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3 20
1



I



HARVARD UNIVERSiry

LIBRARY OF THE GRAY HERBARIUM

Giftof

Charles Alfred and Una F. Weatherby

1950




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THE



ENGLISH FLORA,



BY

SIR JAMES EDWARD SMITH, M.D. F.R.S.

MEMBER OF THE ACADEMIES OF
STOCKHOLM, UPSAL, TURIN, LISBON, PHILADELPHIA, NEW YORK, ETC. ETC.;

THE IMPERIAL ACAD. NATURiE CURIOSORUM,

AND

THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AT PARIS;

HONORARY MEMBER OF THE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY OF LONDON ;

AMD

PR£SID£in* OF THE LINNJRAN SOCIETY.



** Thus spring the living herbs, profusely wild,
0*er all the deep green earth ;
With such a liberal hand has Nature flung
Their seeds abroad.** Thomson.



VOL. L



LONDON:

PRINTED FOR

LONGMAN, HURST, REE8, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN,

PATERNOSTER-ROW.



1824.



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FRINTKD IT RICHARD TATLOBy
8HOK-LANX, UONBOIT.



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TO

SIR THOMAS GERY CULLUM, Bart.,

FELLOW OF THE BOYAL^ ANTIQUARIAN, LINNJBAN,
AND HORTICULTURAL SOCIETIES,

WHOSE KNOWLEDGE AND LOVE OF NATURAL SCIENCE

ENTITLE HIM TO THE RESPECT OF ALL

WHO FOLLOW THE SAME PURSUIT,

THIS WORK IS INSCRIBED,
IN GRATEFUL AND AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE,

BY

THE AUTHOR.



a2



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PREFACE.



1 HE title of FlorUy first used by Linders and Rup-
pius, early in the eighteenth century, to designate
an account of the native plants of. some particular
country, has become popular in the Linnaean school
of Botany, and is now universally adopted. Books
bearing this title are almost innumerable, while their
scope and their merits are equally various. Some
are little more than catalogues of names ; others are
elaborate histories of the vegetable productions of
particular districts, more or less extensive; and many
are illustrated with figures of the several species, or
at least of those requiring particular elucidation.
The utility of such publications has been much con-
troverted ; but it depends, like that of other works,
on the excellence of their plan and execution. A
mere list of the plants of any country, if accurate
and complete, has its appropriate value ; more espe-
cially when it contains the discriminative charac-
ters by which such plants may be ascertained. But
a Flora may also be made a vehicle for the natural,
medical, and economical history of a country, like
the Fbra Lapponica of Linnaeus ; though such ob-
jects cannot with propriety enter into the plan of a
Flora of any highly improved or well-known region.
We now therefore expect, under this title, a work



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VI , PREFAOE.

chiefly confined to botanical illustration and descrip-
tion, with such remarks concerning the properties of
any particular plants as may be new or important ;
and possibly some philosophical views arising from
the nature of the subject, tending to the general
elucidation of botanical science. Such only are the
pretensions of this English Flora^ the particular aim
and design of which, with respect to practical use,
will hereafter be explained.

Before the author enters on this explanation, he
proposes to take a general view of the works which
have been published on the Botany of Great Britain ;
in order that the student, who will meet with per-
petual references to these books in the following
pages, may previously become acquainted with them>
and with the characters of their authors. He may
thus learn which of them may be dispensed with,
in the prosecution of his own studies, and which
are most likely to assist him, in any difficult or
doubtful subject of inquiry. They will be noticed
in a chronological order, to show the progress of
Botany in thi« country, and how far each writer has
been indebted to his predecessors. Some remarks
of a similar natiure, by the author of the present
work, were laid before the Linnaean Society, five-
and-twenty years ago, and are printed in the fourth
volume of its Transactions. They were preparatory
to the publication of his Latin Flora Britannicaj and
served as an introduction to a critical history of the
genus BromtiSj whose British species had previously
been little understood.

Phytologia Britannica^ by William How, M.D.,
printed at London in ]650, without the author's



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p R Js: F A c £. vii

name, claims attention as the first general catalogue
of our native plants. This is a duodecimo volume
of 133 pages. The species are disposed alphabeti-
cally, and amount to about 1250, including several
exotic plants in general cultivation, with numerous
varieties of such as are truly wild. ^Fhe names of
many are very erroneous, even among those most
easily determined, and many are, doubtless, admit-
ted on insufl&cient grounds. But, on the other hand,
several rare and curious species are noticed, not
without some entertaining and instructive remarks
and anecdotes. The same author in 1655 edited
Lobel's IllustrationeSj a work not confined to British
plants, and chiefly aimed at certain errors of Park-
inson. Dr. How died in 1656, aged 37. His book
was the foundation of the following.

