Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia] [Volume 2 of 2]
Phillip Parker King
Part 8 out of 10
reddish pearly; the columella lip narrow, depressed, bent; the outer lip
thin, strait, or cut out; the imperfect perforation about one-fifth the
length of the outer lip from the end of the columella lip; length two,
breadth one inch and a quarter.
This species is very distinct on account of its long form, and curved
lower face, as well as its outer surface.
106. Haliotis marmorata, Lin. Sys. Nat. 1256.
Icon. Martini. 1 t. 14. f. 139.
107. Padollus rubicundus, De Montfort, Syst. 2 115.
Padollus scalaris, Leach, Zool. Misc. 1 66.
Haliotis tricostalis, Lam. Hist. 6 2. 218.
Icon. De Montf. 2 t. 114. Leach, l.c.
This specimen, which is the largest I ever saw, measures three inches and
a half by two and a half. It was found upon Rottnest Island, on the West
108. Janthina fragilis, Lam. Syst. Anim.
Janthina communis, Lam. Hist. 6 2. 206.
Helix janthina, Lin. Sys. Nat. 1 1246.
Icon. Lister. t. 572. f. 24. Chemn, 5 t. 166. f. 1577, 1578.
Several specimens of this shell were taken by the towing-net in the
Indian Ocean, on the passage from the Coast of New Holland to Mauritius.
109. Janthina exigua, Lam. Hist. 6 2. 206.
Two or three species of this shell were presented to the Museum by Mr.
Hunter, the surgeon to the expedition; it is proved to be very distinct
from J. fragilis, from the description of its float by Dr. Coates in the
transactions of the Society of Natural Science of Philadelphia. See
Annals of Philosophy for 1825, page 385.
110. Hyalaea tridentata, Lam. Hist. 6 1. 286.
Monooulus telemus ? Lin. Syst. Nat. 1 1059.
Anomia tridentata, Forsk. Faun. Arab. 124.
Icon. Forsk. Faun. t. 40. f. b. Chemn. 8 Vign. 13. Cuv. Ann. Mus. 4 t.
111. Spirula fragilis, Lam. Syst. Anim. 102.
Spirula australis, Lam. Ency. Method. 465. f. 5. a. b.
Spirula peronii, Lam. Hist. 7 601.
Nautilus spirula, Lin. Syst. Nat. 1163.
Nautilus spicula, Gmel. 3371.
Icon. Lister Conch. t. 550. f.2. Martini. 1 Veg. 254. t. 20. f. 184, 185.
Ency. Method. ut supra Animal.
Captain King brought home several minute species of Nautilus, which will
be taken notice of at a future period, as they require particular
examination and minute comparison with those found upon the coasts of
Italy and other parts of Europe.
Note. Specimens of the shells in the above catalogue, to which the
following numbers refer, have been presented to the British Museum,
namely, 2, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 25, 28, 29, 31, 46, 48, 90, 91, 92,
94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 102 and 103.
A FEW GENERAL REMARKS ON THE VEGETATION OF CERTAIN COASTS OF TERRA
AUSTRALIS, AND MORE ESPECIALLY OF ITS NORTH-WESTERN SHORES.
BY MR. ALLAN CUNNINGHAM, COLLECTOR TO THE ROYAL GARDENS AT KEW.
It having been resolved by the British Government to employ a colonial
vessel from the settlement of Port Jackson in New South Wales, for the
purpose of exploring the whole of the North-western Coasts of New
Holland, and that portion of the North Coast, not seen by that able
navigator, the late Captain Flinders; a most favourable opportunity was
thereby afforded for a partial examination of the plants of those unknown
shores, with a view of adding to our progressively augmenting knowledge
of the very interesting Flora of this southern continent.
Having materially profited by a twelvemonth's previous residence in New
South Wales, acquainting myself with the characters (and principal
peculiarities of structure) of many genera of plants absolutely proper to
Terra Australis; and particularly in that period, throughout the progress
of a long and very interesting journey in the interior, to the westward
of Port Jackson, I was most happy and desirous to obey an instruction I
received from the Right Honourable Sir Joseph Banks, on behalf of the
Government, directing me to place myself under the orders of Captain P.P.
King, to whom the execution of this important service had been intrusted,
and to accompany him to those particular coasts, destined for his
investigation, in order to form and prepare such collections of their
vegetation, for the use of His Majesty's gardens at Kew, as
circumstances, and the particular season of the year proper for visiting
those shores, might afford me. My very limited knowledge of the plants of
that continent, especially of genera, that form a striking feature in its
Flora, was moreover essentially improved during our stay at King George's
Sound on the South-west Coast, previous to our arrival upon the
North-west Coast, at the commencement of the first voyage of His
Majesty's cutter the Mermaid.
Although the reader may inform himself, from Captain King's relation of
the several voyages, of the opportunities that were afforded me in
forming my collections of plants, still it appears necessary, in this
place, to take a general retrospective view of those parts of the coasts
under examination, whereon my researches were made, adverting, at the
same time, to the prevalent unfavourable seasons for flowering plants,
during which it should seem the survey of the North-west Coast could
alone be effected with safety.
During the progress of the survey of the southern extreme of the
North-west Coast (at which part Captain King commenced his examinations,
in 1818) I landed in Exmouth Gulf, then upon one of the islands of
Dampier's Archipelago, at the Intercourse Islands, and on Malus Island;
but the results of these several excursions (in some of which ample time
was afforded me) did by no means answer my expectations; herbaceous
plants being for the most part dead, and the few (hard woody) shrubs
scarcely bearing fructification: disadvantages arising, in fact, from the
extreme barrenness of the land, and more particularly from the prevalent
droughts of the season, previous to the change of the monsoon, which soon
afterwards took place, obliging us to quit the North-west Coast
altogether; the remaining periods of the voyage being employed in the
examination of certain parts of the North Coast.
We again reached the North-west Coast, in the month of September of the
following year, resuming the survey at its northern extremity, under the
most flattering views, and with a favourable season for the prosecution
of that primary object of the voyage. Between the meridians of 125 and
129 degrees, on the parallel of 14 degrees, although a large proportion
of the vegetation was for the most part destroyed by the long established
droughts, the number of specimens of plants bearing fructification,
gathered at Port Keats, Vansittart Bay, Port Warrender, and especially in
Cambridge Gulf (where we spent ten days) was nevertheless considerable
and highly interesting, belonging, however, almost wholly to established
genera of which Grevillea and Acacia were the most striking. The breaking
up of the monsoon at length again obliged Captain King to close his
examination of the coast for that season, to which we, however, returned
in September, 1820, continuing the survey westerly from the point at
which we had left those shores the preceding year. I had very eligible
opportunities of landing upon the shores of Montagu Sound, Capstan
Island, Cape Pond, York Sound, especially at the head of Hunter's River,
at Brunswick Bay, and in Careening Bay, Port Nelson; at which several
parts the collections formed were very important, but not extensive.
Our encampment on the shore of the latter bay, during the repair of the
vessel, enabled me to examine the country around, to the distance of four
or five miles; but it being at the height of the dry season,
comparatively few flowering plants were detected, and no herbaceous
plants of importance. Our prolonged stay there also enabled me to form
some idea of the Flora of its shores and neighbouring country, from which
I gathered materials for comparison with the vegetation of Endeavour
River, situated at the eastern extreme of its parallel on the opposite
shore of the continent: the identity of certain species on either coast,
together with the inference drawn therefrom, will appear stated, towards
the close of this general notice. Very few new genera were the fruits of
this third voyage, but many undescribed plants of old genera were
discovered, and with those that are frequent on the North Coast, and
tropical shores of New South Wales, some were remarked that were
originally discovered on the South Coast. The period again arrived, that
rendered it necessary to depart from the coast, independent of the leaky
state of our vessel, which materially hastened our return to Port
Jackson, when the cutter was considered wholly unfit for a fourth voyage,
in which the complete survey of the north-west, and the examination of
the line of west coasts were contemplated. To effect this important
service, the colonial government purchased a brig, subsequently named the
Bathurst, and I again accompanied Captain King from Port Jackson, in May,
1821, to those parts of the coasts then remaining unexplored, at which we
arrived at the close of July. Our very limited stay on those shores,
however, was at that season wherein all vegetation was suffering under
the excess of drought; I had nevertheless the means afforded me of
ascertaining the general identity of the plants of Prince Regent's River,
Hanover Bay, and Port George the Fourth (portions of the coast explored
in the voyage) and other parts in the vicinity, that were examined the
preceding year, at a like season, but under circumstances much more
favourable. Upon our return to the North-west Coast from the Mauritius,
early in 1822, the only part visited was Cygnet Bay, situate about 2 1/2
degrees to the south-west of the last-mentioned sound, and it happening
at a season when some rain had fallen, I met with several plants in an
abundant flowering state, of species, however, in part originally
discovered upon other coasts, and described by Mr. Brown, during the
Of the West Coast (properly so denominated) which was seen during the
Bathurst's voyage, very little can be said in reference to its vegetable
productions, and most probably nothing can be here advanced, tending to
augment our very scanty knowledge of its Flora, acquired in part long
since, through the medium of the celebrated navigator, Dampier, but more
especially by the botanists accompanying Captain Baudin's voyage. I had
no opportunity of examining any part of the main, during our run
northerly along its extensive shore, but I landed on Rottnest Island, and
repeatedly visited the northern extremity of Dirk Hartog's Island, off
Shark's Bay, where I gathered, under every discouragement of season, some
of the most important portions of its rich vegetation; in many instances,
however, in very imperfect conditions of fructification. Its general
features led me decidedly to assimilate it to the striking character of
the botany of the South Coast; a characteristic of which it is more than
probable the mainland largely partakes, if we may draw an inference from
its aspect at widely distant parts.
Upon those portions of the North Coast, which were chiefly surveyed
during the Mermaid's first voyage, at a period immediately subsequent to
the season of the rains, I had very favourable opportunities of
increasing my collections upon the Goulburn Islands, Ports Essington and
Raffles, Croker's Island, Mount-Norris Bay, and on the shores of Van
Diemen's Gulf; and among many described species, discovered formerly in
the great Gulf of Carpentaria, there were several most interesting new
plants. With a view towards an entire completion of the survey of the
several coasts of the continent, that part of New South Wales within the
tropic, north of Cape Bedford, which was not seen by Captain Cook,
entered into the plans of the Mermaid's second voyage; and it was highly
gratifying to my feelings to reflect that it was reserved for me to
complete several specimens discovered formerly in imperfect states by
those eminent naturalists who accompanied the above great
circumnavigator, in 1770, desiderata, that have been wanting ever since
this period of their discovery; no mediums of communication with those
particular parts of the coast having presented themselves.
The aggregate of the several collections that have been formed during the
progress of the four voyages under the general circumstances above
briefly referred to, and which, as constituting a small Herbarium, will
be thus collectively spoken of in the following remarks, does not exceed
one thousand three hundred species of Phaenogamous plants; of these five
hundred and twenty are already described by authors, the other portion
being in part unpublished species, previously discovered on other coasts
of Terra Australis, and in part absolutely new, referable, however,
mostly to well defined genera. Of Cryptogamous plants, there are but few
species, and of these, or parasitical Orchideae, none have been detected
in these voyages in addition to those already described: a circumstance,
that with respect to the North-west Coast can reasonably be accounted
for, from the non-existence of primary mountains, or land above very
moderate elevation; by the absence of lofty dense forests (points of
character necessary to that permanency of atmospheric moisture, which
constitutes an essential requisite to the existence of almost the whole
of these tribes): and the consequent general exposure to the sun of those
Limited in number as the new species really are, they will nevertheless
constitute, when added to the discoveries recently made, through the
medium of expeditions to the interior, from the colony of Port Jackson,
very important materials to carry on that Flora of Australia, so very
ably commenced by Mr. Brown. Since that eminent botanist has already
advanced much important matter in the valuable essay, published at the
close of the account of Captain Flinders' voyage, respecting the relative
proportions of the three grand divisions of plants in Australia, as far
as they had been discovered at that period, and has, from very extensive
materials, given us a comparative view of that portion of its Flora, and
the vegetation of other countries; I shall now simply submit a few
general remarks in this notice, on certain plants of established natural
families, that have been discovered in the progress of these voyages;
closing this paper with some observations, chiefly illustrative of the
geographical diffusion of several Australian plants known to authors,
whose localities have hitherto been exceedingly limited.
