Phillip Parker King.

Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia Performed between the years 1818 and 1822 — Volume 2 online

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the East Coast. Of the genus Hakea, hitherto almost wholly excluded from
the tropical parts of Australia, besides H. arborescens, the only species
formerly observed within that circle, the Herbarium furnishes at least
two plants, that have been recently discovered in about 22 degrees south
latitude, the one being H. oleifolia of King George's Sound, whilst the
other proves an entirely new species, belonging to the first section of
the genus, having long filiform leaves, and ecalcarated capsules.

Upon the East Coast in latitude 14 degrees two shrubs were observed
having all the habits of Hakea, of the South-west Coast, but being
without fructification, their identity could not be satisfactorily
determined.

Viewing the general distribution of Banksiae, it is a singular fact in
the geographical history of this genus, that its species, which have been
traced through almost every meridian of the South Coast, upon the islands
in Bass Strait, in Van Diemen's Land, and widely scattered throughout the
whole extent of New South Wales to the North Coast, at which extreme of
the continent, B. dentata has been observed as far west as longitude 130
degrees East, should be wholly wanting on the line of North-west Coast.
Why the links of this almost perfect chain should have been broken on the
seashores appears unaccountable, since they are, by reason of their
general sterility and exposure, extremely favourable to the growth of the
greater portion of the order. Our limited knowledge of the West Coast
(properly so called) does not afford us materials to hazard even a
partial conclusion, relative to the existence of this family on its
shores, excepting from the total absence of any one plant of Proteaceae
at those parts of Rottnest and Dirk Hartog's Islands visited during the
Bathurst's voyage; an inference may be drawn of the general paucity of
any part of the order on the shores of the neighbouring main. Although no
species have been found common to shores opposite to each other, in the
higher latitudes, the identity of Grevillea mimosoides, Persoonia
falcata, and Hakea arborescens, has been established upon the East Coast,
and the north-western shores, in the parallel of about 15 degrees South:
but whilst this geographical diffusion has been remarked in reference to
those particular species, the range of Grevillea gibbosa, a plant
discovered at Endeavour River by Sir Joseph Banks, is now tolerably well
defined by observations made during the late voyages, from which it
appears to be circumscribed to an area not exceeding one hundred and
twenty miles on the East Coast. In the course of the progress of the land
expedition above referred to, the discovery of another plant of this
natural order by Mr. Fraser, occurred in New South Wales, in a tract of
country west of the coastline, about the parallel of 31 degrees, where I
am informed it is a timber-tree of very large dimensions; and seemingly
it constitutes a new genus, nearly allied to Knightia of Mr. Brown, a
native of New Zealand, as I judged from a casual view of some specimens.

LABIATAE and VERBENACEAE. The mass of these orders (which are admitted to
be very nearly allied to each other) seems in Australia to exist on its
eastern coast, within and beyond the tropic, and the species in the
collection lately formed, are referred to ten established genera, of
which (as belonging to Verbenaceae) Vitex and Premna are most remarkable
on the North-western Coast.

Of Labiatae, a new species of Labillardiere's genus Prostranthera was
discovered upon Dirk Hartog's Island, where, as also at Rottnest Island,
Westringia was observed, of species, however, common to the South Coast.

BORAGINEAE. Some very important amendments, in reference to the limits of
certain genera of the order have been proposed by Mr. Brown in his
Prodromus, where the characters are remodelled to the exclusion of
certain species previously referred to them by authors. Of Cordia (to
which Varronia of Linne, and Cerdana of Ruiz and Pavon, have at length
been united) only two species have been found in Terra Australis, of
which one had been previously discovered in New Caledonia; and during the
late voyages C. orientalis has been observed on the North-west Coast,
where a third species of Tournefortia in complete fructification was
discovered; and the Herbarium contains some species of that section of
Heliotropium, having a simple straight spicated inflorescence, which were
also found on those equinoctial parts of the continent.

BIGNONIACEAE. Almost ninety species of this beautiful order are described
by authors, the greater part of which are at present incorporated among
the genuine species of Bignonia of Linne; a genus that will hereafter be
divided, according to the shape of the calyx, the number of fertile
stamina, and more especially the form of the fruit (which in some species
is an orbicular or elliptical capsule, varying in others to a long
cylindrical figure, with seeds partly cuneated, or thickened at one
extremity, and in others, a truly compressed Siliqua) together with the
relative position of the dissepiment, in respect to the valves of the
fruit.

