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6 corrections, most recently by RodHagen - Show corrections


To the Editor of the Herald  

Sir,-At the présent time,when so much useful informa-  

tion is being laid before the public by the Acclimatisation Society, with a view of encouraging the introduction of     those plants which are suitable for our climate, it may not be unprofitable to take a glance at some of the vegetable productions which are finding their way into the colony in a manner apparently accidental. It is true that many of these are what wa popularly term" weeds,"     and those sometimes of a very troublesome and noxious character, not merely detrimental to the pursuits of agriculture and horticulture, but also containing in some instances deleterious and even poisonous properties. Yet the evil is not unmixed with good, for the spontaneous or fortuitous introduction of some useless species of a par- ticular genus is an indication that other species of the same genus, probably containing properties of a useful character, may 'flourish in the same climate. Thus Nature herself in some instances seems to point out suitable objects for accli- matisation, or at all events to show the natural families from which we may select individual species with the fairest pros- pect of adapting them to the country in which we live. But many of these so called weeds are really highly useful to man, some of them being known to possess medical virtues which may be rendered available with vary little trouble, and others being well calculated to serve as esculent vege- tables in seasons of scarcity ; whilst some few of them may hereafter afford material for colonial manufacture. Some years ago the whole family of Algae, or seaweeds, was pro- nounced to be useless, and the great poets of antiquity, when denouncing anything that appeared to them vile or despicable, were wont to compare it with the vilis or inutilis alga. Indeed, we are credibly informed that   not more than fifty or sixty years ago a learned professor, when consulted by one of his pupils respecting some species which he had been     collecting on the sea coast, pushed them from him, with the disdainful remark, "Pooh! a parcel of seaweeds! sir,   parcel of seaweeds!" When we consider the wonderful   progress that has been made of late years in the study of Algae, and the useful properties which modern ingenuity has extracted from many of the species, we may be tempted to smile at the ignorance of the learned professor; but, in so-doing, we   must beware lest we do not expose ourselves to a similar feeling of contempt from a future generation ; for whilst we have lived to see that the weeds of ths ocean are not merely the "flowers of the sea," but in some species highly valuable for commercial and medicinal purposes, posterity

may find out that amongst the weeds of ths land, which many so unscrupulously condemn, there are some of the speciosa miracula or the marvellous beauties of nature. I

believe that God has made nothing in vain, and

that every species, whether" in the animal or   vegetable kingdom, has been created for some especial purpose in the economy of nature. If we cannot at present discover these purposes, it is rather owing- to .our ignorance than to any other cause. The progress of science baa cleared np seme of the mysteiies which have lons; en- veloped many natural objeots ; and doubtlesr, as our know- ledge ¡Increases, we shall have more j and more reason to admire even the meanest animal or vegetable which we no« contemptuously tread under our feet. With this oonviotloo, therefore, I proceed to enumerate some of i the socoles ef plants which are springing up accidentally amongst us, j There fs certainly some difficulty in dis- tinguishing («me species which are considered cosmopolitan, from plant« really introduced, but > these are îoopsrativsly few; and I take it for granted that those plants which have appeared in the settled dis- tricts of the colony since the publication of Crown's Pro dromus, and the earlier botanical worke¡on New Holland, aie cot indigenous, for I cannot conceive it possible that any speoica widely scattered over the co'ony could have eccsped the observation of our first oolleotors, as any object similar to what they had known in Europe must have exoited particular attention. i ,

In the first great division of the vegetable kingdom, viz . the Ibulaaifloiio, I have remarEei that the introduoed plants belone principally to the following natural orders : - (1) CatgophyUaeea¡,\{.2) Crucifeta, (3)>J\ttmariace<e, (i) Gereniacas, (6) Mtnaeta, (6) Malvacto, and (7) Fhtfoh'


