Royal agricultural and commercial society of Briti.

Timehri: the journal of the Royal agricultural and commercial society of British Guiana online

. (page 17 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

venis flabellatis immersis, soris oblongis ad venarum
apicem solum produces cite confluentibus zonam angustam
intramarginalem formantibus.

Stipes wiry 5-6 in. long. Lamina only about an inch long
and broad. Found on the summit of the mountain.
101,215 (14*) Gymnogramme (Pterozonium)elaphogloMoidei,
n. sp. Caudice valido lignoso paleis parvis subulatis nigra*
castaneis dense vestrto, stipitibus elongatis erectis nudis
castaneis frondibus simplicibus integris rigide coriaceis
nudis elliptico-lanceolatis acUtis vel obtusis conspicue cos-
tatis basi cordatis, venis confertis, patulis parallelis ' sim-
plicibus vel furcatis intra marginem evanesoentibus, soris
linearibus cite confluentibus frondis faciem totam inferiorem
praeter zonam angustam marginalem occupantrbus.

Stipes wiry sometimes above half a foot long. Fronds
6-8 fn. long ; fertile 1-2 inches, sterile sometimes 3 inches
broad; Sort occupying the whole under surface except a

Digitized by


2l8 TlMEHRI.

marginal border not more than &-•& in. broad. Pound both
upon the upper slopes of the mountain and in the neigh-
bourhood of the encampment.

These two interesting novelties both fall under the genus.
Pterozonium of Fee\ figured at tab. i6of his* Genera Filicum.
The only species known previously is the very rare Gymno-
gramme reniformis, Mart, figured Icon Crypt. Bras. tab. 26
and also in Hooker's 2nd Century of Ferns tab. 9 and on
tab 49 of the Fern volume of Flora Brasiliensis. The two
new species are very distinct both from one another and
G. reniformis. In G. cyclophylla the sori form a narrow
band just within the margin ; in G. reniformis a broad semi-
circle a distinct space within the margin ; whilst in
G. elaphoglossoides they cover the whole surface except a
narrow border.

194. Gymnogramme Schomburgkiana, Kunze, Upper slopes of the

197. Gymnogramme hirta, Desv. Upper slope of the mountain
New to Guiana.

150. Gymnogramme flexuosa, Desv., Upper slope of Roraima,
also new to Guiana.
Enterosora, Baker, genus novum. Sori oblongi vel oblongo-
cylindrici exindusiati ad venas decurrentes intra frondis
taminam orti, demum ad frondis faciem inferiorem rimis
angustis obliquis imperfefte obvii, venae pinnate, venulis
paucis ascendentibus prope frondis margin em anastomo-
santibus et areolas steiiles hexagonas sori unico centrali
includentes formantibus.

Most resembles Gymnogramme, from which it differs
mainly by having the sori immersed within the tissue of the
frond and only appearing very partially on the lower surface
even in a mature stage.

184 (ex parte) Enteroiora Oampbellii, Baker, n. sp. The only
species. Upper slopes of the mountains, with Polypodium
trifurcatum. Rootstock cylindrical, subereft, densely clothed
with small brown membranous lanceolate pales. Stipes
t slender, brown, ere6l, wiry, 4-5 in. long, with a few very incon-
spicuous spreading fibrillose paleae downwards. Lamina
oblanceolate simple, subcoriaceous, glabrous, 6-8 in. long,

Digitized by


Notes on Plants at Roraima. 219

under an inch broad, obtuse, narrowed gradually to the
base, conspicuously repand on the margin with broad
rounded lobes, veins very distinct when the frond is held up
to the light, arranged in pinnate groups, one opposite each,
lobe, the sterile veinlets forming unequal hexagonal areolae,
with a single vein bearing a sorus in the centre of each.
Sori £.£ in. long, 4-6 to each of the central pinnated groups,
ere&o-patent as regards the whole lamina, seen partially at
last on the lower surface by slits that seem as if they were
made with a knife through the epidermis.

