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CLASS XIV. Stamens surrounding the germ.
83. Sempervivae, Houseleek, live-forever, Emollient, vulnerary.
Saxifrage, currant leaf, Tonic.
Prickly pear, currant, Refrigerant, emollient, tonic.
90. Melastomae, 91. Salicariae,
93. Leguminosae, Cassia, pea, clover, 94. Terebintaceae, Sumach, butternut, 95. Rhamni,
97. Cucurbitaceae, Cucumber, melon,
Cathartic, mild emetic.
Astringent tonic, emollient.
We shall, in considering more fully the principles of classification, hereafter remark on the comparative merits of the most important methods of botanical arrangement. As our object at this time is to prepare you for the analysis of plants, it may be well to give you a few simple rules for pronouncing their names, which, being derived from foreign languages, cannot be accented or divided like analogous English words.
DIRECTIONS FOR PRONOUNCING THE NAMES OF PLANTS.
BOTANICAL names of plants are formed according to the analogies of the ancient languages, chiefly the Latin. Some of the most common terminations of names of Genera and Species, are a, um, us, and is; for example, the generic names, GERARDIA, TRIFOLIUM, PRUNUS, and IRIS; and the specific names, . virginica, candidum, blandus, and officinalis. A great proportion of Botanical names terminate in a, in which case it has the sound of a in father, as Rosa, Viola, &c.
The letter e at the end of a word is always to be sounded; for example, anemone, pronounced anem'-o-ne.
The e is long before s when it ends a word, as Bicor'nes. In words that end in ides, the i is long, as in Hesper'ides. The vowels ae and oe are often used as dipthongs, and then have the sound of e, as Hepaticæ, pronounced He-pat'i-ce, and DI-œcia, pronounced Di-e-cia.
C and g, as in English, are soft before e, i, and y, and hard
Botanical names, how formed ?-What syllables do they often terminate in? -a at the end of words-e, when sounded?-When long ?-i in ides-The vowels ae and oe-c and g.
before a, o, and u. The soft sound of c is like s, the hard sound like k. The soft sound of g is like j, the hard sound like g the word gave; thus Algae is pronounced Al-je.
The letters ch are hard like k, as in Orchis; pronounced Or-kis.
Method of analyzing plants by a series of comparisons.-General remarks upon plants.-Method of preserving Plants for an Herbarium.-Poisonous Plants, and those which are not poisonous.
WHEN We dissect a plant, or examine separately each of its organs, this is properly analysis; for the meaning of the word analysis is a separation; but when we speak of finding out plants by analyzing them, we mean something more than examining each part of the flower; this is indeed the first step in the process; but by means of observing these organs, we are to ascertain the Class, Order, Genus, and lastly the Species of the plant. "A person engaged in ascertaining the name of a plant, may be said to be upon a Botanical Journey, and the plant being his Directory; if he can read the botanical characters impressed on it by the hand of Nature, he will, by following system, soon arrive at his journey's end."*
In the first place we have two comparisons to make.
1st. Whether the Stamens and Pistils are VISIBLE; or,
2nd. Whether they are INVISIBLE.
If the Stamens and Pistils are not visible, we have already arrived at the class which is CRYPTOGAMIA.
If, however, the Stamens and Pistils are visible, we have now two comparisons to make.
1st. Whether the Stamens and Pistils are enclosed in the same corolla; or,
2nd. Whether the Stamens and Pistils are placed on different corollas.
If the Stamens and Pistils are on different flowers, we then shall find our plant either in the class Diæcia, or Monacia; according as the Stamens and Pistils are on different flowers, proceeding from the same root, or from different roots.
The letters ch-Meaning of the word analysis-How used in botany-What two comparisons to be first made in analyzing a plant--When the stamens and pistils are visible.
But if our plant has the Stamens and Pistils both enclosed in the same corolla, we must next examine,
1st. Whether the Anthers are separate, or,
2nd. Whether the Anthers are united.
If we find five anthers united around the pistil, we have found the class of our plant; it is SYNGENESIA.
If the Anthers are separate, we must proceed to a fourth stage, and see,
1st. Whether the filaments are separate, or,
2nd. Whether the filaments are united with each other, or, 3d. Whether the filaments are united to the pistil..
If the latter circumstance is ascertained, we need search no farther; our plant is in the class GYNANDRIA.
If the flower has not the filaments united to the pistil, we must ascertain if the filaments are united with each other; if they are so, and in two parcels or sets, the flower is in the class DIADELPHIA, but,
If in one parcel or set, it is in the class MONADELPHIA. But if the filaments are separate, we must next examine, 1st. Whether these are similar in length, or,
2nd. Whether they are of different lengths.
(Of different lengths, those only which have four or six stamens are to be regarded.)
If we find our flower has six stamens, four long and two short, we need go no farther, this is the class TETRADYNAMIA.
If the flower has four stamens, two long, and two short, it is in the class DYDYNAMIA.
If our flower comes under none of the foregoing heads, we must then count the number of stamens; if these amount to more than ten, we must then consider their insertion, as,
1st. Whether inserted on the calyx or corolla, or, 2nd. Whether inserted on the Receptacle.
If we find the Stamens inserted on the Receptacle, the flower is in the class POLYANDRIA; but if on the Calyx or Corolla, it is in ICOSANDRIA.