PALMAE. On considering the vast expanse of the continent of Terra
Australis, and that great extent of coast which passes through climates
favourable for the production of certain genera of this remarkable
natural family, it is singular that so few of the order should have been
discovered: a fact in the history of the Australian vegetation, which
(upon contemplating the natural economy of many other genera of plants)
can only be considered as accounted for, by the great tendency to drought
of at least three-fifths of its shores.
To Corypha, Seaforthia, and Livistona, the only three genera that have
been enumerated in the productions of the Australian Flora, may now be
added Calamus; of which a species (discovered without fructification, by
Sir Joseph Banks, during the celebrated voyage of Captain Cook) has at
length been detected bearing fruit in the vicinity of Endeavour River.
The existence of this palm, or rattan, on the East Coast, to which it is
confined, seems almost to be limited to an area within the parallels of
15 and 17 degrees South; should, however, its range be more extensive, it
is southerly one or two degrees, in which direction a remarkable primary
granitic formation of the coast continues, throughout the whole
neighbourhood of which is a peculiar density of dark moist forest,
seemingly dependent on it, and evidently indispensable to the life of
this species of Calamus; but at the termination of this geological
structure, it most probably ceases to exist. A dioecious palm of low
stature, and in habit similar to Seaforthia, was detected in the shaded
forests investing the River Hastings, in latitude 31 degrees South,
bearing male flowers; but as it may prove to be a dwarf state of a
species of that genus, which has lately been observed, with all its
tropical habits, in a higher latitude, it cannot now be recognised as a
sixth individual of the family whose fructification has been seen.
Although this order has been observed to be sparingly scattered along the
line of East Coast almost to the thirty-fifth degree of south latitude,
its range on the opposite shores of the continent is very limited. Upon
the North-west Coast, the genus Livistona alone has been remarked, in
about latitude 15 degrees South; beyond which, throughout a very
extensive line of depressed shore, towards the North-west Cape, no palms
were seen. If the structure of a coast, and its natural disposition to
produce either humidity or drought be consulted (a point, with respect to
this order, as well as certain other tropical tribes, appearing very
important) those portions of the western shores recently seen, indicate
no one character that would justify the supposition of the existence of
the Palmae in the corresponding extremes of the respective parallels that
produce them on the opposite or East Coast. Another remark relative to
the economy of this family is, that in New Holland it seems confined to
the coasts, Corypha australis, so frequent in particular shaded
situations in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson, having never been
detected in the vicinity of, or upon the mountains, much less in the
distant country to the westward of that extensive boundary.
ASPHODELEAE. Among the several described plants in the Herbarium,
referred to this family, that were collected upon the East and South-west
Coasts, are specimens in complete fructification of a remarkable plant of
arborescent growth, having a caudex twenty feet high, and all the habits
of Dracaena. It probably constitutes a new genus distinct from Cordyline
of Commerson, to which, however, it appears closely allied; and has an
extensive range on the East Coast, where, although it has for the most
part been observed within the tropic, it extends nevertheless as far as
latitude 31 degrees South. The only plants of Asphodeleae remarked on the
north-western shores, were an imperfect Tricoryne, probably Tenella of
Mr. Brown, discovered by that gentleman during the Investigator's voyage
on the South Coast; and the intratropical Asparagus, which is frequent in
latitude fifteen degrees South.
CONIFERAE. To the general observations already made on that part of
Coniferae inhabiting the southern hemisphere, may be added some important
facts, to be gathered from the plants in the Herbarium of the late
voyages, that will afford a very correct view of the fructification of
some doubtful genera, as well as their limits. Among these the fruit of
Podocarpus aspleniifolia of M. Labillardiere, was observed, together with
the female fructification of another tree (the Huon pine) found also at
the southern extremes and western coast of Van Diemen's Land, which may
prove to be a Dacrydium. Callitris, of which seven species are known, and
principally found in the parallel of Port Jackson, has also been
discovered upon the North-west Coast, in about latitude 15 degrees South;
and another species, remarkable for its general robust habit, was
observed at Rottnest Island, on the West Coast. A tree, most certainly of
this family, and probably (from habit) a Podocarpus, has been seen upon
the East Coast, within the tropic, but the absence of fructification
prevented its genus being satisfactorily determined. With respect to the
extent of the order in the Islands of New Zealand, some recent specimens
gathered upon the northern, prove one of its pines to be a Podocarpus;
and another, producing a cone, and solitary, alternate scattered
elliptical leaves, shows its relation to Agathis of Salisbury, or Dammar
pine of Amboina.
URTICEAE, whose mass appears also to be confined to equinoctial
countries, may be considered very limited in those parts of Terra
Australis lying within the tropic recently explored. Ficus is the most
considerable genus of the order in that continent; and although chiefly
found on the north and north-western shores, is also traced on the East
Coast, almost to latitude 36 degrees South, where the trees attain an
enormous size. About sixteen species are preserved in the collections of
the late voyages; all small trees, and one half of which has been
gathered on the North-west Coast.
A species of Morus, bearing small white fruit, was discovered upon the
continent and islands of New South Wales within the tropic, where also a
new genus of the order, with radiated leaves, has been traced as far as
Endeavour River. Of the genus Urtica, whose numerous species can simply
be considered as of herbaceous duration, although a few of tropical
existence assume a fruticose habit, there is one plant in the vicinity of
the Colony of Port Jackson, remarkable for its gigantic, arborescent
growth; many specimens having been remarked from fifteen to twenty feet
in height, of proportional robust habit, and of highly stimulating
SANTALACEAE. Nearly three-fourths of the Australian portion of the order
described, were formerly discovered in the parallel of Port Jackson, upon
the shores of the South Coast, and in Van Diemen's Land. The genus
Choretrum, however, heretofore limited to the southern extremes of the
continent, approaches within about two degrees of the tropic on the West
Coast, having been lately observed on Dirk Hartog's Island. It is rather
remarkable that neither Leptomeria nor Choretrum form a part of the
feature of the vegetation of the arid, depressed portions of the
North-west Coast,* where several of the more harsh, rigid kinds of
plants, of various genera, of the South Coast have been remarked. Those
extensive shores (generally speaking) are not wanting in the order, for
two species of the tropical genus Santalum, Exocarpus, and a
globular-fruited Fusanus, were collected in and about the parallel of 15
(*Footnote. Towards the North-west Cape.)
PROTEACEAE. Since the publication of Mr. Brown's valuable dissertation on
this very extensive natural family, in which were described all the
species known at that period, a few important discoveries have been made
in Terra Australis, particularly on the North-west Coast, where the order
seems to be limited to Grevillea, Hakea, and Persoonia.
In the Herbarium formed during the late voyages, are specimens of
thirteen species of intertropical Grevillea, in various stages of
perfection; of these seven are described from specimens formerly gathered
upon the East Coast, and in the Gulf of Carpentaria; the remaining six
are, however, perfectly new, and will chiefly augment the last section of
that genus, having hard (in some instances spherical) woody follicles,
containing seeds orbicularly surrounded by a membranous wing, more or
less dilated, and a deciduous style; characters that future botanists may
deem sufficient to justify its separation from Grevillea. The range of
this division, which has been named by Mr. Brown, Cycloptera, has been
hitherto limited to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the tropical shores of
the East Coast. Of the genus Hakea, hitherto almost wholly excluded from
the tropical parts of Australia, besides H. arborescens, the only species
formerly observed within that circle, the Herbarium furnishes at least
two plants, that have been recently discovered in about 22 degrees south
latitude, the one being H. oleifolia of King George's Sound, whilst the
other proves an entirely new species, belonging to the first section of
the genus, having long filiform leaves, and ecalcarated capsules.
Upon the East Coast in latitude 14 degrees two shrubs were observed
having all the habits of Hakea, of the South-west Coast, but being
without fructification, their identity could not be satisfactorily
Viewing the general distribution of Banksiae, it is a singular fact in
the geographical history of this genus, that its species, which have been
traced through almost every meridian of the South Coast, upon the islands
in Bass Strait, in Van Diemen's Land, and widely scattered throughout the
whole extent of New South Wales to the North Coast, at which extreme of
the continent, B. dentata has been observed as far west as longitude 130
degrees East, should be wholly wanting on the line of North-west Coast.
Why the links of this almost perfect chain should have been broken on the
seashores appears unaccountable, since they are, by reason of their
general sterility and exposure, extremely favourable to the growth of the
greater portion of the order. Our limited knowledge of the West Coast
(properly so called) does not afford us materials to hazard even a
partial conclusion, relative to the existence of this family on its
shores, excepting from the total absence of any one plant of Proteaceae
at those parts of Rottnest and Dirk Hartog's Islands visited during the
Bathurst's voyage; an inference may be drawn of the general paucity of
any part of the order on the shores of the neighbouring main. Although no
species have been found common to shores opposite to each other, in the
higher latitudes, the identity of Grevillea mimosoides, Persoonia
falcata, and Hakea arborescens, has been established upon the East Coast,
and the north-western shores, in the parallel of about 15 degrees South:
but whilst this geographical diffusion has been remarked in reference to
those particular species, the range of Grevillea gibbosa, a plant
discovered at Endeavour River by Sir Joseph Banks, is now tolerably well
defined by observations made during the late voyages, from which it
appears to be circumscribed to an area not exceeding one hundred and
twenty miles on the East Coast. In the course of the progress of the land
expedition above referred to, the discovery of another plant of this
natural order by Mr. Fraser, occurred in New South Wales, in a tract of
country west of the coastline, about the parallel of 31 degrees, where I
am informed it is a timber-tree of very large dimensions; and seemingly
it constitutes a new genus, nearly allied to Knightia of Mr. Brown, a
native of New Zealand, as I judged from a casual view of some specimens.
LABIATAE and VERBENACEAE. The mass of these orders (which are admitted to
be very nearly allied to each other) seems in Australia to exist on its
eastern coast, within and beyond the tropic, and the species in the
collection lately formed, are referred to ten established genera, of
which (as belonging to Verbenaceae) Vitex and Premna are most remarkable
on the North-western Coast.
Of Labiatae, a new species of Labillardiere's genus Prostranthera was
discovered upon Dirk Hartog's Island, where, as also at Rottnest Island,
Westringia was observed, of species, however, common to the South Coast.
BORAGINEAE. Some very important amendments, in reference to the limits of
certain genera of the order have been proposed by Mr. Brown in his
Prodromus, where the characters are remodelled to the exclusion of
certain species previously referred to them by authors. Of Cordia (to
which Varronia of Linne, and Cerdana of Ruiz and Pavon, have at length
been united) only two species have been found in Terra Australis, of
which one had been previously discovered in New Caledonia; and during the
late voyages C. orientalis has been observed on the North-west Coast,
where a third species of Tournefortia in complete fructification was
discovered; and the Herbarium contains some species of that section of
Heliotropium, having a simple straight spicated inflorescence, which were
also found on those equinoctial parts of the continent.
BIGNONIACEAE. Almost ninety species of this beautiful order are described
by authors, the greater part of which are at present incorporated among
the genuine species of Bignonia of Linne; a genus that will hereafter be
divided, according to the shape of the calyx, the number of fertile
stamina, and more especially the form of the fruit (which in some species
is an orbicular or elliptical capsule, varying in others to a long
cylindrical figure, with seeds partly cuneated, or thickened at one
extremity, and in others, a truly compressed Siliqua) together with the
relative position of the dissepiment, in respect to the valves of the
The greater portion of Bignoniaceae appears to exist in the equinoctial
parts of America; Some, however, are natives of India, and a few occur on
the western coast of Africa, and Island of Madagascar, but in Terra
Australis the order is reduced to four plants, of which one is a recent
discovery, and may be referred to Spathodea. In that continent, the order
exists only upon the North and East Coasts; it is not, however, entirely
limited to the tropic, for Tecoma of Mr. Brown is also found in latitude
34 degrees South, on which parallel it has been traced at least three
hundred and fifty miles in the interior to the westward of the colony of
ASCLEPIADEAE and APOCINEAE. Nearly the whole of the plants in the
recently formed herbarium, that belong to these natural families, have
been described from specimens formerly discovered upon the East and North
Coasts, several of which appear to give a partial character to the
vegetation of some parts of its shores.