(1 ) Caryephyüacta -Of this order, the apeóles most common in pardens m¿ cultivated clioas are Polycarptn tetraphyllum or '.'all-seed," Bttllafia media or "duck- weed,'', aid Cerastium vulgattm or "mousa-es* ohiok weed ;'f but I find that my learned friend Dr. F. Mueller Is disposed to think that the first two of these may be indi-

genous', although in speaking of Slellaria media, he remarks ' that " {be plant which inhabita our forests and alps, const! (uttea'race somewhat different to the ordinary ferm, whloh occurs here as a common garden weal." Sagina «peíala,

or ptarl-warf, wbloh In england gn>*D In dry. gravolly, rr »BLdf pincée, I »r Muell<r considers na decidedly Indi- genous Siltnc Qallica. or "onlobflr," ia bponmiup; a trcublcromo wted iu'gardene, nnd I havo notiopd Spcqula arventis in orclinide »tid^ tklde, Whilst Diant/ius prolifer or a wild pink, ia cor.fiDtd-to H few looaluli», havinie np

pnrcntl) keen Introduced with tomo Eojzliub. (trasses la , tbtèellr Wuolleri tiàâa-Affrosfemma Gilhago anti Arenaria Sirpillifalia, ilbo last I lirivo nut observed In thin Colony, tbo only tpecies atsArcnaña common ninon¡;st ui being A. marina now referred to Spcrgularia t ubra, whiob. mun be regarded as Indigenous.

(2) Ciiicifera:- riants of this order ara somewhat rare in Australia, being almost unknown in tho troploal parts of this continent-, and not numerous even in (ho moantiiuom districts. In (ho neighbourhood of Parramatta there ara not mora thnu three indigenous speoies, oven if wo iaoludu 'XcpiàiumfudcrSIc', whioh Dr. Mueller saya döoura In nlany

purls of South Australia, Tasmania, and Eastern Austra- lia, and egrets with tbo descriptions of tho Eurrpsan opeóle», 1 bo native epeolee hero are Cardamine stylosa and O tcnui folia, whilst Nasturtivm'icrrcttre is found on the banks of tbe Ft pean. '1 he introduced species ara the wild radlsbj" wild mustard, and hedge mustard (Raphanusraphanistrtm, Ginopis arvcmis and Sis$mb> turn officinale), »vi. they sp« peer litte, as fn Europe, in corn'fields, anl amongst

rutibUu; end also Senebiera didyma or "swino's cress," . end the inteiiietiuc Capsella bursa pastotis or " shepherd's puree/' Sitymbrium bas had a reputation for 'oattug hoarseness, and ulcers in tho throat, and Stnebicra is anli ecoibutic, es indeed are most of the Cruolfeim, solong as (tey are «fed whilet freth.

(3 )\I'umariaeea> -The only speoios of this order that has beti) Introduced ia the one so common lu gardons, viz. 1'wnaria oplcinalis or common fumitory, with roso-coloured flower», dark red at their summit, and pals green loaves twice pinnate. The leaves and alalka are bitter, " slightly disph¿retio and aperient : the juico was formerly admiuis

ti ted in cutaneous diseases and obstructions of iho liver." (Peatbiaoor,oot« )

(4 Y Gcraniacto -Two apeólos of Erodium (viz , E moschaium and E cicutarium) havo appeared amongst us. They di flor little fiom each other, excepting that the former bas a murky scent, and the leaves loes dof-ply dividí"!.

(5.) Zinaccw -Of the ftsx family, Linum Gallicmi. a plant with tmall yillow flowers, has certainly boon intro- duced, but L. marginale (formeily L. atigusli/olium), a plant with blue flowers, which Do Candolle- supposed to hive bein imported from Europe, is now considered to bs indi- genous. D.\ Mueller saja " Tho An»trhlian flax diff rs, as pointed out by Dr. Planchen,from the European L angus- tí folium principally in highly oonnata styles. Tho bast of iLo Australian flax ia ni considerable strength, and well sdnptcd for ttxtilo fabrics. Tho aborlglnei convert It Into nets, fUbine; Keep, and other artioles ol great strength an4 neatness. Tho seeds maj bo used for muollagtnous deooo tims, for expressing oil,,for preparing poullioes, and for any . titLer uieB for which common linseed is employed."