If our flower has less than twenty stamens, with none of the peculiarities above mentioned, of connexion, position, or length, we have only to count the number of stamens in order to be certain of the class; if there are ten stamens, it is in DECANDRIA; and so on through the nine remaining classes. This is the true analytical process; but when we put plants together to
When the stamens and pistils are inclosed in the same corolla what is next to be considered--When the anthers are separate what must be observed-If the filaments are separate what must be observed ?-If the flower has not stamens of unequal length, what is to be observed ?-When is the flower in one of the first ten classes?-Difference between analysis and synthesis.
GENERAL FACTS RELATING TO VEGETABLES.
form a species, and species together to form a genus, and genera together to form an order, and orders together to form a class, we then proceed in the way of Synthesis, which means putting together.
General Facts Relating to Vegetables.
Plants are furnished with pores, by which they imbibe nourishment from surrounding bodies. The part which fixes the plant in the earth, and absorbs from it the juices necessary to vegetation, is the root; this organ is never wanting.`
The stem proceeds from the root, sometimes it creeps upon the earth, or remains concealed in its bosom; but generally the stem ascends either by its own strength, or, as in the case of vines, by supporting itself upon some other body. The divisions of the stem are its branches; the division of the branches are its boughs. When the vegetable has no stem, the flower and fruit grow from the tops of the root; but when the stem exists, that or its branches bear the leaves, flowers, and fruits. Herbs have generally soft, watery stems of short duration, which bear flowers once, and then die.
Trees and shrubs have solid and woody stems; they live and bear flowers many years.
Small bodies, of a round or conical form, consisting of thin scales, lying closely compacted together, appear every year upon the stems, the boughs, and the branches of trees. They contain the germs of the productions of the following years, and secure them from the severity of the seasons. These germs, and the scales which cover them, are called buds. The buds of the trees and shrubs of equinoctial countries, have few scales, as they are less needed for protection against inclemencies of weather.
Leaves like flowers proceed from buds; the former are the lungs of vegetables; they absorb water and carbonic acid from the atmosphere, decompose them by the action of rays of light and exhale or give out oxygen gas. They are usually connected at the base by a kind of stem called a petiole, and are sometimes accompanied by stipules, appendages similar to little leaves.
Vegetables, like animals, produce others of their kind, and thus perpetuate the works of creation. The organs essential to the perfection of plants, are the stamens and pistils. Those plants in which the stamens and pistils are manifest, are called Phenogamous; where these are rather suspected than demonstrated to exist, they are called Cryptogamous. The presence
The Root-Stem-Branches-Boughs-Herbs-Trees and shrubs-BudsLeaves-Phenogamous and Cryptogamous plants.
of a stamen and pistil constitutes a perfect flower; but in general these organs are surrounded with an envelope called the corolla, and an outer one called the calyx. Persons ignorant of botany give exclusively the name of flower to these envelopes, which are often remarkable for the brilliancy of their colours, the elegance of their forms, and the fragrance of their perfumes.
Method of preserving plants, and of preparing an herbarium.
PLANTS collected for analysis, may be preserved fresh many days, in a close tin box, by occasionally sprinkling them with water; they may also be preserv. ed by placing their stems in war, but not as well by the latter, as the former method. While attending to the science of Botany, you should keep specimens of all the plants you can procure. An herbarium neatly arranged is beautiful, and may be rendered highly useful, by affording an opportunity to compare many species together, and it likewise serves to fix in the mind the characters of plants. It is a good method in collecting plants for an herbarium, to have a port-folio, or a book in which they may be placed before the parts begin to wilt. Specimens should be placed between the leaves of paper, either newspaper or any other kind which is of a loose texture, and will easily absorb the moisture of the plants; a board with a weight upon it should then be placed upon the paper containing them; the plants should be taken out frequently at first; as often as once or twice a day and the paper dried, or the plants placed between other dry leaves. Small plants may be dried between the leaves of a book.
Plants differ in the length of time required for drying as they are more or less juicy; some dry in a few days, others not sooner than two or three weeks. When the specimens are dry and a sufficient number collected to commence an herbarium, a book should be procured, composed of blank paper, (white paper gives the plants a more showy appearance.) A quarto size is more convenient than a larger one; upon the first page of each leaf should be fastened one or more of the dried specimens, either with glue or by means of cutting through the paper, and raising up loops under which the stems may be placed. By the sides of the plants should be written the class, order, generic, and specific name; also, the place where found, and the season of the year. The colours of plants frequently change in drying: the blue, pale red, and white, often turn black, or lose their colour; yellow, scarlet, violet and green, are more durable. An herbarium should be carefully guarded against moisture and insects; as a security against the latter, the plants may be brushed over with corrosive-sublimate.
As a healthful and agreeable exercise, we would recommend frequent botanical excursions; you will experience more pleasure from the science, by seeing the flowers in their own homes: a dry grove of woods, the borders of little streams, the meadows, the pastures, and even the way-sides will afford you constant subjects for botanical observations. To the hardier sex, who can climb mountains, and penetrate marshes, many strange and interesting plants will present themselves, which cannot be found except in their peculiar situations; of these you must be content to obtain specimens, without seeing them in their native wilds. You will no doubt easily obtain such specimens, for there is, usually, among the cultivators of natural science, a generosity in affording assistance to others, and imparting the treasures which nature lavishes upon those who have a taste to enjoy them.
Poisonous Plants and those which are not poisonous.
In collecting flowers, you should be cautious with respect to poisonous plants. Such as have five stamens and one pistil, with a corolla of a dull, lurid colour, and a disagreeable smell, are usually poisonous; the Thorn apple (stramonium) and
Method of preserving plants, and of preparing an herbarium-Botanical excursions-Poisonous plants.