« PreviousContinue »
formation communicated to me by Mr. BURT, the gentleman who had charge of the plants that Aowered at Gaya, and who
Sir WILLIAM Jones the drawing and description thereof.
Description of the Plant,
Stem, lower part perennial, involved in fibrous sheaths, &c. as above described ; the upper part herbaceous suberect, simple, from fix to twelve inches long.
Leaves four-fold, the lowermost pair of the four radical are opposite, sessile, oblong, forming, as it were a two-valved spathe ; the other pair are also opposite petiold, cordate, margins waved, and pointed ; those of the stem sessile, and lanceolate, all are smooth on both sides.
Corymb terminal, first division trichotomous.
Corol one petald, funnel-Shaped, tube somewhat gibbous. Border five-cleft.
Stamens, filaments three, project above the tube of the corol; anthers incumbent.
Pistil, germ beneath. Style erect, length of the tube. Stigma simple.
THE FRUIT OF THE MELLORI.
BY THE PRESIDENT.
As far as we can determine the class and order of a plant from a mere delineation of its fruit, we may safely pronounce, that the Léram of Nicobar is the Cádhi of the Arabs, the Cétaca of the Indians, and the Pandanus of our botanists, which is described very awkwardly (as KOENIG first observed to me) in the Supplement to LINNÆUS: he had himself described with that elegant conciseness, which constitutes the beauty of the Linnean method, not only the wonderful fructification of the fragrant Cétaca, but most of the flowers, which are celebrated in Sanscrit, by poets for their colour or scent and by physicians for their medical uses; and, as he bequeathed his manuscripts to Sir Joseph Banks, we may be sure, that the publick spirit of that illustrious naturalist will not suffer the labours of his learned friend to be funk in oblivion. Whether the PANDANUS Léram be a new species, or only a variety, we cannot yet positively decide ; but four of the plants have been brought from Nicobar, and seem to flourish in the Company's Botanical Garden, where they will probably blossom ; and the greatest encouragement will, I trust, be given to the cultivation of so precious a vegetable. A fruit weighing twenty or thirty pounds, and containing a farinaceous substance, both palatable and nutritive in a high
degree, would perhaps, if it were common in these provinces, for ever secure the natives of them from the horrors of famine ; and the Pandanus of Bengal might be brought, I conceive, to equal perfection with that of Nicobar, if due care were taken to plant the male and female trees in the same place, instead of leaving the female, as at present, to bear an imperfect and unproductive fruit, and the distant male to spread itself only by the help of its radicating branches,