Transactions of the Linnean Society of London/Volume 6/Description of the fruit of Cycas revoluta

Transactions of the Linnean Society of London Volume 6
Description of the fruit of Cycas revoluta by James Edward Smith


XXIII.Description of the Fruit of Cycas revoluta.By James Edward Smith, M.D. F.R.S. P.L.S.

Read November 3, 1801.

The Cycas revoluta, Thunb. Fl. Japan. 229, Ait. Hort. Kew. v. 3. 475, having, for the first time in England, produced fruit in the collection of the Honourable and Right Reverend the Bishop of Winchester, at Farnham Castle, Surrey; his Lordship was pleased to request that an account of it might be laid before the Linnean Society. For this purpose I was induced to go to Farnham in November 1799, accompanied by Mr. Sowerby, in order to make the requisite observations. We found the fruit then ripe, and exhibiting a most magnificent spectacle. The plant was much larger than any I had seen of the same species, and seems to be one of the oldest in England. We learn from the Hortus Kewensis that this Cycas has been about 40 years in our collections. It is not known that the Farnham plant was larger at its first introduction than such as are usually brought from abroad, perhaps 2 or 3 feet in the diameter of the circle formed by the expanded leaves; that diameter is now 10 or 12 feet. Supposing it therefore to have been one of the very first introduced, it has grown much more rapidly than usual; for there are few to be seen in England, even the oldest, that are half so large. I shall proceed to describe its appearance and structure.

The stem is about 2 feet in height, and 9 or 10 inches in diameter. Thunberg describes the same as rising in Japan to the height of 6 feet or more, with nearly the abovementioned diameter. Its surface is brown, and very scaly with the remains of old Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 6 (1802).djvu/387 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 6 (1802).djvu/388 The annexed figure (Tab. XXIX.) is taken from a fine drawing by Miss North, presented to the Society by the Bishop of Winchester. It represents as much of the plant as was possible, somewhat under the natural dimensions, nor could the full number of surrounding leaves be conveniently admitted.

Tab. XXX. exhibits one of the fronds of its full size. Fig. I. is an abortive drupa; 2. a ripe one; 3. a drupa cut longitudinally; 4. all the integuments of the fruit; 5. albumen; 6. cavity deftined to contain the embryo.