« PreviousContinue »
• In plains which contain a number of fea productions, and in floetz mountains which have the petrifactions of the continent, and of the feas of various zones, we meet with plants which bear feeds, and fend their roots deep into the ground, as if they had grown there for ages. But experience tells us, that they could not have originally grown at thofe fpots. In the primitive mountains only, we may fufpect, that every thing remains unaltered, as their foundations never fuffered from the gnawing tooth of time.
We find that mountainous countries are richer in plants than flat countries; and that, in primitive mountains, the number of plants exceeds that of the floetz mountains. A country, confifting of primitive rocks, has plants which other mountainous countries do not poffefs. In all plains of the fame latitude, however far they may extend, the fame plants always occur, only with fome little varieties, which depend. on the difference of the foil. In primitive rocks, and at their foot, we again meet with all the plants of flat countries. Wherever primitive rocks furround a plain country, we find all the plants of this at their root, and even at their fummits. But after afcending and defcending the oppofite fide, we find a different vegetation, which again extends as far as the next mountainous chain. The lift of plants of the different countries in Europe, and other parts of the globe, will be of great fervice to us to prove this fact. Now, who will doubt, that all the plants of flat countries, which were formed at a later period, came from the high mountains; and that the primitive mountains of our globe were the chief fources, as it were, of the floras of different countries? Hence America is fo full of plants; because, from the north pole to the fouth, high mountainous chains, with numberlefs intermediate branches, interfect it. Hence, Canada produces different plants from Pennsylvania; this again from Virginia; this again different plants from Carolina ;. and Carolina from Florida, &c. Hence, the north-west coast of North America produces plants which totally differ from thofe of the northeaft coaft; the fouth-weft coaft different plants from those of the southeaft. Islands which are quite flat, have all the plants of the neighbouring continent; but if they are furrounded by high mountains, many quite peculiar plants are to be found in them. It would appear from these facts, that the vegetable kingdom did not fuffer materially from all thofe very violent catastrophes. Perhaps thofe changes took place only gra dually; and feveral thousands of years, if not more, elapfed before all things came to that ftate in which we find them. '
A number of pages are occupied with fpeculations of this fort, to all of which we certainly cannot fubfcribe; yet they evince much ingenuity, and prove, that M. Willdenow has taken a comprehenfive view of nature. After enumerating a variety of caufes,. which have contributed to the diffemination of vegetables, and, among the rest, the fhare which men have had in tranfporting. them from one region to another, he proceeds (p. 402.) to illuftrate the opinions he has advanced, by the difference which he
thinks obfervable in the plants which are to be met with in different tracts of Europe.
From what has been faid, it follows, that, after fuch various and manifold changes, it would be very difficult to fix accurately the point from whence each plant originally came. We fhall, however, endeavour to make fome general remarks, with regard to the plants of our part of the globe, and their most probable diffemination, as we are better acquainted with this part, especially the northern countries, than with others. Greece only we must exclude at prefent, as we know nothing at all of its botany. Its flora, however, feems to come from the mountains of Sardinia, from the coafts of Afia and Africa, and from the iflands in the Archipelago.
We fuppofe, then, that plants are diffeminated from the highest mountains towards the flat countries; and, according to this fuppofition, eftablish five principal floras in Europe, viz. the Northern flora, the Helvetic, the Auftrian, the Pyrenean, and the Appeninian floras. The Northern flera originates in the mountains of Norway, Sweden and Lapland. All thefe nourish the fame plants, which grow in the highest north. Scotland, with its mountains, appears to have cohered once with those of Norway, as both have nearly the fame plants. The Helvetic flora originates in the mountains of Switzerland, Bavaria and Tyrol. The mountains of Dauphiny, as well as thofe in Bohemia and Siberia, are only lateral branches of the fame chain. All have a great number of plants in common. The Auftrian flora originates in the Alps of Auftria, Krain, Karinthia and Steyenmark. The Karpathians are a fide branch of thofe. The Pyrenean flora originates in the Pyrenees; the mountains of Catalonia, Caftilia and Valentia, are its branches. The Appeninian Aura originates in the Appenines, which send out many
If we take the lifts of the plants of these five floras, we will find the moft marked difference.
