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Page:Illustrations of Indian Botany, Vol. 1.djvu/75

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ILLUSTRATIONS OF INDIAN BOTANY.

EXPLANATION OF PLATE 10.

1, 2. Leaf and flower of Nymphoea rubra—natural size.

3. Side view of the stamens.

4. Front view, the stamens laid back to show the stigmas. 5. Stamen detached. 6. Ovary cut vertically, showing the numerous cells, and the ovules, attached to the broad placentary surface, covering the whole surface of the partitions.

Observations.—This plate, though correct so far as size. it goes, does not carry the analysis of the order quite far enough, a dissection of the seed is required to complete it. This defect arose from its being overlooked at the time of making the drawing, several years ago, and my inability to get sufficiently ripe fruit, when preparing the figure for the press.


VIII.—NELUMBIACEAE.

This order is so closely allied in most respects to the former, that a very brief notice, after the very detailed one given of Nymphoeacece will suffice to explain its peculiarities which solely appertain to the fruit. In place of the many-celled and many-seeded cells placed in a circle round the central axis of Nymphoeacece, these, have an excessively enlarged fleshy disk, enclosing in hollows of its substance, the ovaries, which are numerous, separate, monspermous, with a simple style and stigma: the mature nuts are half buried in its substance, from which they finally become loose and separate. They further differ in having exalbuminous seed. The embryo is large, with two fleshy cotyledons, and a highly developed plumule enclosed in its proper membrane. In habit they agree with Nymphoeacece.

In their Affinities, Geographical Distribution, and Properties, these two orders are so intimately united, that to go over these with reference to Nelumbiaceae, would be merely to repeat much that has been already said respecting Nymphoeacece, suffice it therefore to say, that they are distributed widely over the northern hemisphere, Nelumbium speciosum occupying the still waters of the old, while N. luteum occupies those of the new world. In this country and China, both the creeping root-like stems and nuts, are used as food.

The leaf and flower stalks of this plant abound in spiral tubes more loosely combined, and perhaps stronger, than the same vessels in most other vascular plants. These in the southern provinces are extracted with great care by gently breaking the stems, and slowly drawing apart the ends. Long pieces of the spiral filament, composing the tube, are thus uncoiled. With these filaments " are prepared those wicks which on great and solemn religious occasions are burnt in the lamps of the Hindoos placed before the shrines of their gods."—Ainslie. Similar wicks are prepared from the spiral tubes of some of the Nymphoeae but are not thought so sacred.

In sowing the seed of this plant it is customary to enclose them in a ball of clay before throwing them into the water.

EXPLANATION OF PLATE 9.

1, 2. Nelumbium speciosum, (white variety) flower, and part, (little more than one-fourth) of a leaf—natural size.

3. Stamens, and greatly enlarged, fleshy disk, with the ovaries in situ—natural size.

4. Stamens magnified, back and front view.

5. Disk cut vertically, showing the hollows in its Substance, and enclosed ovaries—somewhat magnified.

6. Ovary removed. 7. The same cut vertically, showing the pendulous ovule—both magnified.

8. A mature fruit, the carpels half enclosed, and becoming loose—natural size.

9. A nut. 10,11. The same cut transversely and vertically.

12. Embryo enclosed in its proper sac.

13. The same removed from the sac, and somewhat unfolded—all more or less magnified.


IX.— PAPAVERACEAE.

A small, but very important order of herbaceous, or suffruticose, milky plants; with alternate leaves, and long one-flowered peduncles, but so strictly extra-tropical, that, but for the perfect naturalization among us of Argemone Mexicana, an American member of the order, I should not have been able to have given a representation of the family, taken from a growing specimen.