I strongly suspect not without some exceptions, as we do not in all the instances cited, find it combined with aromatic properties, any more than in Ranunculacece . It is said however, to exist not only in all the Cruciferce, but in all parts of these vegetables, varying only in intensity. To this active, but very volatile principle, of whatever nature it be, they owe their medicinal virtues, which are stimulant and antiscorbutic, but which, requires, them to be used fresh, since it is lost by drying. The seed fortunately retain their properties for a greater length of time, and those of white mustard have been long celebrated for their tonic and stomatic virtues. The Tamul doctors attribute similar virtues to their Aliverie or Saliverie, the Arabis chinensis of Rottler and Ainslie, but which, I have ascertained to be merely the English Garden cress, Lepidium sativum, as may be seen from the accompanying plate, taken from a specimen raised in my garden from bazar seed.
Our cabbages, turnips, radishes, knolkoles, &c. which belong to this family, are all too well known to require notice here; they owe their fitness for food to their acrid properties being diluted by an abundance of mucilage. Several species, such as the rape and mustard, are cultivated in Europe on account of the oil which their seeds contain, but could never be profitably raised in this country for that purpose.
Under this head I shall only further observe, that one of the species here figured, which is not a native, was introduced for the purpose of determining to what genus, the so-called Aliverie actually belonged, and to assign to the proper plant, the merit which is its due. The other figure was made from a native specimen. Two species of the genus Cardamine are found truly native on both the Neilgherries and Pulney mountains, the Capsella (Sheepherd purse) is also found in abundance on the former of these ranges, but I suspect introduced with corn seed.
EXPLANATION OF PLATES 12 and 13.
12.—1. Plant of Lepidium Sativum — natural size. 2. Flower opened, to show the calyx, petals, stamens, and ovary. 3. Portion of a racime, with fruit. 4. Capsule before dehiscence. 5. The same burst, showing the seed in situ. 6. A seed cut transversely, showing the radical incumbent on the three 3-lobed cotyledons. 7. A seed cut longitudinally, showing the situation of the radical and cotyledons. 8 and 9. Different views of the radical and cotyledons removed from the testa, and partially opened out — all more or less magnified. 13.—1. Plant of Nasturtium Madagascariense—natural size. 2. Flower opened to show the different parts. 3. The same, sepals and petals removed. 4. Stamens back and front view. 5. Capsule. 6. The same cut transversely. 7. Placenta? after the valves of the Capsule have separated, showing the position of the seeds. 8. A seed. 9. The same cut transversely, showing the accumbent radical. 10. Embryo removed from the testa, showing the cotyledons and radical — all more or less magnified.
The Capparideae are chiefly a tropical family of herbaceous or fruticose plants, many of the latter climbing extensively, but not twining, having alternate, simple, and stipulate leaves, or compound and ex-stipulate ones, the stipules when present spinous. The flowers are pedicelled, either solitary or racemose, hermaphrodite, or rarely, by abortion, unisexual.
Calyx 4-sepaled, either partially united at the base, and 4-lobed, as in Niebuhria, or altogether free and imbricated in cestivation. The torus often occupies a conspicuous place in this order; sometimes, though rarely, it is even with the bottom of the calyx, more frequently it is free and elongated, together with thecaphore, elevating the ovary far above the calyx, on a filiform stalk or pedicel; or it is lateral, tubular, funnel-shaped, and netariferous, (forming the nectary of authors) bearing the thecaphore at its base : as in Cadaba. Petals 4, alternate with the lobes of the calyx, often with a long claw, as in Cadaba, deciduous. The stamens vary much in number and situation; sometimes there are only 4, as Cadaba; oftener very numerous, sometimes appearing to spring from the middle of the stalk of the ovary, as in Gynandropsis, oftener springing from the bottom of the calyx, and either altogether free, or united for a short distance round the torus. Ovary usually stalked, 1-celled with parietal placentae, style filiform