(6.) Mah'aciM.-Of tho mallow family, there aro somo in- teresting species amongst those Introduced. Malva syl vesiris, ocromonly called marsh mallow, bat very inferior to the real marsh mallow (Althaa ofUcùtalis), is still used on nccrunt of Its demulcent properties. M. vertieillata, M. » odmdifolia, and M. crispa hove also found thtir way to tho colony ; and Sida rhontbifolia or S retusa, a small shrub, whloh Mr, Moore states waa introduced from the Mamitius. This Is lie plant whloh, according to the ex- periments instituted by Mr. W. Hill, Bireotor of the Bris- bane Botanical Garden, yields an excellent fibre. It is becoming a troublesome weed in Australia, and is spreading from ena end of the continent to the other, With tespeot to the other malvaoeous piont-Pavonia hastaia, Mr, Bentham regards it as indigenous, but Dr. F. Mueller Bpcaks of it "as being naturalized in tho Eastern warmer parts of Australia," I bave had specimens from tha Hawkesbury, and not long slnoe I saw a phut of it growing in one of the streets at Penrith, but as it his beon lound in many other catt« of Australia, it seems probable

(bat Pavonia is really a nativa. , This shrub is remarkable | for producing two kinds of flowers, a fuel first pointe« P1Ï

by Dr. P. Mueller, i I

(7.) Phytolaecaccie.-lhe only species of this family whloh baa been accidentally introduced Is Phytelacca cctandra 1 his plant appeared first in tho neighbourhood of Sydnov, but latterly it has found its way inland, springing up in Parramatta, on the Richmond and Windsor Roads, &o, I am aware that some persons regirá this specie« es indi Reaous, but this opinion ia not held, I believe, by any botanist of eminence. P. iecandra' has beon introduced as a garden plant, and in Amelia« it Is used as a common dcnicstio purge. ' i

? In the second great division of plants, viz .'the 'Galyoi floiaV the following natural families are represented ia Auttralla by introduced species : (I.) Aitcraecas ; (2 ) Euphorbiacto ; (3 ) ""Zegumitwsa: ; (4.) Zythracia ?; (5.) Onagracca ; ' (0 ) Mosacccc ; (7.) Sanguiserbacea: ) ; and (8) UmbtMfera,

(1.) Asteraceæ.-The species of Introduced plants be- longing to the Composites, are rathor numerous, some of them being very troublesome weeds, and increasing with the greatest rapidity, owing to the easy manner in which the seeds of many species are wafted from place to place, Erigeron Canadense and E. linifolium are of this  

character, and are well-known pests to the agri-   culturist under the name of cobbler's pegs, Gnapha- lium luteo album and G. Indicum grow almost everywhere in waste places, and are apparently of little use to man. Two species of thistle, viz., the "Virgin Mary thistle"   (Corduus Marianus), and the "Scotch thistle " (Onopor- dum Acanthium), have spread very much of late years in

rushy parts ef the colony, especially the former, which, under the name of the "milk thistle," or "Our Lady's thistle," has had a reputation as "pectoral, antipleuritic, and apeeitive," whilst the full-grown leaves are said to bo " (udenfio and s per len'.." This thistle is ss beautiful as any cf the family, and it may easily be distinguished by themtlky vi In which inns tbrougb'itsaaik green splay leif. 'The t-'ectch thistle well merits the motto, whloh Scotsmen ot old have sffixed to their national emblem, " Nemo me impune lacetsit," which Baxter interprets into the plain t'totih » Ye msun't meddle wf me."-' lanaceium vulgäre, or common tansy, is now growing wild in many plaoes, but it teems in the first instance to have eeoaped from a garden, Uvln'gbeen probably imported by the early colonists, as a midlcal plant, for tassy wine is said to hare valuable re- medial effects, and » deeoction of this plant is used as a medicine for gout. Perhaps the introduction of Pyrethrum Parthtnium, or " fever fen," may be attributed to a similar cause, but it does seem te be a plant likely to spread much. The introduction 'of Anthemù cotula, or "stinking camomile," I think may be traced to some European packltg cases of Messrs. J. and W. Byrnes. In the first instance, it sprarg np In afield adjoining tho mill of that , firm, 'and subsequently travelled into the neighbouring ' cultivated lands. ' Every part of this piont is foo'.id and

acrid,1 blistering the skin when muoh handled. Its deooo tion Is a strong and active bitter, in a dose of a teaoupiul, producing copious vomiting land perspiration. I 'have noticed . European species of Eidens, and also a Chilian Tagete* (2\ < minuta) springing up oc- casionally in waste places. The Utter 1 i have been informed ' is becoming a troublesome weed , on some patts of the Hunter. Cicltorium Intybas or ohloory may be teen growing on the bank« of the Nepean at

