The Florist and Horticultural Journal, Vol. II. No. 7, July, 1853 A Monthly Magazine of Horticulture, Agriculture, Botany, Agricultural Chemistry, Entomology, &c.
AND HORTICULTURAL JOURNAL.
Vol. II.] Philadelphia, July, 1853. [No. 7.
CHARAC. GENER.—Flores monoici. Masc. Perigonii tetraphylli foliolissubrotundis, 4 exterioribus majoribus. Stamina plurima; filamentis brevissimisliberis v. basi-connatis, antheris extrorsis bilocularibus, loculis linearibus discretis,connectivi continui obtusi margini adnatis longitudinaliter dehiscentibus. Fem.Perigonii tubo triptero cum ovario connate, limbi superi 4-9-partiti persistentislobis pluriseriatim imbricatis. Ovarium interum triloculare. Ovula in placentise loculorum angulo centrali bilamellatis plurima anatropa. Styli 3 bifidi stigmatihuscrassis flexuosis v. capitatis. Capsula membranaceo-trialata trilocularisloculicide trivalvis. Semina plurima minima striata. Embryo in axi albuminiscarnosi orthotropus.
Herbæ in Asia et America tropica indigenæ, foliis alternis petiolatis integris v.palmatilobis basi saepecordatis inæquilateris integerrimis dentatis v. mucronatoserrutisstipulis lateralibus membranaceis deciduis, cymis axillaribus pedunculatisdichotomis floribus albis roseis v. rubincundis.
CHARACT. SPECIF.—B. acaulis, rhizomate brevi crasso subtus radicante,foliis amplis oblique cordato-ovatis brevi acuminatis sinuatis denticulatis subtusdiscoloribus (rubris) petiolis aggregatis crassis folium subaequantibus rubris stipulatiscrinitis, setis patentibus interioribus reflexis, scapo petiolis duplo longiore,floribus nutantibus corymbosis flavis, masculis tetrasepalis, sepalis 5 oblongo-cuneatisunico majore rotundato magis concavo, foeminis triplo minoribus hexasepalis,sepalis æqualibus ovali-rotundatis, fructus alis duabus brevibus unica horizontaliterelongata striata. Hook.
Begonia xanthina, Hook, Bot. Mag. t. 4683.
Although many different species of this valuable genus havebeen discovered up to this time, we have had only those with whiteor red flowers. B. cinnabarina with its orange red flowers was anapproach to what we now figure—the Begonia xanthina. But eventhe yellow of this is shaded with the red which prevails in agreater or less degree in the flowers or leaves, and stalks of all thegenus.
This species, which flowered in July, 1852, in the collection ofMr. Nuttall, at Rainhill, Lincolnshire, was received by him in 1850,from the Bootan Himalayas, having been sent thence by his nephew,Mr. Booth.
It may be some time before this beautiful plant is imported intothis country; but we know that our enterprizing nurserymen andamateurs will obtain it as soon as it finds its way into the hands ofthe trade in Europe.
HISTORY AND CULTIVATION.
Few plants have a greater claim on the American plant growerthan the Begonia. It has been too much the habit to sigh after,and bewail the want of “Chiswick Heaths,” and other things whichdo not do well in America, to the manifest neglect of many beautifulthings which do. It is time we had ceased to be the mere copyistsof English horticulture. We have so rapidly advanced, thatwe should aim at an independence that can be achieved; and, as ingovernment so in gardening, take our place as one of the horticultural“nations of the earth.” We have been a “colony of Chiswickand Edinboro,” “Paris and Ghent” hitherto; we have experiencedon every occasion slights and neglects; whatever we do ispassed over in silence, and whatever we discover remains unnoticedor is scorned. These are some of our grievances. All ourhorticultural papers have taken up the subject in turn, and pressedour claims on English journalists; but how have they been met?A private letter on the success of one individual plant has been publishedin one magazine; and two hybrid Peonys have been namedin Belgium in honor of Americans. Perhaps once a year a shortextract in the Revue horticole on Forsythia viridissima from the Horticulturist;or, a notice in the Gardener’s Chronicle of how to preserveTomatoes from Hovey’s Magazine. We must have done with whiningand complaining about these things. Let us strike out new coursesfor ourselves. We may never hope to excel them in Heaths, Pansies,Calceolarias, or many other things, as a general rule, nor is itdesirable we should. Let them boast of their excellence; we willraise another standard.
