foreign countries are very different now from what they were in the days of Linnæus and of the first importation of the Tea-Shrub!
Of the Victoria we have the good fortune to possess flowering specimens, gathered by Sir Robert Schomburgk; and blossoms, both preserved in spirits and dried, collected by Mr. Bridges. These, with coloured drawings executed on the spot by Sir Robert, enable us to present, in the accompanying figures, all the more important analyses necessary to illustrate the genus and species of the plant.
Although to our own country belongs the honour of first fully detailing, in 1837, the particulars relative to this extraordinary Water-Lily, and clearly defining its generic distinctions, yet the earliest mention of it in print, so far as we can find, was in 1832, in a work to which we have not at this moment access, 'Froriep's Notizen', vol. xxxv. p. 9. It is there described as a new species of Euryale, under the name of E. Amazonica; so called by Dr.Poeppig, from the circumstance of that distinguished botanist and traveller having found it in the Amazon River of South America. Afterwards (in 1836) he alludes to it, in the 2nd vol. of his 'Reise in Chile, Peru, &c.' p. 432; but only says, "In the Igaripés, which are branches of the Amazon River, bearing no peculiar appellation, yet worthy to rank, from their size, with rivers of the second magnitude in Europe, grow some aquatic plants, whose almost fabulous dimensions may vie with the celebrated Raffliesia of India; while they excel that wonderful production in beauty of inflorescence." Then, in a note, he specifies the Euryale Amazonica, as belonging to the family of Nymphæaceæ, "whose wonderfully large leaves are deeply channelled below and traversed with veins beset with prickles, their width equalling six feet, while the flower is lovely snow-white externally, and crimson within, and measures from ten to eleven English inches across." "This," he says, "is the most magnificent plant of its tribe, though far from common; I only saw it in one Igaripé, near the confluence of the Teffle river with the Amazons. The flowers appear in December and January. It is called Mururá."
Previously, however, to this period, M. D'Orbigny, in 1828, sent specimens of this gigantic Water-Lily to the Museum of Natural History in Paris. He had gathered them in the Province of Corrientes, in a river tributary to the Rio de la Plata. The evident analogy between the foliage of this plant and that of Euryale, induced the French botanists also to rank it as a species of that genus. The dried flowers and fruit, which M. D'Orbigny
- Guillemin, in 'Ann. des Sciences Naturelles,' v. xiii. p. 51.
- Guillemin, l. c.