Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/186

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.164 IS ACOKUS CALAMUS A NATIVE.

leaves. This botanist was mucli in England, and paid special attention to the aquatic plants about London. When Clusius, in 1583, pul)lished his ' History of Pamionic Plants,' which also contains his few notes on English Botany, lie added to the stock of knowledge about Aeorus by figuring the inflorescence, giving details of the Bithynian locality at " Prusa " (Brussa?), and informing ns (p. 261) that Frisius saw it, in 1577, near Vilna, abundantly, where the inhabitants call it Tartarsky, because its properties were first made known to them by the Tartars.* It soon began to get known in gardens. In 1586, Robin grew it in the Royal Gardens at Paris (Hist. Gen. Lngd. p. 1618), and in 1596 we find it enumerated in the catalogue (p. 1) of Gerarde's garden in London. Here we are told (' llerball,' p. 56) it prospered "exceedingly well," but never bore catkins. Gerarde obviously had no notion tluit it was a native of this country ; he merely repeats the previously-repoi'ted exotic localities. Johnson, in his revised edition of Gerarde's ' Herball,' gives a better figure (Clusius's), and says that, in 1632, he received from' "Mr. Thomas Glynn, of Glynullivon, in Carnarvonshire, . . . the pretty Julus, or floure of this plant, which I could never see here about London, though it groweth with us in many gardens, and that in great plenty " (p. 63). Johnson apparently looked upon it as entirely a garden plant, and says (p. 64) it may be " fitly called in English the Sweet Garden Flag;" whilst his contcmporaiy, Parkinson, a very accurate botanist, says explicitly that it is a stranger, " not growing with us " (Theat. Bot. p. 4-0). Acorns is not included in Ray's ' Catalogue of Cambridge Plants' (1660); but in Merrett's ' Pinax,' first printed in 1666, it is entered as "found by Dr. Brown, near Lyn, and by Mr. Brown, of Oxford, near Iledlcy, in Surry" (p. 2). These localities are also given in the first edition of Ray's ' Catalogus Plant. Anglian' (1670), where the author adds that he had seen it ten years before near Norwich, and that Mr. Needham reported it abundant and wild in Cheshire (p. 7).

It appears, then, as far as history goes, that Acorns Calamus was un- known in this country before 1596, when Gerarde had it in his garden, and that it was not till about 1660 that it was reported as a wild plant from Norfolk. We have therefore to consider whether it is more pro- bable that, being a common garden plant, it should have become natura- lized, or that it was overlooked in the wild state by all the herbalists who botanized in England before 1660. But a few other data may be brought to bear on the question. The plant possesses no English name of any antiquity, the name proposed by Johnson given above being the only one ever used and is indeed that still employed, omitting the word "garden." I have not, however, been able to ascertain whether there is any iond-fi.de Welsh name. On the other hand, the aspect of the species, when seen growing round the ponds and by the streams of the Thames valley, is quite that of a native, and gives oue no reason to doubt its spon- taneity ; it has all the look of an integral part of the native vegetation. In the case of a water-loving species, however, too much stress must not be laid upon this fact — Lnpatieus fnlva, which grows along with it, has au equally English appearance, though a certainly introduced plant of a

  • Pallas, on the ticket to the specimens in his herbarivnn now in tlie British

Museum, gives some information about the preparation of the rhizome, and its extensive use iu diarrhoea, in the regions near the Caspian, where the plant is very abundant.

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