Menangle, and more abundantly in the neighbourhood of, Camden. This useful plant is extensively cultivated, espe- cially'in France, as a substitute for coffee. There ia a epecies of Sotichus indigenous, bnt S. oleraceus or th» Sow tbletle appears to have come to us from Europe, as well as the ootnm6n dandelion (Taraxacum doit leonis), and four weeds similar te that 'plant in appearance, though far inferior in ? point of utility, viz. -.-Eypocharis radicela, Apcrgia imana, A. Taraza», land A, auUwnmíis As these spring np inj plaoss wheie English grasses have been Bown there can be no doubt ss to their origin. Galinsogeaparvi/lora, a South Amorlosn filant, wlih small yellow flowers and ovate three-nsrvsd

cave«, is becoming one of our commonest garden weeda. SiegcsbccMa oritntalis appears to be indigenous, as it Is found in the interior In m«ny plaoss. Latterly I have fre- quently noticed it in orchards near .Parramatta. Dr. Mueller mentions a species of Orcpi* as of foreign origin, but he regards leuzea, and I believe also the Eidens, to which I have referred, as indige- nous.; Centaurea solsiitialii, or O. melitens¡¡, Is a jellow priokly plant, growing in wheat fields, and is vety annoying to reapers. This appears to bs of European origin; but the Bathurst bar, or Xanthium tpinoiiim, although indigenous la the south of Europe, is (aid to have found its way to this oolony from South Ame- rica. (Perhaps this is the most injurious composite plant that we have, as it not only lakes the p'ace of more useful vegetable productions,' but the burs seriously affect the wool in tome patts of, the colony. An infusion of Xanthium le

touietinies used as a yellow dye.

(2.) Euphorbiaccai -Of this family there are two species of Eupfiotbia of foreign origin, Eptplut and Echamosyce, the milky juice of which is very aorid, and is regarded as a useful remedy for warts. Eicinu» communie, or tho oastor oil plant, Is spreading in many parts of the colony, and possesses medicinal qualities too well known to require any rtmaik. In addition to the ordinary uses of this plant, I may mention (what indeed I have learned from my friend Cr. Pringle) that the leaves of the castor oil ara now some- times cmplojed as a galactopoietic I do not think, how- ever, that they should be used ia this way without medical adv'ce. If it can be procured.

(3 )| Leguminosa: -Ihe intreduoed leguminous plants are not co numerous as many would suppose. The oommon vetch ( Vicia ifjiiïa) is otten seen in or near cultivated ground, and the scented trefoil (Xehlotus parvifiora) is so abundant in come districts as to do considerable injury to agriculturists by deteriorating the quality of their flour. Many millers' refuse, to purchase) wheat' whiob Is impregnated with this

weed, jas it imparts a nauseous1 flavour- to' the bread. , .JUedicqgo nigra is of the same family, and has a bur whloh adhere* towool. Trifolium repent, or white clover, has >spre ad mrpr (singly In some dlstilots, and occasionally two other [species of trefoil, and oso of Lotta, may be found ! emonget the Bnglish grasses. Cassia cotymbpsa-* shrub nearly allied to the senna of chemists, tho leaves of whloh are also pnrgative-now'grows wild ia waste places. Lesptdexa júncea, which occurs sparingly in Ihrso paris, is probably Indigenous ; but the " furze, or Ules JÈurcpoui was Introduced.

{4 ) Zythractw.-1h* common Lytlmtm hytsopifolium, which may be gathered In almrst every moist place in this patt of the colony, is decidedly a native, and Dr. Mueller (Frag, vol 3, p. 169) also regards L, »alicaria, the " spiked purple Î loose-strife " of England, as indigenous. Sir 'J homes Mitchell found this plant in abundance amongst the reeds of tie Macquarie, and I have seen specimens from Mudgee, Cíennos Elver, &o. In this dlstriot I have found only one plant of it, and that was not far from Gene- ral Macarthur'« garden.

