Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

NATURAL ORDERS OF PLANTS.

No.7.
B. PHENOGAMOUS MONOCOTYLEDONS.

Stamina hypogynous.

Twelfth Family. GRAMINEÆ. Graminee, Jussieu. Granina, Linnæus. Gramina

legitima, Allioni. THE Gramineæ or Grasses, are herbs of which the culm (culmus) is cylindrical, ordinarily fistulose, simple, herbaceous, and always articulate or jointed. Each knot sends out a leaf, of which the base embraces the stem by a sheath cut longitudinally, and of which the limb is spreading, entire, marked with parallel longitudinal veins: the flowers are disposed in a spike, or in a panicle, almost always hermaphrodite, sometimes unisexual and abortive, and always composed of little leafy scales, in one or many rows; the exterior scale, which has received the name of a glume (gluma) or calyx, is ordinarily deeply divided into two opposite valves, and contains one or many flowers, of which the assemblage is called a spikelet('spicula); the interior scale, or immediate envelope of the sexual organs, which has received the names of glume, calyx, and corolla, and which performs the office of a true calyx, is often bivalyed, and very like a glume: the stamina, generally three in number, have oblong anthers, forked at the two extremities; the ovary is simple, free, often surrounded at its base by two small scales, analogous to a corolla, and surmounted by a simple style, which is almost always cut into two feathery stigmas. The Pericarp (Cerio) is membrapous, unilocular, and monospermous, and is either naked or enclosed in a glume. The Embryo is small,

eral, oblique, attached at its base to a farinaceous perisperm, larger than itself.

Some of the gramineæ, as wheat, rye, and barley, grow with three radicules, whilst all other known plants have but one. The number of knots in the culm is always constant in each species. The roots of

la

the plants of this family are always fibrous, or creeping ; and if they sometimes appear bulbous, this appearance is the consequence of the swelling of the inferior knots,

The farinaceous perisperm of the gramineæ furnishes man with the greater part of his flour and meal, which forms the basis of his subsistence; their stems and leaves serve as forage for the nourishment of domestic animals; the juice of the stems is generally a sweet mucilage, as we see in the Indian corn (Žea Mays,) and the sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum). The Epidermis of the knots of the grasses contains much siliceous earth.

Genera. Flowers in a panicle more or less compact, or in

a digitate spike; spikelets of a single flouer. ANTHOXANTHUM. KNAPPIA. ALOPECU: RUS. POLYPOGON. PHLEUM. PHALARIS. PANICUM. MILIUM. AGROSTIS. STIPA. LAGURUS. ** Flowers panicled ; spikelets of many flowers.

MELICA. AVENA. AIRA. ARUNDO. FES. TUCA. POA. BRIZA. BROMUS. DACTYLIS. *** Flowers in spikes, and often a little sunk in

the concavities of the axis. CYNOSURUS. SESLERIA. NARDUS. ROTT. BOLLIA. TRITICUM. LOLIUM. ELYMUS. HORDEUM. **** Male and Female Flowers placed in distinct

spikelets.

HOLCUS. Thirteenth Family. CYPERACEÆ. Cyperoidea, Jussieu. Gramina spuria, Allioni.

Calamariarum gen. Linnæus. The Cyperaceæ are herbs with a cylindrical and triangular stem, almost always destitute of knots; their leaves are sessile, or forming sheaths with their bases; the sheath is always entire, and the limb is very

like that of the leaves of the gramineæ; the flowers are spiked, and either hermaphrodite or unisexual; each Hower is placed in the axil of a scale, palea, or glume, which performs the functions of a calyx; sometimes the inferior palea are abortive; the stamens are three in number, and their filaments often peristent, even to maturity; the ovary is superior, simple, surmounted by a style, which is divided into two or three stigmas; receptacle often beset with setæ. Fruit, (a Carcerula) membranous, horny or crustaceous, unilocular, containing but one seed, of which the structure and germination are similar to that of the gramineæ.