Hoya (hardly Asclepias carnosa of Linne) Cynanchum, Gymnema, Gymnanthus,
Sarcostemma, and probably Secamone, as belonging to Asclepiadeae, and all
the genera of Mr. Brown (Lyonsia excepted) referred to the latter order,
exist on that extensive coast, where Balfouria and Alyxia have each an
accession of species. Of Strychnos, which is also frequent, and probably
produces its flowers during the rainy season (as has been remarked of
this genus in other countries) specimens in that stage of its
fructification are still a desideratum; all that is known respecting the
plant being the form and size of its fruit, which in some species varies
GOODENOVIAE. The Herbarium contains very few specimens of this
considerable Australian family, the greater mass existing in and to the
southward of the parallel of Port Jackson. The order is reduced to
Goodenia, Scaevola, Velleia, and the tropical Calogyne on the North-west
Coast, and the few species of the two first genera prove to have been
formerly discovered upon the South Coast during the voyage of Captain
Flinders, of which one plant has alsa a much more extensive range than
has been given it heretofore. It is Scaevola spinescens, which forms a
portion of the harsh, rigid vegetables of Dirk Hartog's Island on the
West Coast, and from that shore probably occupies a part of a very
considerable extent of barren country in the interior, in a direction
towards the East Coast, having been seen in abundance in the latitude of
Port Jackson, so near that colony as the meridian of 146 degrees 30
minutes East. A new Velleia, discovered on the North-west Coast in
latitude 16 degrees, augments that genus, belonging to the section with a
RUBIACEAE. The existence of several plants of this extensive family in
the intratropical parts of Terra Australis especially when aided by some
individuals of almost wholly exotic tribes, that form a prominent feature
in the Flora of other equinoctial countries, tend, in some measure, to
diminish the peculiar character of the vegetation of Terra Australis on
those shores, and thus it is a considerable assimilation to the Flora of
a part of a neighbouring continent that has been traced. About thirty
species are preserved in the collections of these voyages, for the most
part belonging to genera existing in India, but more abundant in the
tropical parts of South America.
Of these, Gardenia, Guettarda, Cephaelis, Coffea, Psychotria, and
Morinda, are found on the East Coast; whilst, in corresponding parallels
on the opposite, or north-western shores, the order, although not
materially reduced, is limited to the two latter genera, with Rondeletia,
Ixora, and Genipa.
It is worthy of remark, that the range of Psychotria, which has not been
observed beyond the tropics in other countries, extends in New South
Wales as far south as the latitude of 35 degrees; at the western
extremity of which it does not appear to exist.
CAPRIFOLIAE, Juss. The situation of Loranthus and Visvum, in the system,
appears to be undetermined by authors. M. Jussieu associated them with
Rhizophora, in the second section of this order, from which Mr. Brown has
separated this latter genus, and with two others found in Terra
Australis, has constructed a distinct family, named Rhizophoreae;
suggesting, at the same time, the analogy of Loranthus and Viscum to
Santalaceae, and particularly to Proteaceae. The genus Loranthus, of
which nearly the whole of its described species have been limited to the
tropics, is, however, sparingly scattered on all the Coasts of Australia,
where about eleven species have been recently observed, parasitical
chiefly upon certain trees that constitute the mass of the forests of
that vast continent; namely, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Acacia, and
A solitary and very remarkable deviation from the usual natural economy
of Loranthus, is observed in a species (L. floribunda) described and
figured by M. Labillardiere, which is found on the shores of King
George's Sound, where, in no way recognising the dependent habits of its
congeners, it rises from the soil to a tree fifteen feet high, being
never remarked relying upon other vegetables for its subsistence. Viscum
is found in the colony of Port Jackson, to which it is not confined,
having been also gathered at Endeavour River, on the same coast, within
the tropic. The southern range of the two genera seems to be nearly
beyond the fortieth degree of latitude; but in the northern hemisphere,
Loranthus exists in Siberia.
UMBELLIFERAE. The equinoctial portion of the Herbarium contains only
three or four plants of this extensive European order, belonging to
Hydrocotyle, Azorella of Cavanilles and Labillardiere (from which
Trachymene of Rudge is probably not distinct) and a suffruticose plant
referred to Cussonia, that have been collected upon the East Coast. Upon
the north-western shores, Azorella was alone remarked, of which a species
is very general upon its main and islands, and chiefly remarkable for its
gigantic herbaceous growth.
MYRTACEAE. With respect to that portion of Myrtaceae, lately discovered
upon the north-western shores of Australia, and which are alone worthy of
remark here, it is to be observed, that, considering the many points of
that coast visited during the progress of the relative voyages, the
number of species observed are comparatively few, for, including
Eucalyptus, it does not exceed sixteen plants. Of Eucalyptus itself, only
seven species were detected on those shores, and these, for the most
part, form small trees, more approaching the average dimensions of all
their congeners in the colony of Port Jackson. Melaleuca is limited to
three species, one of which was originally discovered by the celebrated
navigator, Dampier, on the West Coast, where Beaufortia has been recently
seen. Four species of Tristania, their related genus, were gathered in
about latitude 15 degrees South, where also an Eugenia, bearing fruit,
was observed; but of Leptospermum, or Baeckea, genera chiefly belonging
to the higher latitudes of New Holland, no species appeared throughout
the whole extent of coast examined.
RHAMNEAE and CELASTRINAE were formerly united among the Rhamni of
Jussieu, but disposed in sections, differing from each other in the
position of the stamina, with relation to the petals, and in the
character of the fruit; which, when viewed with other important
differences of fructification, induced Mr. Brown to modify and define
them as distinct orders.
In the Herbarium of the voyages, there are a few plants belonging to
Rhamnus, Ziziphus, Ceanothus, or Pomaderris, and Celastrus, but both
families prove to be comparatively rare in the intratropical parts of
Terra Australis, beyond which Cryptandra seems only to exist. Upon the
north-western shores, a species of Ziziphus (common to the East and North
Coasts) forms a tree of large dimensions, where also an undescribed
Celastrus has been discovered. Since Pomaderris evidently increases from
the verge of the tropic southerly towards the parallel of Port Jackson,
where its maximum exists, and as it is frequent on the South Coast, it is
highly probable the West Coast is not wanting of the genus, particularly
as traces of it were found on Dirk Hartog's Island.
LEGUMINOSEAE. There are upwards of one hundred and forty species of this
extensive natural class in the Herbarium recently formed, which bear a
proportion to the aggregate of the entire collections of about one to
Of the Australian portion of Mimoseae, which (having been met with upon
all the coasts of the continent, and equally diffused in the interior)
forms a leading characteristic of its vegetation, upwards of fifty
species have been collected, in various stages of fructification; nearly
the whole of which are unpublished plants. Several of those discovered on
the north-western shores, and islands off the West Coast, being also
extremely curious in their general form and habits; and the existence of
a few appears limited to a solitary particular situation, and no one
species was observed common to those parts, and the opposite or eastern
shores of the continent.
The Papilionaceous division exceeds seventy species, two-thirds of which
belong to established diadelphous genera, found chiefly within the
tropic, where some, peculiar to Terra Australis, and heretofore limited
to the more temperate regions, have been discovered. Thus Hovea and
Bossiaea were detected in New South Wales, in latitude 20 and 22 degrees
South, as well as on the North Coast; the latter genus being likewise
found on the north-western shores, where also two species of Kennedia
exist; and Templetonia, a genus nearly related to Bossiaea, originally
discovered on the southern shores of Australia, is abundant on an island
off the West Coast.
Upon the North-west Coast, particularly in the parallels of 14 and 15
degrees South, where an exotic feature (if the usual characteristic of
the Flora of other countries might in this case be so termed) is as
manifest, and is as strongly blended with the pure Australian character
(Eucalyptus and Acacia) in its general vegetation, as on any other parts
of those shores; Jacksonia and Gompholobium, genera of Papilionaceae,
with distinct stamens, almost limited to the parallel of Port Jackson and
the South Coast, were observed: Daviesia, almost wholly restricted to the
higher Australian latitudes, has been remarked on the North Coast. Of
Lomentaceae, Bauhinia, Caesalpinia, and the emigrant genus Guilandina,
are all of intratropical existence in New South Wales, as also upon the
North-west Coast; but Cassia, although it has an equal extensive range in
the equinoctial parts of New Holland, has also been recently traced as
far in the interior, on the parallel of Port Jackson, as the meridian of
146 degrees East.
EUPHORBIACEAE. The Herbarium contains thirty-three plants of this very
numerous order, whose maximum seems decidedly to exist in India and
equinoctial America. The whole of the Australian species are referable to
established Linnean genera, of which Croton and Phyllanthus are most
remarkable and numerous, existing on all the intratropical shores of
Terra Australis, but by no means limited to them, both genera, together
with Euphorbia and Jatropha, being found in the parallel of Port Jackson;
and Croton exists likewise at the southern extreme of Van Diemen's Land,
which is probably the limit of the genus on that hemisphere.
A Tragia (scarcely distinct from a species indigenous in India) is
sparingly scattered on the East and North Coasts; and Acalypha has been
remarked on these, as well as the north-western shores.
PITTOSPOREAE. Of this small family, whose characters and limits were
first described by Mr. Brown, there are sixteen species in the Herbarium
of these voyages, referable to Bursaria, Billardiera, Pittosporum, and
two unpublished genera.
Billardiera, whose species are wholly volubilous, and which are not found
north of the parallel of Port Jackson, is frequent on the South-west
Coast, and has been recently remarked on the West Coast of Van Diemen's
Land. Bursaria on the other hand, appearing limited to New South Wales,
has been traced within the tropic to latitude 19 degrees South on those
eastern shores, and although the genus Pittosporum is even more
extensively diffused on that coast, it has not been met with upon the
north-western shores, whilst the islands off the West Coast furnished me
with two new species.
DIOSMEAE, although very frequent in the higher latitudes of Terra
Australis, where they are so frequent as to give a peculiar character to
their vegetable productions, is comparatively rare within the tropic; for
upon the East Coast Eriostemon and Phebalium appear to be the only
genera, the latter having been recently discovered, in about latitude 20
With some undescribed species of Boronia, a new genus allied to
Eriostemon has been observed on the north-western shores, in the parallel
of 15 degrees South, having a remarkable pinnatified fimbriated calyx.
Of the related family ZYGOPHYLLEAE (an order proposed by Mr. Brown to be
separated from the Rutaceae of Jussieu) Tribulus is frequent on the
tropical shores of New Holland, and a species of Zygophyllum, with linear
conjugate leaves and tetrapterous fruit, was remarked upon an island off
Shark's Bay, on the West Coast.
MELIACEAE. The several genera of this order, whose maximum is in the
equinoctial parts of America, differ from each other in the form of the
remarkable cylindrical nectarium, the situation or insertion of the
antherae upon it, as well as the character of its almost wholly capsular
fruit. This structure of nectarium is most striking in Turraea, of which
a species was observed upon the East Coast, far within the tropic; where
also, as well as on all the other equinoctial shores of the continent,
Carapa, more remarkable on account of the valvular character of its
capsules, and the magnitude and irregular figure of its nuts, is very
general, and probably not distinct from the plant (C. moluccensis, Lam.)
of Rumphius, who has given us a figure in his Herbarium Amboinense volume
3 table 61, 62.
SAPINDACEAE. Of the very few plants referred to the family in the
Herbarium, two genera are only worthy of remark here, the one an
Ornitrophe, found on the East Coast, in about latitude 35 degrees, as
also within the tropic; and the other, which appears to belong to
Stadmannia, was discovered upon the same coast, in latitude 31 degrees
South, the type of the genus being the bois de fer of the French
colonists, a timber tree indigenous at the Island of Mauritius.
