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“ 1. Sud has a roundish olive-shaped root, externally black, but “ white internally, and so fragrant as to have obtained in Perfia “ the name of Subterranean Musk: its leaf has some resemblance to “ that of a leek, but is longer and narrower, strong, somewhat rough “ at the edges, and tapering to a point. 2. SUMBUL means a Spike “ or ear, and was called nard by the Greeks. There are three “ sorts of Sumbul or Nardin ; but, when the word stands alone, it “ means the Sumbul of India, which is an herb without flower or fruit,

(he speaks of the drug only) like the tail of an ermine, or of a “ small weasel, but not quite so thick, and about the length of a

finger. It is darkish, inclining to yellow, and very fragrant : it “ is brought from Hindustán, and its medicinal virtue lasts three

years.” It was easy to procure the dry Jatámánsì, which corresponded perfectly with the description of the Sumbul ; and, though a native Mufelmán afterwards gave me a Persian paper, written by himself, in which he represents the Sumbul of India, the Sweet Sumbul, and the Jatámánsì as three different plants, yet the authority of Tohfatu’l Múmenìn is decisive, that the sweet Sumbul is only another denomination of nard, and the physician, who produced that authority, brought, as a specimen of Sumbul, the very fame drug, which my Pandit, who is also a physician, brought as a specimen of the Yatámánsì: a Bráhmen of eminent learning gave me a parcel of the same fort, and told me that it was used in their facrifices ; that, when fresh, it was exquisitely sweet, and added much to the scent of rich essences, in which it was a principal ingredient; that the merchants brought it from the mountainous country to the northeast of Bengal; that it was the entire plant, not a part of it, and received its Sanfcrit names from its resemblance to locks of hair ; as it is called Spikenard, I suppose, from its resemblance to a Spike, when it is dried, and not from the configuration of its flowers, which the Greeks, probably, never examined. The Persian author describes


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the whole plant as resembling the tail of an ermine; and the Jatámánsì

, which is manifestly the Spikenard of our druggists, has precisely that form, consisting of withered stalks and ribs of leaves, cohering in a bundle of yellowish brown capillary fibres, and constituting a spike about the size of a small finger. We may on the whole be assured, that the nardus of PTOLEMY, the Indian Sumbul of the Persians and Arabs, the Jatámánsì of the Hindus, and the Spikenard of our shops, are one and the same plant; but to what class and genus it belongs in the Linnean system, can only be ascertained by an inspection of the fresh blossoms. Dr. Patrick Russel, who always communicates with obliging facility his extensive and accurate knowledge, informed me by letter, that “ Spikenard is carried over “ the desert (from India, I presume) to Aleppo, where it is used in “ substance, mixed with other perfumes, and worn in small bags,

or in the form of essence and kept in little boxes or phials, like átar of roses." He is persuaded, and so am I, that the Indian nard of the ancients, and that of our shops, is one and the same vegetable.

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Though diligent researches have been made at my request on the borders of Bengal and Behàr, yet the Jatámánsì has not been found growing in any part of the British territories. Mr. Saunders, who met with it in Bután, where, as he was informed, it is very common, and whence it is brought in a dry state to Rangpúr, has no hesitation in pronouncing it a species of the Baccharis; and, since it is not possible, that he could mistake the natural order and essential character of the plant, which he examined, I had no doubt that the Jatámánsì was composit and corymbiferous with stamens connected by the anthers, and with female prolifick florets intermixed with hermaphrodites : the word Spike was not used by the ancients with botanical precision, and the Stachys itself is verticillated, with only two


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fpecies out of fifteen, that could justify its generick appellation. I therefore concluded, that the true Spikenard was a Baccharis, and that, while the philosopher had been searching for it to purpose,

the dull fwain Trod on it daily with his clouted Toon, for the Baccharis, it seems, as well as the Conyza, is called by our gardeners, Ploughman's Spikenard. I suspected, nevertheless, that the plant, which Mr. Saunders described, was not Jatámánsì ; because I knew that the people of Bután had no such name for it, but distinguished it by very different names in different parts of their hilly country: I knew also, that the Butias, who set a greater value on the drug than it seems, as a perfume, to merit, were extremely reserved in giving information concerning it, and might be tempted, by the narrow spirit of monopoly, to mislead an inquirer for the fresh plant. The friendly zeal of Mr. Purling will probably procure it in a state of vegetation ; for, when he had the kindness, at my desire, to make inquiries for it among the Bután merchants, they assured him, that the living plants could not be obtained without an order from their sovereign the Dévarájà, to whom he immediately dispatched a messenger with an earnest request, that eight or ten of the growing plants might be sent to him at Rangpùr: should the Dévarájà comply with that request, and should the vegetable flourish in the plain of Bengal, we shall have ocular proof of its class, order, genus, and species ; and, if it prove the same with the Jatámánsì of Népal, which I now must introduce to your acquaintance, the

, question, with which I began this essay, will be satisfactorily answered.

