N.Y.) Herbarium Columbia College (New York.

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calyx lobes linear, equalling or slightly .exceeding the tube ; pod
linear, glabrous, i' to i J^' long, i^'' wide, acute, 5 to 6-seeded,
deflexed at maturity.

North CaroHna (Schweinitz) Mecklenberg Co. (M. A. Cur-
tis) Salisbury, Rowan Co. (A. A. Heller). Named in commemora-
tion of Mr. Heller's recent collecting trip in North Carolina, on
which a number of rare and interesting plants were obtained.
Lotus Americamis^ (Nutt.) Bisch. Litt. Ber. Linnsea, 1840, 132,
{^Hosackia Purshiana, Benth.), with which this has been con-
founded, has larger and broader leaflets, is more villous, and has
the calyx more deeply cleft. I believe that it has not been found



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313

east of the Mississippi, but ranges from Minnesota to Sonora.
The widely distributed plant of the Pacific Coast, also mixed up
with Lotus Americanus, appears to me quite distinct, as Nuttall
made out, describing it as Hosackia elata (In T. & G. Fl. N. A.
i. 327) and there may be, as he also thought, several other
closely related species in California and the Northwest.

Psoralea Reverchoni, S. Wats., Proc. Amer. Acad. xxi. 449,
originally described from specimens collected by Mr. Reverchon
in western Texas, in 1877, was also found by Dr. Palmer in
the Indian Territory, 1868 (No. 72).

Psoralea corylifolia, L. is in Dr. Chapman's Herbarium,
ticketed ** Appalachicola, introduced." It is an Asiatic species,
close to P, dentata, DC. of southern Europe.

Cassia crotolarioides, Kunth, van leucophylla, Benth. There
is a specimen so determined in the Kew Herbarium, collected by
Prof. Mosely in the Grand Canon, Colorado Plateau, Arizona,
1884. The species is known in north Mexico, and its occurrence
in this region might have been expected.

Ilex montana, T. and G. var. MOLLIS (A. Gray). Ilex mollis,
A. Gray, Man. Ed. 2. Leaves as in the type, but pubescent be
neath. Burgoon's Gap, Penn. (Porter). Pocono Plateau, Penn.,
collected by myself on the Torrey Club Field Excursion, June
7-10, 1889.

This plant was first referred to Ilex dubia (Don.), B. S. P.
Prel. Cat. N. Y., but on comparison with typical specimens of
this species from the AUeghanies of North Carolina, Georgia and
Alabama, it appears hardly possible that this disposition of it is
correct. / dubia has broadly ovate, oval or even obovate leaves,
which are rarely acuminate and commonly obtuse, and are much
more densely and softly pubescent beneath.

Ilex mollis was founded on the Pennsylvania plant, and the
southern species subsequently referred to it. I am maintaining
dubia as the specific name of the latter on the authority of Dr.
Gray, who probably saw a type of it. But from Don's descrip-
tion o{ Prinos dubius, (Gard. Diet. ii. 20), this would not be certain,
and he says it occurs from New Jersey to Carolina, while the plant
which I know as dubia is not reported north of North Carolina.



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314

Ilex verticillata (L.) A. Gray, van tenuifolia. Torn
Fl. North. States, 338 (1824). This variety with thin, ob-
ovate leaves, glabrous, except a slight pubescence along the
midvein on the under surface, and with mucronate-tipped, ap-
pressed teeth, originally collected by Dr. Torrey in the cedar
swamp at New Durham, has recently been collected by Mr. W.
M. Whitfield at Mt. Washington, Berkshire Co., Mass.

Van padifolia (Willd.), T. and G. in S. Wats. Bibliog.
Index, i. 220, is distinguished from the type by its smaller,
thicker (almost coriaceous), broadly oval or nearly orbicular
leaves. The original specimen in Herb. Torrey came from Lake
Erie. The plant is common on the Pocono Plateau of Pennsyl-
vania.

Professor Trelease, in his review of North American species
of Ilex in Trans. St. Louis Acad. Sci. Vol. V., does not recog-
nize either of these varieties, but they appear to me certainly
well-marked enough to warrant consideration.