MALVACEAE, Juss. Tiliaceae, Juss. Sterculiaceae, Vent. Buttnericeae,
Brown. These several families, of which the first is by far the most
extensive, have been viewed by Mr. Brown, as so many allied orders of one
natural class, to which the general title of Malvaceae might be applied.
About thirty-six species of these orders collectively, are preserved in
the present Herbarium, referable at least to eleven genera, of which nine
are most abundant in (and form a characteristic feature of) the botany of
India, and the equinoctial parts of South America. Fourteen species of
Hibiscus and Sida were observed on the intratropical Coasts of Australia,
beyond which also, on the opposite shores of the continent, each genus
has been remarked. One species of Bombax with polyandrous flowers, and
subspherical obtusely pentagonal capsules, was discovered upon the East
Coast, in about latitude 14 degrees South, and on nearly the western
extreme of the same parallel, it appeared much more abundant. Of
Sterculia which is scarcely to be found beyond the tropics in other
countries, a species exists in New South Wales in the latitude of 34
degrees, on which parallel it is more frequent in the western interior,
and in that direction it has been traced to the distance of three hundred
miles from the sea-coast. The genus is also found on the North and
North-west Coasts, where the species assume more particularly the habits
of their congeners in India. Among the plants of this family in the
Herbarium is a species of Helicteris (as the genus stands at present)
which was observed on the North-west Coast bearing fruit, wanting the
contortion that characterizes the genus.
This plant, together with three other described species, having straight
capsules, may hereafter be separated from that Linnean genus, and
constitute a new one of themselves. Grewia, Corchorus, Triumfetta, and
Waltheria, have been observed upon the North-west Coast, where also
Abroma, hitherto limited to the tropical parts of New South Wales, has
been discovered bearing flowers and young fruit. One species of
Commersonia was gathered at widely-different parts of the north-western
shores, and Lasiopetalum, whose species are more general at both extremes
of the parallel of the colony of Port Jackson, has been also seen just
within the tropic on the East Coast, and at Dirk Hartog's Island, off
Shark's Bay, on the opposite shore.
CAPPARIDES. At least ten species of Capparis have been discovered upon
the coasts of Terra Australis, for the most part within the tropic, but
of these the fructification of two are wanting. A few have been detected
on the East Coast, but they are more frequent and various in their
species upon the north-western shores of the continent. Within an area on
this extensive coast, not exceeding four degrees of longitude, on the
parallel of 15 degrees South, a tree of very remarkable growth and habit,
has been traced, having all the external form and bulk of Adansonia of
the western shores of Africa. At the respective period of visiting those
parts of the North-west Coast, this gouty tree had previously cast its
foliage of the preceding year, which is of quinary insertion, but it bore
ripe fruit, which is a large elliptical pedicellated unilocalar capsule
(a bacca corticosa) containing many seeds enveloped in a dry pithy
substance. Its flowers, however, have never been discovered, but from the
characters of the fruit, it was (upon discovery) referred to this natural
family. M. Du Petit Thouars has formed a new genus of Capparis
pauduriformis of Lamarck, a plant of the Island of Mauritius, which he
has named Calyptranthus. It has one division of the calyx so formed, that
by its arcuated concavity (before expansion) it conceals the whole
flower, and the other portions of the calyx; and should this genus be
adopted by future botanists, a second species has been recently
discovered upon Dirk Hartog's Island, although of remarkably different
Cleome has been observed only in the equinoctial parts of Australia, and
like Capparis, several species exist on the North-west Coast, being
limited to C. viscosa in New South Wales.
Drosera, which Jussieu associates with these genera is generally
diffused, being found within the tropic, at Endeavour River, and on the
North-west Coast; at Port Jackson, and at the southern extremes of Van
DILLENIACEAE. To that Australian portion of the order lately enumerated
by M. Decandolle, the present Herbarium offers, in addition, only two
species of the genus Hemistemma of M. Du Petit Thouars. The one
discovered on the North-west Coast, and allied to H. angustifolium of Mr.
Brown; the other proving also new, but approaching in character the
doubtful species, H. leschenaultii of Decandolle, and was discovered upon
Rottnest Island, off the western coast of the continent, and is the first
certain species of the genus, that is not limited to a tropical
In addition to what has been advanced in respect to certain natural
orders that appear in the Herbarium, formed under the stated
circumstances, a slight mention might be made of other detached genera,
or families sparingly observed on these coasts, that were more
particularly investigated during the progress of the late voyages; but as
these several plants form portions of orders so extremely limited, and in
themselves presenting nothing remarkable in their internal structure, or
external habit, a few remarks on a general comparison of the vegetation
of the North-west Coast, with the other shores of Terra Australis, will
conclude this notice.
It is very necessary to premise, that the plants observed and collected
upon the North-west Coast, during the late voyages, are not to be
considered as even a distant approach to an entire Flora of that
extensive line of shore; since the long-established droughts of the
seasons (as already remarked) in which the greater part of that coast was
visited, had wholly destroyed plants of annual duration, with most of the
Gramineae, and had indeed generally affected the mass of its herbaceous
vegetation. The collections, therefore, can simply be viewed as a
gleaning, affording such general outlines of characteristic feature, as
will enable the botanist to trace its affinity to the more minutely
defined vegetation of the other equinoctial shores of the continent, as
well as perceive its general, and, in some instances, almost total want
of relation to the botany of other parts, in the more temperate or higher
latitudes, where certain striking peculiarities of the Australian Flora
more particularly exist.
Upon a general comparison of those collections that were thus formed on
the North-west Coast, with the plants of the North and East Coasts, aided
also by some few observations made during the voyages, it appears that
(with the exception of Gompholobium, Boronia, Kennedia, and one or two
unpublished species not referred to any family) the genera (of which
several are proper to India) are the same, although the species are very
distinct upon the several coasts.
Notwithstanding an identity of genera has been remarked upon their
opposite shores, there are, nevertheless, certain others, frequent upon
the East Coast, that appear wholly wanting on the north-western shores:
of these, the existence of some, even in the tropical parts of New South
Wales, seems governed by the primary formation of the coast, its
mountainous structure, and consequent permanency of moisture in a greater
or less degree; namely, almost all the genera of Filices, the parasitical
Orchideae, Piper, Dracontium and Calladium (genera of Aroideae) Commelina
and Aneilema, Calamus and Seaforthia, Hellenia a solitary Australian
genus of Scitamineae, some genera of Rubiaceae, particularly Psychotria
and Coffea, certain genera of Asphodeleae, as Cordyline, and a genus
allied to it, whose fructification is at length obtained, a solitary
plant of Melastomeae, and an individual Nymphea.
Other genera also, but little influenced by those local circumstances of
situation on the East Coast, that are excluded from the opposite shores,
are Leucopogon (the only equinoctial genus of Epacrideae observed during
the late voyages) the families Bignoniaceae, Jasmineae, the genus
Erythrina, and of Coniferae, Araucaria of Norfolk Island. This absence of
several orders of plants on the north-western shores, existing in New
South Wales, or opposite coast, as well as the consideration (at the same
time) of the evident causes of such a disparity of species on the former
coast, would suggest the opinion, that such plants alone of other parts
of the continent are indigenous to the North-west Coast, as are capable
of sustaining themselves in a soil subjected to seasons of protracted
parching droughts. This may apply to some species upon that coast, but it
cannot be reduced to a general conclusion; for, on the one hand, it is
singular so few of the plants of the South and South-west Coasts, and
particularly that none other of their genera of Proteaceae (than those
already mentioned) found altogether in an arid soil, should have been
discovered throughout any part of its extensive shore; whilst, on the
other hand, at a peculiar structure of a small and limited portion of
that coast, in the vicinity of York Sound, a sufficiency of shade was
observed to be actually produced by the unusually broken character of the
country, to favour the nourishment and growth of certain plants alone to
be seen beneath the shade of dense forests. These species were Myristica
insipida, discovered by Mr. Brown, on one of the Prince of Wales group of
islands on the North Coast; Cryptocarya triplinervis, Brown; bearing ripe
fruit, Abroma fastuosa; and an undescribed Eugenia.
Although the several genera of plants lately observed on the
north-western shores are also frequent in other equinoctial parts of the
continent, there is, among the many species which are absolutely proper
to that coast, a Capparis of such extraordinary habit, as to form a
feature in the landscape of a limited extent of its shores, in the
enormous bulk of its stem and general ramification, bearing a striking
analogy to the Adansonia of the west coast of Africa.
The results of such observations on the vegetation as could only be made
in a general way, at parts approaching each extreme of the North-west
Coast, show their little affinity to each other; for the northern
extremity partakes more fully of that feature of the line of coast
contiguous to it, which (as already remarked) extends along the
north-western shores, declines materially at, and in the vicinity of
their southern limits, where the characteristic vegetation of the south,
and perhaps the west, coasts has more particularly been found. Besides
Eucalyptus and Acacia, which are abundant on every shore, and generally
diffused throughout those parts of the interior that have been
penetrated, there is another genus almost equally dispersed, which is,
however, on the North-west Coast reduced to three species. This is
Dodonaea, whose maximum is certainly in New South Wales, within and
beyond the tropic, upon the coast, and generally in the interior of the
country, extending also to the southern extremity of Van Diemen's Land.
Our very limited knowledge of the Flora of this vast continent (excepting
of a part east of longitude 144 degrees, and included between the
parallels of 31 and 35 degrees in New South Wales) is entirely confined
to the vegetation of its immediate shores, upon every distinct coast of
which, landings, more or less frequent, and under various circumstances,
have been effected; although of all, very considerable portions remain
unexplored, and of the line of West Coast (properly so denominated) the
shores of Shark's Bay, and some few parts south of it, have alone been
scientifically investigated. The interior within the tropic remains
entirely in obscurity; the continental defect of a want of large streams
having a distant source, to aid a penetration to the internal parts of
the country, together with other effectual obstacles, draw at present a
veil, and forbid all research into its Natural History and character,
which will not be removed for very considerable periods (perhaps ages)
yet to come!
It was the general remark made during a former expedition in the interior
of New South Wales, that no absolutely entire change takes place in the
vegetation east of the meridian of the new settlement named Bathurst; but
that the plants of the coast were more or less frequent at a hundred and
fifty miles from the sea, although in a country estimated at about two
thousand feet above its level. Having to this circumstance added a
remarkable and obvious sameness (arising from an extensive dispersion) of
a vein of vegetation in a large tract of country, it may be inquired, how
far these facts might, when applied to other parallels, identify a
certain portion of the Flora of the interior, and that of the sea-coast
in the same latitude; or, in other terms, how far the botany of the coast
indicates the general feature of the vegetation to a certain limit, in
the interior on the same parallel? Favourable opportunities were afforded
me, to compare the vegetation of opposite coasts within the tropic, at
the eastern and western extremes of a particular parallel; and the
results of such a comparison identified many species on the two coasts. I
have annexed a list of those plants that are common to the North-west and
East Coasts in and about the parallel of 15 degrees South, from a
contemplation of which, together with the above remarks, and a further
comparison of the species with those of the shores of the Gulf of
Carpentaria, through which that degree of latitude passes, might not a
general idea of some portion of the Flora of the expanse of intermediate
interior (far beyond the reach of actual investigation) be presumed?
A few observations relative to the geographical range of certain genera
and species, hitherto considerably circumscribed, will close this notice.
The genus Pandanus has ever been viewed by botanists as equinoctial; nor
was it till recently ascertained satisfactorily, that one of its species
(P. pedunculatus, Brown) exists on the shores of Port Macquarie in New
South Wales, in latitude 31 degrees South: and I have been credibly
informed, that the same plant is frequent in the vicinity of Port
Stephens, which is at least a degree to the southward of the above
parallel. The latitude of 32 degrees South may be considered the utmost
extreme of ranges from the equator of the genus in Terra Australis, on
the opposite shore of which, as also in all other countries, it has not
been remarked beyond the tropics.