Frond in shape and texture much resembling that of
Polypodium trifurcatum, from which it differs by its long
stipes- and totally different veining in addition to the entirely
dissimilar shape and position of its sori. In naming it after
the late W. H. Campbell Esq., I am carrying out the wish
of Mr. im Thurn.
170. Vittaria lineata, Sw. Upper slopes of the mountain.
212, 218. Vittaria stipitata, Kunze. Upper slope of the mountain.
New to Guiana.
229, 231. Acrostichum latifolium, Sw. Upper slopes of the moun-
tain. Two different varieties, both rigid in texture, nar-
rowed very gradually from the middle to the base, and 229
dotted over the under side with minute subpeltate brown
233, 238. Acrostichum Lingua, Raddi.

267. Acrostichum stenopteris, Klotzch. In the neighbourhood of

the encampment. New to Guiana.
266. Acrostichum decoratum, Kunze. In the neighbourhood of the

278. Acrostichum Aubertii, Desv. var. crinitum, nov. var.
Recedes from the Brazilian and Columbian type of the
species towards A. villosum by its much more crinite lamina
both in the sterile and fertile frond, and by the stipes being
clothed with squarrose subulate brown paleae, as in the
Venezuelan A Reichenbachii, Moritz. Path to the upper
slope. The species is new to Guiana.
237 (45*) Acrostichum (Elaphoglossum) leptophlebium, Baker,
n. sp. Rhizomate repente cylindricolignosopaleis parvis mem-
branaceis lanceolatis brunneis crispatis dense vestito, stipite
BE 2

Digitized by


220 TlM«HRK

elongato stramineo subnudo, frond* sterili lanceolato mem-
branaceo glabro paleis paucis lanceolatis ad marginem et
faciem inferiorem praedrto, venis laxis perspicuis ere&o-
patentibus simplicibus vel foroatts intra marginem termi-
nantibuB, fronde sterili multo rainori stipite longiori.

Sterile lamina a foot or more long, 18-20 lines broad,
cuneate at the base, with, a slender fragile stipe, 4.5 inches
long. Fertile lamina 4-5 inches long, an inch broad, with
a stipe about a foot long. Found upon the upper slope of
the mountain.
. 93. Acrostichum muscosum, Sw., var. A Engelii, Karst. In the
neighbourhood of the encampment

213. Acrostichum squamosum, Sw. Upper slope of the mountain.
41. Acrostichum (Rhipidopteris) peltatum. Sw. In the neighbour,
hood of the encampment.

loo. Schizaea dichotoma, Sw. In the neighbourhood of the en-

campment, new to Guiana.
85. Schizaea elegans Sw. In the neighbourhood of the encamp,

263. Anemia tomentosa, Sw. In the neighbourhood of the en-

146. Lycopodium alopecuroides, L. In the neighbourhood of the

192. Lycopodium linifolum L var. sarmentosum rubescens, Spring.
Upper slopes of the mountain.

230. Lycopodium subulatum, Desv. Base of the cliff.

226. (159*) Selagipella (Stacbygynftndrum) vernicoia,
Baker, n. sp. Caule basi decumbente superne refto laxe
pinnato, ramulis paucis brevibus ascendentibus, foliis hete-
romorphis distichis crassjs firmis nhide viridibus, plans in-
ferioris confertis ere&o-patentibus ovatis obttfsis margine
ubique denticulatis, planse superioris duplo brevioribus
ascendentibus ovatis obtusis valde imbricatis, spicis tetra-
gonis brevissimis bra&eis conformibus magnis ovatis acutis.
This belongs to the Atrovirides group in the neighbour-
hood of S. Martensii. The main stems are about half a foot
long, the leafy branches an eighth of an inch broad and the
leaves of the lower plane a line long. The type as described
was found at the base of the cliff, ajid a variety (No. 381)

