Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Topitopi, titoki, titongi

TAYLOR, Richard, Te Ika a Maui; or, New Zealand and its inhabitants. Illustrating the origin, manners, customs, mythology, religion ... of the natives; together with the geology, natural history, productions, and climate of the country.
Wertheim and Macintosh, 1855, p. 445

Fam. Sapindacece.—Topitopi, titoki, titongi (alectryon excelsum) [Alectryon excelsus]. A very ornamental tree, with a glossy light green leaf. The fruit is also very beautiful, it bursts from its sheath like a bright red strawberry, with a shining black seed in the centre; the fruit is tart, though edible, and from the seed a fine oil is expressed. In the south, the fruit is called titoki, and the tree topitopi; it is considered a durable timber, and well adapted for ship-building.

Dictionnaire encyclopédique des sciences médicales
Amédée Dechambre, Raige-Delorme (Jacques)
Edição de Asselin, 1865, p. 731
ALECTRYON. Gaertner a donné ce nom à un genre de plantes de la Nouvelle-Zélande, dont on ne connaît qu'une espèce, l' A. excelsum. C'est une Sapindacée apétale à fleurs polygames 5-8 andres, et à ovaire trimère, dont deux loges avortent. Dans la loge fertile se trouve un ovule dressé. Le fruit est un akène, et la graine qu'il renferme s'entourant d'un arille hilaire qui prend bientôt un énorme accroissement, le péricarpe, pressé fortement par cet arille de dedans en dehors, ne peut pas toujours résister et se brise irrégulièrement. L'arille charnu, rouge et sapide, fait alors saillie an dehors. C'est lui qui est recherché pour sa saveur acidulé. Il a toutes les propriétés thérapeutiques des fruits rouges acides de notre pays, et peut devenir d'une précieuse ressource pour les navigateurs, dans son pays natal. H. Bn.

Gaertner, Fruct., I, 216, t. 46. — D. C., Prodrom., I. 617. — Hook., Icon., t. 740. — Endl. Gen.
B. et Hook. Fil.. Gen., 410.

MILLER, Philip, Miller's dictionary of gardening, botany, and agriculture; revised 1834, p. 133
ALECTRYON, Gaertner (from the Greek, "a cock," because the wing of the fruit has a crest like a cock's comb). Cock's-Crest. Octandria Monogynia, Linnaeus ; Sapindaceae, Jussieu. Flowers not known ; berry dry, one-celled, with the margin at the apex crested or winged; seed erect, without albumen, fixed to the base of the cell, and girded by an incomplete ring ; seed-lobes spirally convolute, with the radicle pointing downwards, as in Dodonaea.—De Cand. Prod. I. 617.

1. Tall Cock's Crest (A. excelsum, Gaertner). A tree or shrub with the fruit having a erested wing at the apex. Its native country and general characters have not yet been ascertained; propagation not known. Euonymoides excelsa, Solander.—D. C. Sp. 1.

2. Hoary Cock's Crest (A. canescens, De Candolle). A shrub or tree of the eastern coast of New Holland. The fruit is edged around with a wing; leaves oblong, blunt, very hairy; flowers in axillary clusters, which are of the same length as the leaves; fruit nearly like that of Sameraria; style attached on both sides to the wing of the fruit?; seed oblong, thick; propagation not known. D.C. Sp. 2 [A.C.]

[Alectryon excelsus]


Anonymous said...

This description of a "Hoary Cock's Crest",and naming it Alectryon canescens,is intriguing. It's hard to figure out what it is. Is this simply a clumsy early description of A.excelsus,misplaced to the Australian coast?

Alectryon oleifolius subsp.canescens is a shrub or small tree of the semi-arid Australian interior, with narrow elliptic leaves and a small compressed bi-lobed capsule. Hardly fits the description or location.

A.coriaceus, the Beach Bird's Eye, which grows on coastal sands, certainly has blunt leaflets, with a distinctly "canescent" underside, but is not notably "hoary" and its downy capsules are unwinged. "Shrub" and flower description matches,but none else..

A.tomentosus is a dry and littoral rainforest tree from the "eastern coast of New Holland" and known as the Hairy Bird's Eye or Woolly Rambutan with long brownish hairs on the upper stems,lower leaflets and downy capsules..but there is nothing "winged"-or crested- about the capsule. Leaves are compound with leaflet margins toothed. This tree has had some use as a street tree from the late 1800s,but they tend to sprawl and the timber is very dense,making pruning awkward. Another common name was Bedjacket,maybe in reference to the pappillate aril texture,cupping the seed like a quilted gown.

There is a now rare relative in the Sapindaceae, Atalaya multiflora,known as the Broad-leaved Whitewood, which has showy panicles of creamy-white flowers, silky new growth of blunt-leafleted, and indehiscent fruit,paired winged samarae. This is a littoral rainforest tree,scattered along the east coast,mainly in SE Queensland, and just over the border into New South Wales. Could this be Alectryon canescens? Maybe blended with A.coriaceus?

None of the Alectryon have a fruit that could be described as "oblong", and that doesn't suit Atalaya either. Some of the members of genus Cupaniopsis have seed that do very roughly meet that description,such as C. newmanii...but don't match the rest of the details.

What is "Samereria"?.Is this a lost synonym of..?

Gerald Luckhurst said...

Think I have sorted this one it is a species of Terminalia. See lastest post

Sameraria is Brassicaceae
Miller mispelt it.