(5) Onograuo -The species of Epitobium {E. rotewn) which flourishes hera is of European origin. The down of this plant, as well as of otasts. belonging to the same genus,

k? ,,on',.,it,'tB I»'«» xnlxtd with cotton and mMmf<otnTrl win slrclilBf s and, U,I"gkd with the fur «f tuT b "vTr ¿-a

fervtd.for hato and other oitloles of clothing. There aT

iW^i?" nJ-0J\othera (evening pim«?.), Ä.M* $,«í floT?,7Uohsfr£nl 1,kc'y »»Bw.wUdherVinmoä

, (G ) Xosactm.-OÎ Ibis family tho sweet brier [llosa t «if. gu.Oia), 1^ ton.plnii.rd of by eoino settlor», but I think th i ».«st >»e»*h people will bo pleasingly remludnl of ho old reunir j; by Ihn eight of ihoigl.ntlne, or m.t brier¡and bo fimt, which in «orno countries ia made ¡uto a o»n*orV» Jumlsbrs food for small Hrr-s AlthoURh this sarnb wai brought lo the colony in the firs? Instance deslsnedly vît il I« worthy of mention, as it haB spread very widely.

(7 ) Sangimorbaccic -'Ihero are two opeóle« nf Acren* fund in tbi« neighbourhood-^ Ovina and A. SanrnZ or ¿re Tbe former seems to have been brought Into this Bnthuist manyjears eiuoe, and it mav Mill bo reen growing luxuriantly in St. John's ohurohva a It «(taie probablo that ia tho early days of the onion* eenie tbeep may have occasionally been kept In the ohuron yard, and that tbey conveyed the seeds to this looalltv A frietd of mine assuies mo tlmt this plant wa« oultlvstíí In former years for«heep, but Dr. Mueller moline« loth* I opinion ibnt Imthof them are Indigenous. "**

(o.) uvweilijtro.-A speolee of the Amerloan OCÍWII/ÍT

his bas louiiu its way into como parts of the colony, i ed oleo Stum ¡ati/olium gcnorally deemed poisonous, and the common fennel (Famculum migare). The fruit of the lest is aromatic, let, und carminative, the roots opening,

ard (bo leaves diuretic It is ueed in England as seasoning ' to fifh. To theso umbelliferous plants a few species of eut pleious enes rolpht be added whloh seom to Dad their wty Miner with English reedd, bat as thoy seldom extend ha 3 ond tho garden in which they aro town, they do not fill Within the limita of my present communication.

1 had intended to puitus this suhjeat further, and to point out tiuxe plants of loreign origin belonging to tho Corolli floiro and Monochlumväiru, whfoh have found thtlr way accidentally into Australis, tiut I Dod that my comtnuoioUion bus alreody far exceeded tho limits I had antiolpited. I mutt, tkcrefore, reserva tho remaining portion of my iatrsj tlgatioLB for Eomn future occasion ; and, in the meantime, I hope that o subject so intimately cauneoted with the pro- cess of acclimatisation may lead (thors to estímate Ihn importance uf stud) fog the rieo and progress of plants introduced occidental!}. By eo doing they will render on eeeeniial eervico to the cauce of science, fer by determining and placing cn record the nemes of plants imported under

such cficuumtancee, they will enable the bataniail student. to oBcertain what aro Indigenous and what are not ; * whilst at the enmo time they will eoqulre from natara her self eomo ureful hints as to the kind« of plants whloh ara

best ndnptcd to our soil and climate- It la probable that ia ~ my review of iho Thalamifloiro and Calyoiflora», I may have

omitted eome plants which others bolter qualified than my- '

self for such inquiries havo nottoed in different patts of ' Australia, Should such bo the ceeo, I hopo that thoy will , ,

cotwilhhold their information frcmthopub)ic,fortheaubjoot : t

ieococf great ntility, and hearing'directly upon some'of ' .' tboce abetruso questions whloh aro now being agitated by ' -

men of science In Europo.

"lam, BIr, ' .'

Tour obedient servant,

. W: W.

George-street, Parramatta, June 2Ut., ..

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