Digitized by


Notes on Plants at Roraima. 221

with m«ch fewer, more elongated branches, near the en-
122. (186*) Selaginella (Stachygynandmm) roraimemis,
Baker, n. sp., Caule ere&o 3-4 pinnato, ramis laxe dispositis
ascendentibus ramtrHs brevibus, foliis heteromorphis disti-
ehis membranaceis plana; inferioris Iaxis oblongo-lanceolatts
acutis valde irtaequilateralibUs basi superiori produ&o late
rotundato, planae superioris ovatis ascendentibus cuspidatis.
spicis tetragonis, bra£teis conformibus ovatis acutis valde
imbricatis acute carinatis sporangiis duplo longioribus,
Belongs to the Radiatae group in the neighbourhood of
S. radiata and conftrsa. The main stems are 4 or 5 inches
long ; the leafy branches £ in. broad and the leaves of the
lower plane a line long. Found in the neighbourhood of
the encampment.
(271*). Selanginella (Heteroataohy*) rhodoataohya, Baker,
n. sp., Caule decttmbente ramis alternis deltoideis flabellato-
pipinnatis, foliis heteromorphis distichis membranaceis,
plans inferioris laxe dispositis, eredo-patentibus ovatis ob-
tusis paulo inaequilateralibus superioris consimilibus duplo
minoribus valde ascendent ibus, spicis brevissimis platy-
stachyoideis, bracteis dimorphis ovatis acutis membranaceis.
Belongs to the group Prontiflore in the neighbourhood of
S. consimilis and ottonis. The stems are half a foot in
length and the leafy branches £ in. broad. This was con.
tained in the collection without any number.
76S. Hookeria (Omaliadelphus) crisp a, G. Mull. Bot. Zeit 1855.
123. Imperfectly fruited. Near encampment.
51. Hypopterygium tamariscei, Sw. (Hypnum). Hew. Musci.
265. Frond without fruit, near encampment.
620. Polytrichum aristiflorum Mitt. Zl. Linn. soc. xii.
116. A few barren stems, near encampment. Creeping over the roots
of this are a few stems of Gungermannia perfoliata,
Swartz, or of one of the closely allied S. American species
of the little group to which Mr. 'Spruce has applied the
name Syzygiella in the Journal of Botany 1876, intending
it to include Jungermannia perfoliata J. contigua and J.
concreta, Grtesche J. plagiochiloides and J. pectniformis,
Spruce, also J. macrocalyx Mont. To these must be added

Digitized by


222 TlMEHRl.

J. geminifolia Mitt. Zl Linn. Soc. vii. 164 from tropical
Africa and the J. subintegerrima, Reinev. Bb. et Nees
Hep. Jav. in the Synopsis Hepaticarum, placed in Plagio-
chila(p.55) to this belong P. variegata Lind. P. variabilis
Lacoste and also P. securi folia, Lind. Sp. Hep. t x. all
which have the leaf angles united on both sides of the stem
even when they are not opposite, a characteristic which is
not mentioned in their original descriptions or depicted in
their figures nor in that of the J. macrocalyx as found in the
Synopsis. The perianth in J. subintegerrima agrees with
that found in the species allied to J. colorata and as in their
case is subtended by shortened and dentate involucral

Exactly similar instances of the conjugation of the leaf-
angles are found in Plagichila, some of which do not
otherwise resemble each other.
283. Plagiochila adiantoides, Sw. Lind. Male stems only Upper
204, 284. Aneura bipinnata Sw. (Jungermannia) Specimens taken from
large tufts. Upper Slopes.