Pinax Rerum NaturaUum Britannicarumy by
Christopher Merrett„ M.D., an octavo of 223 pages,
of which 165 are allotted fo the Vegetable Kingdom,
appeared in 1667. The number of plants mentioned
in this work is not much greater than in the preced-
ing ; for though several species or varieties are added,
several are unaccountably omitted. Its plan and ar-
rangement are the same. Ray, in one of his letters,
calls this publication " Dr. Merrett's blundering
Pinax ;" an expression which appears harsh, if we
judge Merrett as an original author, because few
naturalists, at the time he lived, could have been
expected to succeed better in a first attempt.. But
when it is considered how much assistance he
derived, not only from the above performance of
Dr. How, but likewise from the local catalogues or
Itineraries of Johnson, the Catalogue of Cambridge



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Vlll PREFACE.

plants published in 1660 by Ray, as well as from
various botanical friends, all which he very hand-
somely acknowledges, we cannot but confess that
his work might have been more abundant in matter,
and more correct in execution. Dr. Merrett contri-
buted little besides this publication to the advance-
ment of natural history. He however became a
Fellow of the Royal Society, when science was emi-
nently requisite for the attainment of that honour,
and died at the age of 81 in 1695.

The above-mentioned works, whatever might be
their value or their defects, were superseded in 1670
by the great Ray's Catalogm Plantarum Anglia et
Imularum a^acentium, an octavo of 358 pages ; of
which a second edition, of only 311 pages, though
enriched with about 46 additional plants, and nu-
merous observations, as well as with two, not very
important, plates, appeared in 1677. The arrange-
ment of this work is alphabetical ; but with respect
to accuracy, and abundance of descriptive, critical
and medical remarks, it has greatly the advantage
of the performances of How and Merrett.

A small Fasciculus of new-discovered British
plants, consisting of 27 pages, and intended as a
supplement to this Catalogue, was published by Ray
in 1688.

This was succeeded in 1690 by the first edition
of the Synopsis Methodica Stirpium Britannicarum
of the same author, in which the plants of Britain
were first classed in scientific order, according to a
system of his own ; an explanation of which he had
already given to the world in 1682, in a small oc-
tav^o volume.



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PREFACE. IX

A second edition of Ray's Synopsis^ considerably
enlarged, appeared in 1696, consisting of 346 pages.
As this is the most accurate and most valuable work
of its immortal author, the foundation of every sub-
sequent English Flora, and scarcely equalled in any
age or country for correctness of practical observa-
tion, it cannot be too frequently studied by those
who wish to trace the origin and progress of our in-
digenous Botany ; to ascertain the aborigines of our
Flora ; to become acquainted with the persons who
first cultivated this department of science, in En-
gland, and with the principal scenes which they
have now rendered classical ; as well as with the
manner in which their studies 'were conducted, in
the closet or the field. It will be observed that nei-
ther Ray nor any other writer, at this time, attempted
uniformity of nomenclature, or any regular plan of
definition. Each plant is mentioned under one or
more descriptive appellations, taken from various
books, being probably such as Ray himself judged
most likely to give, collectively, a just idea of the
species in question. Even Caspar Bauhin, who
had published a universal synoptical work, as an in-
dex to all the botanical knowledge then extant, is
not quoted uniformly. His names are generally in-
dicated, but they do not take the lead. New species
are introduced under original definitions ; and in-
deed there are few of the old ones which the author
has not elucidated by some remark, wherever he
found occasion. The pages, or figures, of preceding
au&ors are not indicated by Ray. This was soon
afterwards practised by Tournefort, and is now be-
come indispensable. Ray appears to have examined



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X PREFACE.

every plant he admitted into his Synopsis^ and to
have gathered most of them with his own hands.
He studied and determined their synonyms, com-
pared their descriptions, and, tracing their natural
affinities and characters, by the parts of fructification
as well as by the general habit, he disposed the whole
in systematic order. He was rarely deceived in the
observation of nature, and was only occasionally mis-
led, by the imperfect figures or descriptions of pre-
ceding writers. Above 100 species are added, in this
edition, to the list of British plants.

The third edition of Ray's Synopsis was published
in 1724, nineteen years after his death, by the cele-
brated Dillenius, a German botanist, brought into
England by William Sherard, formerly British Con-
sul at Smyrna, who by his will founded the Botani-
cal Professorship at Oxford, and appointed Dille-
nius the first Professor. The editor modestly de-
clined prefixing his own name to this book, as being
a foreigner. In a letter to Dr. Richardson, printed
in the Linnaan Correspondence* , vol. 2. 130, he ac-
knowledges his obligations to that gentleman and to
Consul Sherard, as having principally contributed to
the perfection of this publication ; and in the work
itself he every where commemorates those who have
given him particular assistance, especially with
regard to the native stations of the rarer species.
Twenty-four plates, drawn and engraved by the
editor, are added to this edition, which is the only



* A Selection of the Correspondence of Linnaeus, and other natu-
ralists, from the ori^nal manuscripts. By Sir J. E . Smith, M.D. F.R.S.
P*L.S.,in two volumes, octavo, London, 1821.