The palms of Terra Australis, which (as previously observed) are
remarkably limited on the north-western shores, have a very considerable
diffusion on the North and East Coasts, and have even a more general
dispersion on the latter shores, than has been allowed them formerly.
Seaforthia is frequent in dense forests on the East Coast, almost to
latitude 35 degrees South, where it exhibits all the tropical habits
assumed on the northern shores, although the difference of climate, and
consequent temperature, are abundantly obvious. On the other hand, a palm
of very robust growth, with large flabelliform fronds, and spinous
foot-stalks, was remarked at the head of Liverpool River, in latitude 12
degrees South, on the North Coast; and although without fructification,
no doubt existed of its being the Corypha australis, hitherto limited to
the shores and vicinity of Port Jackson.
Araucaria excelsa. The Norfolk Island pine, which, without doubt, must
have been particularly noticed by the celebrated circumnavigator Captain
Cook, in 1770, on the discovery of New South Wales, although the
circumstance of the very general existence of a pine upon the islands and
main of that coast, north of the Percy Isles, does not appear to be
mentioned in the accounts of that particular voyage, has a far more
extensive range upon that shore than has been hitherto understood. During
the Mermaid's voyages, Araucaria was observed in the vicinity of Mount
Warning, in New South Wales, which lies in the parallel of Norfolk Island
(29 degrees South); thence northerly it was very sparingly seen towards
the tropic, within which, however, as far as latitude 14 degrees, it is
very abundant, forming upon several islands the only timber. This is
probably the nearest approach of the species to the equinoctial line; and
although it occupies an area of nine hundred miles, it is very probably
limited in Terra Australis to its immediate shores; and, as appears to be
the case with Pandanus, exists only within the influence of the sea air.
Calladium macrorhizon, Willd., formerly observed by Sir Joseph Banks, at
Endeavour River, on the East Coast, has been recently detected in moist
woods, in the country off which the Five Islands are situate, extending
on that shore to latitude 35 degrees South: and Schelhammera multiflora,
Br., a delicate plant of Melanthaceae, discovered likewise at Endeavour
River, abounds in shady forests, in latitude 31 degrees, upon the same
The following plants, formerly considered as indigenous only in Van
Diemen's Land, have been recently ascertained to exist also in New South
Wales, in or about the parallel of the colony of Port Jackson.
Croton viscosum, Labill., originally discovered on the South-west Coast,
was seen in the interior, as far to the westward of the colony as
longitude 146 degrees East.
Croton quadripartitum, Labill., was observed in longitude 148 degrees.
Goodia latifolia, Salisb., was remarked sparingly in the interior, in the
meridian of 147 degrees 30 minutes East: and Daviesia latifolia of Mr.
Brown is very frequent in societies upon plains at Bathurst, in longitude
149 degrees East, where also Eryngium vesiculosum, of Labillardiere, was
Aster argophyllus and obovatus, Labill. These two species were described
by Mons. Labillardiere, from specimens gathered in the southern extremes
of the above island, and have been lately seen tolerably frequent in a
remarkable tract of country, in latitude 34 degrees, on the limit of the
colony, where the former assumes a robust, arborescent habit. Aster
phlogopappus, of the same eminent author, was recently remarked upon the
more elevated parts of the Blue Mountain Range, on the margin of a
A LIST OF PLANTS COMMON TO THE EAST AND NORTH-WEST COASTS OF TERRA
AUSTRALIS, IN AND ABOUT THE PARALLEL OF FIFTEEN DEGREES SOUTH, WHERE THE
BREADTH OF CONTINENT EXCEEDS 1800 MILES.
Gleichenia Hermanni, Br.
Eriocaulon fistulosum, Br.
Philydrum lanuginosum, Gaertn.
Flagellaria indica, L.
Dioscorea bulbifera, L.
*? Pandanus pedunculatus, Br.
Cycas angulata, Br.
Santalum oblongatum, Br.
Exocarpus latifolia, Br.
Persoonia falcata, Br.
Grevillea mimosoides, Br.
Hakea arborescens, Br.
Buchnera ramosissima, Br.
Adenosma coerulea, Br.
Orthostemon erectum, Br.
Tabernaemontana orientalis, Br.
Carissa ovata, Br.
Strychnos lucida, Br.
Alyxia obtusifolia, Br.
Ipomoea longifiora, Br.
Ipomoea denticulata, Br.
Ipomoea maritima, Br.
Evolvulus villosus, R. et Pav.
Cuscuta carinata, Br.
Cordia orientalis, Br.
* Clerodendrum inerme, Br.
* Avicennia tomentosa, L.
Chionanthus axillaris, Br.
Olea paniculata, Br.
Maba laurina, Br.
Sersalisia obovata, Br.
Mimusops parvifolia, Br.
Terminalia, sp. allied to Catappa, Lam.
Cleome viscosa, L.
Capparis sepiaria, L.
Hibiscus tiliaceus, L.
Abroma fastuosa, Br.
Cassia occidentalis, L.
Guilandina Bonduc, L.
Morinda citrifolia, L.
* Carapa moluccensis, Lam.
* Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Lam.
Casuarina equisetifolia, Lam.
Should the botany of the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, in the
vicinity of those parts, through which the above parallels pass,
generally correspond (on comparison) with the above list, it is more than
probable that these several species occupy portions of the intermediate
interior bounded by the meridians of 125 and 145 degrees East; those
plants excepted, having an asterisk prefixed to them, which as forming
mangroves, or from other causes exist only on the sea shore.
A LIST OF PLANTS OBSERVED DURING THE LATE VOYAGES ON THE SHORES OF TERRA
AUSTRALIS, THAT ARE ALSO COMMON TO INDIA OR SOUTH AMERICA.
Acrostichum alcicorne, Sw.
Polypodium acrostichoides, Sw.
Nephrodium exaltatum, Br.
Nephrodium unitum, Br.
Vittaria elongata, Sw.
Asplenium nidus, L.
Daval1ia flaccida, Br.
Gleichenia Hermanni, Br.
Flagellaria indica, L.
Dioscorea bulbifera, L.
Calladium ? macrorhizon, Willd.
Aristolochia indica, L.
Daphne indica, L.
Salicornia indica, Willd.
Deeringia celosioides, Br.
Plumbago zeylanica, L.
Dischidia nummularifolia, Br.
Acanthus ilicifolius, L.
Acanthus ebracteatus, L.
Ipomea Turpethum, Br.
Ipomea denticulata, Br.
Ipomea maritima, Br.
Evolvulus villosus, R. et Pav.
Trichodesma zeylanica, Br.
Tournefortia argentea, L.
Cordia orientalis, Br.
Plectranthus scutellarioides, Br.
Clerodendrum inerme, Br.
Vitex ovata, L.
Vitex trifolia, L.
Avicennia tomentosa, L.
Mimusops kauki, L.
Aegiceras fragrans, C. Koenig.
Scaevola koenigii, Vahl.
Cleome viscosa, L.
Capparis sepiaria, L. ?
Calophyllum inophyllum, L.
Morinda citrifolia, L.
Carapa moluccensis, Lam.
Sophora tomentosa, L.
Cassia occidentalis, L.
Guilandina bonduc, L.
Abrus precatorius, L.
? Acacia scandens, Willd. ?
Hibiscus tiliaceus, L.
Suriana maritima, Jacqu.
Pemphis acida, Forst.
Rhizophora mangle, L. ?
Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Lam.
Sonneratia acida, L.
Abroma fastuosa, Br.
Casuarina equisetifolia, Forst.
CHARACTER AND DESCRIPTION OF KINGIA, A NEW GENUS OF PLANTS FOUND ON THE
SOUTH-WEST COAST OF NEW HOLLAND: WITH OBSERVATIONS ON THE STRUCTURE OF
ITS UNIMPREGNATED OVULUM; AND ON THE FEMALE FLOWER OF CYCADEAE AND
BY ROBERT BROWN, ESQUIRE, F.R.S.S.L. AND E. F.L.S.
(READ BEFORE THE LINNEAN SOCIETY OF LONDON, NOVEMBER 1 AND 15, 1825.)
In the Botanical Appendix to the Voyage to Terra Australis, I have
mentioned a plant of very remarkable appearance, observed in the year
1801, near the shores of King George the Third's Sound, in Mr. Westall's
view of which, published in Captain Flinders' Narrative, it is
The plant in question was then found with only the imperfect remains of
fructification: I judged of its affinities, therefore, merely from its
habit, and as in this respect it entirely agrees with Xanthorrhoea,
included the short notice given of it in my remarks on Asphodeleae, to
which that genus was referred.* Mr. Cunningham, the botanist attached to
Captain King's voyages, who examined the plant in the same place of
growth, in February, 1818, and in December, 1821, was not more fortunate
than myself. Captain King, however, in his last visit to King George's
Sound, in November, 1822, observed it with ripe seeds: and at length Mr.
William Baxter, whose attention I had particularly directed to this
plant, found it, on the shores of the same port in 1823, both in flower
and fruit. To this zealous collector, and to his liberal employer, Mr.
Henchman, I am indebted for complete specimens of its fructification,
which enable me to establish it as a genus distinct from any yet
(*Footnote. Flinders Voyage volume 2 page 576.)
To this new genus I have given the name of my friend Captain King, who,
during his important surveys of the Coasts of New Holland, formed
valuable collections in several departments of Natural History, and on
all occasions gave every assistance in his power to Mr. Cunningham, the
indefatigable botanist who accompanied him. The name is also intended as
a mark of respect to the memory of the late Captain Philip Gidley King,
who, as Governor of New South Wales, materially forwarded the objects of
Captain Flinders' voyage; and to whose friendship Mr. Ferdinand Bauer and
myself were indebted for important assistance in our pursuits while we
remained in that colony.
ORD. NAT. Junceae prope Dasypogon, Calectasiam et Xerotem.
CHAR. GEN. Perianthium sexpartitum, regulare, glumaceum, persistens.
Stamina sex, fera hypogyna: Antheris basi affixis. Ovarium triloculare,
loculis monospermis; ovulis adscendentibus. Stylus 1. Stigma tridentatum.
Pericarpium exsuccum, indehiscens, monospermum, perianthio scarioso
Planta facie Xanthorrhoeae elatioris. Caudex arhorescens cicatricibus
basibusve foliorum exasperatus? Folia caudicem terminantia confertissima
longissima, figura et dispositione Xanthorrhoeae. Pedunculi numerosi
foliis breviores, bracteis vaginantibus imbricatis tecti, floriferi
terminales erecti, mox, caudice parum elongato foliisque novellis
productis, laterales, et divaricati vel deflexi, terminati capitulo denso
globoso floribus tribracteatis.
Kingia australis. Table C.
DESC. Caudex arborescens erectus simplicissimus cylindraceus, 6-18-pedes
altus, crassitie femoris. Folia caudicem terminantia numerosissima
patula, apicibus arcuato-recurvis, lorea, solida, ancipitia apice
teretiusculo, novella undique tecta pilis adpressis strictis acutis
laevibus, angulis lateralibus et ventrali retrorsum scabris. Pedunculi
numerosi teretes 8-12-pollicares crassitie digiti, vaginis integris
brevibus imbricatis hinc in foliolum subulatum productis tecti. Capitulum
globosum, floridum magnitudine pruni minoris, fructiferum pomum parvum
aequans. Flores undique dense imbricati, tribracteati, sessiles. Bractea
exterior lanceolata breve acuminata planiuscula erecta, extus villosa
intus glabra, post lapsum fructus persistens: duae laterales
angusto-naviculares, acutissimae, carina lateribusque villosis,
longitudine fere exterioris, simul cum perianthio fructifero, separatim
tamen, dilabentibus. Perianthium sexpartitum regulare subaequale
glumaceum: foliola lanceolata acutissima disco nervoso nervis immersis
simplicissimis, antica et postica plana, lateralia complicata lateribus
inaequalibus, omnia basi subangustata, extus longitudinaliter sed extra
medium praecipue villosa, intus glaberrima, aestivatione imbricata.
