Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/283

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SILEK TRILOBUM AS A BRITISH PLANT. 259

fraotod below tlie slylopod, crowned with the persistent veflexed styles (foi' full description of the fruit, see g-eneric characters).

The rigiti, perfectly solid stem and branches are remarkable, though not ]XTidiar to S'Uer, amongst Umbel lifers, when young they are covered with a very glaucous " bloom" ; the leaves are very characteristic, much like those of Columbine, but thicker ; as the plant gets old they gain, as well as the rest of the plant, a purplisli tinge. At the point of origin of the radii of the primary umbel, the summit of the branch is dilated, and after the flowering period, forms a hemispherical head, the radii being then separated by intervening i)ortions. The largest umbels from Cambridge measure more than 13 inches in diameter; in all the specimens the only fertile ones are those at the end of the main branches (and in these the central flowers are barren) ; those of the axillary branches — which over- top the terminal umbels, and in direction continue the axes — are always barren. The taste of the fruit is aromatic and bitter, not unlike that of Smyruiiim.

The plant is figured in Morison's Hist. Oxon. I.e., Eivinus' Plant. IT. Pentapet., Jacquin's Fl. Austr. Icones, vol. ii. t. 147, and Reichenl)ach's Ic. Fl. Germ. vol. xxi. fig. 1984. It is scarcely necessary to refer to the numerous descriptions in the Continental Floras; a very good one is that in Godron's 'Flore de Lorraine,' ed. 2. vol. i. p. 317.

Geographical Bidribiilion. — There are specimens in the herbarium of the British Museum from Siberia (Pallas), Crimea (Pallas), Persia (Au- clicr Eioy, no. 4576), Austria (Jacquin, Mertens), Styria (Reichcnbach, no. 2213, Prior, etc.), Hesse- i)arn;stadt (Pagge), Hanover (Pflumer), Lorraine (Billot, no. 785). It is also recorded from Provence, Bavaria, Hungary, Croatia, Transylvania, Slavonia, Central European Russia and the Caucasian provinces. De Candolle (I.e.) gives the Pyrenees, but he perhaps here mistook LnHerpitinm, Nestim, !Soyer-\N ill., for this species. Morison states that lie received it from Monte Gargano in Apulia. It ap- pears to be absent from Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium, W. France, Swit- zerland {Laserjiitimn trilobmn, Suter=Z/. Gandiuu, Moretti), and Por- tugal {L. aqiiileyifoUnm, Brotero=Z. Nestleri, Soyer-Will. ?). It seems, then, that Si/er is a plant of decided eastern proclivities, its head-quar- ters being in Styria and adjacent districts of the Austrian Empire. The nearest points on the Continent to the Cambridge locality are the neigh- bourhood of Metz in Lorraine and the south-western portion of Hanover (Iliidesheim, Bodenwerder, etc.). Bushy places on chalk and limestone, are the localities it affects, and it would appear to be in most j)laces a local and sporadic species. If the Candmdgeshire station is a native one, it must be regarded as an isolated outlying post ; points in its favour arc, the quite similar character of the spot to those in which the plant is found abroad, and the exceptional climatologieal and geographical conditions of the district of England in which it is situated, shown by its remarkable flora, including two other Umbellileras all but restricted to it in England.

As to the systematic position of the genus, Silei' is not very closely allied to any British TJ)iiheU'iJ'erre. Bentham ami Hooker, indeed, in Gen. Plantarum, place it with ^iihum, (Eiiaiithe, and Silans in the tribe CEnon- i}ie(P, but the presence of both secondary and primary ribs separates it both from these and call British genera, except the prickly-fruited ones, Danciis, Caxcalii, and Torilis. If to be included in British floras, it will be necessary to emplov for its reception a separate tribe or snbtribe (^Sile-

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