Transactions of the Linnean Society of London/Volume 6/Botanical characters of four New-Holland plants, of the natural order of Myrti
Read July 7, 1801.
SINCE the publication of a paper in the third volume of the Linnean Society's Transactions, the aim of which was to fix the botanical characters of several genera and species of the natural order of Myrti, hitherto not well determined; I have become acquainted with a few more of the same tribe, four of which it is my design to describe at present. The number might appear too inconsiderable to be the subject of a paper, nor should I, scarcely, have offered them in this form to the Society, were it not as a kind of necessary supplement to the former treatise; and had I not a few particular observations to propose respecting one of the plants.
A single specimen of this new species oi Leptospermum, gathered by Dr. White in New South Wales, has been communicated to me by A. B. Lambert, Esq. It is much larger than any other I have seen of the genus, especially the leaves, which are above an inch long, and near a quarter of an inch broad. Their form is lanceolate, tapering more towards the base than towards the extremity, and they are tipped with a small prominent, sharp point; their margin is Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 6 (1802).djvu/372 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 6 (1802).djvu/373 this character, slight as it is, connected with any peculiarity of habit by which a Melaleuca can be known from a Metrosideros, nor, I believe, would any botanist venture to guess at a Melaleuca without seeing the stamina, in which the only peculiarity of the genus resides. What then is to be done, when even this peculiarity seems eluding our grasp? We can only retain the genus as an artificial one, along with many other such, till the science be arrived at a greater degree of perfection; keeping, the mean time, naturaI orders in view as the grand object of our systematic inquiries, and cherishing every truly natural genus as a fixed point, on which we may found the principles of future discoveries.
Mr. Alton favoured me with specimens of this plant three years ago from Kew Garden. The seeds were brought from Port Jackson. Its leaves agree very much in form with those of E. robusta, (next to which it ought to be placed,) but the footstalks are shorter, veins more prominent, and the margin more thickened, somewhat cartilaginous, and reddish. The umbels are solitary, axillary, and simple. Flowers scarcely one-third of the zize of the robusta, and their covers are neither broader than the calyx, nor longer; neither are they contracted in their middle. The flowers much resemble those of my E. pilularis, but the leaves are totally different.