In these specimens the stems are 4-5 cm tall including
the side branches, 1 cm wide, the ultimate ramuli with a
limb of about two rows of more pellucid cells. In A. f ucoides
Hook. Musi Exot, t. 85, this limb is very much wider ; in A.
Poepgregiana it is nearly or quite obsolete. Besides these,
there are several other remarkable S. American species.
A. balata, Gotts., from Chili, a very large species. A. pre-
hensilis Hook, f. et Tayl. Fl. Ant. originally from Her-
mite Island, since collected by Cunningham with stems
nearly six inches tall and always with its pruinose look
when dry, A. polyclada Mitt, gathered in Otway Harbour,
Patagonia, during the visit of the Challenger expedition,
a small species about one and a half inches tall.

A. polyptera Mitt, from Magellan, collected in Cockle
Cove by Dr. Coppinger H.M.S. Alert, fronds 10 cm. alt , 2
cm. lat, ramis approximatis tripinnatis ubique lamina 5-6
cell lata limbulus dorso planus, laevis ventre precipue in
ramis ramulisque lamellis angustis longitudinalibus vestitus,
and A. denticulata Mitt, from the Andes of Bogota gathered

Digitized by


Notes on Plants at Roraima. 223

amongst mosses by Weir-frons 5-6 cm altus cum
ramulis 1 cm. latus ramis remotiusculis bipinnatis
ubique limbo pellucidiore cell. 4 lato margine denticu-
latis divaricatis angustis subciliatis. All these species
shew that in S. America there is a development of larger
forms than are yet known elsewhere.

Blipharozia Roraimae, Mitt. n. sp. folia erefto-patentia
imbricata cochleariformi concava integerrima lobulata ob-
tusa; involucralia conformia, prianthera (abortiva) cylin-
dracea abrupte obtusissima ore parvo rotundo. From
the top of Roraima; one stem only.

Entire plant of a dark red brown colour, about 4 cm. tall ;
it is divided below into two, one being again forked, the
leaves are imbricated in bifarious order and are repeatedly
in interrupted series, each innovation arises from towards
one side of the dorsal base of the perianth with small
leaves which increase rapidly in size upwards, the largest
being the involucral ; here the greatest diameter is about
4 m.m. long, and of these as many as four are observable
on the undivided stem ; and as each innovation arises from
the same position they stand at the side of the stem rather
towards the neutral ride. In all particulars they closely
resemble th» abortive perianths seen on B. sphagnoides and
other species ; the young innovation also is in close simi-
larity to that of the male amenta of that species, but there
is no trace of the lobule, which is not, as has been sup.
posed, distinft from the leaf in B. cochleariformis, but is
seen from being an almost closed one in some species to
be opened out in B. evoluta.

Digitized by



History of the Origin, Customs, Religion, Wars,
and travels of the Caribs, Savages of the
Antilles in America.

Written by Father De La Borde, employed with the Reverend Father Simon,
Jesuit, to convert the Caribs. (Translated from the French, and
condensed, by G.J. A. Bosch- Reita.)

{Introductory Note. — The narrative by Pere De La Borde which here
follows is the first of a series of reprints of the literature of West Indian
and Guiana Redmen which it is proposed to publish from time to time
in Timehri. The present example has been kindly translated for the
purpose bv Mr. Bosch-Reitz. It is a delightfully naive and truthful
pifture of a very early view of that particular form of Carib life
which was lived in the West Indian islands before Europeans
had taken complete possession of those places. There is little, indeed
no, doubt that the extinft Caribs of the islands and the existing Caribs
of Guiana were merely localized branches of one and the same race.
Almost everything that La Borde tells of the Caribs in the islands
may be seen in Guiana at the present day. Our author seems, however,
to have had to do with Caribs of quite unusually dirty and immoral
habits. Nor can there be much doubt that he misread the superstitious
notions of these people ; but then this particular misreading of these so-
called savages has been made by almost all missionaries, as a conse-
quence of the naturally prejudiced views with which they approached the
study. Ed.]

