Monday, 23 February 2009


Two cases of Plants have been received last month from Mr. Weir.

His letter announcing them, and the list of their contents, are as follows :
Rio de Janeiro, Sept. 6, 1861.

Sir, — I have to-day delivered on board the Royal Mail Packet Oneida, which leaves this port on the 8th instant, two cases containing upwards of twenty species of plants, all more or less remarkable for the beauty of their foliage. Several of them are the same as those sent before packed in sawdust, but as I am uncertain whether they survived the voyage packed in this manner, I have thought it right to send a few plants of each again. They are all in excellent condition now, and I hope they will arrive in England in the same state. The cases have been shipped by Mr. Fry, who will forward the bill of lading by this mail.

I return to Belem to-morrow for another week or two, after which it is my intention to proceed to St. Paul. By next mail I will send accounts of my expences, and of the sums of money I have drawn from Messrs. Fry.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, John Weir.

To the Secretary of the Royal Horticultural Society.

The following is the list of the contents of the two cases :
1.— 4 Plants, No. 13. (Tubers of this sent before, with remarks on its locality, &c.)—(only one plant in the case on arrival.
2.— 6 Plants, No. 20. (Plants sent before, packed in sawdust.)
3.— 3 Plants, No. 11. (Plants sent before.)
4.— 3 Plants, No. 12. (Plants sent before.)
5.— 6 Plants, No. 34, A small creeping species from woods near feao Jose de Cacaria and other woods near Belem. The leaves are prettily marked with silver grey.
6. -20 Plants, No. 39. A species from Quemeidos, perhaps a variety of No. 11. Grows 1 and a half feet high ; the leaves are marked along the midrib and primary veins with silver.
7.— 20 Plants, No. 51. This species grows in woods, at an elevation of 2000 feet, on the Serra do Mar. It attains a height of 10 inches ; the leaves are beautifully netted with silver — (one dead on arrival).

These [above] are all small Acanthads, apparently of the same genus. Their leaves are all variegated with silver, and their flowers are produced in terminal spikes, and are generally white.

8.— 3 Plants, No. 43. A small species from woods in the Serra; elevation, 2000 feet The leaves are marked with silver.
9. — 25 Plants, No. 40. A Melastomad, from thick forests on the Serra do Mar, at an elevation of 2000 feet. It grows to a height of about 2 feet. The leaves, when at their largest, are 9 or 10 inchs long by about 5 or 5 and a half broad ; they are 5-ribbed and beautifully crisp, cordato- lanceolate in form, and of a rich purple colour on both sides, the upper being the darker of the two, sometimes having a bronzy tinge, and is always plentifully studded with beautiful pearl-white spots, similar to those of the Soncrila Margaritacea. The flowers I have not seen, but have a few specimens with the old flower-spikes remaining. They are produced from the axils of the uppermost leaves, above which they rise a few inches, bearing small irregular corymbs of three-cornered capsules. Probably a Bertoloniavery handsome.
10. — 6 Plants, No. 41. A species, apparently, of the same genus as No. 40, and from the same locality. This plant reminded me strongly of some of the Indian Sonerilas, both in its habit and in the appearance of its neat oval-ribbed leaves. I have specimens with the old capsules : they are similar to and are produced in the same manner as three of No. 40. The leaves are white on the under side.
11 . — 5 Plants, P* 4. This is perhaps Calathea zebrina : if so, it grows larger - and finer here than it generally does in cultivation. I have seen a mass of it about 7 feet in diameter, many of the leaves being 2and a half feet and upwards in length. It prefers damp parts of the forests.
12 . — Plants of a small Maranta or Calathea, from woods in the Serrra, elevation 1500 feet ; the leaves are striped with white. (Labelled P 5.)
13 . — 1 Plant of a small twining shrub. (Labelled P 6. ) Its leaves are ternate, each leaflet being marbled or blotched with bluish-white. From a forest in the Serra ; elevation 1000 feet.
14. — 6 Plants, P 7. A plant (Dichorizandra) from woods near Belem, and in the Serra. The leaves are purple on the under side, ; above they are marked with two silvery bands. Not in flower.
15. — 2 Plants of a terrestrial Orchid (P 8), from a wood in the lower parts of the Serra. It grows among leaf-mould acumulated on shelves of rocks. Its leaves are longitudinally marked with broad bands of silver-gray.
16. — 2 Plants of an Orchid, similar to the last, but the leaves are spotted instead of being banded. (Marked P 9.) It grows in the same situations.

[FOOTNOTE] * P is the mark employed by Mr. Weir to indicate that he has no dried specimens of the plant.

17.—2 Plants, No. 44, a Darstenia, from forests round Belem, and in the Serra. The leaves are blotched with white.
18.—1 Plant, No. 45. A species akin to the last, and from the same localities.
19.—1 Plant, P 10. A climber, with prickly stem, from near Belem. The leaves are spotted with white. This plant in a plain state is common, both in the level grounds and in the Serra. It is not in flower.
20.—2 Plants of a Begonia from the Serra dos Mendos and woods in the Serra do Mar. The leaves are dark velvety green, with pale veins. (Labelled P 11)
21.—1 Plant, P. 12, a sport of a broad-leaved grass, from Belem.
22. Plants of No. 48. from forests in the Serra ; elevation 1500 feet. This species, like an Oxalis, with a slender naked stem ; the leaves are crowded at the top of the stem ; they are purple beneath, and faintly blotched with silver above. The flowers are yellow, and are produced from between the leaves.
23.—4 Plants, P. 3. This plant is common in the forests here, and is exceedingly variable. Some plants have the leaves quite plain. The four plants in one of the cases are about the prettiest I have seen.

" All the above species grow in thick woods, where they get little or no sun. The soil all over this part of the country is a reddish loam, but in the' forest this is covered, often to a considerable depth, by a black vegetable mould." The above have all arrived in fine order, with the exceptions marked.

Proceedings of the Horticultural Society of London
Royal Horticultural Society (Great Britain), Horticultural Society of London
1861, p. 684-5

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