Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/28

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18 SHOKT NOTES AND QUERIES,

CouMARiN is usually regarded as the clieraical rather ttian physio- logical cause of the vernal-grass odour devclo[)ed in the drying of some plants. It is an interesting instance of a vegetable product formed arti- ficially. Perkin replaced the hydrogen in salicyl-hydride (oil of Meadow- sweet) by sodium, and the sodium by acetyl. The salicyl-acetylide, losing a molecule of water, becomes Coumarin. (See Journ. Chem. Soc. ]868, p. 54.) — W. T. Thiselton Dyer.

CoUMARiNE. — It lias been commonly asserted that coumarine exists ready-formed in some half-dozen odorous plants. According to recent researches, however, it would seem that with one exception, that of the Tonquin Bean {Conmaroma odorata), these plants contain, not cou- marine, but a combination of that substance with hydrocoumaric acid. Coumarine has a composition represented by the expression CgHgOg, and the natural compound of this, above referred to, may be formulated thus, CgHgOo, CgHgOg. Prom this compound, after it has been extracted from the plant by alcohol, coumarine itself may be obtained by the action of a cold solution of ammonia. Coumarine has quite recently been formed artificially by Perkin. He acts upon the oil of Meadow-sweet {Spirrea Ulmaria), which is the hydride of salicyle, by means of sodium. He thus obtains a new substance, containing one atom of the metal sodium. This new substance, acted upon by anhydious acetic acid, yields a com- pound named hydride of aceto-salicyle, which, when distilled, loses an atom of water and becomes coumarine ; thus —

C^H.Oa, C3H3O - H2O = CgHgOg Hydride of aceto-saUcyle. Coumarine.

According to some new experiments of my own, coumarine appears to exist, to a small extent, ready formed in the fresh leaves of the Northern Holy-grass {Hierocliloe borealis), as well as in the Tonquin Bean. The compound of coumarine above mentioned has been found in Asperula odorata, Angrcecum fragrans, Antlioxanthum odoratum, and Melilotus offi- cinalis. The odour of these four plants becomes developed or more distinct on drying, some of the coumarine being thus probably set free. — A. H. Church.

Irish Plants. — Seduin daHyphyUum ; are we right in calling this cer- tainly introduced ? It grows in a station hitherto unrecorded, near Midleton, county Cork, where it has every appearance of being truly wild, being abundant all over a group of low, rocky (limestone) hills in a retired spot. Festuca Mi/urns (Sm.) ; this is in Cyb. Hib., called very rare, only two stations being recorded for all Ireland. This certainly requires correction ; the species is abundant in Cork, and has no doubt been hitlierto confounded with F. sciuroides (Roth). Galium erectnm ; this species (in Cyb. Hib., Dublin only) grows abundantly in a pasture field near Midleton. It is also to be found sparingly on hilly pasture near Ballinacurra — introduced, I do not doubt. — T. Allin.

Note on Burrin, Clare. — This season I found three species yet un- recroded from this district so interesting to botanists, viz. Festuca Myurus, Linaria Elatiiie, and a FLieracium, which is perhaps anglicum. — T. Allin.

Monstrous state of Inflorescence in Brassica nigra, Boiss. — In the summer of 1868, when botanizing with the Rev. T. A. Preston at Aust Cliff by the Severn, I found amongst a number of individuals of this plant, some with their inflorescence very remarkably modified. I

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