By the contemplation of such beautiful, though almost imperceptibly minute, arrangements of the Divine Artist, we are more surely led to form a just estimate of His infinite power, wisdom, and foresight, than even by the contemplation of the boundless vault of heaven, illuminated with the light reflected from its thousands of stars; because in the one case, the immeasurable distance and magnitude of the objects viewed, are too great for the limited powers of the human mind properly to comprehend them, and is but too apt to lead man into the error of under-estimating his own importance in the eye of his Creator. The apparent insignificance of the other is calculated to produce the very opposite effect, while it is equally suited to display the Creator's unerring wisdom and power, by teaching him, that the same power, that filled the universe with thousands of worlds, and made and endowed him with a reflecting mind, equally made the humble fumatory, and so nicely adjusted the arrangement of its minute organs, as to prevent the loss of even a grain of pollen, thus certainly ensuring its due fecundation, and with that, the equally certain preservation of the species. If then, so much care is bestowed on the formation and preservation of the most minute objects of the creation, how much more, have we not a right to infer, is appropriated to the preservation of the Being, formed in his own likeness, gifted with reason, and endowed with an immortal soul?
Geographical Distribution. The Famariacecs are scarcely known within the tropics : their principal range is in the temperate latitudes of the northern hemisphere, several are found on the Himalayas, and among them some of the handsomest of the order. Two are found at the Cape of Good Hope.
Properties and Uses. Some of these plants are prized in more genial climes, as ornaments of the garden, but are generally too tender for this country. Bitter and tonic properties are those which predominate in the order. Dr. Ainslie informs us that the Hukims consider the species here figured, which he calls F. officinalis, diuretic, and useful in maniacal cases. A decoction of the recent plant is used in Europe in scorbutic affections, and chronic eruptions, and is considered in some countries very efficacious, in restoring the tone of the stomach during convalescence from fever.
EXPLANATION OF PLATE 11.*
A. 1. Plant of Fumaria parviflora. 2. Detached flower—natural size. 3. The same much magnified. 4. The same opened, showing the petals, stamens ovary, style, and stigma. 5. Stamens detached. 6. Ovary, style, and stigma, detached. 7. The ovary cut vertically, showing the ovule, with its lateral attachment—alt much magnified. 8. Young fruit—natural size. 9. The same—magnified.
B. Flower of a species Corydalis, similarly analyzed — I. Flower natural size. 2. The same magnified. 3. Opened to show the different parts. 4. Stamens. 5. Pollen. 6. Ovary, style, and stigma. 7. Ovary cut longitudinally.
C. 1. Flower of a species of Dielytra— natural size. 2. Magnified. 3. Partially opened. 4. Stamens and ovary detached from the corolla. 5. The same, one half the stamens removed. 6. Ovary cut transversely. 7. A portion of the ovary opened longitudinally, showing the situation of the ovules.
Observations.—These drawings having all been made from dried specimens, may not, when compared with recent ones be found quite correct, nor so full and explanatory as might be wished; the minute- ness of the parts, and the delicacy of the structure of the flowers of this order, rendering their examination from preserved specimens extremely difficult.
The large assemblage of plants ranged under this order, forming one of the most natural families of the vegetable kingdom, have but few representatives within the tropics : scarcely 20 indigenous species, out of upwards of 1000 belonging to the order, being found within the tropical regions of India ; and even these, being principally confined to alpine districts. The plants composing this order are for the most part herbaceous, rarely suffruticose, with watery- juices; and round, or irregularly angled, stems. The leaves are simple and entire, or variously divided, rarely truly compound. The flowers hermaphrodite, regular, racemose, or rarely Solitary and axillary.