The Genera of Plants: A Fragment Containing Part of Liriogamae. (1866) p. 119-126
Richard Salisbury

There is so little conformity at present in several Genera to which more species have been added since the death of LINNÉ, that they put one in mind of the verses at the beginning of HORACE'S Poem de Arte Poetica, which by substituting Vegetables for Animals may be parodied as follows.

Haemanthi bulbo, caulem si pictor Ericae
Jungere nunc velit et varias inducere frondes
Undiquo collatis ramis, ut turpiter Ari
Desinat in caudam Crini formosa corolla
Spectatum admissi, risum teneatis amici?

Amaryllis for instance in WILLDENOW'S work forms a Groupe not much less absurd for a single Genus, than the Vegetable Monster above imagined. Plants belonging to two other Classes are not only there confounded, but among those referable to Spathaceae, we find indiscriminately jumbled together Bulbs like a Nut or the decayed Stump of a Post; Leaves constantly growing or disappearing for half the year; Peduncles slender and hollow as a Straw, or having the thickness and solidity of a Footman's Cane; Flowers smelling nauseously, or exhaling the perfumes of Arabia; Petals quite symmetrical or irregular as possible: Seeds black and Winged or whitish lumps resembling young Potatoes. The Order of Amaryllideae, as I limit it, till our days was confined to Amaryllis and Crinum, LINNÉ from an unworthy pique, refusing to acknowledge Brunswigia of HEISTER; but in 1789 by DRYANDER'S persuasion Sir JOSEPH BANKS permitted Cystanthus of the younger LINNÉ to be detached from Crinum in the 1st edition of Hortus Kewensis. Several years elapsed, when Sternbergia of KITAIBEL being established on the Continent, it made the Botanists frequenting the Banksian School look about them; and at last Mr. J. B. KER adopted Brunswigia in the Botanical Magazine for February 1812, at the same time inconsistently joining to its very irregular Flowers those of Crinum Falcatum Jacq.. Two years before this, Mr. R. BROWN in his Prodromus, had called a larger parcel Amaryllideae, excluding nevertheless as I do, every Species the Seeds of which have a black crustaceous coat; but he adds that they are "albuminosa" and what is still more paradoxical, that they have a "Perianthium regulare"; for the floral Envelope is irregular both in LINNÉ'S type of Amaryllis, and every Species that great man joined to it, except Sternbergia, which is excluded by its black crustaceous Seeds to say nothing of its Stipulation. A full detail of Amaryllis and Crinum has since appeared in the Journal of Science by Mr. J. B. KER; and still more lately in the Botanical Magazines for Dec. 1819 and Jan. 1820 the Hon. WILLIAM HERBERT, Rector of Spofforth in Yorkshire has removed three Genera from Amaryllis, and published what he conceives to be their essential characters, to all which separating them however for very different reasons, I had given names in a Paper on their cultivation, which was read at a Meeting of the Horticultural Society in March 1812. With our present knowledge of these splendid Vegetables, I think that they may be divided into two perfectly Natural Orders from the remarkable difference in their Seeds, joined to the tendency of their Corolla to adhere to the Fruit or finally fall off from it; leaving the various forms of their Corolla, different insertion of Filaments, structure of Stigma, peculiarities in their Bulb, and even Leaves, to found the Genera. By this separation, which after repeated attempts to avoid, Nature herself if I may so express myself without presumption, has as often imperiously commanded, about half of the Species hitherto joined to Amaryllis of LINNÉ, will be removed to a separate Order which I call Zephyrantheae, with Strumareae and Haemantheae intervening. Amaryllideae differ from all other Spathaceae, 1st in the Tube and Limb of the Corolla being nearly of an equal thickness at their junction; 2ndly in the base of the Filaments never being attenuated, but often dilated or knobbed there; 3rdly in the Corolla remaining either fresh and undecayed at its base, or entirely withered, upon the Pericarpium, till that is ripe; 4thly and what I deem most essential, in their bulbiform fleshy Seeds, hitherto accompanied with a solid Peduncle; so that when we cannot obtain the former, a tolerably good conjecture of their nature may be formed by the latter. These bulbiform Seeds are often whitish or tinged with pink till exposed to the air, when they gradually assume a green hue, sometimes so dark as to be nearly black, but howsoever dark they may be always known by their thick fleshy coat hitherto in Amaryllideae devoid of Albumen; if only a few in each cell, they are generally large and irregularly shaped, not unlike small Potatoes. In the 923rd number of the Botanical Magazine, Mr. J. B. KER remarks that these "Massae carnosae" are not constantly to be met with in the Species which produce them, saying "est iste mos plerisque plane adventitius;" again in the 1178th number of that work, he asks if they may not be "probably as