Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/382

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


itiimdattim, Mi/riopJiijUnm alteruiflorimi, Hydrocotyle, and PcpUs ; but no- where any scrap to be seen of Drosera, Sphagnum, or Nartliec'mm, all of which are coramon enough upon Dartmoor. This curious Serpentine region is not drained by any streamlet, even of moderate size, but only a few little rills run from the central moor to flow into the hollows between the great sea-crags, which are very fine all round this portion of the coast, but often only to be seen from the sea, or at considerable risk and expen- diture of time from below at low tide. On the southern and western side of the down, between the little villages of Lizard-town, Llandewednack, Cadgwith, and the three neighbouring hamlets that take their name from Saint Ruan, the country is to a large extent brought under cultivation to the very edge of the seal)ank, but even here there are no hedges, and tlie pastures and corn or forage fields are separated from one another only by walls or earthy banks, on the top of which it is the custom of the country to carry the footpaths. So that it is only about the lower part of some of the streamlets that we get in the Serpentine tract any fruticose or ar- boreal vegetation, except it be a row of planted Tamarisks, or a stray Apple-tree, or an Elder, or planted Poplar near a house ; and even in the midst of summer the region looks very monotonous and dreary, with no- thing to check any wind that blows from east or Avest or south from sweeping right across it, and nothing to shelter plant or belated traveller from rain or storm, except a wall or earth-bank three or four feet in height, and not even that for miles across the open down. In considering the flora of the district, these circumstances need to be prominently borne in mind, for not only does there result from this exposedness a great cutting- off of sylvan and septal species that might otherwise be expected, but many well-known plants put on peculiar forms, clearly in consequence of the peculiar circumstances under which they are placed. Of Genista tinc- toria, Arenaria verna, and Spartlnm scoparium, varieties from the district have been named akeady, and we may instance also Anthi/lUs Vidnerarin {A. B'dlenu) and Lotus corniculatus, as occurring with fleshy leaves, and more or less reddish flowers, Poterium SangnlHorha, Sanguisorba officinalis, Serratula tinctoria, and Centnurea nigra, reduced down in extreme cases to monocephalous forms two or three inches in height, and Daucus maritimus and Crithmum dwarfed down to a single tuft of radical leaves, with a single umbel nearly or quite sessile in the centre. There is very little scope in the Serpentine tract for the maritime plants that affect sandy beaches. Of the walls and earthbanks that border the shore, the most abundant plants are Armcria marilima, Cerastium tetramlrnm, Spergnlaria rupestris, Sllene viaritima, and Beta marithna^ with a wonderful quantity of Crithnuin and Ramalina scopulorum everywhere about the rocks, and on the sandy slopes Aira caryoplujllea. Thymus, Jauone, Plantago Corunopus, Herniaria, Scilta verna and S. autumnalis, and Seduni anglicum. On the north of the Serpentine tract we pass on the north-east of Goonhilly Downs about Manaccan, Helford, St. Martin, and St. Anthony, into a tract of Devonian country where there are lanes and hedgerows, in which shade-loving plants like Hypericum Androsmnum, Calamintha officinalis, Aspidium angular e, and Nephrodium remuluni show themselves, and where Erica vagans, Her- niaria glabra, Arenaria verna, the Scillas, and many more special Serpen- tine species are left behind. The creek that runs into the interior, south of Falmouth, for many miles, and nearly joins at its head the hollows that run down in a western direction past Helston to Looe pool would,

�� �