Curtis Botanical magazine
Vol. 15 (1801)
Ferraria Tigridia. Mexican Ferraria, or Tiger-flower.
Class and Order.
Spatha 2-phylla. Cal. o. Petala 6. 3-externis latioribus. Stylus 1. Caps. 3-loculari infera.
Specific Characler and Synonyms.
FERRARIA Tigridia ; foliis plicatis, corollis lato-urceolatis:
laciniis interioribus depresso-intersectis.
FERRARIA pavonia : caule simplici flexuoso, foliis equi-
tantibus ensiformibus nervosis, petalis planis :
interioribus duplo brevioribus panduriformibus.
Spec. PI. edit, Willdenow, v. 3. p. 581.
FERRARIA pavonia. Linn. Suppl. 407. Cav. Diff. p. 343.
t. 189. Larmarck Encyclop. v. 2. p. 453. 2.
TIGRIDIA Juffieu. Gen. p. 57.
MORAEA pavonia. Thunb. Monea 14, 20.
OCOLOXOCHITL seu flore tigris. Hern. nov. PI. Amer.
Hist. tab. 276. Gerard, emac. 122. 2. Encyc lop. Brit. t. 350.
TIGRIDIS flos an Dracunculi species? Lob. Obs. 59. Icon.
111. Dod. pempt. 3. p. 421. Swertii Floril. 2.
t. 31. fig. 2. J. Bauh. 2. p. 684. Raii Hist.
1165. J. Theod. de Bryt, Florileg. nov. t. 111.
Of all the above authors, no one had seen the living plant except Hernandez, who was sent to Mexico as a Physician, by Philip II. King of Spain; and his figure, though only a small wooden cut, is more botanically correct than any of the others, not excepting that of Cavanilles, We are informed by him that it grew wild about Mexico, and was much cultivated for its excessive beauty and for the medicinal virtues of its root; being, as he terms it, " a frigefacient in fevers, and " also a promoter of fecundity in women." Both Hernandez and M. De Brancion, from whom Lobel derived his knowledge of the plant, observe that the root is esculent. All the other old authors appear to have borrowed what they have said from these two sources, except perhaps De Bry, who says he received it (probably meaning the drawing) from Caspar Bauhin. The author of this figure, though it was published before the Rome edition of the Mexican history, appears to have had access to the drawing of Hernandez, as the form of the flower is the same, only four roots are crowded together. The more modern authors seem to have made their descriptions and figures from no other authority except a dried specimen in the possession of Jussieu. That of Mutis, cited by the younger Linnaeus, we have not seen, and has not, we believe, been as yet published.
For the possession of this superb flower, this country, and perhaps Europe, is indebted to Ellis Hodgson, Esq. of Everton, near Liverpool, with whom it flowered and produced ripe seeds about five years ago. From this gentleman, seeds were communicated to Messrs. Grimwood and Wykes, and by them it has been dispersed among other Nurserymen. There is little fear but that it will soon become very common, as it flowers freely, produces seeds in abundance, and maybe likewise increased by offsets from the roots. It has no scent, but in splendid beauty it appears to us, at least when assifted by rarity and singularity, to surpass every competitor; we lament that this too affords our fair countrywomen another lesson, how extremely fugacious is this loveliness of form; born to display its' glory but for a few hours, it literally melts away.
By the alteration made by Willdenow in the generic character of Ferraria, this may be included; but the trivial name pavonia, injudiciously adopted from a supposed resemblance to the Iris pavonia, figured by Jacquin (not the Iris pavonia of the Botanical Magazine) is totally inadmissible, the colours being in no respect similar to those of the peacock ; we have, therefore, as nearly as could be done in one word, restored the original name. We have an additional motive to do so from the confederation, that should it be hereafter thought necessary to make it a distinct genus from Ferraria, the name of Tigridia, already applied by Jussieu, would undoubtedly be given it.
Disc. Root, a tunicated bulb, producing from one to four stems about a foot and half high, somewhat flexuose, round, jointed, smooth, bearing at each joint a plicated oblong-lanceolate leaf from a sheathing petiole the length of the internode, and at the summit an involucrum, apparently confiding of two lanceolate, ancipital, conduplicate, nearly equal valves, of which the exterior is in fact the common spathe or involucre, and embraces the interior with its contents ; the interior valve, which is exactly opposed to the outer one, is the proper spathe of the first flower and embraces it, together with the spathes and flowers that are to come in succession ; the spathe of the second flower is opposed to that of the first, and placed between it and the pedicel of the first flower; and so of the rest, every spathe being opposed to the one of the preceding flower and embraced by it. These spathes are similar in shape, but diminish progressively and become more membranaceous. Corolla, broad-urceolate (but this could not be expressed by the drawing in a front-view of the flower) divided into six segments, of which the three outer are urceolate at the base, expanded above, and reflected at the point; the three inner ones smaller by half, biformed, singularly divided into a lower hastate and an upper ovate division by a depressed intersection ; the upper division is of the richest scarlet imaginable, variegated by a bright golden yellow. Filament, a cuniculated or piped triquetral column. Anthers, sessile, erect, bearing their pollen on the outside, conniving at the point, diverging below to admit the exit of the stigmas. Germen, obtusely trigonal, three-celled. Style, the length of the filamental column, through the hollow of which it pafles. Stigmas, three, filiform, bifid. Capsule, oblong, obtufely trigonal, three-celled. Seeds, in double rows in each cell and round.
It is a native of Mexico and Peru, is properly a greenhouse plant, and succeeds best in light mould, seedlings will flower the second year. It is best to take up the bulbs the latter end of September or October, and to keep them out of the ground till the Spring*.
* In every part of this paper, we have been very much assisted by the liberal communications of John Bellendin Gawler, Esq.
Tigridia pavonia (L.f.) DC. in P.J.Redouté, Liliac. 1: t. 6 (1802).
Mexico to El Salvador