some others the Genus an accidental and alternate mode of Fructification;" and even so lately as in the 2nd volume of the Journal of Science, he defines the 7th Section of Amaryllis "Bulbisperma constanter? vix?" After a great many enquiries of our nurserymen and gardeners, joined to my own observation during 40 years, I do not hesitate to reply, that all those species which have these bulbiform Seeds, never produce any other sort; neither are they peculiar to Amaryllideae, but occur in the preceding as well as following Orders of Pancrateae and Strumareae; here however they begin and terminate for aught I know to the contrary, nor have I yet seen them in Cepæeæ. With respect to their structure, many which I first dissected in 1790 at different periods of their growth from the distinct vessels near their margin left no doubt in my mind, that the great Mass consisted of a thick fleshy coat; and though these vessels had escaped one of our most learned Carpologists, Mr. R. BROWN, when he published his Prodromus in 1810, he now owns in the 12th volume of Linnéan Transactions that he has found them. His words in the former work are, "Semina bulbiformia Crini, Amaryllidis, Calostemmatis, constant substantia oryanica carnosa, ad ambitum saepe virescenti, e textura cellulosa absque vasis spiralibus conflata, et utpote organica atque intussusceptione crescenti vix Albumen denominanda." In the latter work, after to my amazement giving me credit for an observation which I never made "that in some species the Seed separates from the Plant, and even from the Pericarpium before the embryo becomes visible," he adds "I have in another place, Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl. p. 297, speaking of this substance, which constitutes the mass of the Seed, and in a central cavity of which the future Embryo is formed, stated it to be destitute of vessels, and entirely composed of cellular texture; but on a more careful inspection of those Seeds at least in which the separation precedes the visible formation of the Embryo, I now find very distinct spiral vessels; these enter at the umbilicus, ramify in a regular manner in the substance of the fleshy Mass, and appear to have a certain relation to the central cavity where the Embryo is afterwards formed, and which filled with a glairyfluid is distinctly visible before the separation of the Seed. It is a curious consequence of this tardy evolution of the Embryo, which in some cases does not become visible unless the Seed be Placed in a situation favourable to germination, that very different directions may be given to its radicular extremity, according to circumstances which we have it in our power to regulate." Of all this wonderful statement, no part appears to me correct, except that spiral Vessels enter at the Hilum; but they are chiefly distributed along the margin of the fleshy Mass, the cavity in which is somewhat unilateral, not central as Mr. R. BROWN imagines; and till he moves "Birnum Wood to Dunsinane" he will never persuade me that we can give "very different directions to the radicular extremity of the Embryo." Many observations, lately repeated out of deference to his authority, convince me that these bulbiform Seeds, so far from being detached before their Embryo becomes visible, adhere to the dissepiments of the Pericarpium till it is not only formed, but very often sprouts. In Palinetes this is especially the case; and in the 63rd number of Paradisus Londinonsis published March 1807, I have said under Carpolyza, "Semina diu adhaerentia," they having continued upon the dissepiments in my Plant, perhaps owing to the coldness of our climate from December to March. Any which fall off without an Embryo, so far from acquiring one subsequently, soon decay; and the only fact which I communicated to Mr. R. BROWN respecting these bulbiform Seeds was, that if we fecundate the Stigma at a proper period, they would often ripen, like the black, crustaceous ones of Zephyrantheae mentioned by Gaetner, though their Peduncle was cut off from the bulb when in blossom. The radicular extremity of their Embryo I do not hesitate to say is invariably directed towards the Micropyle, but when the Seed swells to a large size, this is removed by the dilatation of the Hilum to a considerable distance from the nourishing duct, being placed at the opposite end of the Hilum as in Leguminosae; and by the time many of these Seeds are ripe, all traces both of Micropyle and Hilum except the cicatrix of the nourishing ducts nearly vanish; the original disc of the Hilum is however often concave. After the Radicle comes out of the fleshy coat at the Micropyle, the facility with which it forces a passage through other substances is astonishing, rarely turning out of its way, but piercing an adjacent Seed of the opposite cell in those Capsules which do not split, or the membranous coat of the Capsule itself, apparently with as much ease as the lightest earth, and often in a direction contrary to gravitation. Any Botanist desirous of seeing this, needs only to tie a