J HERE are so many different histories of the
islands that it is quite unnecessary to repeat
what has so often been said of them. If, how-
ever, it may seem that I do so, it is where matters
have been inaccurately represented or in some way mis-
represented to us. I shall not speak here of the air,
climate, and the nature of the country; others have
spoken enough about these. I shall only offer some re-
marks, for the sake of those interested in such matters,
on the customs and superstitions of the savages ; and
I guarantee all I say of them to be true, having had
to deal with them personally, and paid great attention

Digitized by


History of the Caribs. 225

to their customs. An enquiry of this nature is praise-
worthy in so far as one derives some benefit from it ; be-
cause, when I consider that the Caribs are hospitable,
without ambition, very simple, without greediness, very
sincere, without fraud, without blasphemy, without lies,
I cannot but admire them, and imitate them in the above
points ; but if they have their perfeftions they also have
their vices, of which later. When I consider their blind-
ness and that they have neither belief, law, nor king, I feel
obliged to render thanks to my Creator for giving me
the knowledge of a God, and for causing me to be
born in the true religion, and a subjeft of the greatest
king on earth.

Of the Origin of the Caribs. I will not try to discover
the origin and descent of the Caribs, the island savages
of America, as they themselves know nothing about it,
They care as little about the past as about the future ;
and writers give such different accounts about the
matter that I can discover nothing certain on this point.
Some have thought that they are descended from the
Jews because they praftise circumcision, and also be- t
cause they eat no pork. Old savages have told me that
they are descended from the Galibis of the mainland
(neighbours to the Arawaks, their enemies) whom they
closely resemble in language, customs v and religion ; and
that they had entirely destroyed a certain nation on the
islands with the exception of the women, whom they
took to themselves, which is the cause why the language
of the men differs in some respefts from that of the
women. I also believe that the cause of difference be-
tween them is due to the fa6l that the Caribs have con-
sorted with strangers and so changed their customs and


Digitized by


446 TlMEHRI.

manners* Some however of them do not change ; and
these tell the others that the cause of their misfortune,
sickness, and of the war carried on against them by
Christians, arises from their no longer living after the
manner of Caribs.

Of their Religion and their idea of the Creation of
the World and the Heavens. Though they are of very
fickle chara&er, and are very flighty and inconstant
in all their undertakings, yet in matters of religion they,
after the , manner of heretics, are obstinately attached
to their Chemeens and all their other superstitions,
and nothing one can tell them to prove to them that
they are being deceived by the devil, is able to con-
vince them ; like the Calvinists, they have no priest,
altar, or sacrifices. This is peculiar to them, I think,
alone of all heathens. By their brutal passions, barba-
rous customs, and bestial lives, they have smothered all
such knowledge and light as Nature gives them of the
Divinity. I would not believe this myself were it not
that I see it every day, and though they have been
preached to for the last twenty years they will not
believe, nor will they recognise their Creator, the source
of all good. They fear the Devil, whom they call
MABOIA; but they render him no worship. Judging
from their fables, we have reason to believe that the
light of the Evangelists must have been revealed
to them formerly. LoUQUO was the first man and
a Carib. He was not made of any other body; he
descended from the sky and lived a long time on
earth. He had a large nostril, from which, as also
from an incision in his thighs, he produced the first
men. A great many things took place during his life

Digitized by


History of the Caribs. 227

which are unfit to be related here. He made fishes out
of scrapings and fragments of cassava, which he threw
into the water : he rose again three days after death and
returned to the sky : the animals came after him, but
the Caribs know not whence.

The Caribs were formerly long-lived, and even if they
did not get old they died without illness. They ate
nothing but fish, which is always young and never gets

Later, they found a small field of cassava which
LOUQUO had left behind him ; but, not knowing this
plant, an old woman appeared and taught them the use
of it and told them that by breaking the wood in small
pieces and planting these in the earth more roots would
come. They say that in the beginning the cassava only
took three months to mature ; that afterwards it took
six ; and at last nine, as at present, before it was fit to be
made into bread, which they call Aleba, and the women

They believe that the sky has always existed, but not
the earth and seas, and that these have not always been
in the same good order in which they are at present.