Having traced the Indian Spikenard, by the name of Jatámánsì, to the mountains of Népal, I requested my friend Mr. Law, who then resided at Gayá, to procure some of the recent plants by the means


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of the Nepalese pilgrims ; who, being orthodox Hindus and possessing many rare books in the Sanscrit language, were more likely than the Butías to know the true Jatámánsì, by which name they generally distinguish it: many young plants were accordingly sent to Gayà, with a Persian letter specifically naming them, and apparently written by a man of rank and literature ; so that no suspicion of deception or of error can be justly entertained. By a mistake of the gardener they were all planted at Gayà, where they have blossomed and at first seemed to flourish: I must therefore, describe the Jatámánsì from the report of Mr. Burt, who favoured me with a drawing of it, and in whose accuracy we may perfectly confide ; but, before I produce the description, I must endeavour to remove a prejudice, in regard to the natural order of the spikenard, which they, who are addicted to swear by every word of their master LinNÆus, will hardly abandon, and which I, who love truth better than him, have abandoned with some reluctance, Nard has been generally supposed to be a grass; and the word fiachys or spike, which agrees with the habit of that natural order, gave rise, perhaps, to the supposition. There is a plant in Java, which most travellers and some physicians called spikenard; and the Governor of Chinsura, who is kindly endeavouring to procure it thence in a state fit for examination, writes me word, that “a Dutch author pronounces it a grafs like the Cypirus, but insists that what we call the spike is the fibrous

part above the root, as long as a man's little finger, of a brownish “ hue inclining to red or yellow, rather fragrant, and with a pungent, “ but aromatick, scent.” This is too slovenly a description to have been written by a botanist; yet I believe the latter part of it to be tolerably correct, and should imagine that the plant was the same with our Jatámánsì, if it were not commonly asserted, that the Javan spikenard was used as a condiment, and if a well-informed man, who had seen it in the island, had not assured me, that it was a sort of


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Pimento, and consequently a species of Myrtle, and of the order now called Hifperian. The resemblance before mentioned between the Indian Sumbul and the Arabian Súd, or Cypirus, had led me to suspect, that the true nard was a grass or a reed; and, as this country abounds in odoriferous gralles, I began to collect them from all quarters. Colonel Kyp obligingly sent me two plants with sweet-smelling roots; and, as they were known to the Pandits, I soon found their names in a Sanscrit dictionary : one of them is called gandlas'ať’hì, and used by the Hindus to scent the red powder of Sopan or Bakkam wood, which they scatter in the festival of the vernal season; the other has many names, and, among them, nágaramastac and gónarda, the second of which means rufiling in the water; for all the Pandits insist, that nard is never used as a noun in Sanferit, and signifies, as the root of a verb, to found or to rustle. Soon after, Mr. Burrow brought me, from the banks of the Ganges near Heridwar, a very fragrant grass, which in some places covers whole acres, and diffuses, when crushed, so strong an odour, that a person, he says, might easily have smelt it, as ALEXANDER is reported to have smelt the nard of Gedrofia, from the back of an elephant: its blossoms were not preserved, and it cannot, therefore, be described. From Mr. BLANE of Lucnow I received a fresh plant, which has not flowered at Calcutta; but I rely implicitly on his authority, and have no doubt that it is a species of Andropogon : it has rather a rank aromatick odour, and, from the virtue ascribed to it of curing intermittent fevers, is known by the Sanscrit name of jwaráncus'a, which literally means a fever-hook, and alludes to the iron-hook with which elephants are managed. Lastly, Dr. ANDERSON of Madras, who delights in useful pursuits and in aslisting the pursuits of others, favoured me with a complete specimen of the Andropogon Nardus, one of the most common grasses on the Coast, and flourishing most luxuriantly on the mountains, never eaten by cattle, but extremely grateful to bees, and containing an essential oil, which, he understands,




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