« AnteriorContinuar »
Class XVIII. Polyadelphia. Order II. PolyandRIA.
twenty, the filaments united into several parcels. Berry, nine
celled. Spe. Char. Petioles, winged. Leaves, accuminated.
This handsome evergreen rises from six to twelve feet in height, sending off many branches, and covered with a greyish bark; the leaves are nearly eliptical, pointed, smooth, entire, of a shining green color, and stand upon strong winged footstalks; the flowers appear during the whole summer, they are large, white, and rise from the smaller branches upon simple and branched peduncles; the calyx is saucer-shaped, and cut at the brim into five small pointed teeth ; the petals are five, oblong, white, concave, and beset with small glands; the filaments are about twenty, united at the base in three or more distinct portions, and furnished with yellow anthers, placed vertically; the germen is roundish, supporting a cylindrical style, terminated by a globular stigma; the fruit is so well known that it needs no description.
It is scarcely necessary to observe, that the various species of this genus are among the most beautiful, most fragrant, and most useful of fruit trees. The warmer parts of the temperate zone appear to be the fovorite of the orange; but even between the tropics, they come to great perfection, provided the situation is high enough above the sea. Whether the wild lime in the jungles of
India be the original stock from which all the numerous varieties of . the orange have been, in the course of time, derived, is a question admitting of no certain answer. The limes in India, and other places, are exactly alike, and bear the same relation to the orange that the crabs in our native wilds bear to the apple. .
This fruit tre differs from all others, in bearing two crops of fruit at the same time in different stages of their growth toward perfection; that is, the young fruit in the spring does not ripen until late in the autumn of the next year, and it frequently happens that flowers appear before the ripe fruit is gathered. As all the best varieties of the citrus tribe are truly artificial or accidental creations, they cannot be reproduced from their seed. In this respect they are like our garden and orchard fruits; and, therefore must be perpetuated by grafting or budding. The Chinese, who may be called a nation of gardners, possess many varieties of the citrus, and especially some excellent oranges. Their mandarin variety is a very superior fruit, and has the singular property of discharging the rind from the pulp when fully ripe. This kind of orange grows in great abundance, and is purchased at a very low price in the streets of Canton, provided the seller be allowed to strip the fruit, and retain the rinds, of which they make some specific use.
Medical Properties and Uses. The juice of the orange is a grateful acid liquor, which, by allaying heat, quenching thirst, promoting various excretions, and diminishing the action of the sanguiferous system, proves of considerable use in all febrile and inflammatory disorders. It is also a powerful antiseptic, and of great efficacy in preventing and curing the scurvy. The outer yellow rind of the fruit is a grateful aromatic bitter, and is considerably employed by some physicians as a stomachic, a character in which it is deservedly much esteemed. It is however used in connection with other medicines, in preparing the various kinds of stomach bitters.