Edinb[urgh] 11 Dec[embe]r 1782.
I had the pleasure of receiving your Letter of the 20 Oct[obe]r for wh[ich] I
thank you much.
I am happy with the prospect of seeing you here. You will be received wth evry mark
of kind attention.
You have inclosed seeds of a plant from the mountains of Persia sent to D[octo]r
Pallas some years ago, for the Asa foetida. It certainly yeilds Asa foetida, yet it does
not ressemble Kemfers figure. I have had a drawing of it made w[it]h a description. I
am about sending to Sir Joseph Banks. In Scotland we certainly have no other species
of the Bos than Taurus.
I have the honor of being with great regard Your most obed[ien]t Serv[an]t
Radix. The Root is Branching & Permanent.
Truncus. The Stem is generally from three to five feet high, and will
grow to above one foot in diameter, covered with a thick scarous, dehiscent, brown
Bark & branching into a Dense Spreading Top. Seldom above twelv feet high. The
wood is extremely hard & heavy. The Interior wood varies in different plants from a pale
brown to a dark red approaching to Black, but always covered with one or Two Inches
thick of white wood.
Folia. The leaves arise from the young branches alternately, at one or
two Inches distance. From four to ten Inches long, and doubly winged. The partial
wings are near two Inches long, and from fifteen to Thirty pairs, having small
umbilicated glands upon the superior part, placed between the Insertions of the wings
and one larger placed below the first pair. Each wing has about fourty pairs of Liniar
lobes Three tenths of an Inch long.
Aculei. At the base of each leaf there are two recurved prickles; in
young plants they are strong; in the old plants they are often flexile and scarce visible.
Nature thus partially guards the young of severall Mimosas & other prickly plants.
Flores. From the axilla the leaf arises one sometimes two dense Spikes,
four or five Inches long. The flowers are small, white & sessile, with a small deciduous
Squama under each flower.
Calyx. The Empaliment is one Tubulous leaf, divided at Top into five
acule, patent parts.
Corolla. The petal is of the same form as the Calyx, but double its
length and whiter.
Stamina. There are a great many capillary filaments, double the length
of the Petal, adheering together at the base of the Germen. The Antherae are small
and almost globular.
Pistillum. The Germen is ovale having a short pedicle & a filiform Style
as long as the filaments, with a very small terminating Stigma.
Pericarpium. The Legumen is about two inches long lanceolated,
brown, smooth & compressed, with an undulated thin margine.
Simen. The Pod contains six or eight orbiculated compressed, distant
seeds, producing a nausious flavor when chewed.
Locus. It is one of the most common Trees to be met with in the
uncultivated mountains of Rolas & Pallamow, & frequent in many other parts of this
Country, & in various soils.
Tempus. The leaves & flowers appear in June. In the day the leaves are
expanded. In the night they collapse, & after the process of the fructification is finished
they fall off, and the Acula decay. The Pods remain frequently untill april next year.
[a][a] : [The last paragraph written by
I[?] Garden]. Descriptio – Indian Pink root; nonne nov[us] Gen[us]?
Radix perennis, horizontalis, simplex, inaequalis, fibrillis plurimis,
Caulis simplex, erectus, membranis quatuor e basi foliorum
decurrentibus quadrangularis videatur, scaber, validus, annuus.
Folia ovato-lanceolata, acuminata, integerrima, nuda, glabra, venosa,
sessilia, leviter decurrentia, opposita, patentia. Par inferius minimum, obverse
Inflorescentia. Spicae secundae, terminales, squamis parvulis ex
opposito hinc inde raris.
Calyx Perianthium (distinctissime) pentaphyllum;
foliolis liniaribus, longioribus, subulatis, acutis, basibus crassiusculis persistentibus.
Corolla Monopetala, tubulosa decidua. Tubus calyce multo longior,
inferne angustus, basi tamen ampliato, gibbo, superne ventricosus, quinqangulatus,
fauce iterum coarctato. Limbus quinquepartitus, laciniis lanceolatis, acutis,
Stamina Filamenta quinque, e fauce Tubi enata, corolla breviora,
Antherae oblongae, sagittatae, conniventes.
Pistillum Germen superum, subrotundum. Stylus corolla longior,
erectus, teres, villosus, infra medium orbiculatus! parte superiore decidua-inferiore
coloratiore, calycem longa, persistente. Stigma simplex attenuatum.
Pericarpium. Capsula didyma, serotiformis, calyci insidens Singula
subrotunda bivalvi, perpendiculariter dehiscente.
Semina Plurima, scabra, angulata, externe convexa, receptaculo
erecto, capitato undique insidentia.
Obs. 1ma Calyx pentaphyllus, Flos superus, Stylus
corolla longior, Stigma attenuatum, Structura pericarpii singularis, quominus ad
Loniceram sit referenda vetant.
2da Calyx pentaphyllus, structura Limbi & Antherarum,
Stylus articulatus. Habitus omnium plantae partium, a Spigelia hanc immane quantum
3tia Instar omnium autem Stylus hujus plantae articulatus!
Character essentialis, proprius distinctissimus, aeternus a D[eo] O[ptimo] M[aximo]
impressus distinctum ab omnibus hactenus notis & omnino novum genus ostendit.
Hujus plantae Radix, Caulis, Folia & fructificatio, a Spigelia, Anthelmia
ab omni parte discrepant, praesertim si Brownii Iconem comparas. Nam cum eo vix
affinitatem obscuram habet. Mirum equidem videtur, ut tam diu haec genera simul
aggregatur. In tomo 5to Amoenitatum Academicar[um] recte judicat de
hocce genere Colliander & radicem unius annuam alterius perennem observat. Haec
nota plus ad distinguenda genera naturalia confert quam primo facie apparet.