The greater portion of Bignoniaceae appears to exist in the equinoctial
parts of America; Some, however, are natives of India, and a few occur on
the western coast of Africa, and Island of Madagascar, but in Terra
Australis the order is reduced to four plants, of which one is a recent
discovery, and may be referred to Spathodea. In that continent, the order
exists only upon the North and East Coasts; it is not, however, entirely
limited to the tropic, for Tecoma of Mr. Brown is also found in latitude
34 degrees South, on which parallel it has been traced at least three
hundred and fifty miles in the interior to the westward of the colony of
Port Jackson.

ASCLEPIADEAE and APOCINEAE. Nearly the whole of the plants in the
recently formed herbarium, that belong to these natural families, have
been described from specimens formerly discovered upon the East and North
Coasts, several of which appear to give a partial character to the
vegetation of some parts of its shores.

Hoya (hardly Asclepias carnosa of Linne) Cynanchum, Gymnema, Gymnanthus,
Sarcostemma, and probably Secamone, as belonging to Asclepiadeae, and all
the genera of Mr. Brown (Lyonsia excepted) referred to the latter order,
exist on that extensive coast, where Balfouria and Alyxia have each an
accession of species. Of Strychnos, which is also frequent, and probably
produces its flowers during the rainy season (as has been remarked of
this genus in other countries) specimens in that stage of its
fructification are still a desideratum; all that is known respecting the
plant being the form and size of its fruit, which in some species varies
considerably.

GOODENOVIAE. The Herbarium contains very few specimens of this
considerable Australian family, the greater mass existing in and to the
southward of the parallel of Port Jackson. The order is reduced to
Goodenia, Scaevola, Velleia, and the tropical Calogyne on the North-west
Coast, and the few species of the two first genera prove to have been
formerly discovered upon the South Coast during the voyage of Captain
Flinders, of which one plant has alsa a much more extensive range than
has been given it heretofore. It is Scaevola spinescens, which forms a
portion of the harsh, rigid vegetables of Dirk Hartog's Island on the
West Coast, and from that shore probably occupies a part of a very
considerable extent of barren country in the interior, in a direction
towards the East Coast, having been seen in abundance in the latitude of
Port Jackson, so near that colony as the meridian of 146 degrees 30
minutes East. A new Velleia, discovered on the North-west Coast in
latitude 16 degrees, augments that genus, belonging to the section with a
pentaphyllous calyx.

RUBIACEAE. The existence of several plants of this extensive family in
the intratropical parts of Terra Australis especially when aided by some
individuals of almost wholly exotic tribes, that form a prominent feature
in the Flora of other equinoctial countries, tend, in some measure, to
diminish the peculiar character of the vegetation of Terra Australis on
those shores, and thus it is a considerable assimilation to the Flora of
a part of a neighbouring continent that has been traced. About thirty
species are preserved in the collections of these voyages, for the most
part belonging to genera existing in India, but more abundant in the
tropical parts of South America.

Of these, Gardenia, Guettarda, Cephaelis, Coffea, Psychotria, and
Morinda, are found on the East Coast; whilst, in corresponding parallels
on the opposite, or north-western shores, the order, although not
materially reduced, is limited to the two latter genera, with Rondeletia,
Ixora, and Genipa.

It is worthy of remark, that the range of Psychotria, which has not been
observed beyond the tropics in other countries, extends in New South
Wales as far south as the latitude of 35 degrees; at the western
extremity of which it does not appear to exist.

CAPRIFOLIAE, Juss. The situation of Loranthus and Visvum, in the system,
appears to be undetermined by authors. M. Jussieu associated them with
Rhizophora, in the second section of this order, from which Mr. Brown has
separated this latter genus, and with two others found in Terra
Australis, has constructed a distinct family, named Rhizophoreae;
suggesting, at the same time, the analogy of Loranthus and Viscum to
Santalaceae, and particularly to Proteaceae. The genus Loranthus, of
which nearly the whole of its described species have been limited to the
tropics, is, however, sparingly scattered on all the Coasts of Australia,
where about eleven species have been recently observed, parasitical
chiefly upon certain trees that constitute the mass of the forests of
that vast continent; namely, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Acacia, and
Melaleuca.

