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A specimen of the botany of New Holland/Embothrium speciosissimum

Embothrium speciosissimum (Sowerby).jpg

EMBOTHRIUM speciosissimum.

Great Embothrium, or Waratah.



Gen. Char. Cor. tetrapetala. Stamina limbo inserta. Folliculus polyspermus. Semina alata.

Cor. of 4 petals. Stamina inserted into the limb. Follicle containing many winged seeds.

Spec. Char. E. foliis obovatis obtusis inæquiliter serratis, spicâ subcapitatâ, involucro polyphyllo.

Leaves obovate, obtuse, unequally serrated. Spike somewhat capitate. Involucrum of many leaves.

THE most magnificent plant which the prolific soil of New Holland affords is, by common consent both by Europeans and Natives, the Waratah. It is moreover a favourite with the latter, upon account of a rich honeyed juice which they sip from the flowers. Our figure was taken from a coloured drawing made from the wild plant, compared with very fine dried specimens sent by Mr. White. Only one garden in Europe, we believe, can boast the possession of this rarity, that of the Dowager Lady de Clifford, at Nyn Hall, near Barnet, who received living plants from Sidney Cove, which have not yet flowered. The seeds brought to this country have never vegetated.

The shrub is 8 or 10 feet in height, with several wandlike simple round branches, covered with a smooth brown bark, and clothed with numerous large alternate leaves, without stipulæ. These leaves are from 4 to 6 or 8 inches, long, obovate, not broad, blunt, but tipped with a small point, smooth and veiny, paler and even glaucous beneath, more or less serrated in their upper part with sharp unequal teeth, entire, and very much attenuated at the base, running down into a short rusty-coloured footstalk. A very dense simple spike or head of flowers, appearing in October, terminates each branch, surrounded at the base with an involucrum of many large lanceolate acute leaves, of a most splendid crimson, downy on their upper side. The flowers are very thickly set around a conical receptacle, each on its own footstalk of half and inch in length. The petals cohere together at their base, except at the back of the flower, where the style separates them early. The antheræ are reniform, slightly pedicellated, sheltered by a concavity in the tip of each petal. Germen pedicellated. Style incurved. Stigma large, obtuse. Fruit a coriaceous follicle, or pouch of one piece, cylindrical, smooth, recurved, splitting longitudinally along its upper edge, and containing many flattened seeds, each furnished with a membranous lanceolate wing.


1. A flower fully expanded.
2,2. Antheræ.
3. Germen.
4. Stigma.
5. Follicle.
6,6. Seeds.

All of their natural size.