piece of Muslin round the Capsule of Amaryllis longifolia L. a little before it is ripe, and by placing that afterwards in any moist part of the Stove, he will soon find the Seeds sewed together by their Radicles, as completely as by a piece of String, see Tab. fig. Before the Plumula or first Leaf is evolved an incipient Bulb forms at its base the outer coat of that being part of the Cotyledon, to which physical law I know no exception, though the Deity has probably ordained, that no physical law shall be universal, having in Cyamus afforded us an instance of the Embryo germinating without pushing out its seminal Radicle. The 1st Section of Amaryllideae is distinguished by the Leaves, which continue vegetating during the whole year; and here, treading in the very last steps of Dryander I only refer to Crinum those species which have large lingulated Leaves; Tube of Corolla straight when fully expanded, not curved, scarcely wider at the top, continuing fresh and juicy like the Pericarpium often nearly as high as the Limb till the Seeds ripen in most Species, if not all; Limb salver-shaped, with recurved strap-shaped Segments generally equal in breadth; Filaments in a single series at the very margin of the Tube, not decurrent but more or less knobbed at their base, often slightly irregular by being approximated towards the lower aide; and the Style always slightly reclinated. Formerly in Paradisus Londinensis I combined all the perennial-leaved Species of the Order under Crinum, but DRYANDER convinced me that it would be much better to exclude those of Sierra Leone as well as the Cape of Good Hope, and the Genus as he defined it in the 2nd edition of Hortus Kewensis is sufficiently numerous, containing at least a dozen Species. Taenais is so named from the disposition of its Corolla to be striped with red Bands, and contains those false Crinums as DRYANDER used to call them, which have more delicate Leaves often attenuated towards the top; a long Tube somewhat curved, cylindrical nearly to the very top, continuing fresh and juicy as in Crinum; Limb more or less irregular and bellied on the lower side; Filaments inserted at the top of the Tube in one series, and not decurrent. Crinum Yuccæflorum P. L. is my type of this Genus, and another figure of it by the Hon. Mr. HERBERT has been published by Dr. SIMS, so faulty with respect to its Leaves, that they rather resemble those of some Eryngiums. I am not sure if any Species in Asia belongs to Taenais, but all those we have received from Sierra Leone and the Guinea Coast do; and one of them, Crinum Giganteum of the Botanist's Repository was ridiculously so-called, owing to the blunder of a Scotch Gardener, as it is by no means a very large Plant; but a little before it was first figured by Thompson in 1798, 1 had proposed the name of Gigas for a true Crinum in the Marchioness of ROCKINGHAM'S collection; just sent to her from Port Jackson, the Pedunculatum of Mr. R. BROWN, which is really gigantic in size; and this Scotch gardener happening to be present in the Stove at its christening, when he returned to LEE and KENNEDY'S, mistook one of the Sierra Leone Plants given to them by the Marchioness, for a young sucker of that from Port Jackson, and told them it was so called, transforming by his Northern pronounciation Gigas into Jagus, in which latter way the name is printed in the work above mentioned; afterwards when the figure of the Botanist's Repository came out, Mr. KENNEDY changed Jagus into Giganteum. Amaryllis Ornata L. Fil. is a species of Taenais very distinct from all those introduced by Afzelius, or Francesco Borone, and I fear now lost here, for I have not seen it, since I left Chapel Allerton; my Bulb was given to me by the Marchioness of ROCKINGHAM, being an offset from the identical plant described by the younger LINNÉ, and though it continued healthy, flowering annually till I left that place, I never could got a Seed from it or more than 2 Offsets in all that period; this Species grows wild near Cape Corso erroneously called Cape Coast by our English sailors, and may be known 1st by its size, equal to Mr. KENNEDY'S Giganteum, the Leaves of a pale yellowish green, tender in substance, not much undulated, only a little crenulated towards their base, with nerves fine and prominent on both surfaces; 2ndly, its flowers have a disagreeably sweetish smell, are of short duration, in my plant being constantly 4 or 6 in number, half of which expanded one day, the other half the next; 3rdly, the inside of its Tube has 6 little hollows between the bases of the Filaments, and the Limb is much more ventricose on the lower side; 4thly, the points of its Petals decay at a very early period, while cohering in the Flowerbud some days before they separate. EHRET'S figure quoted by LINNÉ very carelessly in Syst. Nat. ed. 10. for Amaryllis Longifolia, and afterwards in Syst. Veg. ed. 12. for Crinum Zeylanicum is more like Ornata L. Fil. than any other, and I believe to have been delineated from it, though Coloured with too bright tints, which