The Begonia is peculiarly adapted to become such a plant as Ihave described. Requiring in England a moist and very artificialatmosphere, it does not make any very great progress in popular estimation.Here it thrives with very common care; all doing in agreenhouse 9 months in the year; and many doing well in the openair, if in a somewhat shaded situation. They are for the most partnatives of Brazil or Mexico.
To cultivate them successfully we must divide them into twoclasses:—the tuberous rooted, and the shrubby. Each of these willrequire separate treatment. The following kinds are amongst thebest in cultivation, either here, or in English gardens, from whencethey can be easily procured.
1. B. discolor or Evansiana, native of China, with pinkish whiteflowers, may be had in bloom from May to October.
2. cinnabarina, from Bolivia, deep pink or cinnabar, from Juneto October.
3. Martiana, from Brazil, deep pinky rose, from July to October.
4. diptera, Cape of Good Hope, whitish, June to August.
5. Barkeri, Mexico, dull white, February to December.
These require to be kept rather dry and cool in the winter season.No. 5. may be had in flower all the year, by having severalpots, and keeping them dry at different periods. Early in springthe tubers may be potted in 6 in. pots, in a soil composed of well-decayedleaf mould, loam, and sand. They require little watertill the leaves appear, when they will take an abundance. Theymay be forwarded in a little heat, but will do pretty well if allowedto come along with the season. They are easily propagatedfrom their tubers, by cuttings, or by seeds.
Shrubby or Fibrous Rooted.
1. B. nitida, native of Jamaica, with pinkish white flowers, andlarge, thick, shining leaves. May be had in bloom all the year, andmade into handsome specimens.
2. B. spathulata, another West Indian, with a very erect habitof growth. The leaves are folded in like spoons, and the smallwhite flowers appear at the ends of the young growth. It flowersfrom August to December, and is but an average kind.
3. B. odorata, a Brazilian kind allied to the last, but has a finefoliage, resembling nitida, the flowers came out like the last fromAugust to December, are much larger and sweet scented.
4. B. hirtella, a Brazilian species, with a rather starved lookinghabit of growth, but an abundance of small, pinky white flowers,appearing from June to December.
5. B. ulmifolia, a South American, with elm like leaves, but of nogreat beauty of flower. Only desirable to form a collection.
6. B. argyrostigma, a Brazilian species, with curiously spottedleaves, which is its chief attraction. The flowers appear from Juneto December. It is a very strong grower—occupies much room.
7. B. hydrocotylifolia, a Brazilian pretty species. It is herbaceous,or has its leaves from a rhizoma creeping on the surface. Itspink flowers, borne on scapes about a foot high, appear from Februaryto May.
8. B. parvifolia, a native of the Cape of Good Hope. It hasvery small leaves, grows about 2 feet high, and is always in flower.A white flowering and desirable kind.
9. B. albo-coccinea, a West Indian. Its oblique leaves are almostround, are very large and thick, and of a deep red beneath.The flowers appear from February to May; white on the inside, andscarlet on the back. The best of the rhizoma producing kinds.
10. B. nomonyma, a Brazilian species, in the way of B. manicata,with small white flowers, continuing from July to November.
11. B. castaneæfolia. The specimens that I have seen growingare so like B. ulmifolia, that I have either not seen the true speciesor they are both the same.
12. B. Fischeri, a rather scarce Brazilian species, but one of themost desirable, approaching B. incarnata. In the spring months itis covered with its numerous pink or white flowers.
13. B. incarnata, a South American, that should be No. 1 in allcollections. Its pink flowers may be had nearly all the year.