It follows, at the fame time, that various commixtures of thefe floras, after the continent was formed and variously cohering, mut have taken place. Hence is fouthern France, where the Helvetic and Pyrenean floras combine, so rich in plants. Hence, in Piedmont, the floras of the Pyrenees, of Helvetia and the Appenines, mix among each other, whither likewife the fea has carried many plants of Northern Africa. Hence, Great Britain has partly the Northern, partly the Helvetic flora; and, in the fouthern extremity of that kingdom, in Cornwall, fome plants of the Pyrenean flora, on account of the neighbourhood of Spain, appear among the reft. Sweden, Denmark and Ruffia, have not retained the Northern flora unmixed; they have got many plants of the Helvetic flora. The fame is the cafe with Germany, especially in our Brandenburgh, which has, befides the Helvetic flora, got part of the Northern. '
When facts occur, which militate against his opinions, like other propofers of theories, he is willing to doubt (p. 398.) the ac
curacy of the obfervations on which they are founded.
Swartz difcovered no European alpine plants in the mountains of Jamaica, but a good number of our moffes; for inftance, Funaria hygrometrica; Bryum ferpillifolium, cæfpititium; Sphagnum paluftre; Dicranum glaucum, and many more. We know, that the feeds of moffes are fo minute, that a fingle feed efcapes our view, and can only be obferved with a confiderably maguifying microfcope. Should they not, as it is certain that they are fufpended in the atmosphere, have been driven there by ftorms, and, as the climate was fuitable, have germinated? At least this feems to be the only way of explaining this fingular phenomenon. But when Meffrs Forters met, in the Tierra del Fuego, with Pinguicula alpina, Gallium aparine, Statice armeria, and Ranunculus lapponicus; it would certainly be very difficult to say, how thofe plants came to fuch a remote quarter of the globe. Perhaps the great likeness between the European and Southern plants mifled these great philofophers, though there might be diftinguishing marks, which, however, the two gentlemen, firmly believing them to be our European fpecies, did not attend to.
His history of the science should rather be called a Biography of Botanists; for he seems more anxious to tell us, where and when they were born, what accidents befel them in life, and when they died, than to inform us what they have done to promote botanical knowledge. He certainly mentions all the principal discoveries in botany, very regularly arranged, but encumbered with much extraneous matter. We extract the following account of Clusius, (p. 421.) with whom he concludes his second epoch; an unfortunate mortal, who seems to have encountered as many hardships as ever befel the Knight of La Mancha.
Charles Ciutius, or Charles de l'Eclufe, was born at Artois, or Atrecht, in the Netherlands, 1526. His parents wifhed him to be. come a lawyer, and he went with this defign to Leowen. But he foon changed his mind, and, from his great love to botany, foon undertook the moft tedious and troublefome journies, through Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Hungary. In his 24th year, he already became dropfical; of which, however, he was cured, by the ufe of cichories, recommended to him by the famous phyfician Rondeletius. In his 39th year, in Spain, he broke his right arm slofe above the elbow, falling with his horfe; and, foon after, he had the fame accident with his right thigh. In his 55th year, in Vienna, he fprained his left foot; and, eight years afterwards, dislocated his hip. This laft diflocation was overlooked by his phyfician; and he had the misfortune to walk for the remainder of his life on crutches. The great pain and difficulty he had thus to fuffer when walking, prevented him from taking the neceffary exercife; in confequence of which, he was affected with a hernia, obftructions in his abdomen, and calculous complants. Thus miferable and unhealthy, tired of the court of the Emperor, where he had refided for fourteen years paft, and finding, befides, the fuperintendance over the gardens there too great a burden, he accept
ed, in the year 1593, an invitation as profeffor at Leyden, where he died April 6. 1609. Clufius was the greatest genius of his age, and profecuted the study of botany with an enthufiaftic zeal, and a perfeverance, which was not equalled by any preceding philofophers, nor by any of his followers. His works fhow us the great botanift; and they will always remain valuable and indifpenfably neceffary. The cuts an nexed to them are neat, the figures diftinct, and his defcriptions mafterly. It was a pity that a man of fo great merit fhould have fuffered fo much, and even become the first martyr for botany.'
