Page:Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 73 (1847).djvu/9

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to occupy the entire Number. Seldom has any plant excited such attention in the botanical world; the interest being specially enhanced by the name it is privileged to bear. If it could be said, in reference to the royal ancestor of Queen Victoria, the Consort of His Majesty, George III., that the Strelitzia was peculiarly appropriated to Her, because of the patronage which she gave to Botany, b improving and embellishing the Royal Gardens of Kew, much more does the name of Victoria claim to be handed down to posterity on similar grounds; seeing that Her present Majesty has been graciously pleased to make these garden available to the public enjoyment, and even to endow them with a liberal provision for that especial purpose.

It is true that the Victoria has not yet produced its blossoms in England:, but we have growing plants in the Royal Gardens of Kew, which germinated from seeds brought from Bolivia by Mr. Bridges. These have hitherto made satisfactory progress; although we have our fears that the plant being possibly annual and the season late (December), they may not survive the winter; or, at any rate, may not produce perfect flowers. Many are the disappointments and delays of Science! It was not till after Tea had been used as a beverage for upwards of a century in England, that the shrub which produces it was brought alive to this country. More than one botanist had embarked for the voyage to China,–till lately a protracted and formidable undertaking,–mainly in the hope of introducing a growing Tea-tree in our Greenhouses. No passage across the Desert, no Waghorn-facilities, no steam-ship, assisted the traveller in those days. The distance to and from China, with the necessary time spent in that country, generally consumed nearly three years! Once had the Tea-tree been procured by Osbeck, pupil of Linnæus, in spite of the jealous care with which the Chinese forbade its exportation; and, when near the coast of England, a storm ensued, which destroyed the precious shrubs. Then, the plan of obtaining berries was adopted, and frustrated by the heat of the tropics, which spoiled the oily seeds and prevented their germination. The Captain of a Swedish vessel hit upon a good scheme; having secured fresh berries, he sowed these on board ship, and often stinted himself of his daily allowance of water, for the sake of the young plants; but just as the ship entered the channel, an unlucky rat attacked his cherished charge and devoured them all! We have, however, no reason to despair of being able to raise the Victoria regia and of seeing it bloom in this country. The time is not long, since we first heard of this gorgeous Water-Lily; and the facilities of communicating with