14. B. coccinea, another first rate Brazilian. A strong grower,covered with spikes of scarlet flowers from April to July.
15. B. manicata, from Brazil. A fine species when well grown,though the individual flowers are indifferent. The leaves are distinguishedby a production resembling the claws of a mole on theirunder surface. Flowers in winter and spring.
16. B. fuchsoides, a well known species from New Grenada, withfuchsia like foliage, and scarlet flowers, appearing from June toSeptember, a strong grower and fine kind.
The species of this division are readily propagated from cuttingsof the half ripened wood, put in sand, and plunged in a slight bottomheat. They are liable to damp off if kept too close. Indeedif they are in a situation somewhat shaded they will do betterwithout the usual accompaniment of a bell glass. They will growwell in a soil of sandy loam and leaf mould. They should neverbe grown in very large pots; or, in the language of gardeners,should be always under potted. When growing fast they take agood supply of moisture; love a moist atmosphere and frequent applicationsof the syringe, and may be placed in the full light. If amoist atmosphere cannot be maintained, they will do better in ashaded part of the green house. The chief thing to guard against,is their damping off; small, well drained pots are the securities.When they are not growing they will live and do better with verylittle water. They are easily raised from seed, sown on the surfaceof the soil in pans, and placed in a warm shaded place, with theonly attention of never being allowed to get dry. Some fine varieties,I believe, have been lately raised by hybridizing in Europe.It opens a fine field.
I think the remark of the Calendar writer in the last No. worthyof repetition; that the Horticultural Society would do well to encouragethe growth of the Begonia by a premium.
A Philadelphia Gardener.
Allow me to draw the attention of your readers to that muchneglected but truly desirable class of flowers the Auricula. Thereappears to be a general idea prevailing amongst many persons thatconsiderable difficulty is experienced in cultivating this lovely gemin our climate. This notion is certainly erroneous, and the objectof the following remark is to show how this may be accomplished.The Auricula, (Primula auricula,) is one of the very numerous speciesof Primrose, and no mean species either. Linnaeus claimsthis genus for Pentandria monogynia, and it forms the type of thenatural order Primulaceæ. Our present subject is indigenous tothe alpine districts of the European continent, Syria, and occasionallyis found in the same situations in Britain, though rare. Itsname Auricula has been applied from the supposed resemblance ofthe form of the leaves, to the ear of an animal, and hence the vulgarcognomen “Bear’s Ears,” a name somewhat revolting to thetaste of some of our delicate and sensitive belles, but quite incharacter with the quaint and uncouth, yet intelligent and enthusiasticclass of individuals, with whom it originated. In a wildstate, the colours are yellow, purple, and variegated, and I am inclinedto think, in opposition to the acknowledgement of some botanist,that two or three which are considered as distinct species, arenothing more than varieties of this, if so we may include whitealso. Handsome as the different varieties of this flower appearnaturally, the claim to beauty has been so much enhanced, by theperseverance and enthusiasm of the florist’s fostering care, for thelast three hundred years, that at length, it has assumed a perfectsymmetry of outline and marking, which renders it truly a gem.Were it only for the peculiarly rich odor of the flowers, it deservesa place in every garden, but when we combine this with the evergreenand neat habit of the plant, and the exquisite beauty of theflower, it seems strange as the cultivation is so easy, that it is notmore generally seen, even what is grown are mostly varieties of nopretension to perfection, but simply a step or two removed from thenatural state.
The Auricula is divided by florists into four classes, viz, greenedged, gray edged, white edged, and selfs, the edged classes beingmostly esteemed as exhibition flowers, although the selfs are toleratedand encouraged. There are also, several double varieties,but these are not considered equally valuable, yet they are wellworthy of attention.
The following criteria constitute what is considered to be themain points of excellence in a prize Auricula. The stem should bestrong, erect, and high enough to raise the truss of flowers abovethe foliage. The individual footstalk, sufficiently strong to supportthe flower, and of a proportional length to the number of