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PREFACE. XI

one in general use, being always referred to by Lin-
naeus, and quoted throughout by Hudson, and most
subsequent writers upon British plants ; particularly
in the Flora Britarmica and English Botany j as well
as in every page of the present work. Dillenius has,
very properly, distinguished all his own additions
to the Synopsis, by marking his new species with an
asterisk, and inclosing his remarks between brackets.
This ought to be kept in mind, for the perfect un-
derstanding of the work ; and yet we not unfre-
quently find his observations, and even his figures,
criticized, as coming from Ray. The changes made
in the synonyms of this edition are unfortunately
not marked ; and as they are often erroneous, those
botanists who are studious of truth and precision
must have recourse to the edition of 1696. Dille-
nius has indeed added several plants on insufficient
grounds, either as species or natives, some of them
being under different denominations in the original
work. Such mistakes, into which very able men
may readily fall, have from time to time been cor-
rected by following writers. The subject has now
passed thrice under the inspection of the author of the
present English Flora, not altogether surely without
advantage, and yet certainly without being brought
to perfection.

The third edition of Ray's Synopsis was long the
standard book of English botanists, and its nomen-
clature, however imperfect, was in daily use. The
system of this auth^or, indeed, scarcely served for the
technical examination of plants ; nor was it often
adverted to by those who, from long habit, preferred
his names to the more concise ones of Linnaeus.



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XII PREPACK.

But this was far from being the case with unshackled
inquirers ; and those who were led to the study of
Botany by the facility of the Linnaean system, could
not proceed far without perceiving the superior sim-
plicity and accuracy of nomenclature, as well as of
definition, which pervaded all the works of the same
author. A small party of ingenious and learned
men at Norwich, as recorded in the seventh volume
of the Linnaean Society's TransactionSj p. 295, in
correspondence with Mr. Hudson and his able friend
Stillingfleet, entered, with awakened zeal and im-
proved principles, upon the cultivation of this an-
cient field of natural science. Several naturalists of
distinguished ability, in and about the metropolis,
pursued the same path. Mr. Lee of Hammersmith,
at the suggestion and with the assistance of the ac-
complished Lady Ann Monson, published, in 1760,
his Introduction to Botany^ in which the principles
of the great Swedish teacher were first fully ex-
plained to the English student. In the same year
Dr. Hill put forth his Flora Britannica, illustrated by
a reimpression of the plates of Dillenius, and five
additional ones of his own. The classification and
generic characters of Linnaeus are here adopted,
but not his system of nomenclature, nor, with any re-
gularity, his specific definitions. The body of the
work is the third edition of Ray's Synopsis, almost in
its original form. We cannot help wondering that
Hill did not take advantage of an inaugural disser-
tation, published under the Presidency of Linnaeus
at Upsal, in 1754, bearing the title of Flora Anglica,
in which the plants of the Synopsis, with a reference
to its pages, are disposed according to the system



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PREFACE. Xlll

t>f Linnaeus, under the names of his Species Planta-
rumy the obscure ones being thrown into an appen-
dix. This dissertation, however incomplete, was
the first Linnsean Flora of our country. It was
doubtless consulted by Hudson, and his coadjutor
Stillingfleet, in the far more perfect work of which
I shall presently speak, and which became the uni-
versal text-book of British botanists.

Several attempts had been made, before the Lin-
nsean system came into notice, to furnish the stu-
dents of English plants with a systematic manual,
in our native language ; and these, though now ob-
solete, ought not to pass unnoticed.

Professor Martyn the elder, in 1732, accommo-
dated Toumefort's History of plants growing about
Paris, to the plants of Britain, in English, with many
additions. Mr. John Wilson published at Newcastle,
in 1744, a Synopsis of British plants in Mr. Ray's
method. The authors of these performances were
practical botanists, though their books rank but as
compilations, and are now obsolete. Petiver illus-
trated Ray's Synopsis with a set of seventy-two folio
plates, having twelve figures in each, with English
names. These, though rude, would have been highly
valuable, had they, in every instance, been drawn from
native specimens ; but being often copied from fo-
reign books, who^e figures, in several instances, were
misapplied, even by Ray himself, the engravings of
Petiver sometimes serve only to perpetuate error.
They are however often cited with advantage when
original, and will be found, in the sequel of this work,
to throw light upon many a difficult' question.