A solitary and very remarkable deviation from the usual natural economy
of Loranthus, is observed in a species (L. floribunda) described and
figured by M. Labillardiere, which is found on the shores of King
George's Sound, where, in no way recognising the dependent habits of its
congeners, it rises from the soil to a tree fifteen feet high, being
never remarked relying upon other vegetables for its subsistence. Viscum
is found in the colony of Port Jackson, to which it is not confined,
having been also gathered at Endeavour River, on the same coast, within
the tropic. The southern range of the two genera seems to be nearly
beyond the fortieth degree of latitude; but in the northern hemisphere,
Loranthus exists in Siberia.

UMBELLIFERAE. The equinoctial portion of the Herbarium contains only
three or four plants of this extensive European order, belonging to
Hydrocotyle, Azorella of Cavanilles and Labillardiere (from which
Trachymene of Rudge is probably not distinct) and a suffruticose plant
referred to Cussonia, that have been collected upon the East Coast. Upon
the north-western shores, Azorella was alone remarked, of which a species
is very general upon its main and islands, and chiefly remarkable for its
gigantic herbaceous growth.

MYRTACEAE. With respect to that portion of Myrtaceae, lately discovered
upon the north-western shores of Australia, and which are alone worthy of
remark here, it is to be observed, that, considering the many points of
that coast visited during the progress of the relative voyages, the
number of species observed are comparatively few, for, including
Eucalyptus, it does not exceed sixteen plants. Of Eucalyptus itself, only
seven species were detected on those shores, and these, for the most
part, form small trees, more approaching the average dimensions of all
their congeners in the colony of Port Jackson. Melaleuca is limited to
three species, one of which was originally discovered by the celebrated
navigator, Dampier, on the West Coast, where Beaufortia has been recently
seen. Four species of Tristania, their related genus, were gathered in
about latitude 15 degrees South, where also an Eugenia, bearing fruit,
was observed; but of Leptospermum, or Baeckea, genera chiefly belonging
to the higher latitudes of New Holland, no species appeared throughout
the whole extent of coast examined.

RHAMNEAE and CELASTRINAE were formerly united among the Rhamni of
Jussieu, but disposed in sections, differing from each other in the
position of the stamina, with relation to the petals, and in the
character of the fruit; which, when viewed with other important
differences of fructification, induced Mr. Brown to modify and define
them as distinct orders.

In the Herbarium of the voyages, there are a few plants belonging to
Rhamnus, Ziziphus, Ceanothus, or Pomaderris, and Celastrus, but both
families prove to be comparatively rare in the intratropical parts of
Terra Australis, beyond which Cryptandra seems only to exist. Upon the
north-western shores, a species of Ziziphus (common to the East and North
Coasts) forms a tree of large dimensions, where also an undescribed
Celastrus has been discovered. Since Pomaderris evidently increases from
the verge of the tropic southerly towards the parallel of Port Jackson,
where its maximum exists, and as it is frequent on the South Coast, it is
highly probable the West Coast is not wanting of the genus, particularly
as traces of it were found on Dirk Hartog's Island.

LEGUMINOSEAE. There are upwards of one hundred and forty species of this
extensive natural class in the Herbarium recently formed, which bear a
proportion to the aggregate of the entire collections of about one to
nine.

Of the Australian portion of Mimoseae, which (having been met with upon
all the coasts of the continent, and equally diffused in the interior)
forms a leading characteristic of its vegetation, upwards of fifty
species have been collected, in various stages of fructification; nearly
the whole of which are unpublished plants. Several of those discovered on
the north-western shores, and islands off the West Coast, being also
extremely curious in their general form and habits; and the existence of
a few appears limited to a solitary particular situation, and no one
species was observed common to those parts, and the opposite or eastern
shores of the continent.

The Papilionaceous division exceeds seventy species, two-thirds of which
belong to established diadelphous genera, found chiefly within the
tropic, where some, peculiar to Terra Australis, and heretofore limited
to the more temperate regions, have been discovered. Thus Hovea and
Bossiaea were detected in New South Wales, in latitude 20 and 22 degrees
South, as well as on the North Coast; the latter genus being likewise
found on the north-western shores, where also two species of Kennedia
exist; and Templetonia, a genus nearly related to Bossiaea, originally
discovered on the southern shores of Australia, is abundant on an island
off the West Coast.