Stamina sex subaequalia, aestivatione stricta filamentis sensim
elongantibus: Filamenta fere hypogyna ipsis basibus foliolorum perianthii
quibus opposita leviter adhaerentia, filiformia glabra teretia: Antherae
stantes, ante dehiscentiam lineares obtusae filamento paulo latiores,
defloratae subulatae vix crassitie filamenti, loculis parallelo-contiguis
connectivo dorsali angusto adnatis, axi ventrali longitudinaliter
dehiscentibus, lobulis baseos brevibus acutis subadnatis: Pollen simplex
breve ovale laeve. Pistillum: Ovarium sessile disco nullo squamulisve
cinctum, lanceolatum trigono-anceps villosum, triloculare, loculis
monospermis. Ovula erecta fundo anguli interioris loculi paulo supra
basin suam inserta, obovata lenticulari-compressa, aptera: Testa in ipsa
basi acutiuscula foramine minuto perforata: Membrana interna respectu
testae inversa, hujusce nempe apici lata basi inserta, ovata apice
angustato aperto foramen testae obturante: Nucleus cavitate membranae
conformis, ejusdem basi insertus, caeterum liber, pulposus solidus, apice
acutiusculo laevi aperturam membranae internae attingente. Stylus
trigonus strictus, infra villosus, dimidio superiore glabro, altitudine
staminum, iisdem paulo praecocior, exsertus nempe dum illa adhuc inclusa.
Stigmata tria brevissima acuta denticuliformia. Pericarpium exsuccum,
indehiscens, villosum, basi styli aristatum, perianthio scarioso et
filamentis emarcidis cinctum, abortione monospermum. Semen turgidum
obovatum retusum, integumento (testa) simplici membranaceo aqueo-pallido,
bine (intus) fere a basi acutiuscula, raphe fusca verticem retusum
attingente ibique in chalazam parvam concolorem ampliata. Albumen semini
conforme dense carnosum album. Embryo monocotyledoneus, aqueo-pallidus
subglobosus, extremitate inferiore (radiculari) acuta, in ipsa basi
seminis situs, semi-immersus, nec albumine omnino inclusus.
Table C. figure 1. Kingiae australis pedunculus capitulo florido
terminatus; figure 2, capitulum fructiferum; 3, sectio transversalis
pedunculi: 4, folium: hae magnitudine naturali, sequentes omnes plus
minus auctae sunt; 5, flos; 6, stamen; 7, anthera antice et, 8, eadem
postice visa; 9, pistillum; 10, ovarii sectio transversalis; 11, ejusdem
portio longitudinaliter secta exhibens ovulum adscendens cavitatem loculi
replens; 12, ovulum ita longitudinaliter sectum ut membrana interna
solummodo ejusque insertio in apice cavitatis testae visa sit; 13, ovuli
sectio longitudinalis profundius ducta exhibens membranam internam et
nucleum ex ejusdem basi ortum; 14, bracteae capituli fructiferi; 15,
pericarpium perianthio filamentisque persistentibus cinctum; 16,
pericarpium perianthio avulso filamentorum basibus relictis; 17, semen.
It remains to be ascertained, whether in this genus a resin is secreted
by the bases of the lower leaves, as in Xanthorrhoea; and whether, which
is probable, it agrees also in the internal structure of its stem with
that genus. In Xanthorrhoea the direction of fibres or vessels of the
caudex seems at first sight to resemble in some degree the dicotyledonous
arrangement, but in reality much more nearly approaches to that of
Dracaena draco, allowance being made for the greater number, and extreme
narrowness of leaves, to which all the radiating vessels belong.*
(*Footnote. My knowledge of this remarkable structure of Xanthorrhoea is
chiefly derived from specimens of the caudex of one of the larger species
of the genus, brought from Port Jackson, and deposited in the collection
at the Jardin du Roi of Paris by M. Gaudichaud, the very intelligent
botanist who was attached to Captain De Freycinet's voyage.)
I have placed Kingia in the natural order Junceae along with Dasypogon,
Calectasia and Xerotes, genera peculiar to New Holland, and of which the
two former have hitherto been observed only, along with it, on the shores
of King George's Sound.
The striking resemblance of Kingia, in caudex and leaves, to
Xanthorrhoea, cannot fail to suggest its affinity to that genus also.
Although this affinity is not confirmed by a minute comparison of the
parts of fructification, a sufficient agreement is still manifest to
strengthen the doubts formerly expressed of the importance of those
characters, by which I attempted to define certain families of the great
In addition, however, to the difference in texture of the outer coat of
the seed, and in those other points, on which I then chiefly depended in
distinguishing Junceae from Asphodeleae, a more important character in
Junceae exists in the position of the embryo, whose radicle points always
to the base of the seed, the external umbilicus being placed in the axis
of the inner or ventral surface, either immediately above the base as in
Kingia, or towards the middle, as in Xerotes.
ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE UNIMPREGNATED OVULUM IN PHAENOGAMOUS PLANTS.
The description which I have given of the Ovulum of Kingia, though
essentially different from the accounts hitherto published of that organ
before fecundation, in reality agrees with its ordinary structure in
I shall endeavour to establish these two points; namely, the agreement of
this description with the usual structure of the Ovulum, and its
essential difference from the accounts of other observers, as briefly as
possible at present; in tending hereafter to treat the subject at greater
length, and also with other views.
I have formerly more than once* adverted to the structure of the Ovulum,
chiefly as to the indications it affords, even before fecundation, of the
place and direction of the future Embryo. These remarks, however, which
were certainly very brief, seem entirely to have escaped the notice of
those authors who have since written on the same subject.
(*Footnote. Flinders Voyage 2 page 601, and Linnean Society Transactions
12 page page 136.)
In the Botanical Appendix to the account of Captain Flinders' Voyage,
published in 1814, the following description of the Ovulum of Cephalotus
follicularis is given: Ovulum erectum, intra testam membranaceam
continens sacculum pendulum, magnitudine cavitatis testae, and in
reference to this description, I have in the same place remarked that,
"from the structure of the Ovulum, even in the unimpregnated state, I
entertain no doubt that the radicle of the Embryo points to the
(*Footnote. Flinders Voyage loc. cit.)
My attention had been first directed to this subject in 1809, in
consequence of the opinion I had then formed of the function of the
Chalaza in seeds;* and sometime before the publication of the observation
now quoted, I had ascertained that in Phaenogamous plants the
unimpregnated Ovulum very generally consisted of two concentric
membranes, or coats, enclosing a Nucleus of a pulpy cellular texture. I
had observed also, that the inner coat had no connexion either with the
outer or with the nucleus, except at its origin; and that with relation
to the outer coat it was generally inverted, while it always agreed in
direction with the nucleus. And, lastly, that at the apex of the nucleus
the radicle of the future Embryo would constantly be found.
(*Footnote. Linnean Society Transactions 10 page 35.)
On these grounds my opinion respecting the Embryo of Cephalotus was
formed. In describing the Ovulum in this genus, I employed, indeed, the
less correct term sacculus, which, however, sufficiently expressed the
appearance of the included body in the specimens examined, and served to
denote my uncertainty in this case as to the presence of the inner
I was at that time also aware of the existence, in several plants, of a
foramen in the coats of the Ovulum, always distinct from, and in some
cases diametrically opposite to the external umbilicus, and which I had
in no instance found cohering either directly with the parietes of the
Ovarium, or with any process derived from them. But, as I was then unable
to detect this foramen in many of the plants which I had examined, I did
not attach sufficient importance to it; and in judging of the direction
of the Embryo, entirely depended on ascertaining the apex of the nucleus,
either directly by dissection, or indirectly from the vascular cord of
the outer membrane: the termination of this cord affording a sure
indication of the origin of the inner membrane, and consequently of the
base of the nucleus, the position of whose apex is therefore readily
In this state of my knowledge the subject was taken up in 1818, by my
lamented friend the late Mr. Thomas Smith, who, eminently qualified for
an investigation where minute accuracy and great experience in
microscopical observation were necessary, succeeded in ascertaining the
very general existence of the foramen in the membranes of the Ovulum. But
as the foramina in these membranes invariably correspond both with each
other and with the apex of the nucleus, a test of the direction of the
future Embryo was consequently found nearly as universal, and more
obvious than that which I had previously employed.
To determine in what degree this account of the vegetable Ovulum differs
from those hitherto given, and in some measure, that its correctness may
be judged of, I shall proceed to state the various observations that have
been actually made, and the opinions that have been formed on the
subject, as briefly as I am able, taking them in chronological order.
In 1672, Grew* describes in the outer coat of the seeds of many
Leguminous plants a small foramen, placed opposite to the radicle of the
Embryo, which, he adds, is "not a hole casually made, or by the breaking
off of the stalk," but formed for purposes afterwards stated to be the
aeration of the Embryo, and facilitating the passage of its radicle in
germination. It appears that he did not consider this foramen in the
testa as always present, the functions which he ascribes to it being
performed in cases where it is not found, either, according to him, by
the hilum itself, or in hard fruits, by an aperture in the stone or
(*Footnote. Anatomy of Veget. begun page 3. Anatomy of Plants page 2.)
In another part of his work* he describes and figures, in the early state
of the Ovulum, two coats, of which the outer is the testa; the other, his
middle membrane, is evidently what I have termed nucleus, whose origin in
the Ovulum of the Apricot he has distinctly represented and described.
(*Footnote. Anatomy of Plants page 210 table 80.)
Malpighi, in 1675,* gives the same account of the early state of the
Ovulum; his secundinae externae being the testa, and his chorion the
nucleus. He has not, however, distinguished, though he appears to have
seen, the foramen of Grew, from the fenestra and fenestella, and these,
to which he assigns the same functions, are merely his terms for the
(*Footnote. Anatome Plant. page 75 et 80.)
In 1694, Camerarius, in his admirable essay on the sexes of plants,*
proposes, as queries merely, various modes in which either the entire
grains of pollen, or their particles after bursting, may be supposed to
reach and act upon the unimpregnated Ovula, which he had himself
carefully observed. With his usual candour, however, he acknowledges his
obligation on this subject to Malpighi, to whose more detailed account of
them he refers.
(*Footnote. Rudolphi Jacobi Camerarii de sexu plantarum epistola page 8
46 et seq.)
Mr. Samuel Morland, in 1703,* in extending Leeuwenhoek's hypothesis of
generation to plants, assumes the existence of an aperture in the Ovulum,
through which it is impregnated. It appears, indeed, that he had not
actually observed this aperture before fecundation, but inferred its
existence generally and at that period, from having, as he says,
"discovered in the seeds of beans, peas, and Phaseoli, just under one end
of what we call the eye, a manifest perforation, which leads directly to
the seminal plant," and by which he supposes the Embryo to have entered.
This perforation is evidently the foramen discovered in the seeds of
Leguminous plants by Grew, of whose observations respecting it he takes
no notice, though he quotes him in another part of his subject.
(*Footnote. Philosophical Transactions volume 23 n. 287 page 1474.)
In 1704, Etienne Francois Geoffroy,* and in 1711, his brother Claude
Joseph Geoffroy,** in support of the same hypothesis, state the general
existence of an aperture in the unimpregnated vegetable Ovulum. It is
not, however, probable that these authors had really seen this aperture
in the early state of the Ovulum in any case, but rather that they had
merely advanced from the observation of Grew, and the conjecture founded
on it by Morland, whose hypothesis they adopt without acknowledgment, to
the unqualified assertion of its existence, in all cases. For it is to be
remarked, that they take no notice of what had previously been observed
or asserted on the more important parts of their subject, while several
passages are evidently copied, and the whole account of the original
state and development of the Ovulum is literally translated from
Camerarius' Essay. Nor does the younger Geoffroy mention the earlier
publication of his brother, from which his own memoir is in great part
(*Footnote. Quaestio Medica an Hominis primordia Vermis? in auctoris
Tractatu de Materia Medica tome 1 page 123.)
(**Footnote. Mem. de l'Acad. des Sc. de Paris 1711 page 210.)
In 1718; Vaillant,* who rejects the vermicular hypothesis of generation,
supposes the influence of the Pollen to consist in an aura, conveyed by
the tracheae of the style to the ovula, which it enters, if I rightly
understand him, by the funiculus umbilicalis: at the same time he seems
to admit the existence of the aperture in the coat.