From this fpecimen, our readers may judge, whether we have done wrong or otherwise, in faying that the history was mifnamed; they may likewife judge, what proportion the botanical information contained in this extract, bears to the irrelevant matter with which it is connected.
Upon the whole, however, it is our duty to fay, that the fame dil nce and judgment is difplayed in this volume, that we already have had occafion to afcribe to M. Willdenow, when pronouncing our opinion of his edition of the Species Plantarum of Linnæus ; and we venture, without hefitation, to recommend the Principles of Botany and Vegetable Phyfiology, to thofe who wish to become acquainted with the feience, as the most complete introductory treatife on the fubject hitherto published.
The tranflator feems to have understood the fubje&; for the language he employs is in general correct. In the Terminology, however, an attempt to tranflate one word of Latin into one word of English, has led him to make ufe of fo ne rather awkward expressions; e. g. præmorfum is tranflated bitten, the word, however, we conceive, fignifics fomewhat more than bitten, i. e. fomething bitten before or towards the point; thus, præmorfum, folium, or præmorfa radix, (for both are given, and the fame definition is repeated to each), finilies a leaf or root, that terminates fo abruptly, as to feem to have its point or extremity bitten off. Were the bare word bitten to be employed to exprefs præmorfum, and any one to talk of a bitten leif, or bitten root, he would be but ill underflood by the bulk of his hearers. Both fiftularis and concavus are tranflated hollow: the fame expreffions thould not have been employed to expreis two terms fo very diftin t, particularly as cencave is fo well naturalized as to become a denizen in the English language.
Flos multiplicatus, is improperly tranflated a double flower, and flos plenus, a full flower. When a flower makes an approach to become double, that is, when its petals are double, treble, &c. the utual number, provided they do not entirely occupy the place of the ftamina and piftilium, it is called a femidouble flower (flos multiplicatus); when the petals are to numerous as to leave no room for itamina and piftillum, a double flower is forme (flor F 4
plenus.) Thefe two expreffions of femidouble, and double flower, are not only understood by botanifts and florists, but are fo well established, as to be very generally understood; but a full flower by no means expreffes what is meant by flos plenus.
ART. VI. Observations on a Journey through Spain and Italy to Naples; and thence to Smyrna and Constantinople: comprising a Description of the Principal Places in that Route, and Remarks on the present Natural and Political State of those Countries. By Robert Semple, author of "Walks and Šketches at the Cape,' &c. 2 vol. 8vo. pp. 484. London. Baldwin. 1807.
WE E have repeatedly had occafion to remark, that the world is laid under great obligations to those who, in the pursuit of fome profeflional object, vifit foreign countries, and afterwards deliver to the public, in a plain unambitious manner, the result of the inquiries which they may have incidentally been led to make during their excurfions. From this clafs of writers, we cannot certainly expect fuch full and valuable information as we are enti tled to require of profeffed travellers. But they are exceedingly ufeful, and merit every encouragement, becaufe, the ftuff of which they are made exifts at all times in great abundance, and is to be found during a period peculiarly unfavourable to the production of the other class.-In order to contribute our humble fhare to this object, we have made it a rule, not indeed to praife their publications indifcriminately, but to bestow an unusual degree of attention upon them, as foon as they appeared; and, in purfuance of this plan, we haften to make our readers acquainted with the work now before us, which belongs to the fame defcription.
Mr Semple, though an English merchant, was born in America. and this circumstance enabled him to travel, in 1805 and 1806, over countries from which British fubje&s, in general, were excluded. His tour comprehended fome of the most interefting parts of Europe, many of which were, at that time, the feat of war, and although his profeffioral avocations both shortened his itay in places which it would have been peculiarly important to examine, and prevented him from employing, in the manner mott profitable to his readers, the time which he did devote to matters of mere curiofity, yet he has, in general, observed well what he faw, and he delivers his remarks, for the moft part, like a fenfible man. His book is accordingly both in.tructive and entertaining, and leaves us only the more caule to regret