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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/433

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A ROUND-THE-WORLD BOTANICAL EXCURSION

similar to that conducted by our own Department of Agriculture at Washington.

While Brisbane is a business city, inclined to emphasize the practical side of everything, the fine arts are not entirely ignored. There is a large art gallery, a fine library and museum, and, in the town hall, a splendid organ upon which regular recitals are given, as in Sydney.

Rockhampton, about 400 miles farther north, is situated on the Tropic of Capricorn; its principal newspaper is the Capricornian. Here, too, I at once sought the director of the botanical garden, Mr. Simmons, who continued the same generous hospitality and helpfulness which had made previous work so successful. The cycad collection in the garden was not very extensive, probably because cycads are so abundant in this vicinity that it does not seem worth while to bring them in.

Mr. Simmons took me out in a carriage, and within less than an hour's drive, showed me Cycas and Macrozamia growing together. The owner of the land, Mr. Snell, is related to the Snell who gave Snell Hall to the University of Chicago, and so we were acquainted at once. The study was rapid and satisfactory, for, just to let me see the anatomy of a trunk or structure of a bud, Mr. Snell chopped down plants which would have been the pride of the conservatory in Kew or Berlin.

About 40 miles from Eockhampton, at Maryvale and Byfield, Bowenia spectabilis var. semdata is very abundant, forming a dense but easily penetrated undergrowth in the ever-present eucalyptus bush. This small cycad richly deserves its specific name, spectabilis, for the leaves are smooth, have a rich dark green color, and retain their beauty for several days after they have been cut off. It seems strange that Bowenia is almost never found in greenhouses.

At Springsure, about 200 miles west of Rockhampton, a fine cycad, Macrozamia Moorei, is being exterminated because it causes "rickets" in cattle, a disease which usually proves fatal.

Ever since I landed at Sydney, botanists had advised me to visit the Cairns district for a view of genuine tropical vegetation. Although Cairns is 700 miles north of Rockhampton and without any railway connection, it seemed worth while to make the trip by the small coasting boats. In density, the Cairns jungle surpasses anything I had ever seen in the Mexican tropics. The profusion of palms, tree ferns and various vines and epiphytes was bewildering. Along the streams Angiopteris, a remarkable fern, small specimens of which are occasionally seen in greenhouses, reaches a tremendous size, with leaves nearly twenty feet long and stalks as large as a man's arm. At Herberton, near Cairns, a beautiful tree fern, Dicksonia Youngii, is so abundant that it forms almost impenetrable jungles. Besides, in open places, all three genera of cycads found in Australia may be secured within a single day's tramp.