(*Footnote. Discours sur la Structure des Fleurs page 20.)
In 1745, Needham,* and in 1770, Gleichen,** adopt the hypothesis of
Morland, somewhat modified, however, as they consider the particles in
the grains of Pollen, not the grains themselves, to be the embryos, and
that they enter the ovula by the umbilical cord.
(*Footnote. New Microscopical Discoveries page 60.)
(**Footnote. Observ. Microscop. page 45 et 61 paragraph 118.)
Adanson, in 1763,* states the Embryo to exist before fecundation, and
that it receives its first excitement from a vapour or aura proceeding
from the Pollen, conveyed to it through the tracheae of the style, and
entering the Ovulum by the umbilical cord.
(*Footnote. Fam. des Plant. tom. 1 page 121.)
Spallanzani,* who appears to have carefully examined the unimpregnated
Ovula of a considerable variety of plants, found it in general to be a
homogeneous, spongy, or gelatinous body; but in two Cucurbitaceae to
consist of a nucleus surrounded by three coats. Of these coats he rightly
supposes the outermost to be merely the epidermis of the middle membrane
or testa. Of the relative direction of the testa and inner coat in the
two plants in question he takes no notice, nor does he in any case
mention an aperture in the Ovulum.
(*Footnote. Fisica Anim. e Veget. tome 3 page 309 to 332.)
Gaertner, who, in the preface to his celebrated work, displays great
erudition in every branch of his subject, can hardly, however, be
considered an original observer in this part. He describes the
unimpregnated Ovulum as a pulpy homogeneous globule, whose epidermis,
then scarcely distinguishable, separates in a more advanced stage, and
becomes the testa of the seed, the inner membrane of which is entirely
the product of fecundation.* He asserts also that the Embryo constantly
appears at that point of the ovulum where the ultimate branches of the
umbilical vessels perforate the inner membrane; and therefore mistakes
the apex for the base of the nucleus.
(*Footnote. Gaert. de Fruct. et Sem. 1 page 57, 59 et 61.)
In 1806 Mons. Turpin* published a memoir on the organ, by which the
fecundating fluid is introduced into the vegetable ovulum. The substance
of this memoir is, that in all Phaenogamous plants fecundation takes
place through a cord or fasciculus of vessels entering the outer coat of
the ovulum, at a point distinct from, but at the period of impregnation
closely approximated to the umbilicus, and to the cicatrix of this cord,
which itself is soon obliterated, he gives the name of Micropyle: that
the ovulum has two coats, each having its proper umbilicus, or, as he
terms it, omphalode; that these coats in general correspond in direction;
that more rarely the inner membrane is, with relation to the outer,
inverted; and that towards the origin of the inner membrane the radicle
of the embryo uniformly points.
(*Footnote. Annal. du Mus. d'Hist. Nat. 7 page 199.)
It is singular that a botanist, so ingenious and experienced as M.
Turpin, should, on this subject, instead of appealing in every case to
the unimpregnated ovulum, have apparently contented himself with an
examination of the ripe seed. Hence, however, he has formed an erroneous
opinion of the nature and origin, and in some plants of the situation, of
the micropyle itself, and hence also he has in all cases mistaken the
apex for the base of the nucleus.
A minute examination of the early state of the ovulum does not seem to
have entered into the plan of the late celebrated M. Richard, when in
1808 he published his valuable and original Analyse du Fruit. The ovulum
has, according to him, but one covering, which in the ripe seed he calls
episperm. He considers the centre of the hilum as the base, and the
chalaza, where it exists, as the natural apex of the seed.
M. Mirbel, in 1815, though admitting the existence of the foramen or
micropyle of the testa,* describes the ovulum as receiving by the hilum
both nourishing and fecundating vessels,** and as consisting of a uniform
parenchyma, in which the embryo appears at first a minute point,
gradually converting more or less of the surrounding tissue into its own
substance; the coats and albumen of the seed being formed of that portion
(*Footnote. Elem. de Physiol. Veg. et de Bot. tome 1 page 49.)
(**Footnote. Id. tome 1 page 314.)
(***Footnote. Id. loc. cit.)
In the same year, M. Auguste de Saint Hilaire,* shows that the micropyle
is not always approximated to the umbilicus; that in some plants it is
situated at the opposite extremity of the ovulum, and that in all cases
it corresponds with the radicle of the embryo. This excellent botanist,
at the same time, adopts M. Turpin's opinion, that the micropyle is the
cicatrix of a vascular cord, and even gives instances of its connexion
with the parietes of the ovarium; mistaking, as I believe, contact, which
in some plants unquestionably takes place, and in one family, namely,
Plumbagineae, in a very remarkable manner, but only after a certain
period, for original cohesion, or organic connexion, which I have not met
with in any case.
(*Footnote. Mem. du Mus. d'Hist. Nat. 2 page 270 et seq.)
In 1815 also appeared the masterly dissertation of Professor Ludolf
Christian Treviranus, on the development of the vegetable embryo,* in
which he describes the ovulum before fecundation as having two coats: but
of these, his inner coat is evidently the middle membrane of Grew, the
chorion of Malpighi, or what I have termed nucleus.
(*Footnote. Entwick. des Embryo im Pflanzen-Ey.)
In 1822, Mons. Dutrochet, unacquainted, as it would seem, with the
dissertation of Professor Treviranus, published his observations on the
same subject.* In what regards the structure of the ovulum, he
essentially agrees with that author, and has equally overlooked the inner
(*Footnote. Mem. du Mus. d'Hist. Nat. tome 8 page 241 et seq.)
It is remarkable that neither of these observers should have noticed the
foramen in the testa. And as they do not even mention the well-known
essays of MM. Turpin and Auguste de St. Hilaire on the micropyle, it may
be presumed that they were not disposed to adopt the statements of these
authors respecting it.
Professor Link, in his Philosophia Botanica, published in 1824, adopts
the account given by Treviranus, of the coats of the ovulum before
impregnation:* and of M. Turpin, as to the situation of the micropyle,
and its being the cicatrix of a vascular cord. Yet he seems not to admit
the function ascribed to it, and asserts that it is in many cases
(*Footnote. Elem. Philos. Bot. page 338.)
(**Footnote. Id. page 340.)
The account which I have given of the structure of the vegetable ovulum,
differs essentially from all those now quoted, and I am not acquainted
with any other observations of importance respecting it.
Of the authors referred to, it may be remarked, that those who have most
particularly attended to the ovulum externally, have not always examined
it at a sufficiently early period, and have confined themselves to its
surface: that those who have most minutely examined its internal
structure, have trusted too much to sections merely, and have neglected
its appearance externally: and that those who have not at all examined it
in the early stage, have given the most correct account of its surface.
This account was founded on a very limited observation of ripe seeds,
generalized and extended to the unimpregnated ovulum, in connexion with
an hypothesis then very commonly received: but this hypothesis being soon
after abandoned, their statement respecting the ovulum was rejected along
In the ovulum of Kingia, the inner membrane, with relation to the
external umbilicus, is inverted; and this, as I have already observed,
though in direct opposition to M. Turpin's account, is the usual
structure of the organ. There are, however, several families in each of
the two primary divisions of phaenogamous plants, in which the inner
membrane, and consequently the nucleus, agrees in direction with the
testa. In such cases the external umbilicus alone affords a certain
indication of the position of the future embryo.
It is an obvious consequence of what has been already stated, that the
radicle of the embryo can never point directly to the external umbilicus
or hilum, though this is said to be generally the case by the most
Another observation may be made, less obviously a consequence of the
structure described, but equally at variance with many of the published
accounts and figures of seeds, namely, that the radicle is never
absolutely enclosed in the albumen; but, in the recent state, is either
immediately in contact with the inner membrane of the seed, or this
contact is established by means of a process generally very short, but
sometimes of great length, and which indeed in all cases may be regarded
as an elongation of its own substance. From this rule I have found one
apparent deviation, but in a case altogether so peculiar, that it can
hardly be considered as setting it aside.
It is necessary to observe, that I am acquainted with exceptions to the
structure of the ovulum as I have here described it, In Compositae its
coats seem to be imperforated, and hardly separable, either from each
other or from the nucleus, in this family, therefore, the direction of
the embryo can only be judged of from the vessels of the testa.* And in
Lemna I have found an apparent inversion of the embryo with relation to
the apex of the nucleus. In this genus, however, such other peculiarities
of structure and economy exist, that, paradoxical as the assertion may
seem, I consider the exception rather as confirming than lessening the
importance of the character.
(*Footnote. Linnean Society Transactions 12 page 136.)
It may perhaps be unnecessary to remark, that the raphe, or vascular cord
of the outer coat, almost universally belongs to that side of the ovulum
which is next the placenta. But it is at least deserving of notice, that
the very few apparent exceptions to this rule evidently tend to confirm
it. The most remarkable of these exceptions occur in those species of
Euonymus, which, contrary to the usual structure of the genus and family
they belong to, have pendulous ovula; and, as I have long since noticed,
in the perfect ovula only of Abelia.* In these, and in the other cases in
which the raphe is on the outer side, or that most remote from the
placenta, the ovula are in reality resupinate; an economy apparently
essential to their development.
(*Footnote. Abel's China page 377.)
The distinct origins and different directions of the nourishing vessels
and channel through which fecundation took place in the ovulum, may still
be seen in many of those ripe seeds that are winged, and either present
their margins to the placenta, as in Proteaceae, or have the plane of the
wing at right angles to it, as in several Liliaceae. These organs are
visible also in some of those seeds that have their testa produced at
both ends beyond the inner membrane, as Nepenthes; a structure which
proves the outer coat of scobiform seeds, as they are called, to be
really testa, and not arillus, as it has often been termed.
The importance of distinguishing between the membranes of the
unimpregnated ovulum and those of the ripe seed, must be sufficiently
evident from what has been already stated. But this distinction has been
necessarily neglected by two classes of observers. The first consisting
of those, among whom are several of the most eminent carpologists, who
have regarded the coats of the seed as products of fecundation. The
second of those authors who, professing to give an account of the ovulum
itself, have made their observations chiefly, or entirely, on the ripe
seed, the coats of which they must consequently have supposed to be
formed before impregnation.
The consideration of the arillus, which is of rare occurrence, is never
complete, and whose development takes place chiefly after fecundation,
might here, perhaps, be entirely omitted. It is, however, worthy of
remark, that in the early stage of the ovulum, this envelope is in
general hardly visible even in those cases where, as in Hibbertia
volubilis, it attains the greatest size in the ripe seed; nor does it in
any case, with which I am acquainted, cover the foramen of the testa
until after fecundation.
The testa, or outer coat of the seed, is very generally formed by the
outer membrane of the ovulum; and in most cases where the nucleus is
inverted, which is the more usual structure, its origin may be
satisfactorily determined; either by the hilum being more or less
lateral, while the foramen is terminal; or more obviously, and with
greater certainty where the raphe is visible, this vascular cord
uniformly belonging to the outer membrane of the ovulum. The chalaza,
properly so called, though merely the termination of the raphe, affords a
less certain character, for in many plants it is hardly visible on the
inner surface of the testa, but is intimately united with the areola of
insertion of the inner membrane or of the nucleus, to one or other of
which it then seems entirely to belong. In those cases where the testa
agrees in direction with the nucleus, I am not acquainted with any
character by which it can be absolutely distinguished from the inner
membrane in the ripe seed; but as a few plants are already known, in
which the outer membrane is originally incomplete, its entire absence,
even before fecundation, is conceivable; and some possible cases of such
a structure will be mentioned hereafter.