SPlRiEA ViRGlNlANA, n. sp. A glabrous shrub, the branches
forming long wands, erect or reclining, 1^-4^ long. Leaves ob-
long or slightly oblanceolate, thin, obtuse or short-pointed at the
apex, rounded or cuneate at the base, 1 ^'-2' long, 5"-8" wide,
green above, pale beneath, entire or with a few low serrations in
the upper half; petioles 2" long; pedicels and peduncles pale
and glaucous ; flowers about 2" broad, in terminal compound
corymbs i'-3' across; calyx teeth 5, triangular, blunt, about the
length of the short-campanulate tube, distinctly glaucous; petals
5, white, ovate-orbicular, obtuse, stamens 15-20, persistent;
styles 5-6; follicles in the specimens examined 5-6, apparently
sterile, included in the persistent calyx.

On damp rocks along the Monongahela River, Morgantown,
West Virginia, collected by Dr. C. F. Millspaugh in flower, June
20th, 1890, and in apparently imperfect fruit late in Septemben
Collected also by Mr. G. R. Vasey in the mountains of North
Carolina, 1878.

Spircea betulcefolia. Pall, and S, corymbosa, Raf., have much
longer follicles exserted beyond the calyx, broader, thicker and
dentate leaves, and are different in habit. Rafinesque published a
number of species in his New Flora, but none of them can apply
to this one.



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315

LUDWIGIA ALTERNIFOLIA, L., van LINEARIFOLIA, n. var.
Two or three feet high, divergently branched, the branches as-
cending. Leaves linear, elongated, 2'-4' long, I ^"-4" wide,
acute; flowers solitary in the axils of the upper leaves or bracts,
yellow ; sepals ovate- lanceolate acute, narrower than those of i.
alternifolia ; branches and both sides of the leaves somewhat
pubescent. Petals apparently remaining on the plant longer than
those of Z. alternifolia, which, as Dr. Millspaugh observes, com-
monly fall away when the plant is shocked.

Appearing very distinct from typical L. alternifolia, but pre-
sumably but a variety of it. From the description it may be the
Rhexia linearifolia, Poir. in Lam. Encycl. vi. 2, said to come
from Carolina.

Leontodon hirtus, L., long known from the ballast grounds of
the eastern seaports, is becoming more widely adventive. It has
recently been collected in Southern New Jersey by Dr. J. E.
Peters, at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, by Mr. Geo. D.
Hulst, and on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, by Prof Ma-
coun. It certainly claims recognition as an adventive plant.

Populus heterophylla, L. Another locality for this rare tree
in the Middle States has been discovered by Rev. L. H. Light-
hipe, near Woodbridge, Middlesex Co., N. J. The stations now
known for it at the north, besides those given in my ** Catalogue
of Plants from New Jersey." and its somewhat wide distribution
on Staten Island, are Northport, Long Island, and Guilford,
Conn., as recorded by Professor Sargent in his Forestry Report
in the Tenth Census.

Eriocaulon Kormcikanum, Van Heurck et Muell. Arg. Obs.
Bot. 101 (1870). This species does not appear to have been
alluded to by any American author. I know nothing more
about it than the description given by the above named authors.
The plant was collected in eastern Texas by Chas. Wright, and
is mentioned here only to call it to the attention of our botanists.
It can hardly be Drummond's No. 409 (second coll.), which I
take to be E. Benthami, Kunth., although without sufficient ex-
amination to warrant certainty.

Cyperus phceocephalus, Griseb. Plant, Lorentz. 216 (1874),
may be reported from mountains between Mazatlan and Durango,



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316

Mexico, collected by Mr. Forrer in 1887. Specimens were sent
me by Prof. Greene. It occurs along the Andes of South Amer-
ica from Ecuador to Argentina. (Spruce, 5,904; Mandon,
1,394; Rusby, 100).

Cyperus Blodgettii, n. sp. Section Mariscus. Perennial,
from a tuberous thickened base, 8'-9' high. Roots fibrous;
leaves linear, 3'-4' long, about i" wide, glabrous, smooth on the
edges ; culm sharply triangular ; involucre of about three leaves,
i-2j^' long; inflorescence of 1-3 dense globose heads, 5''-8"
in diameter; spikelets 20-40, 6-io-flowered, the lowest ^lume
empty, the others fertile ; glumes keeled, oval or ovate, obtusish,
strongly about 9-nerved, about }^" long ; achenium oblong,
about two-thirds the length of the glume, triangular ; falling
away with the glumes from the rachis at maturity ; rachis strongly
scarred with the bases of the flowers ; stamens three ?

Key West, Mr. Blodgett (Herb. Torrey and Herb. Gray).

I went over this species with Mr. Clarke at Kew in 1888 and
we decided that it must be new. Mr. Clarke, maintaining that
Mariscus is distinct as a genus from Cyperus, proposed calling it
M, avenicola, and if this view is to be adopted, the plant may
bear this name. But I have not been able to agree with him in
this respect The species appears nearest to C Grayii,



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CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE HERBARIA OF
COLUMBIA COLLEGE -No. 17.



