Transactions of the Linnean Society of London/Volume 12/Description of select Indian Plants



 
XXII.Description of select Indian Plants.By Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Esq. F.R.S. & L.S.

Read April 15, 1817.

Having had the opportunity, during a long residence in India, of examining some plants, which had not, so far as I know, been previously described, and others which had been but incompletely so, I purpose to submit to the notice of the Linnean Society, in this and successive communications, such of them as appear deserving of remark, either as constituting new kinds, or notable species of previously settled genera.

Under the first head is a plant of which the delineation is here presented under the Indian name; as this seems not unsonorous, nor otherwise objectionable. In general it is desirable to avoid the coinage of new words, and to preserve existing names, whenever they are not too barbarous for admission into the classical nomenclature of botanical science. I propose therefore to retain the Indian term, scarcely altered, for a denomination of the genus; and accordingly to name it Sabia from the Hindi Sabja.

Under the second head, one of the most remarkable of the plants which will be here offered to the Society's consideration is a species of Strychnos, which bears much resemblance to that described and figured by M. Leschenault[1], and by him affirmed to be one of two which afford poison used to envenom weapons in Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/404 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/405 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/406 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/409 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/410 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/411 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/414 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/415 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/416 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/421 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/422 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/424 Silhet. Flowers in the rainy season, and ripens its seed in the cold season, about January.

Beng. (at Silhet) Ghorma.

Trunk arboreous.Leaves alternate, short-petioled, ovate to broad lanceolate, (sometimes unequal,) acuminate, entire, smooth, shining; 4—6 inches long, 11/2—3 broad.Petioles 1/2 inch; round beneath, channelled on the upper edge.Racemes length of the leaf, erect, simple, cylindric.Peduncles four-cornered, slender, villous.Pedicels as long as the flowers.Flowers yellowish-green, inodorous.Perianth cyathiform, six-toothed, deciduous, leaving a small entire ring at the base of the fertilized germ.Teeth subulate.Petals six, on the margin of the calycine cup, ovate, villous.Filaments numerous (30 — 40) on the margin of the calycine cup, capillary.Anthers round.Germ above, roundish, villous.Style filiform, length of the stamina.Stigma truncate.Drupe transversely oblong, juiceless at maturity, size of an olive, dark-purple.Nut subreniform, contracted in the middle;lobes subequal; crustaceous.Seed conform to the nut, attached dorsally a little below the apex.Integument single, chartaceous.Perisperm none.Embryo conform to the seed, inverse, yellowish-white.Cotyledons thick, flat on the contiguous ends, and hemispherical on the outer; amygdaloid.Radicle superior, very small, conical.

Gærtner, who constituted the genus, saw neither flower nor any other part of the plant besides the fruit: consequently, until his Ceylonese plant has been further examined, it must remain doubtful, as I apprehend, whether the species be distinct: and, at all events, the specific character cannot be yet determined, as but one species is fully described.

  1. Ann. du Mus. 16. p. 479. pl. 23.