Imagens da página

two. W abricated

[ocr errors]

beamed gularite

they were held by the Spets .. .. . . .. the America continent that . .

ihristian traditie wlach they Piscines of the

Thu '. delicius de reshing Hibisersive to the r igious

Ort of the especial gifts of

inliabitants of the wildernes : : : iipiness and comfort. . i represents this beautiful pe

om nature by Virs. C. More .... .. . .y of which can only be







Gen. Char. Petals five. Cotyledons two. Stamens five, inserted

into the calyx. Corolla with an imbricated æstivation, glandular

leaves. Spe. Char. Ovarium seated on a long stalk. Fruit surrounded by

the calyx, one-celled, three-valved. Seeds attached. Flowers terminal.

This beautiful plant is the pride of South America and the West Indies, where the forests are filled with their numerous and splendid varieties, which spread themselves from tree to tree, bearing innumerable quantities of flowers of striking beauty and singularity; indeed such was the estimation in which they were held by the Spaniards, who first discovered and settled the American continent, that they attached to their history many Christian traditions, which they failed not to disseminate among the aborigines of the country. The fruit, which is most tempting in appearance, delicious and refreshing to the palate, was also made an instrument subsersive to their religious zelotry, as it was invariably spoken of as one of the especial gifts of Divine Providence bestowed upon the inhabitants of the wilderness, whereby they might enjoy continued happiness and comfort.

The drawing or the plate which represents this beautiful specimen of the floral tribe, was taken from nature by Mrs. C. Norton of this city, the correctness and accuracy of which can only be sur


passed by nature itself. Professor Lindley, who has given a more particular description of this species of plant than any of our other botanists, describes it as having five sepals, sometimes irregular, combined in a tube of variable length, the sides and throat of which are lined by filamentous or annular processes, apparently metamorphosed petals. Five petals, arising from the throat to the calyx, on the outside of the filamentous processes, occasionally wanting, sometimes irregular, imbricated in æstivation; stamens five, monadelphous, rarely indefinite, surrounding the stalk of the ovarium; anthers turned outwards, linear, two-celled, bursting longitudinally; ovarium seated on a long stalk, superior, one-celled; styles three, arising from the same point, clavate; stigmas dilated; fruit surrounded by the calyx, stalked, one-celled, with three parietal polyspermous placentæ, sometimes three-valved; seeds attached in several rows to the placenta, with a brittle sculptured testa surrounded by a pulpy arillus; embryo straight, in the midst of fleshy thin albumen; radicle turned towards the hilum ; cotyledons flat, leafy; herbaceous plants or shrubs, usually climbing, very seldom arborescent; lcaves alternate, with foliareous stipulæ, often glandular; flowers axillary or terminal, often with threeleaved involucre.

Notwithstanding a tropical climate appears to be the natural home of the Passion Flower, one or two of its species have attached themselves to our own country, as well as some of the southern parts of Europe; several appear to be indigenous to Africa and its neighboring islands, and a few in the East Indies, but the greater part of these belong to the genus Modecia, and the flowers, although they rank among the most beautiful of any country where they are found, are far inferior, both in size and brilliancy of color, to the South American plant we have been describing.

Its medical properties and uses are comparatively unknown, at least it has never been introduced into either American or European practice, perhaps on account of its rarity; consequently this part of its history yet remains for the discovery of science.


« AnteriorContinuar »