Upon the North-west Coast, particularly in the parallels of 14 and 15
degrees South, where an exotic feature (if the usual characteristic of
the Flora of other countries might in this case be so termed) is as
manifest, and is as strongly blended with the pure Australian character
(Eucalyptus and Acacia) in its general vegetation, as on any other parts
of those shores; Jacksonia and Gompholobium, genera of Papilionaceae,
with distinct stamens, almost limited to the parallel of Port Jackson and
the South Coast, were observed: Daviesia, almost wholly restricted to the
higher Australian latitudes, has been remarked on the North Coast. Of
Lomentaceae, Bauhinia, Caesalpinia, and the emigrant genus Guilandina,
are all of intratropical existence in New South Wales, as also upon the
North-west Coast; but Cassia, although it has an equal extensive range in
the equinoctial parts of New Holland, has also been recently traced as
far in the interior, on the parallel of Port Jackson, as the meridian of
146 degrees East.

EUPHORBIACEAE. The Herbarium contains thirty-three plants of this very
numerous order, whose maximum seems decidedly to exist in India and
equinoctial America. The whole of the Australian species are referable to
established Linnean genera, of which Croton and Phyllanthus are most
remarkable and numerous, existing on all the intratropical shores of
Terra Australis, but by no means limited to them, both genera, together
with Euphorbia and Jatropha, being found in the parallel of Port Jackson;
and Croton exists likewise at the southern extreme of Van Diemen's Land,
which is probably the limit of the genus on that hemisphere.

A Tragia (scarcely distinct from a species indigenous in India) is
sparingly scattered on the East and North Coasts; and Acalypha has been
remarked on these, as well as the north-western shores.

PITTOSPOREAE. Of this small family, whose characters and limits were
first described by Mr. Brown, there are sixteen species in the Herbarium
of these voyages, referable to Bursaria, Billardiera, Pittosporum, and
two unpublished genera.

Billardiera, whose species are wholly volubilous, and which are not found
north of the parallel of Port Jackson, is frequent on the South-west
Coast, and has been recently remarked on the West Coast of Van Diemen's
Land. Bursaria on the other hand, appearing limited to New South Wales,
has been traced within the tropic to latitude 19 degrees South on those
eastern shores, and although the genus Pittosporum is even more
extensively diffused on that coast, it has not been met with upon the
north-western shores, whilst the islands off the West Coast furnished me
with two new species.

DIOSMEAE, although very frequent in the higher latitudes of Terra
Australis, where they are so frequent as to give a peculiar character to
their vegetable productions, is comparatively rare within the tropic; for
upon the East Coast Eriostemon and Phebalium appear to be the only
genera, the latter having been recently discovered, in about latitude 20
degrees South.

With some undescribed species of Boronia, a new genus allied to
Eriostemon has been observed on the north-western shores, in the parallel
of 15 degrees South, having a remarkable pinnatified fimbriated calyx.

Of the related family ZYGOPHYLLEAE (an order proposed by Mr. Brown to be
separated from the Rutaceae of Jussieu) Tribulus is frequent on the
tropical shores of New Holland, and a species of Zygophyllum, with linear
conjugate leaves and tetrapterous fruit, was remarked upon an island off
Shark's Bay, on the West Coast.

MELIACEAE. The several genera of this order, whose maximum is in the
equinoctial parts of America, differ from each other in the form of the
remarkable cylindrical nectarium, the situation or insertion of the
antherae upon it, as well as the character of its almost wholly capsular
fruit. This structure of nectarium is most striking in Turraea, of which
a species was observed upon the East Coast, far within the tropic; where
also, as well as on all the other equinoctial shores of the continent,
Carapa, more remarkable on account of the valvular character of its
capsules, and the magnitude and irregular figure of its nuts, is very
general, and probably not distinct from the plant (C. moluccensis, Lam.)
of Rumphius, who has given us a figure in his Herbarium Amboinense volume
3 table 61, 62.

SAPINDACEAE. Of the very few plants referred to the family in the
Herbarium, two genera are only worthy of remark here, the one an
Ornitrophe, found on the East Coast, in about latitude 35 degrees, as
also within the tropic; and the other, which appears to belong to
Stadmannia, was discovered upon the same coast, in latitude 31 degrees
South, the type of the genus being the bois de fer of the French
colonists, a timber tree indigenous at the Island of Mauritius.

