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Thornton, Robert John, 1768?-1837 / Temple of Flora, or, Garden of the botanist, poet, painter, and philosopher.
(1812)

Arum dracunculus; or, Dragon arum



           ARUM DRACUNCULUS;
                                            OR,
                         DRAGON ARUM.
THIS extremely foetid poisonous * plant will not admit of sober description.
 Let us therefore
personify it.
  SHE + comes peeping from her purple crest with mischief fraught: from her
green covert
projects a horrid spear of darkest jet, which she brandishes aloft: issuing
from her nostrils
flies a noisome vapour, infecting the ambient air: her hundred arms are interspersed
with white,
as in the garments of the inquisition; and on her swollen trunk are observed
the speckles of a
mighty dragon; her sex is strangely intermingled with the opposite !  confusion
dire ! -all framed
for horror; or kind to warn the traveller that her fruits are poison-berries,
grateful to the sight but
fatal to the taste; such is the plan of PROVIDENCE, and such HER wise resolves.
   It arranges
under Class XX. GYNANDRIA, Order V. POLYANDRIA, of LINNAEUS +
                  "Thy soul's first hope! thy mother's sweetest joy
                  Cried tender LAURA, as she kiss'd her boy.
                 "Oh! wander not where DRAGON ARUM show'rs
                  Her baleful dews, and twines her purple flowers,
                 "Lest round thy neck she throw her snaring arms,
                 "Sap thy life's blood, and riot on thy charms.
                 "Her shining berry, as the ruby bright,
                  Might please thy taste, and tempt thy eager sight:
                  Trust not this specious veil; beneath its guise,
                 "In honey'd streams, a fatal poison lies."
                 So Vice allures with Virtue's pleasing song,
                 And charms her victims with a Siren's tongue.
                                                     FRANCES ARABELLA ROWDEN.
 - From the root, however, of this plant, a powerful and useful sternutatory
may he made.
 + In this description the author has had in view the fancy of the ancients
respecting that being whom they represented as hostile to man.
Lo! with unnumberd hands, and countless feet,
The Fury comes, her destin'd prey to meet;
Deep in the covert hid.-
                      Sophocles.
Linnaeus places this plant in the Class GYNANDRIA, other authors refer it
to MONOECIA, and in our reformed system it comes under
the Class MANY MALES, Order, FLOWERS SPATHED.


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