Thornton, Robert John (1768?-1837) / Temple of Flora, or, Garden of the botanist, poet, painter, and philosopher.
Strelitzia Reginae; or, Queen Plant.
STRELLTZIA REGINIE; OR, QUEEN PLANT. THIs is one of the many lovely productions imported from the Cape of Good Hope, introduced into our gardens by Sir JOSEPH BANKS, Bart. K. B. the illustrious and most indefatigable pro- moter of the science of Natural History. Its leaves are coriaceous and spoon-shaped, often undu- lated at the base, inwardly of a deep green, and outwardly beautifully glaucous. The flowers are of a bright orange, tripetalled, inclosed at first by two long membranous calyx leaves, which drop as the flower rises from the common spatha, and these appear in succession, each re'tiring back- ward, to give place to other flowers. These three petals of the corolla encompass the beautiful nectarium, which is diphyllous, that is, composed of two leaves, one shaped like an anchor ex- teriorly, and hollowed interiorly, inclosing in a groove the five stamina, remarkable for long anthers, through which duplicature also passes the style, whose triangular and pointed stigma, finally reaching beyond the bifid end of this part of the nectary, makes the anchor resemblance perfect. The other petal of the nectary is smaller, shaped like a cowl, and hooked. Nature here seems to aim at deception, the beaked spatha, upon its long and round stalk, or scape, gives the simi1itude of the head of some species of crane, and the flowers above feign its top- knot; and even the expert botanist at first sight might imagine that the purple nectary on one side was a stamen, with its barbed anther, and on the other the stigma, as in the orchis tribe: but upon dissection all this confusion vanishes, and it easily arranges under Class V. PENTANDRIA, Order I. MONOGYNIA, of Linnaeus, each flower possessing five stamina, and one pistillum. We have been so fortunate as to be favoured with the following Verses on this Plant by the present Poet Laureat. ON Afric's southern steep, where Gama's sail To the tempestuous clime was first unfurl'd, Courting with ample sweet the dangerous gale, And op'd to Europe's sons the Eastern World, Heroes, beyond the Demi-Gods of Greece, By Jason led, and urg'd by Orpheus' lyre, Seeking, through wilder seas a richer fleece, While warlike Camoens * wak'd the epic wire. Oft as the Genius of the stormy main From the high promontory view'd the wave, lie saw with daring prow Britannia's train, The angry winds and mountain surges brave, GEORGE'S parental sway, and Albion's laws, Spreading where Ammon's empire never spread, To Thames' blest stream her stores while Commerce draws From Ganges' Bramin groves and Indus' bed: * A famous Portuguese Poet, Author of the Lusiad. Ii
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