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but excited no kind of interest, and I only allude to them for the purpose of showing that the failure of the crop has not been so sudden as it is generally supposed. Even from the excess of evil may arise some good: perhaps this sad lesson may teach the poor Irishman to depend less entirely on the potato and more on the labour of his hands as a means of sustenance.
The Rubus fruticosus has obtained an unusual share of regard, and Mr. Babington has put forth an ingenious pamphlet on its so-called species and varieties. Admitting the full merit of Mr. Babington's essay as a lucid résumé of prior publications, accompanied by judicious original remarks; I still venture to doubt its utility as a contribution to science, believing that the descriptions apply, in almost every instance, to individuals, or to some half-dozen or dozen somewhat similar individuals, and not to those larger groups of individuals which appear under the same constant form in all parts of the kingdom, and which perpetuate that form from generation to generation. I think we are quite without proof that any species, subspecies or variety of the common bramble transmits its characters to its descendants: in fact, the few experiments within the range of my own experience go to prove that the forms of brambles are not transmittable by seed, but that the produce of one form exhibits many forms. I am aware that portions of an individual retain the peculiarities of that individual, but this appears very unimportant; for our apples, pears, gooseberries, dahlias, calceolarias and fuchsias do the same.
The three controverted British species of Enanthe have been again discussed, and it has become evident that the perfectly simple roots, as compared with others partially incrassated, do not indicate specific distinction. It appears that the roots of all the species are, if not invariably, at least generally, perfectly simple at first. The error has arisen from contrasting different states or stages of growth : a practice of which I have frequently ventured to disapprove, suggesting that the objects compared should always be in a corresponding state as regards their approach towards maturity,
I have felt greatly interested in Mr. Watson's discovery that our beautiful Lastræa recurva is known and described as a native of Madeira ; but, highly as I value that gentleman's judgment, I cannot agree in his proposed alteration of the name. It is quite evident that Mr. Lowe's name of Nephrodium fænėsecii var. alatum is intended for the plant in question : it is equally evident that Mr. Bree described the same species as Aspidium dilatatum var. recurvum : I believe, although it appears quite immaterial, that Mr. Bree's name has the claim of priority. Without any knowledge of Mr. Lowe's description, I described the fern as a species in 1844, adopting the name under which Mr. Bree had previously described it as a variety. An inspection of numerous specimens has convinced me that Mr. Lowe's Nephrodium fænesecii is a mere repetition of the Polypodium cristatum of Linneus, the Aspidilum spinulosum and dilatatum of later authors. Supposing Mr. Watson to be right in his view when he says, “I consider Mr. Lowe to have been correct, not in error, when he included a triangular [recurva) and oblong (multiflora] form of frond under one specific name,” (Phytol. ii. 568), I then claim the right of going back to the oldest name given to the same assemblage of forms: supposing Mr. Watson mistaken, then he will not deny me the credit of singling out the triangular form, and being the first to describe it as a species : Mr. Lowe truly singles it out many years previously, but only as a variety, and in this Mr. Watson says he is “ correct, not in error.” The matter must now be left for others to decide ; I should not have thus called attention to it a second time, had it not been intimated to me that my silence was interpretated as an assent to Mr. Watson's views.
It seems desirable to give annually a brief outline of additions to the British Flora, and as this was omitted from last year's address, the subjoined discoveries extend over a longer space of time. It will be recollected by most of our readers that the ‘London Catalogue of British Plants' brought down the list of recorded species to the close of 1843. In April, 1846, the Botanical Society of London issued a circular (See Phytol. ii. 542), embracing, amid other information, a list of the species and varieties communicated to the Society since the publication of the Catalogue': these were seventeen in number, as a list of novelties it might still be considered incomplete, inasmuch as the Society had not then received various plants for which a claim to be considered British had previously been made. The subjoined list from the pages of the Phytologist' is somewhat more comprehensive and complete.
