Open main menu

Page:Illustrations of Indian Botany, Vol. 1.djvu/98

This page needs to be proofread.

38 ILLUSTRATIONS OF INDIAN BOTANY.

Louriro which seemed to have been very imperfectly known, previous to the publication of our Prodromus, is now referred here, but not, it would appear, without leaving some grounds to doubt the correctness of this determination, since Dr. Lindley has placed it doubtfully at the end of the list of genera belonging to the order, which appears the more remarkable, as Dr. Wallich referred every one of our species to the genus Flacourtia, from which however it is well distinguished by its hermaphrodite flowers, and the curious prolongation of the connectivum beyond the cells of the anther. The genus Oncoba, an African genus which seems very closely allied to Phoberos in a number of particulars, has been, by Dr. Lindley, placed among the Bixinece, whence I infer it is the near affinity existing between these two genera, that has induced him to view Phoberos as a doubtful member of this order. Of the genus Roumia, Col. Walker has found a species in Ceylon, which however I refrain from designating as I have considerable doubts of the stability of the genus, and have not at present the means of clearing them up. Of the genus Phoberos Ceylon produces one or two species, and at Courtallem, I met with one which attains the size of a pretty large tree. I am still uncertain whether to consider this one as dis- tinct from R. Wightianus, a Neilgherry plant, as the difference of station may perhaps have caused the difference in appearance existing between them.

EXPLANATION OF PLATE 16.

1. Flowering branch of Hydnocarpus inebrians female — natural size. 2. Male flower, showing sepals, petals, scales and stamens. 3. 4, 5. Petal, scale, and stamen detached. 6. Female or fertile flower, showing the sepals, sta- mens, ovary and stigma. The stamens in this figure are placed alternate, in place of opposite the sepals, which is an error of the draughtsman overlooked at the time of making the drawing. 7, 8. Petal and scale detached. 9. Stamen of the female flower, the anthers are empty of Pollen. 10. Ovary cut transversely, showing in that in- stance three placentae, they vary in number, and I have seen as many as 6 in one ovary, they correspond with the number of lobes of the stigma. 11. A small but full grown fruit, cut transversely to show the seeds which are surrounded with thin viscid pulp. 12. Seed cut transversely. 13. A seed which had begun to vegetate, showing the young radicle. 14. Embryo removed, showing the foliacious coty- ledons and radicle.


XV-BIXINEAE.

A small order, of tropical plants, consisting of trees and shrubs, with alternate, simple, entire, petioled, leaves ; often with pellucid dots : deciduous stipules : and axillary, solitary, or congested, hermaphrodite flowers. Calyx, 4 to 7-sepaled, Petals 5 hypogynous. Stamens inde- finite, distinct; anthers 2-celled, opening by pores at the apex, inserted on a diskoid torus. Ovary superior, sessile, 1 -celled, with the ovules attached to, from 2 to 7 parietal placentae, surmounted by a single 2 to 4-cleft style. The fruit is either capsular or baccate, containing numerous seeds, enveloped in pulp, which in Bixa is farinaceous and coloured. The seeds are albuminous ; the albumen either fleshy or very thin, enclosing the straight or curved embryo : cotyledons leafy, radicle pointing to the hilum.

Affinities. The extent and affinities of this order seem as yet imperfectly known; Botanists being much divided in opinion both as to the genera that ought to be referred to it, ana as to whether it ought to be retained as a distinct order. Kunth first established the order, and has been followed by DeCandolle, Lindley, and others. Don, proposes to adopt the name Prokeacece for it, and remove Bixa and one or two others from it to be formed, as I understand, into a distinct order. Richard in the Flora Senegambise, proposes the junction of Bixinece and Flacoitrtianece, Lindley still keeps them distinct, but remarks of Oncoba, the genus which led to M. Richards remark, " that it connects the order with Flacourtianece , and seems equally allied to both, it also joins both that, and this present order to Passiflorece by the genus Smeathmannia, with which it accords in habit." Mr. Don's proposal seems so far just, as the genus Bixa wants the pellucid dots in the leaves, which form an important item in the cha- racter of the order; so much so indeed, that it has been remarked of them, that they are so " re-