The Flora of the Desert of Atacama.



By thos. morong.



( Reprinted from Bulletin of -niE Torkey Botanical Club, Vol. XVlli., No. si, Fob. 1S91 ).



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39
The Flora of the Desert of Atacama.

By Thos. Morong.

Under the old geographical limits, before Chile had appropri-
ated as a war indemnity the whole of Bolivia's seacoast and three
degrees of Peruvian soil, the desert of Atacama was figured as
extending from Coquimbo on the south to Bolivia on the north
and eastward from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes, being nearly
coincident with the province of the same name in Chile. So far,
however, as the natural features are concerned, the name might
well be applied to the entire region lying between Valparaiso and
Ecquador, for it is all a desert broken only by lofty mountain
peaks and deep valleys, the beds of ancient rivers, and watered
here and there by scanty streams derived from the melting of the
snows upon the high Cordilleras. The water from this source is
carefully husbanded by the inhabitants of the valleys, and used
in irrigation for agricultural purposes. Very little of it goes to
produce the flora referred to in this article, by far the greater part
of which belongs exclusively to the desert proper.

It seems like a contradiction in terms to speak of a desert
vegetation, and especially one upon a territory so bleak and deso-
late as the Atacama, which is distinguished by the number of itR
hideously barren hills of rock and its sandy wastes. And yet
this desert bears a flora quite extensive in the number of its species
and very peculiar and interesting in its character. Over 500
species of plants have been gathered within its borders, and
probably as many more might be detected upon a close research.
One naturally wonders by what chance such a flora can be
brought into existence and how it can live after being once
started. In explanation it must be said that this region is not
absolutely rainless, although it is nearly so. There is an occasional
winter rain, or rarely two or three showers in the course of a
winter, occurring at long intervals. Generally such rains are
barely enough to moisten the ground, but that little is sufficient to
cause the seeds, which are lying dormant in the sand or the bulbs
beneath the ground, to germinate. Once up the seedling is kept
aHve by the dews which fall nightly upon the earth, and by the



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40

mists that hang around the hills every morning in the winter and
spring-rtime. In this way these growths obtain moisture enough
to enable them to reach maturity. Besides this the Atacaman
plants have acquired several peculiarities which admirably adapt
them to their conditions of life. One of these lies in the power
of the seeds to live for many years in the dry sand without ger-
minating. They have been known to retain their vitality for ten
years and then to sprout at the touch of rain.

I suspected from appearances that a special weather protection
existed in many or all of these seeds, and Dr. Gregory of Barnard
College, who has, at my request, kindly examined microscopic sec-
tions of a number of species, confirms my suspicions so far as these
particular species are concerned. The seeds in every case proved
to have unusually thick walls and a copious supply of albumen
around the embryo. In one instance {Pintoa) she reports that the
" seed coats are heavy, the outer one having peculiar shaped cells
which turn to mucilage on coming into contact with water." An-
other (a Tristagmd) has " copious albumen and the outer walls
are thickened and turned in color to a dark brown, making an ex-
tremely hard coat." Calandrinia seeds presented a coating
" somewhat heavy, but with a peculiar readiness to break on con-
tact with water." Cristaria has an integument of several layers
which together make a thick wall, and the interior albuminous,
Viola shows in the seed coat a contrivance similar to that of Pin-
toay with more or less of albumen in the interior.

While seeds are thus fortified against a protracted drought,
tubers and bulbs are equally well equipped by the large amount
of water or milk which they store up. I found many of the bulbs
that I collected so full of juice that I could squeeze it out in a
stream by hand.

Another peculiarity of the herbaceous flora, evidently ac-
quired, is the early age at which the plants begin to flower and
fructify. As if aware that they have only an ephemeral life and
that what they have to do must be done quickly, they are scarcely
above ground before they put forth blossoms. Many species
may be seen in flower when hardly an inch in height, and which
go on flowering until they reach the stature of two or three feet—
if they can survive so long. I was continually deceived by this



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habit, naturally supposing that these wee things must be different
in species from plants that I had seen elsewhere only as tall and
robust when in flower. A little more experience, however, con-
vinced me that these Liliputians were merely taking time by the
forelock.