Teucrium Botrys, Phytol. i. 1086, discovered by Mr. Bennett, near
Dorking, Surrey. Leersia oryzoides, i. 1140, by Mr. Borrer, near Henfield, Sussex. Spergula stricta, ii. 1; by Mr. Backhouse, &c., in Teesdale. Galium Vaillantii, ii. 1, by Mr. G. S. Gibson, near Saffron
Walden. Saxifraga rotundifolia, ii. 3, by Miss Wright, at the foot of
Causey Pike. (Enanthe Lachenalii, ii. 13, by several botanists, in various and
widely separated localities. Carduus setosus, ii. 31, by Dr. Dewar, near Dunfermline, in
Fifeshire. Helianthemum Breweri, ii. 31, long since discovered on Holy
head Mountain by Mr. Brewer, but confounded with H. gut
tatum of authors. Calamintha sylvatica, ii. 49, by Dr. Bromfield, in the Isle of
Wight. Cnicus oleraceus, ii. 53, by Dr. Bromfield, in the Isle of Wight,
and ii. 115, by Mr. Cole, in Lincolnshire. Rubus Babingtoni, ii. 138, by Dr. Bell Salter, at Selborne. Hieracium nudicaule, ii. 184, by the late Mr. Edmondston, on
the banks of the Findhorn, near Forres. Rubus tenuis, ii. 192, by Dr. Bell Salter, in various localities. Rubus Borreri, ii. 192, by Dr. Bell Salter, in various localities. Orobanche amethystea, ii. 239, by the Rev. W. S. Hore, near
Whitsand Bay. Carex montana, ii. 289, by Mr. Mitten, near Tunbridge Wells.
Atriplex hortensis, ii. 330, by Dr. Bromfield, between Ryde
and Binsted, in the Isle of Wight.
bog, near Flint.
a most interesting and unexpected discovery.
near Maltock, Derbyshire: this plant is first recorded as
Notcutt, (Phytol. ii. 724). It will be observed that the foregoing list contains plants that may be arranged under three heads; first, European old species newly discovered to be natives; secondly, exotic species introduced by accident or design, but not to be regarded as natives; and thirdly, new species created by the division of old ones. It is not my desire, nor do I consider it my duty, to analyze the list and place each plant under its respective head: let every botanist weigh the evidence before him and draw his own conclusions.
I have further to notice a list entitled “Some of the more recent and interesting additions to the British Flora,” which has just been published in the Naturalist's Almanack' for 1847. In this meagre summary the author has omitted, either by design or through ignorance, the more important additions recorded in the ‘Phytologist, but has included the following names, to which I believe the pages of the 'Phytologist' have not alluded.
Sedum purpureum, Tausch.) This is the well-known Sedum
Telephium of British authors: the slight variety to which the name of purpureum has been given, is cultivated by Mr. Cameron in the Botanic Garden at Birmingham : I have known it for many years, and have no inclination to admit it
as a species. Valeriana sambucifolia, (Mikan). This was pronounced by De
Candolle to be identical with our Valeriana officinalis, and I
believe our best botanists coincide in this view. Orobanche arenaria, (Bork.) This plant appears to be identical
with Orobanche cærulea of British authors. Linaria supina, (Desf.) A species introduced with foreign grain. Carex Persoonii, (Sieber). A name only, as regards this country,
and erroneously applied to a dwarf form of Carex curta found
in the Highlands of Scotland. Besides these, Carex Grahami (Boott), appears in the list. This plant has been known for so many years that it can scarcely be recorded as a novelty, although Dr. Boott has only given it a name within the last five. (See Phytol. i. 910). It was formerly held to be a large variety of C. pulla or C. saxatilis ; but it will be seen by a reference to the ‘Phytologist,' that it has there been accepted as a species, on the authority of Dr. Boott, whose acquaintance with the genus is I believe unrivalled.
Professor Lindley's admirable work, the ‘Vegetable Kingdom' gives a lustre to the year in which it was published. It is by far the most valuable contribution to botanical science that this country has pro