Paxton's flower garden /by Professor Lindley and Sir Joseph Paxton [book]

John Lindley, L. Constans, Joseph Paxton
1850 unpublished
F^TT' l/2.4i' O otK > \ PAXTON J 4 L H 135 136 137 9 J 25 : 133 138 VOL. II, C 268, PiSTiA Steatiotes. Zimiceus. A hothouse floating plant of no beauty. Native of all parts of the Tropics. Flowers green, inconspicuous. Belongs to Lemnacls (Pistiacese) . This now common, and, we think, very ugly plant, is thus spol;en of by Sir WiUiam Hooker in the Botanical Maaadne, t. 4564. We have only presumed to make a few indispensible corrections in the style : « With no floral beauty to recommend it, a
more » ... re delicate and graceful object cannot well be seen in a tropieal-honse than tufts of Pistia Stratlotes, of the tenderest green imaginable, floating on the surface of a vessel of water or a tank. The leaves are connected together into a rose-shaped tuft, and these send out runners bearing other plants in all stages of growth. Dr. Roxburgh aptly compares them to half-grown lettuce plants. They continue in great beauty aU summer and autumn, and in early winter they show sj-mptoms of weakness or decay ; but, with a little care, plenty of young plants may be retained for the foUowing spring, when they soon revive and reproduce by offsets. The inflorescence is nestled at the base of the leaf, and it may easily be seen there, by some of the young unfolded leaves, that the spathe which encloses the flowers is nothing but a modified leaf, the lower sides involute, and bearing the stamens and pistil. These flowera possess no beauty. The roots are a very pretty object when a plant is lifted out of the water, for here, as in the Duckweed {Lemna) of our own countryand Putia is sometimes called tropical Duckweed,the roots descend loose into the water, with no necessary attachment to soil or mud, and are long and feathery. Like many water plants it has a very extended range, perhaps all round the world, in tropical or subtropical regions. In America it extends as far north as Louisiana, the Mississippi and North Carolina, From Africa, I possess specimens from Egypt in the north, from the Niger country near the middle, and from Port Natal in the south. In the warm parts of India it seems to be universal. In Antigua, Patrick Browne tells us, it is most abundant in all the ponds of water preserved for public use ; that it keeps always fresh and cool the water, which w^ould be greatly subject to putrefaction and charged with a multitude of insects, if it continued exposed to the heat of the sun. The plant, however, is there considered acrid, and when the droughts set in and the waters are reduced very low (which freijuently happens in that island), they are overheated and BO impregnated with the particles of this vegetable, tliat they occasion bloody fluxes to such as are obliged to use them at those seasons-I am aware that some botanists are disposed to consider that there are several distinct species of Plstia and Professor Kunth goes so fai-as to constitute two groupes, and of one groupe to make two subgroupes, including alto'rether no less than nine species : but the characters are wretchedly defined, and I must confess, that as far as can be collected from the dried state of the copious specimens in my herbarium, there is no reason for constituting more than one species Others, however, taiust judge for themselves. Omplant, here figured, is derived from Jamaica, and quite accords with RoxburgVs from the East Indies. Yet Sloane's Jamaica species {Hist. t. 2., f. 2.) is referred by Kunth to his P. commutatay and Brown's Jamaica plant to P. ohcordata.M r, Smith adds that :-« In this country it must be grown under glass, m a cistern or tank of water at a temperature rangmg m summer between 70^a nd 80^. The depth of the water, whether several feet or only a few inches is unimportant ; when it grows in deep water its roots do not reach the bottom. As it mcreases rapidly by producing stolons, or runners, in fhp-fnT^n nf T.aire^o/»k^f «.u:^k i. ,.,.,. t J J i^iuuu^^iug form of rays, each of which soon occupy, in one summer growing ti'opical naties. It wd also grcnv freely in a small shallow tub or pan; and, although its natural habit 177^4 t appears to thrive more luxur^atly in water only a few inches deep, so that the roots reach the soil and ftlJhl
doi:10.5962/bhl.title.10722 fatcat:iyr37wck6rec7f6epyykpehlxq