MALVACEAE, Juss. Tiliaceae, Juss. Sterculiaceae, Vent. Buttnericeae,
Brown. These several families, of which the first is by far the most
extensive, have been viewed by Mr. Brown, as so many allied orders of one
natural class, to which the general title of Malvaceae might be applied.
About thirty-six species of these orders collectively, are preserved in
the present Herbarium, referable at least to eleven genera, of which nine
are most abundant in (and form a characteristic feature of) the botany of
India, and the equinoctial parts of South America. Fourteen species of
Hibiscus and Sida were observed on the intratropical Coasts of Australia,
beyond which also, on the opposite shores of the continent, each genus
has been remarked. One species of Bombax with polyandrous flowers, and
subspherical obtusely pentagonal capsules, was discovered upon the East
Coast, in about latitude 14 degrees South, and on nearly the western
extreme of the same parallel, it appeared much more abundant. Of
Sterculia which is scarcely to be found beyond the tropics in other
countries, a species exists in New South Wales in the latitude of 34
degrees, on which parallel it is more frequent in the western interior,
and in that direction it has been traced to the distance of three hundred
miles from the sea-coast. The genus is also found on the North and
North-west Coasts, where the species assume more particularly the habits
of their congeners in India. Among the plants of this family in the
Herbarium is a species of Helicteris (as the genus stands at present)
which was observed on the North-west Coast bearing fruit, wanting the
contortion that characterizes the genus.

This plant, together with three other described species, having straight
capsules, may hereafter be separated from that Linnean genus, and
constitute a new one of themselves. Grewia, Corchorus, Triumfetta, and
Waltheria, have been observed upon the North-west Coast, where also
Abroma, hitherto limited to the tropical parts of New South Wales, has
been discovered bearing flowers and young fruit. One species of
Commersonia was gathered at widely-different parts of the north-western
shores, and Lasiopetalum, whose species are more general at both extremes
of the parallel of the colony of Port Jackson, has been also seen just
within the tropic on the East Coast, and at Dirk Hartog's Island, off
Shark's Bay, on the opposite shore.

CAPPARIDES. At least ten species of Capparis have been discovered upon
the coasts of Terra Australis, for the most part within the tropic, but
of these the fructification of two are wanting. A few have been detected
on the East Coast, but they are more frequent and various in their
species upon the north-western shores of the continent. Within an area on
this extensive coast, not exceeding four degrees of longitude, on the
parallel of 15 degrees South, a tree of very remarkable growth and habit,
has been traced, having all the external form and bulk of Adansonia of
the western shores of Africa. At the respective period of visiting those
parts of the North-west Coast, this gouty tree had previously cast its
foliage of the preceding year, which is of quinary insertion, but it bore
ripe fruit, which is a large elliptical pedicellated unilocalar capsule
(a bacca corticosa) containing many seeds enveloped in a dry pithy
substance. Its flowers, however, have never been discovered, but from the
characters of the fruit, it was (upon discovery) referred to this natural
family. M. Du Petit Thouars has formed a new genus of Capparis
pauduriformis of Lamarck, a plant of the Island of Mauritius, which he
has named Calyptranthus. It has one division of the calyx so formed, that
by its arcuated concavity (before expansion) it conceals the whole
flower, and the other portions of the calyx; and should this genus be
adopted by future botanists, a second species has been recently
discovered upon Dirk Hartog's Island, although of remarkably different
habit.

Cleome has been observed only in the equinoctial parts of Australia, and
like Capparis, several species exist on the North-west Coast, being
limited to C. viscosa in New South Wales.

Drosera, which Jussieu associates with these genera is generally
diffused, being found within the tropic, at Endeavour River, and on the
North-west Coast; at Port Jackson, and at the southern extremes of Van
Diemen's Land.

DILLENIACEAE. To that Australian portion of the order lately enumerated
by M. Decandolle, the present Herbarium offers, in addition, only two
species of the genus Hemistemma of M. Du Petit Thouars. The one
discovered on the North-west Coast, and allied to H. angustifolium of Mr.
Brown; the other proving also new, but approaching in character the
doubtful species, H. leschenaultii of Decandolle, and was discovered upon



Online LibraryPhillip Parker KingNarrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia Performed between the years 1818 and 1822 — Volume 2 → online text (page 32 of 40)