Still another adaptation, excited apparently by the conditions
under which they exist, is the extraordinary number of seeds
formed by many plants and scattered over the soil in which they
grow. This habit is not confined to species which usually yield
great numbers of seeds, but seems common to all the desert flora.
Thus a little violet which seldom attains a height of three inches,
common about Caldera, often exhibits from thirty to forty pods
full of seeds upon a single plant. When one looks down upon it,
he can see only a mass of yellow flowers and fruit pods. I might
mention many other plants in which the same peculiarity is
noticeable.

One other apparent adaptation deserves mention. It is said
that a majority of the desert plants are shrubs, or at least, are
suffruticose, and this accords with my own observation. I found
that such growths are in the habit of shedding their leaves in the
summer instead of winter, thus reversing the ordinary process of
nature. By this means they reduce their vital expenditure to a
minimum at a season when they need to husband their utmost
strength in order to resist long and continued dryness. This leaves
them free to exert their full powers at a period when they are
most likely to imbibe the revivifying moisture. Aided in this by
their thick, long and knotty roots and close, non-evaporating
bark, these shrubs, which seem to be nothing but dead stocks in
the summer, can withstand even several years of drought.

After premising this much concerning the locality and the
flora in general, I will give some account of my own explorations
in the Desert of Atacama. It was my good fortune to reach
Caldera, the sea-port of Copiapo, in the moAth of September
last, which is early spring time in that latitude. It also happened
to be a year when this rare flora had sprung up, a thing which
I understood from residents had not occurred for several years
previously. A single rain had fallen in the month of June, and
at the time of my visit the plants were in full bloom. Had the



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visit been made two months later, I was assured that not a flower
would have been in sight.

The sandy slopes around Caldera, especially where the soil
was shaded by rocks, bore quite a number of species, the most
common of which was a dusty-looking composite (£'«r^//^/^7»i^;/-
tosa^ Walp.) with pale yellow ligulate flowers, known popularly
as Coronn de fraile^ so-called from the convex mass of disk
flowers which remind one of the shaven crown of a priest's head.
Several other species of Compositae also occur in this vicinity,
such z.% Poly achy rus fuscus, \yalp., a tomentose plant with much
dissected leaves and showy, oblong, close- flowered heads of
purple florets, Chuquiraga acicularis, Don., a half shrubby,
bushy, and very forbidding plant, which has crowded spine-
tipped leaves, and small heads with yellow spinescent scales, and
a Closia, the flowers and odor of which put one in mind of our
Chamomile. Two delicate Cuscutas twined about small plants
on the open sand, one of them with silk-like stems and white
flowers, and the other with masses of purple blossoms. Both of
these are popularly named ''Cabellos de angel,'' Angel's hair.
Lying close against the sides of rocks was a queer Asclepiadace-
ous shrub known as Cynoctonum viride, Phil. The stock which
manages to survive the summer is short and stumpy, with a thick
head like an old pollard willow, from which it sends out new green
shoots whenever the winter rain falls. Out upon the open sand
one frequently meets with Frankenia aspera, Ph., throwing its
dark colored branches over the ground, Scilla trijlora. Ph., a
bulbous plant with erect stems and racemes of pretty white flowers,
and Oenothera Coquimbensis, Spach., one of the species noticeable
for commencing to flower when not much larger than a needle,
and continuing the process till it is two feet in height. Here too
I collected several species of Eritrichium, Heliotropiurn, Osteocar-
pus, Tetragonia, and other plants which there is no room to
mention.

After rambling over the Caldera sands till my feet grew weary,
I made a number of expeditions on horseback and by rail to more
distant points. One of these was to a gorge among the hills
seven or eight miles north of Caldera, known to the people as the
**Quebrada (ravine) dc los leones,'' I was informed that the name



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owed its origin to the fact that in former years a number of
pumas or Chileno lions had been killed in the ravine. Here also
lovers of the chase had often come to hunt the guanaco, an ani-
mal somewhat smaller than the llama, but belonging to the same
family. Neither lion nor guanaco, however, appeared to welcome
me to his lair, a circumstance which I did not much regret. On
the way to this mountain defile we rode along the sea-shore for
several miles, and then struck inland over a wide track of loose,
shifting sand into which our horses sank nearly half way to the
knees, and which is continually blown about by the wind. Along
this route I gathered a number of interesting plants. Among
them was a Calandrinia, the common name of which is *'Pata de
guanaco,'' or guanaco's foot, so-called from the fancied resem-
blance of the shape of its leave3 to the hoof of the guanaco.
This elegant flower throws up a tall, branching stem, each branch
bearing on long naked peduncles several large and brillant pur-
ple blossoms, a conspicuous object upon the desert. Another
species, or perhaps only a variety of this, much smaller in size,
grows near the sea-shore, having a bright yellow corolla. In clumps
around which the sand is often heaped in ridges as if against a
wall occurred an odd-looking, yellow-flowered shrub of the
Apocyneae, (Skytantkus acutus, Meyen), popularly named
''Cuerno de cabra" or Goat's horn, from the singular habit which
its long, pointed follicles have of twisting themselves into the
shape of a pair of goat's horns. The resemblance is so exact,
that every one calls them by that name at first sight. In similar
situations is found an Ephedra, vulgarly **Pingo-pingo" the naked
sharp-pronged stems of which seem just in place in such a region.
We frequently rode through mounds of sand in which clumps of
these two shrubs were completely buried.