was EHRET'S only fault. No less than four different Plants have at one time or other been confounded by LINNÉ, under his Crinum Zeylanicum: the 1st above described, which his son saw when he was here in the Marquis of ROCKINGHAM'S Collection at Wimbledon, and separated by that name: the 2nd is Tolabo (not Tolabo minor) of the Cingalese, figured in COMMELIN'S Hort. Amst. v. 1. t. 73. What Genus this belongs to I cannot say, it never having been introduced here to my knowledge, though it may be among those lately sent by Dr. WALLICK; its Leaves, which I only know from a specimen in the Banksian Herbarium sent from Amsterdam, and from another gathered by Dr. RICHARDSON in the Same Garden, somewhat resemble those of Aletris Uvaria L. being gradually attenuated and finely crenulated with very close equal teeth, like a Horse's Curry-comb: the 3rd LINNÉ took up soley from a drawing now in the Banksian Library, made by HERMAN himself, a reduced figure of which is given in that famous Botanist's Hort. Lugdb. p. 682. and this is no doubt a true Crinum, the Toxicarium of ROXBURGH and RUMPF, which ancient name ought surely to be retained: the 4th is Belatta Pola Taly of RHEDE, and likewise a true Crinum, Asiaticum of Roxburgh; nor can I follow Mr. J. B. KER either in changing this to Detitum. My next Genus, Erigone is I believe confined to the Cape of Good Hope, where it grows in moist grounds and by the side of Rivers; the Tube of its Corolla is a little curved and often very long, as well as slightly widened towards tile top; Limb nearly regular, but its upper Segments a little more recurved, and the inner ones broader; Filaments inserted in two very close series, and a little decurrent in which they differ from those of Taenais; the Leaves of every Species are very long, and so finely attenuated as to dangle on the ground in all directions, soon decaying at the top. In the 2nd Section of Amaryllideae, distinguished by Leaves which disappear as soon as the boats of Summer commence, Palinetes contains two Species known immediately by their glaucous falcated crenulated Leaves; these all wither down to the Bulb at their appointed season; but the inner ones, the points of which were perfect and entire, shoot out again the following autumn, with a truncated end, then becoming outer Loaves, and decaying entirely, to their base the succeeding Summer, which curious oeconomy has suggested my name. Boophone is so called, because its Leaves are dreadfully poisonous to the Oxen and Cows of the Farmers in the districts where it grows; and unfortunately those Animals do not avoid them by instinct; they are glaucous and bifarious, forming a Fan at the top of a long Bulb which stands half way out of the Ground, like a Leek; its Petals coalesce into a pretty long slender Tube, beyond which they roll back and are hardly irregular, with diverging Filaments; I have never found more than 1 Seed in each Cell of a great many specimens examined before foecundation, and most liberally conceded for that purpose, by Burchell. Crossyne has 4 or 6 bifarious Leaves, tongue-shaped, and edged with a broad scarious Membrane a little plaited, as well as cut into finely attenuated Segments intermixed with Hairs; and it is singular that these Segments are often in different directions even on the same Leaf, some looking towards its top, others towards its base; this fringed Membrane in some Bulbs is of a pale ferrugineous cast, but in others dark chestnut colour with finer Hairs, and as their Leaves are not quite of the same shape, they may possibly be distinct Species; its Flowers are very similar to those of Boophone, and have diverging Filaments, but their tube is so short I dare not join them as Congeners: LINNÉ'S son in the Supplementum says that this Plant is his father's Haemanthus Ciliaris, determined in the 2nd edition of his Species Plantarum, from a Leaf pasted on the same paper with Flowers of Haemanthus in Oldenland's herbarium; but I suspect that to be my Diacles Ciliaris, described by the name of Haemanthus Afriranus sive Tulipa Africanaflore albo, in BURMAN'S Catalogue of Plants which Oldenland and Hartog collected; a point which may probably now be ascertained at Paris, as that Herbarium is in Mons. DELESSERT'S possession. Amaryllis was established by LINNÉ, as appears in Hortus Cliffortianus from Bolladinum [Belladonnum] of the Italians, and I cannot agree with the Hon. WM. HERBERT to change his name; the Leaves decay here soon after Midsummer, those of the next year not appearing till Spring in our cold climate, long after it has blossomed in September; the Petals coalesce into a short obpyramidal Tube, above which they diverge into a Funnel and are nearly regular, with reclinated Filaments and Style. Brunswigia was very justly established by HEISTER, one if not two more Species being now discovered, which agree with his type minutely in their Flowers; but Mr. J. B. KER, by referring every Species of the Order to Brunswigia, which has an obpyramidal Capsule on a long Pedicel, in my opinion totally mistakes its