Saturday, 18 April 2009

Doryanthes excelsa

Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Or, Flower-garden Displayed: In which the Most Ornamental Foreign Plants, Cultivated in the Open Ground, the Green-house, and the Stove, are Accurately Represented in Their Natural Colours ...
John Sims
VOL. XLI, 1815
TAB. 1685
This magnificent plant, of the liliaceous tribe, flowered last summer in the greenhouse of the Right Hon. Charles Long, at Bromley-Hill, in Kent; probably for the first time in Europe, except the single flower produced from a portion of the stem, without roots, which had been cut many months before in New-Holland, and from which chiefly M. Correa established the genus.
From this plant we sketched the following brief description. Radical leaves about a hundred, four feet long, sword-shaped, smooth, quite entire, with a very narrow cartilaginous margin, lower ones recurved, the others erect. From the centre of these grew the stem, or scape, quite straight, ten or twelve feet high, clothed with linear-lanceolate acute leaves sheathing the item at their base and spreading upwards. Flowers of a deep crimson or morone colour, collected in a roundish terminal head, surrounded at the base by large, ovate-acuminate, green bracts within there were other lanceolate brades, of the same colour with the flowers, and separating these into fascicles of two, three, or four ; two still narrower braftes accompanied each individual flower the length of the germen and peduncle. Laciniae of the corolla fix, tongue-shaped, obtuse with a nipped point. Filaments subulate, shorter than the corolla, to which they are adnate or
soldered at the lower part : Anthers the length of the free part of the filament, erect, four-cornered, hollowed at the base and affixed over the point of the filament like an extinguisher, covered with a dark green pollen. Germen straight, obscurely three-cornered : Style three-furrowed : Stigma three-lobed.
In the figure of the flower given in the Transactions of the Linnean Society, the germen is very much curved, which does not seem to be natural to the plant.
We were informed that the ftem began to shoot the preceding summer, and reached to the height of three or four feet; that then, the winter coming on, it remained quiescent till the following spring, when it again resumed its growth, and the flowers began to expand by the end of July.
[Note:- though said to be drawn from life the colour of the floral bracts is erroneous - in nature these are a dark maroon brown]

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