Saturday, 16 January 2010

Thunbergia laurifolia Lindl.

Thunbergia laurifolia. Lindl. in Gardeners' Chron. 1856, p. 260.

Two very striking new kinds of Thunbergia (of the same group with Th. grandiflora, Roxb.) have lately appeared in our gardens, both having a certain affinity, especially in the size and colouring of the corolla. The one we have now the pleasure of figuring: the other, much more beautiful than the present, will shortly form the subject of another plate. That now before us was first raised at Frogmore Gardens from seeds presented to Mr. Ingram by an officer, who brought or procured it from the Malayan peninsula,—we presume so, at least, from the fact of our having since received and raised seeds of the same plant from Dr. Thomson, of the Calcutta Botanic Garden, collected in that region. These have produced fine flowering plants with us; but our drawing was taken from Mr. Ingram's plant. The name was given by Dr. Lindley, in the ' Gardeners' Chronicle,' above quoted, to specimens from Frogmore, which were exhibited at the rooms of the Horticultural Society of London in 1856. It is a plant of rather rapid growth, and flourishes in the stove, either trained against a back wall or beneath a rafter,—flowering at various seasons of the year, not unfrequently in early spring; and is really a striking object.

Descr. A climbing much-branching shrub, with the younger branches terete and green, glabrous. Leaves opposite, long petiolate, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, entire, or sometimes a little toothed, three-nerved, reticulated with transverse nerves. Petioles two to three inches and more long, slender, remarkable for being incrassated both at the apex and at the base; at the apex the thickened portion is nearly terete; at the base the incrassation extends for a greater length, and is flattened or plane on the upper side, and even slightly winged. Raceme of flowers, both axillary and terminal, sometimes bearing a few flowers, and destitute of leaves; at other times the raceme consists of whorled flowers, with a pair of opposite leaves at the base, which are smaller than those of the stem. Bracteas of two vaginant leaves or large scales, resembling a spatha, open and free at the lower edge, adherent by the upper margin, faintly striated; this embraces the lower gibbous portion of the tube of the corolla. Calyx very small, cup-shaped, dotted. Corolla very large, pale blue, with a yellowish eye. Tube obliquely funnel-shaped, wide at the mouth. Limb very large, spreading, five-lobed; lobes rotundate, deeply emarginate, almost bifid. Stamens quite included, inserted near the base of the tube of the corolla. Filaments broad, subulate, curved. Anthers oblong, apiculate, fringed in front, and having two subulate spurs at the base. Ovary subglobose, sunk in a fleshy disc or cup, crenate at its edge. Style long, but included within the tube of the corolla; stigma bifid; each lobe channelled within.

Fig. 1. Stamens, including the pistil. 2. Calyx, cupular disc, and pistil:— magnified.
Curtis's botanical magazine, Volume 85 tab. 4985, 1857

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