These plants grow in moist places, and resemble the gramineæ in their habit, in the number of their stamina, and their monospermous fruit; they are intermediate between the typhaceæ and the graminee ; approaching the first by the separation of the sexual organs, by the presence of setæ about the ovary, &c.; and the second by their germination and the structure of the fruit. They differ from the typhaceæ in having calicinal scales, and in their germination; from the gramineæ by their flowers of a single glume, by their leaves, the sheaths of which are not longitudinally cut, and by their stems being destitute of true knots, &c.

Genera.
CAREX. KOBRESIA. ERIOPHORUM. SCIR-

PUS. SCHENUS. CYPERUS.
Fourteenth Family. TYPHACEÆ.
Typhæ, Jussieu. Typhoidea, Ventenat.

Calamariarum gen. Linnæus. Aquatic herbs, of which the stems, destitute of knots, are strait or flexuose, and bear alternate leaves, a little sheathing, very long, and somewhat in form of a sword. The flowers are monoecious, united in compact catkins, globular or cylindrical, and of one sex; the male flowers have a calyx of three leaves, a superior simple ovary, surmounted by a style, and 'two stigmas; the fruit is a carcerula, or monospermous drupe; the

embryo is placed in the centre of a fleshy or tarinace. ous perisperm, and the radicule is inferior.

The heads of flowers are often furnished with a membranous spathe at their base; the male heads are always found above the leaves.

Genera.
TYPHA. SPARGANIUM.
Halesworth.

D***

ACCOUNT OF FEATS OF STRENGTH,

&c. &c.
IN HINDUSTAN.

Concluded from page 30.

DANCING ON THE ROPE. A COMMON rope is stretched upon two pair of cros. sed spars, about iwenty feet distant, and fourteen feet from the ground; a man piles six water pots on his head, and, thus accoutred, ascends the rope by means of the spars, or of the sloping cord on the outside of them; the rope is not quite tight, but left with a slack of about three feet; he then, with a balance pole in his hand, walks backward and forward, and swings the rope to its extent, without letting a single pot fall.

The same person mounts again upon the rope, with his left foot in a slipper, and the other in a round and flat brass pan, about one third of which is cut off. Thus incommodiously shod, he moves along the rope, first shoving the slippered foot onward, and then slid ing the pan, by means of the rim, and aid of his right foot, close along the left heel, ancle, and slipper, till the right foot gets foremost; and so alternately onwards, and again backwards, till the feat is com. pleted.

To conclude, he fixes crooked stilts upon his legs, made of buffalo horn, bent inwardly nearly six inches; these incumbrances are, however, no impediment tó his walking on the ground, climbing up the spars, or to his proceeding backward and forward upon the rope with his wonted agility.

Another man now figures upon the rope ou his knees, and thus, with a scymetar in his hand, by way of balance, I conceive, proceeds from one end of it to the other.

The brass pan is again placed upon the rope; the above person places his head upon it, and cants his heels into the air ; just behind his head, the rope is crossed by a bamboo, either end of which is held with strings, by assistants, in order to keep it even : he then shoves the pan forward on the rope with his head, and draws the cross bamboo after it with his hands, repeating the same till he reaches the other end.

FEATS OF STRENGTH AND ACTIVITY. Two men thruw spears at each other, at about fifteen feet distance, as forcibly as they can; one wards off his adversary's dart by another, which he carries upright in both bands ; the other receives his oppo. nent's javelin, every throw, under one of his arms.

Four persons beld slightly a linen cloth stretched out; the same man ran over it so lightly as not to force it out of the holder's hands.

Another got upon stilts fourteen or fifteen feet high, and walked about, and gave several jumps backwards and forwards on them.

Two sabres being placed parallel upon the ground, with their edges upwards, a man ran over their edges so lightly as not to cut himself. *

The same man stepped over upon the point of a sword fixed upright. He then jumped through a barrel, held horizontally, about five feet high.

Four daggers and two swords are placed in a loose frame, and he jumps through the whole without being cut.

A sword and four daggers are placed on the ground, the edges and points upwards, no further distant from each other than will admit the breadth of a man's head; a man then fixes a scymetar upright, sits down

• This feat, and one or two others, will remind the reader, of Virgil's description of the lightness and fleetness of Camilla. Æneid, Lib. vii. 807. 811.-Ed.P.M.

« IndietroContinua »