Their first man, LOUQUO in the beginning made the
earth soft and smooth, without mountains : they cannot
say from where he got the substance. The Moon fol-
lowed immediately, and esteemed herself very pretty,
but after seeing the sun she went and hid herself from
shame, and has never shown herself but in the night.
All the heavenly bodies are Caribs. They make the Moon
masculine, and call her NONUN and the Sun, HUOIOU.
They attribute the eclipses to MABOIA, the devil, who
tries to kill them. They say that this wicked seducer

FF 2

Digitized by


228 TlMEHRI.

cuts their hair by surprise and makes them drink the
blood of a child, and, that, when they are totally
eclipsed, it is because the Stars being no longer warmed
by the Sun's rays and light, are very ill. They respeft*
the Moon more than the Sun, and as soon as the new
Moon appears they all run out of their huts and cry,
Look at the moon /

They take certain leaves, and, after rolling them in
the shape of a small funnel, they pass some drops of
water through it into the eye, while looking at the Moon.
This is very good for the sight. They count their days
by the Moon, as do the Turks, and not by the Sun :
instead of one month they say one Moon. They don't
say, How many days will you take for your trip? but,
How many nights will you sleep ?

Their counters are their fingers. To express 12, they
show their two hands and two of their toes ; if the num-
ber exceeds the fingers and toes they say ff Tamieati,"
much. If there is a great quantity they show their
hairs or a handful of sand. When they have to meet at
an appointed place on a fixed day to make war, they
each take a certain number of stones in a calabash, and
take one out every morning, and when there are no
more left they know that the time fixed for departure
has come and that they must start. Sometimes, they
make notches on a piece of wood ; or else they make so
many knots in a string and undo one every day.

In the beginning, then, the earth was soft, but the
sun made it hard, as are the heavens; up above
there are nicer fields than here, nice savannahs, fine
rivers : Ouicou (a kind of beverage like beer) running
everlastingly. No water is drunk there, the houses are

Digitized by


History of the Caribs. 229

better made, they have more women there and a num-
ber of children, no work is done, every thing grows
without being sown ; one does nothing but drink
'and dance, and one never gets ill. What they say of
the origin of the sea, and of waters in general, resembles
in some degree the account of the deluge. The great
master of the Chemeens, who are their high spirits, being
at that time vexed with the Caribs, who were then very
bad, and had ceased offering him any more cassava
and oiiicou caused rain to fall so heavily for several
days, that nearly all the Caribs were drowned, with
the exception of some who saved themselves by means
of small boats and landed on the top of a moun-
tain, which was then the only one. This deluge caused
the formation of hills, rocks, and the separation of islands
from the mainland. When asked where the waters came
from, they say that there are rivers in the higher
regions and that the first waters came from the urine
and sweat of the Chemeens. This is why the sea is salt ;
and they say that fresh water is the result of water from
the sea passing through the earth and getting purified.

Racumon was one of the first Caribs made by Lou-
QUO. He was transformed into the shape of a large
snake with the head of a man. He was always seated
on a Cabatas (a hard and high tree). He lived on its
fruit, which resembles a large plum or small apple,
and which he gave sometimes to those who passed. He
is now changed into a star.

Savacou was also a Carib. He was changed into a
large bird, he is the captain of the storms and thunders ;
he has caused the heavy rains, and is also a star

Digitized by


230 TlMEHRI.

Achinaon, a Carib, at present a star, causes light
rain and strong winds.

COUROUMON (a Carib), also a star, causes the heavy
sea waves, and upsets canoes ; he is also the cause of
flood and ebb. Chirities, the Pleiades, they reckon
by, and observe the years by this constellation, but,
they know not how many it is since the first of them
came from the mainland to inhabit the islands, neither
know their age. They know not where we come from,
but they call us Balanacli ) *>., Men of the Sea,* and
believe that we were born out of the sea, and had no

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 22 23 24 25