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Capsule, the val
I most bencil Bower on which
Class VI. HEXANDRIA. Order I. MONOGYNIA.
nal nectarious line. Capsule, the valves connected by cancel
lated hair. Spe. Char. Leaves, from three to five, fleshy, smooth and pointed.
The root is a large bulb, from which proceed several succulent fibres; the stem is firm, round, upright, simple, and rises from three to four feet in height; the leaves are long, narrow, pointed, fleshy, smooth, without footstalks, and placed at the base of the stem; the flower is large, of a deep red, and terminates the stem ; it has no calyx ; the corolla is bell shaped, consisting of six petals, which are of a beautiful, shining, scarlet red color, but without, ridged, and of a less luminous appearance; the filaments are six, tapering, much shorter than the corolla, upon which are placed large orange-colored anthers; the style is longer than the filaments, and furnished with a fleshy triangular stigma; the germen becomes an oblong capsule, marked with six furrows, and divided into three cells, which contain numerous flatish, semicircular-form seeds, It flowers in June and July.
This species of tulip is a native of Persia, and was once considered the dearest and most beautiful flower on which the sun ever shone. From Persia it was introduced into Holland, about the middle of the seventeenth century, and such was the mania for particular sorts in that country, that a single bulb was sold for
twenty thousand dollars. By this floral gambling it is said that the city of Harlem derived more than ten million pounds sterling, in less than three years. The flowers were varigated by placing the bulbs in a peculiar soil, although it is probable that this art was confined to a few. It is now cultivated in France and some parts of England; but it is not known in this country. The flowers have a very sweet, pleasant, odor, and were formerly used for medicinal purposes ; a watery distillation of them was employed as a cosmetic, and the oil was supposed to possess anodyne and nervine powers; but the odorous matter of the flowers is of a very volatile kind, being totally dissipated by drying, and entirely carried off in evaporation by rectified spirit as well as water; and though both menstrums become impregnated with their agreeable odor by infusion or distillation, yet no essential oil could be obtained from several pounds of the flowers. It is therefore the roots only which are now directed for use by the Edinburgh college: they are extremely mucilaginous, and are chiefly used, boiled in milk or water, in emollient and suppurating cataplasms. Dr. Alston thinks that the roots are of the nature, and possess nearly the properties of squills. Godorus, sergeant-surgeon to Queen Elizabeth, it is said, cured large numbers of dropsical people, by giving them bread in which the tulip roots were baked. I have myself administered the tulip root in many cases of chronic inflammation of the bowels, and found it highly serviceable; also in inflammation of the kidneys and bladder, and many other diseases, where a diuretic was required, I have found it equally valuable. It possesses astringent, diuretic, and diaphoretic properties. It was employed at one time, in Holland, to a great extent as a remedy for dysenteria and long standing weaknesses of the bowels, but at the present time is but little known in practice, as many articles much easier obtained will answer the same purpose.