Farther along the sand was firmer, but attended by a new
danger to the horseman. A small lizard, of a livid color and
some six or eight inches in length, the only animal that we en-
counted in our excursion makes its burrow in these inhospitable
wastes. As the animal is quite gregarious in its habits, we often
came upon spaces entirely honeycombed by scores of these
little creatures. Riding incautiously upon such ground our
horses would suddenly sink over the fetlock into these burrows



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and stumble badly, running great risk of breaking a limb or
throwing the riders over their heads. About such spots, however,
some charming flowers were obtained. One of these was Cruck-
shanksia Geisseana, Ph , an elegant plant, covered with masses of
showy yellow flowers, very fragrant, and remarkable for its in-
volucral, long-stiped sepals. Another was a Bignoniaceous
species, named Argylia, which has long, finely dissected radical
leaves, and a scape ten or twelve inches high, having a large
cluster of yellow trumpet-shaped flowers at the summit. Still
another plant of much interest, growing in clumps, was an Um-
bellifer called Eremocharis, a tall almost naked stemmed under-
shrub, with long internodes and curious subbipinnatifid leaves,
which emit the odor of apples when first plucked or bruised.

Along this route also grew some of the most peculiar Cacti
that I had ever seen. The most noticeable of all belongs to a
genus created by Philippi, and is, I believe, confined to this
desert, named Eulychnia brevijlora. It throws up from a clus-
ter of roots numerous columnar stalks about as large in diameter as
a man's arm, and armed with innumerable long, unequal, needle-
like spines. The flower is on the summit of the stalk, not unlike a
large cup in aspect, the lower part of which is covered with
crinkly velvet hairs of a lavender hue, above which rises a single
row of stiff" white petals, incfuding a host of delicate stamens.
Another Cactus of the melon variety, not over eight inches high,
and not unlike a pineapple in shape, has its spines twisted about
the stem so that they resemble a bird's nest, inside of which the
small red flowers hide like eggs.

When we reached the Quebrada, we found it to be a very
rocky ravine running up the hillside between two eminences,
along the slopes of which were heaped many boulders, as if car-
ried down there by floods in former ages. Among the rocks
trickled a small stream of water, which soon lost itself in the sand
at the bottom of the ravine. As the day was. quite warm, and I
was heated and tired with my long ride, it sounded very pleas-
ant to hear the gurgling of water, and as I have often done on
such occasions in the White Mountains, I hastened to scoop up
a drink in the hollow of my hand. My companion, a native
Chileno, laughed at my motions, and with good reason, for I had



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46

no sooner tasted the water than I spit it out with disgust. Who
could drink brine ?

All the pools and rivulets which occur in this region absorb
more or less soda from the soil, which seems everywhere impreg-
nated with this mineral. Luckily we carried with our lunch a
bottle of the condensed water used in Caldera, or we should have
been unable to quench our thirst. For this disappointment I
was consoled by finding a number of beautiful flowering plants
among the boulders that filled the ravine.

The most attractive of the plants were a very handsome species
of Alstroemeria, which exhibited great lilac flowers, the petals
streaked with blue veins and yellow blotches, and a tall Centaurea
with white heads as gay looking as those of our Ox-eye daisy.
A shrubby Euphorbia, five or six feet in height, with large white
flowers, was abundant. This plant possesses a copious milky
juice which pours from every wound made in its stem or leaves,
and from this property is popularly called Lechero (milkman) and
hence has been named by Philippi E, lactiflua, A pretty Stachys
peeped from under the rocks whose shade it loves, and a broad-
leaved, clammy Nicotiana and a Solanum, heavily laden with
trusses of bright purple blossoms grew in more sunny spots. In
this vicinity also flourishes a flower greatly coveted by the inhabi-


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