Page images

It was

copious stream of milk-like fluid immediately followed. Our guide drank of it, and Mr. Couchman and myself tasted it after him. thicker and richer than cow's milk, and destitute of all acrimony, leaving only a slight feeling of clamminess on the lips. I had already seen it mix freely with the water of the little stream, and as I slept that night near the spot, the next morning Mr. Couchman and myself drank it in warm coffee.

With this it mingled equally well, and lost all the viscosity before perceptible in its pure state, so much so, as to appear to us incapable of being distinguished from animal milk. Mr. Couchman was determined, he said, to use it as a substitute for milk at his little neighbouring woodland establishment. A variety of experiments have since tended to confirm me in my opinion, that it in no way differs in quality from the vegetable milk of the cow-tree, yet it is plain that it is not the tree described by Humboldt.

“ I am not aware that the Hyà-Hyà has, either under its Indian or any other appellation, been ever made known. The Indians inform me it is by no means uncommon in the woods of this colony;


may therefore hope to procure the fruit. The tree was fortunately coming into flower when I discovered it, two specimens of which, together with the wood and bark, and a small bottle of the milk, I forward along with this, and beg to have them submitted to your own, as well as the examination of your scientific friends. The milk has now been in bottle thirty-six days: it did not commence to curdle before the seventh day after it was taken from the tree, and even then the process seemed exceedingly slow; so much so, that on the twelfth day I used some of another portion, bottled at the same time, in tea, without its being distinguished from animal milk by those who drank it.” The specimens sent to England were examined by Mr. Arnott, who, after careful investigation, pronounced the tree to belong to the genus Apocynæa. He remarks, “ The usual properties of the milk of the Apocynæa are deleterious, and it is rather remarkable to find an instance to the contrary in this tribe and I do not think there is any other on record. Among the Asclepiada of Brown, which have similar baneful properties, an instance is also known of the milk being wholesome; I allude to a plant found in Ceylon, which the natives call kiriaghuna from kiri (milk), and who employ its milky juice when the milk of animals cannot be procured ; its leaves are even boiled by them as a substitute in such dishes as require to be dressed with milk: it is the Gymnema lactifera of Brown. The young shoots of several species of plants belonging to both these tribes are used as food.”


“The plant, up-springing from the seed,
Expands into a perfect flower,
The virgin daughter of the mead,
Woo'd by the sun, the wind, the shower;
In loveliness beyond compare,
It toils not, spins not, knows no care ;
Train’d by the secret hand that brings
All beauty out of waste, and rude,
It blooms its season, dies, and flings
Its germs abroad in solitude.
Germ, flower, and fish, the bird, the brute,
Of every kind occult or known,
(Each exquisitely form’d to suit
Its humble lot, and that alone,)
Through ocean, earth, and air fulfil
Unconsciously their Maker's will,
Who gave, without their toil and thought,
Strength, beauty, instinct, courage, speed,
While thro' the world his pleasure wrought,
Whate'er his wisdom had decreed.”

MONTGOMERY, Thoughts and Feelings. Of all the surprising productions of the vegetable world, there is not one that can compete with the plant discovered by Dr. Arnold, when accompanying Sir S. Raffles, in 1818, on one of his journeys in the interior of the island of Sumatra. It is the most gigantic, the most magnificent, and the most extraordinary flower, that has ever been described. The account, both of its discovery and its peculiarities, is best given in the words of Dr. Arnold himself, the first European who ever saw it.

“At Pulo Lebbar, or the Manna river, two days' journey inland of Manna, I rejoice to tell you that I happened to meet with what I consider the greatest prodigy of the vegetable world. I had ventured some way from the party, when one of the Malay servants came running to me, with wonder in his eyes, and said, Come with me, sir! come! A flower, very large, beautiful, wonderful !' I immediately went with the man about a hundred yards in the jungle, and he pointed to a flower growing close to the ground, under the bushes, which was truly astonishing. My first impulse was to cut it up, and carry it to the hut. I therefore seized the Malay's parang, (a kind of woodcutter's chopping hook,) and finding that it sprang from a small root which ran horizontally, (about as large as two fingers or a little more,) I soon detached it and removed it to our hut. To tell you the truth, had I been alone, and had there been no witnesses, I should, I think, have

« PreviousContinue »