Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

imagination of a BURMAN to discover in them a resemblance to the face of a man, or of an ape, the genus will, I hope, be called BACULA, by which name it is frequently celebrated in the Puranas, and even placed among the flowers of the Hindu paradise. Leaves alternate, petioled, egg-oblong pointed, smooth. The tree is very ornamental in parks and pleasure-grounds.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

37. As'o'cA:
Syn. Vanjula.
Cal. Perianth two-leaved, closely embracing the tube.
Cor. One-petaled. Tube long; cylindrick, fubincurved ; mouth en-

circled with a nectareous rim. Border four-parted, divisions, roundish. STAM. Filaments eight, long, coloured, inserted on the rim of the tube.

Anthers kidney-shaped.
Pist. Germ, above, oblong, flat. Style short, downy. Stigma bent,

simple.
Per. Legume long, compressed at first, then protuberant with the

swelling feeds; incurved, strongly veined and margined, sharp

pointed. Seeds from two to eight, solid, large, many-shaped, some oblong

roundish, some rhomboidal, some rather kidney-shaped, mostly thick,

some flat. Leaves egg-oblong-lanced, opposite, mostly five-paired, nerved; long

from four or five to twelve or thirteen inches.

The number of stamens varies considerably in the same plant: they are from six or seven to eight or nine; but the regular number seems right, one in the intestices of the corol, and one before the centre of each division. Most of the flowers, indeed, have one abortive stamen, and some only mark its place, but many are perfect; and VAN RHEEDE tpeaks of eight as the constant number : in fact no part of the plant is

constant.

constant. Flowers fascicled, fragrant just after sunset and before funrise, when they are fresh with evening and morning dew; beautifully diversified with tints of orange-scarlet, of pale yellow, and of bright orange, which grows deeper every day, and forms a variety of shades according to the age of each blossom, that opens in the fafcicle.

in the fafcicle. The vegetable world scarce exhibits a richer sight than an Asóca-tree in full bloom : it is about as high as an ordinary Cherry-tree. A Bráhmen informs me, that one species of the Asóca is a creeper ; and JAYADE'VA

a ; gives it the epithet voluble: the Sanscrit name will, I hope, be retained by botanists, as it perpetually occurs in the old Indian poems and in treatises on religious rites.

38. S'AIVA'LA: Syn. Yanalılà. S'aivala. Vulg. Simár, Syálá, Pátasyála, Sébálá. LINN. Vallisneria? R. CAL. Common Spathe one-leaved, many-flowered, very long, furrowed, two-cleft at the top ; each division end-nicked.

Proper Perianth three-parted ; divifons, awled. Cor. Petals three, linear, long, expanding, fleshy. STAM. Filaments invariably nine, thread-form. Anthers erect, oblong,

furrowed. Pist. Germ egged, uneven. Styles always three, short, awled, ex

panding. Stigmas three, simple. Per. Capsulę very long, smooth, awled, one-celled, infolded in an

angled Spathe. Seeds very numerous, murexed, in a viscid mucus. Flowrets from fix to fourteen, small. Scape compressed, very narrow,

fleshy, furrowed in the middle. Pedicel of the Aoweret, thread-form, crimson above; proper perianth, russet ; petals, white; anthers, deep yellow. Leaves swordform,

.

pointed,

pointed, very narrow, smooth, and soft, about two feet long, crowded, white at the base. Root small, fibrous. It flourishes in the ponds at Crishna-nagar : the refiners of sugar, use it in this province. If this plant be a Vallisneria, I have been so unfortunate as never to have seen a female plant, nor fewer than nine stamens in one blossom out of more than a hundred, which I carefully examined.

