Page:Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 73 (1847).djvu/17

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deserve such a distinction, of V. regia. No one can have examined the aquatic plants, either of our own or of foreign countries, without remarking that those parts which come in contact with the fluid are apt to turn purple, without any apparent cause for such change.

It now only remains, before completing the historical narrative of this plant, to say that the speciens from which the accompanying analyses are made, are exclusively derived from Mr. Bridges. On his return from his journey through Bolivia, of which some particulars are given at p. 571. of vol. 4. of our 'London Journal of Botany', Mr. Bridges detected the Victoria regia in considerable abundance, and brought home, in 1846, seeds in wet clay and well-dried foliage; also flowers, preserved in spirits. It is to be regretted there were no ripe capsules (ours is drawn from the figure of Sir R. Schomburgk), and of the seeds the majority were decayed; so that out of twenty-two which we purchased, only two have germinated, the rest being in a state equally unfit for examination and description.

We lament extremely that Mr. Bridges' severe illness puts it totally out of his power to give any information respecting his collecting this plant, or indeed of its exact locality.[1] We have always understood the latter to be in some part of the Republic

  1. Happily the improved state of Mr. Bridges' health has enabled him to communicate to us the following information; but which has only come, as it were, at the twelfth hour, after our whole description had been corrected and made ready for press. We are therefore compelled to give it in the form of a note.
    "During my stay at the Indian town of Santa Anna, in the province of Moxos, Republic of Bolivia, during the months of June and July, 1845, I made daily shooting excursions in the vicinity. In one of these I had the good fortune (whilst riding along the woody banks of the river Yacuma, one of the tributary rivers of the Mamore) to come suddenly on a beautiful pond, or rather small lake, embosomed in the forest, where, to my delight and astonishment, I discovered, for the first time, "the Queen of Aquatics," the Victoria regia! there were at least fifty flowers in view, and Belzoni could not have felt more rapture at his Egyptian discoveries than I did in beholding the beautiful and novel sight before me, such as it has fallen to the lot of few Englishmen to witness. Fain would I have plunged into the lake to procure specimens of the magnificent flowers and leaves; but knowing that these waters abounded in Alligators, I was deterred from doing so by the advice of my guide, and my own experience of similar places. I now turned over in my thoughts how and in what way flowers and leaves might be obtained, and I clearly saw that a canoe was necessary, and therefore promptly returned to the town, and communicated my discovery and wants to the Correjidor or Governor, Don José Maria Zarate, who with much kindness immediately ordered the Cacique to send Indians with a yoke of oxen for the purpose of drawing a canoe from the river Yacuma to the lake. Being apprised that the canoe was in readiness, I returned in the afternoon, with several Indians to assist in carrying home the expected prize of leaves and flowers. The canoe being very small, only three persons could embark; myself in the middle, and an Indian in the bows and stern. In this tottering little bark we