« PreviousContinue »
ences are made, at the foot of each article, to every plant of the same genus, or family, which may be described in the progress of the work, as well as to the page and the plate of every authority that may be quoted.
The popular mode of alphabetical arrangement, under familiar names, has been adopted, as the most agreeable to readers in general; but, for the benefit of the more scientific, a classical table will be given, at the conclusion of the work, according to the Linnean system, which has been strictly adhered to, with references to the page in which each plaut is described. Systematic forms certainly yield great advantages to the professional student, but they only tend to confuse and cinbarrass the general reader, though it was as easy, perhaps more so, to have thrown the whole under a classical rather than an alphabetical arrangement. It is very difficult, in a work of this nature, to steer a course that will please all. The few learned, who may be judges of the science, will find fault with the least deviation from system; others will be inclined to condemn the work, because too much of it is occupied by scientific and, to them, unintelligible terms. In attempting to please both, it may so happen that neither will be satisfied, and it is probable that a strictly popular form was the most likely to succeed. Be this as it may, an attempt has been made to unite both objects..
Aware of the great difficulty of such an undertaking, so general in its plan, so uncertain in many of its minutiæ, the compiler feels, that, with all the attention in his power, mistakes will be committed; he, nevertheless, trusts to the liberality of the public for indulgence, to the better informed for correction: and let it be remembered, that
his main object is to rouse attention to so interesting a subject, and thereby create a spirit of enquiry, To attain this purpose, no mode of publication can be better calculated than that of distinct numbers at distant intervals; and, to afford every opportunity of communication, either for improvement or correction, the articles to be contained in each succeeding number, with occasional queries, will be enu merated on the cover of the one previously published.
Should the attempt, thus ushered before the public, be well supported, it is not easy to anticipate the beneficial consequences that may arise therefrom; and it is presumed that no one will be so selfish as to conceal from his fellow-creatures any useful information, concerning the plants of this island, while so ready a channel is open for its conveyance. No object can be more laudable than that of contributing towards the improvement of the human understanding, or of extending the common stock of useful knowledge, and thereby increasing the general comforts of mankind.
Of all the branches of science none is of more importance or of more universal utility, none more pleasing to the student, than botany,* and none where the materials of study are so easily procured;
Mr. Smith, the president of the Linnean Society, very justly observes, in his Introduction to Botany, that to medical gentlemen a knowledge of that science is indispensably necessary, and should form an essential part of their education. The following relation, extracted from Curtis Lectures on Botany, evinces the necessity, and cannot be too generally known; it was communicated to Mr. Curtis, by Mr. Lowe, surgeon at Preston, in the tollowing words:
"On Thursday the 5th of June Mr. Freckletou, a healthy strong man, about thirty-five years of age, a publican in the town, eat a handful of fools parsley, with nearly the same quantity of young lettuce, about one o'clock at noon; in about ten minutes he was affected with a pain and hardness in bis stomach and bowels, attended with a rumbling. He walked out into the fields,
for the delightful verdure of the fields is continually before our eyes, continually inviting the researches of the curious naturalist,—
Who, when young Spring protrudes the bursting gems,
There is not a planter in the island but has some leisure time to cultivate this agreeable study; and his very hours of business will afford
but was seized with such languor, weariness, and weakness, that it was with difficulty he supported himself till he got home; he was much troubled with giddiness in his hea, his vision was confused, and sometimes objects appeared double: at seven o'clock he took an emetic, wichbrought up, as he supposes, all the fools parsley he had eaten, but not any of the lettuce; it is considerably relieved him from the uneasy sensations in his-bowels, but the other symptoms con-tinued, and he passed a restless night. Next day he had much pain in his head and eyes, which last were inflamed and bloodshot: he had different circumscribed swellings in his face which were painful and inflamed, but they were transient, and flow from place to place; this might he took a powder which made him sweat profusely. On Saturday his eyes were highly inflamed, pamul, and entirely dozed by the surrounding inflammation; this day he was bled, which gave him much ease in his head and eyes. From this time until Monday he continued to get better; but had,. even then, pain, heat, and inflammation in his eyes, with œdematous swellings of his checks; his remaining symptoms went off gradually, and he is now well. He had been told that the plan, he had eaten was hemlock; to be satisfied I accompanied him into the garden where he had gathered "the plant, and found it to be æthusa cynapium, or fools parsley. To be convinced of this beyond a doubt, I compared a specimen of it with the figure and description of the plant in the Flora Londinensis, with which I found it exactly to correspond."
"Independent of the singular satisfaction (continues Mr. Smith) which Mr. Lowe must feel from knowing the plant in question, an advantage has arisen to the public; the poisonous quality of the fools parsley is ascertained, which before was only suspected. Time, and a taste for science, which of late years have made such rapid avances, and such material improvements in every branch of medicine; which has introduced a rational practice, founded on an intimate knowleɖgos of the animal economy, and an accurate history of diseases; which has rescued surgery from thehands of pretenders, and taught mankind to repose a confidence in those only who have laudably exerted themselves in acquiring anatomical knowledge; which has redeemed chemistry from empirics, and made it subservient to the practice of phy-ic; will, it is presumed, in a few years, place botany in a more favourable point of view, and cause its utility to be more generally ac knowledged."
him the means of improving his knowledge. To those whose occupations confine them to town, the pleasures of a ride or a walk will be much enhanced by some acquaintance with the surrounding objects:-besides the general landscape, their minds would be amused by the indescribable beauties of nature in her minutest recesses, and by studying how to reap the fruits of the wonderful vegetable treasures which the bounteous hand of the Almighty has so abundantly scattered around. Should so laudable a spirit of enquiry be aroused, the compiler will rejoice in having undertaken the humble office of pioneer to Jamaica botany, and hope to see, at no distant period, a superstructure raised, on the materials he has selected, that will be a lasting memorial of the good taste and discrimination of this community,
ACACIA or ACACEE,-see CASHAW.
No English Name.
CLASS 21, ORDER 9-Monecia monodelphia.
THE generic name of this plant is derived from a Greek word, which signifies 'not pleasant to handle.'
GENERIC CHARACTERS.-Male calyx three or four leaved; no corolla; stamina eight to sixteen: Female calyx, three leaved; no corolla; styles three; capsules threegrained and three-celled; seeds solitary. There are fourteen species, seven of which are known to be natives of Jamaica, viz.
Urtica minor iners spicata folio subrotundo serrato fructu tricocco,
Spikes terminating erect, flowers mixed, females lower; involucres cordateserrate; males leafless; leaves ovate-serrate; stem creeping.
This plant is described by Sloane as having a large brown root, sending out small stems along the surface of the earth; the leaves small, without order, with short footstalks, round, smooth, and serrated. The flowers come out in spikes terminal erect, and are purple intermixed with white ones, succeeded by capsules, which become red and rough on the outside. In each of these are three roundish seeds, every one covered with a membrane.
Iuntilior, foliis cordato crenatis, spicis mixtis, alaribus et terminali bus. Browne. p. 346, t. 36, f. 1.
Female involucres heart-shaped gashed; leaves ovate-lanceolate, longer than the petiole.
This is a small twiggy shrub, seldom exceeding four or five feet in height, the eaves and flowers are much like those of pellitory of the wall.