39. PU'TICARAJA :
Syn. Pracírya, Pútica, Calimáraca.
Vulg. Nátácaranja.
Linn. GUILANDINA Bonduccella.

The species of this genus vary in a singular manner : on several plants, with the oblong leaflets and double prickles of the Bonduccella, I could see only male flowers, as Rheede has described them ; they were yellow, with an aromatick fragrance. Others, with similar leaves and prickles, were clearly polygamous, and the flowers had the following character :

[ocr errors]

Male. CAL. Perianth one-leaved, falver-form, downy; Border five-parted,

with equal, oblong divifons. Cor. Petals five, wedge-form, obtusely notched at the top; four

equal, erect, the fifth, depressed. STAM. Filaments ten, awled, inserted in the calyx, villous, very un

equal in length. Anthers oblong, furrowed, incumbent.

HERMAPHRODITE. Calyx, Corol, and Stamens, as before. Pist. Germ oblong, villous. Style cylindrick, longer than the fila

ments. Stigma simple. Per. and Seeds well described by LINNÆUS.

Flowers

Flowers yellow; the depressed petal variegated with red specks. Bracts

three-fold, roundish, pointed. Spikes, set with floral leaflets, lanced, four-fold, reflected.

[ocr errors]

40. SOBHA'N JANA :
Syn. Sigru, Tícshna, Gandhaca, A'cshiva, Móchaca.
Vulg. Sajjana, Moranga.
LINN. Guilandina Moringa.
CAL. Perianth one-leaved. Tube short, unequal, gibbous. Border

five-parted. Divisions oblong-lanced, subequal ; first deflected, then

revolute; coloured below, white above. Cor.

Petals five, inserted into the calyx, resembling a boat-form fower.
Wing-like, two, inverse-egged, clawed, expanding.
Awning-like, two, inverse-egged, erect; claws, shorter.
Keel-like, one, oblong, concave ; enclosing the fructification ; beyond

it, spatuled ; longer than the wing-petals.
STAM. Filaments five, fertile ; three, bent over the pistil : two shorter,

inserted into the claws of the middle petals. Antbers twin, rather mooned, obtuse, incumbent. Five sterile (often four only) alternate

with the fertile, shorter ; their bases villous. Pist. Germ oblong, coloured, villous ; below it a nectar-bearing gland.

Style, shorter than the stamen, rather downy, curved, thicker above.

Stigma, simple.
Per. Legume very long, slender, wreathed, pointed, three-sided, chan-

neled, prominent with seeds, one-celled.
Seeds many, winged, three-sided.
Tree

very high ; branches in an extreme degree light and beautiful, rich with clustering flowers. Stem exuding a red gum.

Leaves mostly thrice-feathered with an odd one; leaflets some inverse egged, some egged, some oval, minutely end-nicked. Raceme-panicles mostly axillary. In perfect flowers the whole calyx is quite deflected, counterfeiting

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

five petals ; whence Van Rheede made it a part of the corol. Corols delicately odorous; milk-white, but the two central erect petals, beautifully tinged with pink. The root answers all the purposes of our horse-radish, both for the table and for medicine : the fruit and blossoms are dressed in caris. In hundreds of its flowers, examined by me with attention, five stamens and a pistil were invariably perfect: indeed, it is possible, that they may be only the female hermaphrodites, and that the males have ten perfect stamens with pistils abortive; but no such flowers have been discovered by me after a most diligent search.

[ocr errors]

There is another species or variety, called Medhu Sı'GRU, that is Honey-Sigru ; a word intended to be expressed on Van Rheede's plate in Nagari letters : its vulgar name is Muna, or Račta sajjana, because its flowers or wood are of a redder hue.

LINNÆUS refers to Mrs. BLACKWELL, who represents this plant, by the name of Balanus Myrepħca, as the celebrated Ben, properly Bán of the Arabian physicians and poets.

41.

Co'vidA'RA:
Syn. Cánchanára, Chamarica, Cuddála, Yugapatra.
Vulg. Cachnár, Račta cánchan.
Linn. Variegated BAUHINIA.
CAL. Perianth one-leaved, obscurely five-cleft, deciduous.
CoR. Petals five, egged, clawed, expanded, wavy ; one more distant,

more beautiful, ftriated.
STAM. Filaments ten, unequally connected at the base; five, sorter.

Anthers, double, incumbent. Pist. Germ above, oblong. Style incurved. Stigma simple, ascending.

PER.

« PreviousContinue »