyen remarks, "in
describing as a horizontal submersed stem, what others have
regarded as the root. Although it grows under the surface of
the water, it is free from the mud or soft earth, in which the
proper roots or fibrillae are immersed. It may be remarked
that the internal structure of the stem more resembles that of
the flower-stalk than that of the petiole : the former supporting
more important and complicated organs than the latter. It may
also be noticed that these several parts resemble in their internal
structure, composed of cellular tissue connecting a number of
large air tubes, that of the stem of the Cabombaceæ or Water
shields. In plants of this order the number of air tubes amounts
to 15 or 16. On the other hand, in the Cabombaceæ there
are no spiral vessels, whereas they are remarkably distinct in the
Nelumbaceæ.
" I have no doubt the broad rufescent band which I have de-
scribed as traversing the under-surface of the leaf, corresponds
to that portion which is exposed, when the leaf, in the early
period of its growth, is folded up previous to its expansion.
"The peculiarities of the nervation in the leaf are not so dis-
tinctly delineated, as they might have been. The broad rufescent
band above alluded to, is also indistinctly indicated. It is very
obvious, however, in the recent specimen.
" The prolonged portion of the filament is in this species linear
and incrassated. In N. speciosum it is linear; and in N. luteum
club-shaped.
" The abortive cell of the carpel, has not as yet been described

Plate 4347

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as existing in any other of the species. It is very distinct in
this, and I have no doubt will be found to be equally so in the
other species.

In the description of the embryo, it is said to be composed
of the rudiments of the future leaf, flower, and stem. Here I
differ from Gaertner, who regards what I have described as the
rudiments of the flower and flower-stalk, as belonging to a second
undeveloped leaf. To this I object, that it would be a very
unusual circumstance, where there are the rudiments of two cor-
responding organs, that there should be so much dissimilarity
and disproportion between them. On the contrary, as a leaf
and a flower invariably arise from each joint of the stem, it is
most probable that I am correct in the description I have given.

This interesting plant was first made known to botanists by
Dr. Patrick Browne, an Irish physician, who resided for some
time in this island, and, as it would appear from his writings,
left it in 1754. During his residence, he devoted his attention
to the natural history of the Island. He published the result of
his observations in a folio volume, entitled " The Civil and Natural
History of Jamaica, by Patrick Browne, M.D., illustrated with
forty-nine Copper-plates, by Ehret, London, 1789." He informs
us, in page 343, that the Nelumbium, (or as he styles it
Nyphæa) the Egyptian Bean, or Great Water-lily, was, in his
time, pretty common in the lagoons beyond the Ferry. "It
grows," he informs us, "in loose boggy ground, where the leaves
may stand in open air, while the roots and lower part of the
stems are plentifully supplied with moisture." Dr. Browne
appears to have been under the impression that our plant was
identical with the sacred Water-bean of the Egyptians. Since
his time, the plant appears from some cause to have become
more scarce, and to have escaped the notice of the different
botanists who have visited this Island. It seems very unlikely that
Swartz, Bertero, as well as many others, should have met with
it and passed it over without some notice.

Since my arrival in the Island, I took every opportunity of
searching for the plant. Dr. M'Nab, also, and Mr. Purdie, the
collector for the Kew Gardens, now of Trinidad, frequently visited
the locality on a similar errand, passing through the canals of the
lagoon in a boat, without any success. Early in August, James
Dundas, Esq., (the manager of Taylor's Caymanas Estate,) while
carrying out some improvements connected with the draining of
the land of that property in the vicinity of the lagoon, unex-
pectedly came upon this beautiful plant, and, as he had on
former occasions, assisted in the kindest manner, our searches

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for it, he immediately concluded that he had at length lighted
on what we had been so long in search of. He collected
specimens of the flowers and other parts of the plant, and brought
them to my residence in Kingston. I doubt not every cultivator
of our " fair science" must sympathise in the pleasure with which
I regarded this beautiful Water-Lily. How much more delightful
would be the surprise to encounter it in its native solitudes,
where the hand of Nature has planted and reared it, amid the
mangroves and the tall reeds, overshadowing with its magni-
ficent leaves and flowers the still waters of the lagoon, recalling
the description of Una in the Fairy Queen:---
" ----- Her angel-face
As the great eye of heaven shined bright
And made a sunshine in the shady place."

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