There are several cases known, some of which I have formerly noticed,* of
the complete obliteration of the testa in the ripe seed; and on the other
hand it appears to constitute the greater part of the substance of the
bulb-like seeds of many Liliaceae, where it no doubt performs also the
function of albumen, from which, however, it is readily distinguished by
its vascularity.** But the most remarkable deviation from the usual
structure and economy of the outer membrane of the ovulum, both in its
earliest stage and in the ripe fruit, that I have yet met with, occurs in
Banksia and Dryandra. In these two genera I have ascertained that the
inner membrane of the ovulum, before fecundation, is entirely exposed,
the outer membrane being even then open its whole length; and that the
outer membranes of the two collateral ovula, which are originally
distinct, cohere in a more advanced stage by their corresponding
surfaces, and together constitute the anomalous dissepiment of the
capsule; the inner membrane of the ovulum consequently forming the outer
coat of the seed.
(*Footnote. Linnean Society Transactions 12 page 149.)
The inner membrane of the ovulum, however, in general appears to be of
greater importance as connected with fecundation, than as affording
protection to the nucleus at a more advanced period. For in many cases,
before impregnation, its perforated apex projects beyond the aperture of
the testa, and in some plants puts on the appearance of an obtuse, or
even dilated stigma; while in the ripe seed it is often either entirely
obliterated, or exists only as a thin film, which might readily be
mistaken for the epidermis of a third membrane then frequently
This third coat is formed by the proper membrane or cuticle of the
Nucleus, from whose substance in the unimpregnated ovulum it is never, I
believe, separable, and at that period is very rarely visible. In the
ripe seed it is indistinguishable from the inner membrane only by its
apex, which is never perforated, is generally acute and more deeply
coloured, or even sphacelated.
The membrane of the nucleus usually constitutes the innermost coat of the
seed. But in a few plants an additional coat, apparently originating in
the inner membrane of Grew, the vesicula colliquamenti or amnios of
Malpighi also exists.
In general the Amnios, after fecundation, gradually enlarges, till at
length it displaces or absorbs the whole substance of the nucleus,
containing in the ripe seed both the embryo and albumen, where the latter
continues to exist. In such cases, however, its proper membrane is
commonly obliterated, and its place supplied either by that of the
nucleus, by the inner membrane of the ovulum, or, where both these are
evanescent, by the testa itself.
In other cases the albumen is formed by a deposition of granular matter
in the cells of the nucleus. In some of these cases the membrane of the
amnios seems to be persistent, forming even in the ripe seed a proper
coat for the embryo, the original attachment of whose radicle to the apex
of this coat may also continue. This, at least, seems to me the most
probable explanation of the structure of true Nymphaeaceae, namely,
Nuphar, Nymphaea, Euryale, Hydropeltis, and Cabomba, notwithstanding
their very remarkable germination, as observed and figured in Nymphaea
and Nuphar by Tittmann.*
(*Footnote. Keimung der Pflanzen page 19 et 27 table 3 et 4.)
In support of this explanation, which differs from all those yet given, I
may here advert to an observation published many years ago, though it
seems to have escaped every author who has since written on the subject,
namely, that before the maturity of the seed in Nymphaeaceae, the
sacculus contains along with the embryo a (pulpy or semi-fluid)
substance, which I then called Vitellus, applying at that time this name
to every body interposed between the albumen and embryo.* The opinion
receives some confirmation also from the existence of an extremely fine
filament, hitherto overlooked, which, originating from the centre of the
lower surface of the sacculus, and passing through the hollow axis of the
Albumen, probably connects this coat of the Embryo in an early stage with
the base of the nucleus.
(*Footnote. Prodr. Flor. Nov. Holl. 1 page 306.)
The same explanation of structure applies to the seeds of Piperaceae and
Saururus; and other instances occur of the persistence either of the
membrane or of the substance of the amnios in the ripe seed.
It may be concluded from the whole account which I have given of the
structure of the ovulum, that the more important changes consequent to
real, or even to spurious fecundation, must take place within the
nucleus: and that the albumen, properly so called, may be formed either
by a deposition or secretion of granular matter in the utriculi of the
amnios, or in those of the nucleus itself, or lastly, that two substances
having these distinct origins, and very different textures, may co-exist
in the ripe seed, as is probably the case in Scitamineae.
On the subject of the ovulum, as contained in an ovarium, I shall at
present make but one other remark, which forms a necessary introduction
to the observations that follow.
ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE FEMALE FLOWER IN CYCADEAE AND CONIFERAE.
That the apex of the nucleus is the point of the ovulum where
impregnation takes place, is at least highly probable, both from the
constancy in the appearance of the embryo at that point, and from the
very general inversion of the nucleus; for by this inversion its apex is
brought nearly, or absolutely, into contact with that part of the
parietes of the ovarium, by which the influence of the pollen may be
supposed to be communicated. In several of those families of plants,
however, in which the nucleus is not inverted, and the placentae are
polyspermous, as Cistineae,* it is difficult to comprehend in what manner
this influence can reach its apex externally, except on the supposition,
not hastily to be admitted, of an impregnating aura filling the cavity of
the ovarium; or by the complete separation of the fecundating tubes from
the placentae, which, however, in such cases I have never been able to
(*Footnote. This structure of ovulum, indicated by that of the seed, as
characterizing and defining the limits of Cistineae (namely, Cistus,
Helianthemum, Hudsonia and Lechea) I communicated to Dr. Hooker, by whom
it is noticed in his Flora Scotica (page 284) published in 1821; where,
however, an observation is added respecting Gaertner's description of
Cistus and Helianthemum, for which I am not accountable.)
It would entirely remove the doubts that may exist respecting the point
of impregnation, if cases could be produced where the ovarium was either
altogether wanting, or so imperfectly formed, that the ovulum itself
became directly exposed to the action of the pollen, or its fovilla; its
apex, as well as the orifice of its immediate covering, being modified
and developed to adapt them to this economy.
But such, I believe, is the real explanation of the structure of
Cycadeae, of Coniferae, of Ephedra, and even of Gnetum, of which Thoa of
Aublet is a species.
To this view the most formidable objection would be removed, were it
admitted, in conformity with the preceding observations, that the apex of
the nucleus, or supposed point of impregnation, has no organic connexion
with the parietes of the ovarium. In support of it, also, as far as
regards the direct action of the pollen on the ovulum, numerous instances
of analogous economy in the animal kingdom may be adduced.
The similarity of the female flower in Cycadeae and Coniferae to the
ovulum of other phaenogamous plants, as I have described it, is indeed
sufficiently obvious to render the opinion here advanced not altogether
improbable. But the proof of its correctness must chiefly rest on a
resemblance, in every essential point, being established, between the
inner body in the supposed female flower in these tribes, and the nucleus
of the ovulum in ordinary structures; not only in the early stage, but
also in the whole series of changes consequent to fecundation. Now as far
as I have yet examined, there is nearly a complete agreement in all these
respects. I am not entirely satisfied, however, with the observations I
have hitherto been able to make on a subject naturally difficult, and to
which I have not till lately attended with my present view.
The facts most likely to be produced as arguments against this view of
the structure of Coniferae, are the unequal and apparently secreting
surface of the apex of the supposed nucleus in most cases; its occasional
projection beyond the orifice of the outer coat; its cohesion with that
coat by a considerable portion of its surface, and the not unfrequent
division of the orifice of the coat. Yet most of these peculiarities of
structure might perhaps be adduced in support of the opinion advanced,
being apparent adaptations to the supposed economy.
There is one fact that will hardly be brought forward as an objection,
and which yet seems to me to present a difficulty, to this opinion;
namely, the greater simplicity in Cycadeae, and in the principal part of
Coniferae, of the supposed ovulum which consists of a nucleus and one
coat only, compared with the organ as generally existing when enclosed in
an ovarium. The want of uniformity in this respect may even be stated as
another difficulty, for in some genera of Coniferae the ovulum appears to
In Ephedra, indeed, where the nucleus is provided with two envelopes, the
outer may, perhaps, be supposed rather analogous to the calyx, or
involucrum of the male flower, than as belonging to the ovulum; but in
Gnetum, where three envelopes exist, two of these may, with great
probability, be regarded as coats of the nucleus; while in Podocarpus and
Dacrydium, the outer cupula, as I formerly termed it,* may also, perhaps,
be viewed as the testa of the ovulum. To this view, as far as relates to
Dacrydium, the longitudinal fissure of the outer coat in the early stage,
and its state in the ripe fruit, in which it forms only a partial
covering, may be objected.** But these objections are, in a great
measure, removed by the analogous structure already described in Banksia
(*Footnote. Flinders Voyage volume 2 page 573.)
(**Footnote. Id. loc. cit.)
The plurality of embryos sometimes occurring in Coniferae, and which, in
Cycadeae, seems even to be the natural structure, may also, perhaps, be
supposed to form an objection to the present opinion, though to me it
appears rather an argument in its favour.
Upon the whole, the objections to which the view here taken of the
structure of these two families is still liable, seem to me, as far as I
am aware of them, much less important than those that may be brought
against the other opinions that have been advanced, and still divide
botanists on this subject.
According to the earliest of these opinions, the female flower of
Cycadeae and Coniferae is a monospermous pistillum, having no proper
To this structure, however, Pinus itself was long considered by many
botanists as presenting an exception.
Linnaeus has expressed himself so obscurely in the natural character
which he has given of this genus, that I find it difficult to determine
what his opinion of its structure really was. I am inclined, however, to
believe it to have been much nearer the truth than is generally supposed;
judging of it from a comparison of his essential with his artificial
generic character, and from an observation recorded in his Praelectiones,
published by Giseke.*
(*Footnote. Praelect. in Ord. Nat. page 589.)
But the first clear account that I have met with, of the real structure
of Pinus, as far as regards the direction, or base and apex of the female
flowers, is given, in 1767, by Trew, who describes them in the following
manner: "Singula semina vel potius germina stigmati tanquam organo
feminino gaudent,"* and his figure of the female flower of the Larch, in
which the stigmata project beyond the base of the scale, removes all
doubt respecting his meaning.
(*Footnote. Nov. Act. Acad. Nat. Curios. 3 page 453 table 13 figure 23.)
In 1789, M. de Jussieu, in the character of his genus Abies,* gives a
similar account of structure, though somewhat less clearly as well as
less decidedly expressed. In the observations that follow, he suggests,
as not improbable, a very different view, founded on the supposed analogy
with Araucaria, whose structure was then misunderstood; namely, that the
inner scale of the female amentum is a bilocular ovarium, of which the
outer scale is the style. But this, according to Sir James Smith,** was
also Linnaeus' opinion; and it is the view adopted in Mr. Lambert's
splendid monograph of the genus published in 1803.
(*Footnote. Gen. Pl. page 414.)
(**Footnote. Rees Cyclop. art. Pinus.)
In the same year in which Mr. Lambert's work appeared, Schkuhr*
describes, and very distinctly figures, the female flower of Pinus,
exactly as it was understood by Trew, whose opinion was probably unknown
(*Footnote. Botan. Handb. 3 page 276 table 308.)
In 1807, a memoir on this subject, by Mr. Salisbury, was published,* in
which an account of structure is given, in no important particular
different from that of Trew and Schkuhr, with whose observations he
appears to have been unacquainted.
(*Footnote. Linnean Society Transactions 8 page 308.)
M. Mirbel, in 1809,* held the same opinion, both with respect to Pinus
and to the whole natural family. But in 1812, in conjunction with M.
Schoubert,** he proposed a very different view of the structure of
Cycadeae and Coniferae, stating, that in their female flowers there is
not only a minute cohering perianthium present, but an external
additional envelope, to which he has given the name of cupula.
(*Footnote. Ann. du Mus. d'Hist. Nat. tome 15 page 473.)
(**Footnote. Nouv. Bulletin des Sc. tome 3 pages 73, 85 et 121.)
In 1814 I adopted this view, as far, at least, as regards the manner of
impregnation, and stated some facts in support of it.* But on
reconsidering the subject, in connexion with what I had ascertained
respecting the vegetable ovulum, I soon after altogether abandoned this
opinion, without, however, venturing explicitly to state that now
advanced, and which had then suggested itself.**
(*Footnote. Flinders Voyage 2 572.)
(**Footnote. Tuckey Congo page 454 et Linnean Society Transactions volume
13 page 213.)
It is well known that the late M. Richard had prepared a very valuable
memoir on these two families of plants; and he appears, from some
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