essential character; this I hold to consist in the peculiar irregularity of its floral Envelope, swelling out boldly in front at the base, but gracefully recurved towards the top; and its strict conformity in the 3 Species hitherto known, if two really exist with lorate Leaves, will unquestionably keep them separate under that illustrious name from all other Amaryllideae; the Capsule of that called Josephinae by Redouté has rounded lobes, not at all comprest, and many Seeds in each cell, exactly like green Peas, in one of which I found 2 Embryos. In Loxanthes, the Petals coalesce into a very short obpyramidal Tube without any coronary process, beyond which 5 or sometimes all 6 are curved towards the upper side; while the Filaments are closely approximated round the Style in a contrary direction; both the Leaves and Capsules of this Genus differ as remarkably as in Brunswigia, and its Seeds likewise occasionally contain 2 Embryos. Orexis approaches so closely to Loxanthes, that its Tube projecting into a winding Ring behind the Filaments, joined to their extreme length and divergence, chiefly separate it; but the Leaves, as well as those of the next Genus Lycoris, continue growing later in Summer, and not having seen ripe Seeds of these two Chinese Plants, in guessing that they are bulbiform and without Albumen, I trust solely to their solid Peduncle. Lycoris has been detached by the Hon. WM. HERBERT, and I gladly adopt his name, instead of one in my paper read at the Horticultural Society's meeting of March 1812; neither is it a jot more fanciful than Andromeda of LINNÉ, but every way worthy of Helga's bard, for

                                    Botanicis "atque Poetis
"Quidlibet audendi semper fuit aequa potestas
"Hoc opus, hoc studium, parvi properemus et ampli."

The whole Flower serves to remind us of the grinning jaws of a Wolf, and his description of its Stigma, as that usually coheres in our climate, does him credit; but the more essential character of its 6 retuse Lobes, which form a coronary process behind the Filaments, as in the greater part of Zephyrantheae has escaped him. The next Genus, Imhofia of HEISTER is characterized by Petals very much rolled back, and only united for a very short space at the bottom by their discs; with very long Filaments and Style approximated into a bundle like the Roman Fasces, either erect or a very little reclined towards the lower side: it is so called after a noble Brunswicker, who was a patron of Botany, and procured many Bulbs for the Helmstadt garden, from Governor Tulbagh: it has also lately been separated under two other names, Galatea and Nerine, by the Hon. WM. HERBERT; the first of these, which in the Horticultural Transactions of 1812, I had applied to a Genus of Ensatae, being ignorant like him that it was already occupied by a Vermis, he has himself given up; in the second, he no doubt alludes to the Shipwreck, by which the Bulbs of the Japan species are said to have been cast away on the sandy shores of Guernsey; whether that be true or not however, all the Species of Imhofia so far from liking Saltwater, thrive much better on the shelf of a dry Stove, roasting during the months they are without Leaves, as in their own native arid Hills; by such treatment, with no other care than a plentiful supply of water when their Leaves were vegetating, and repotting them into fresh light loam without cutting off their fibres, every other year, out of half a dozen Bulbs of the Guernsey Lily in my collection at Chapel Allerton, three or four never failed to blossom annually quite as boldly and vigorously as those imported. The Hon. WM. HERBERT doubts if this Species be indigenous in Japan; but besides THUNBERG and KAEMPFER who both say it is, and that the inhabitants regard the Bulb as poisonous, CORNUTUS had told us that one brought from thence, flowered in Morin's garden at Paris, during October 1634; and this geographical anomaly, if it can be so called, is lessened not only by the two preceding Genera, which grow wild in China, but by some in other Orders, common to Japan and the eastern side of the Cape of Good Hope; for instance Podocarpus, Sophora Japonica, and Pittosporum Tobira. Periphanes has Petals only united by their discs into a short Tube shaped like the nave of a Wheel, as in Imhofia; but its Filaments are short, recurved, quite regular, inserted in a single series a little confluent at their base; and its revolute Stigmata are far longer than in any other Genus of Amaryllideae. Lastly, Carpolyza of Paradisus Londinensis, after being tossed about in Haemanthus, Crinum, and Amaryllis is joined to Strumaria by Mr. J. B. KER, notwithstanding its perigynous Filaments; but exclusive of that important character, its Petals are not detached at their margins down to the Pericarpium, as in Periphanes, Imhofia, or Amaryllis; and the segments of its Stigma are emarginated; its Foliage however helps to make it the connecting link of the two Orders, and it differs essentially from Periphanes in its Filaments inserted in two series.