The Flora Anglica, by Mn William Hudson, F. R.S.,



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XIV PREFACE.

an apothecary in Panton^treet, Haymarket, pub^
lished in 1762, marks the establishment of Linnsean
principles of Botany in England, and their applica-
tion to practical use. With this book in his hand,
any one conversant with the Latin language, and
with the first . rudiments of systematic knowledge,
might reduce a wild plant to its class, order, genus
and species. By turning to the books indicated un-
der each species, he would become acquainted with
every thing relating to its characters, history, or
properties, and might confirm his own determination
of the plants, by the figures and descriptions of for-
mer writers. This is the use of a systematic arrange-
ment, and therefore the more clear and easy it is the
better. Hudson's work became extremely popular,
and rose in process of time to near twenty times its
original price, A second edition appeared in 1778,
in two volumes, with many additions, and various al-
terations, especially among the Grasses, Mr. Hudson
having pursued a train of experiments upon the dif-
ferent species or varieties of this family by cultiva-
tion. But his alterations are certainly not all for the
better. His synonyms are often faulty, particularly
those of foreign autiiors, from a practice, not thought
reprehensible in his time, of transcribing them from
other books, without examination. This is proved
by various errors in the names or pages cited ; and
Linnaeus, in whom Hudson and others have chiefly
confided, is more faulty in such matters than most
writers ; for he often left the transcription of his
synonyms to his pupils, after having written his own
names in the margins of the books to be quoted.'
The Rev. Mr. Lightfoot's Flora Scotica, in two



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PREFACE. XT

volumes, written in English, with a few indifferent
plates, was published the year before the second edi-
tion of the Fbra Anglican and is a useful companion
to that work. But if Hudson be censurable for
blindly copying synonyms, what shall we say of
Lightfoot? He translated entire descriptions fix)m
foreign writers, without any indication of the sources
from whence they were borrpwed, and many of them
are now known to belong to different plants from
ours, so that the student is led into a labyrinth of
error, from which he has no means of extricating
himself, nor indeed of knowing when he is in the
right path.

The first edition of Hudson having become so very
scarce, a Latin Flora Anglica^ on a more compen*
dious plan, was begun in 1774, by the present Sir
Thomas Gery CuUum, Bart. But this work was sup-
pressed on the appearance of the second edition, and
goes no further than the genus Daucus, a few copies
only having been distributed gw^itously by the
l^ighly estimable author amongst his friends.

An English work translated from the full generic,
and essential specific, characters of Linnaeus, as far
as regards British plants, exclusive of Grasses, Trees,
and all the Cryptogamia^ except Ferns, was published
at Kendal in 1775, by Mr. James Jenkinson. This
might serve to initiate young beginners, ignorant of
Latin, into the Linnsean mode of description.

A far more complete and valuable work, in our
native tongue, appeared in 1786, from the pen of
the late William Withering, M.D., an eminent phy-
sician at Birmingham, utider the title of " A Botani-
cal Arrangement of all the Vegetables naturally



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XVI PREFACE.

growing in Great Britain." Of this a second edition,
greatly improved, came forth in 1787, consisting,
like the former, of two volumes. This edition is ren-
dered peculiarly valuable by " a new set of references
to figures," by Dr. Jonathan Stokes ; who performed,
with great judgment and accuracy, the laborious
task of examining almost every figure, throughout
the whole botanical library, which was referrible to
any British plant, and of disposing citations of the
whole in order, according to their comparative ex-
cellence. A third edition of Dr. Withering's work,
greatly enlarged in its plan and execution, making
four volumes, appeared in 1796. In this the classes
with separated flowers, and the Gynandria, are, ac-
cording to the scheme of Thunberg and others, abo-
lished ; an^ alteration which it would not become me
to reject without giving my reasons, and these may
be found in the Introduction to Botany^ which the
reader will of course peruse before he applies the
present work to practical use. This edition of Wither-
ing, the last which its worthy author completed, is
what I have always used, and the only one quoted
in the ensuing pages. Two more editions with which
I am not conversant, have been given to the world
since his death.

The work of Dr. Withering was the only book, at
the time of its publication, which could effectually
serve a mere English reader, in the present advanced
state of botanical knowledge, for the determination
of British Plants. Its language is liable to little
exception. The references to figures have, in the
third edition, been revised and corrected, but not I
believe by their original author Dr. Stokes. Nume-



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P R E F A C F. XVU

rous places of growth, of the less common plants,
have been added, and several new species intro-



Online LibraryJames Edward SmithThe English flora → online text (page 1 of 38)