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been fearful to mention the dimensions of this flower, so much does it exceed every flower I have ever seen or heard of; but I had Sir Stamford and Lady Raffles with me, and a Mr. Palsgrave, a respectable man resident at Manna, who, though equally astonished with myself, yet are able to testify as to the truth.
“ The whole flower was of a very thick substance. When I first saw it a swarm of flies were hovering over the nectary, and apparently laying their eggs in the substance of it.* It had precisely the smell of tainted beef. Now for the dimensions, which are the most astonishing part of the flower : it measured a full yard across; Sir Stamford, Lady Raffles, and myself taking immediate measures to be accurate in this respect, by pinning four large sheets of paper together, and cutting them to the size of the flower. The nectarium, or bottom of the flower, in the opinion of us all, would hold twelve pints, and the weight of this prodigy we calculated to be fifteen pounds. There were no leaves or branches to this plant, so that it is probable that the stems bearing leaves issue forth at a different period of the year. A guide from the interior said that such flowers were rare, but that he had seen several, and that the natives call them Krûbût."
* The leaves of the flower, five in number, were of a dull, brick red, of great thickness, and covered with yellowish white raised spots.
A second species has been found by Dr. Horsfield in Java; this, though in every respect generally the same, has a most extraordinary difference in the size of the flower, the Rafflesia Arnoldi being, as we have said, three feet in diameter, the Rafflesia Horsfieldi is only three inches. We must not omit to remark that these extraordinary productions are parasitical, or growing on other plants, and deriving their support from them.
6 it was
A third species has been detected by Dr. Blume in Nousa Kambangan, a small island dependent on Java, situated in the mouth of the river. He had at first some buds only brought to him, which he, from their structure, judged to be a species of Rafflesia ; but until he went and gathered specimens himself in the island, where alone it is said to grow, he had no idea of the real nature of the plant. It was in November 1824 that he visited the spot, where, he says, in the account published in the Batavian Courant for March 1825,
upon the declivities of some limestone hills, densely covered with entangled and creeping shrubs, that the patma,' as it is called by the natives, was to be found. One of the guides stopped from time to time, and having looked attentively at the shrubs, he suddenly pointed to a branch on which grew one plant. It was instantly cut down, and proved to be a species of Cissus, known to the natives by the name of “walerian,' the blossoms of which, however, I could not procure. All the guides now strove to earn the reward I held out for a certain number of these vegetables, and a few minutes had scarcely elapsed, when a little bud
was found growing out of the root of the Cissus, lying upon the ground, and which had the appearance rather of an excrescence of the root itself, than any natural production. Two buds more were soon brought to me in different stages of growth ; and indeed it was an astonishing sight, which I shall never forget, when I beheld a large flower-bud resembling a cabbage head, and very near its expansion. On another root of the vine I perceived, to my joy, a fully expanded flower of this wonderful plant, having a diameter of two feet, while the middle attracted the eye by its vivid carmine colour."
Dr. Blume has published an account of this gigantic plant, in his rare and costly work, the • Flora Javæ.' The accounts that first reached England of the Rafflesia were communicated in a letter to the late Sir Joseph Banks, in which the greatest expectations were formed, that the indefatigable discoverer, Dr. Arnold, from possessing the favour and influence of the governor of the island, would continue his researches with great success. But these hopes and expectations
never to be realised, for the intelligence of the death of Dr. Arnold arrived at the same
time as the account of the Rafflesia. He fell a victim to his exertions on his first tour into the interior, and died of a fever about a fortnight after the discovery of the Rafflesia Arnoldi.
By way of contrast to this gigantic natural flower, may be mentioned the dwarf plants of the Japanese. By a peculiar process they continue to retain all the characteristics of the forest tree in a specimen of almost incredible smallness. They cultivate this art with great success, and with many of them it is a ruling passion. The plants thus dwarfed have the habit of the weeping willow. One, which is the most commonly selected for this process, is a kind of yellow plum, Prunus Mume. A nurseryman offered for sale, in the year 1826, a plant in flower, which was scarcely three inches high. This chef d'auvre of gardening was shown in a little lacquered box of three tiers, similar to those filled with drugs which the Japanese carry in their belts. In the upper tier was this plum, in the second row a little spruce fir, and in the lowest a bamboo, scarcely an inch and a half in height. This process of dwarfing is one of the most general and lucrative employments in the country.