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drawn, the fisheries have suffered in consequence. Even the finny tribes inbabiting lakes, as the gwinead and other species, periodically leave the deep water, and, in obedience to a similar law, approach towards the margin, and deposit their spawn. We may add, that in the shallow water, in both cases, the numerous small animals reside which constitute the most suitable food for the tender fry.
For vivid delineations, in prose and poetry, of the various natural appearances in February, by William Howitt, consult T.T. for 1828, pp. 53-58.For an account of the brown-beaded gull, see also p. 59 of the same volume.
Botanical Curiosities. In the absence of floral attractions, out-of-doors, we resort to the green-housel and the hot-house for amusement, and there find ample scope for reflection on the wonders of the vegetable world. The airplant of China has, for some years, been cultivated in the hot-houses of this country, but without the production of flowers, till the gardener of H. R.H. Prince Leopold, at Claremont, lately succeeded; and a branch of blossom was produced, between two and three feet long, composed of hundreds of large flowers, resplendent with scarlet and yellow. The plant has the wonderful property of living wholly on air, and is suspended by the Chinese from the ceilings of their rooms, which are adorned by its beauty and perfumed by its fragrance.
The kirbut, or great flower of Sumatra, discovered by Dr. Arnold in 1818, is one of the most extraordinary of vegetable productions. It is a parasite, growing out of another plant, in the manner of the mistletoe, and is found in woods, on the roots and
· See 1.T. for 1828, pp. 333-336, 376-379, for an account of greenhouses and the management of plants in chambers.
stems of those immense climbers which are attached, like cables, to the largest trees in the forest. The flower constitutes the whole of the plant, there being neither leaves, roots, nor a stem. The breadth of a full-grown flower exceeds three feet; the petals, which are subrotund, measure twelve inches from the base to the apex; what is considered the nectarium would hold twelve pints; the pistils, which are abortive, are as large as cows' horns; and the weight of the whole is about fifteen pounds. The flower, fully blown, was discovered in a jungle, growing close to the ground, under the bushes, with a swarm of flies hovering over the nectary, and apparently laying their eggs in its substance. The colour of the five petals is a brick-red, covered with protuberances of a yellowish white. The smell is that of tainted beef.
The prangos, or hay-plant of Northern India, appears to be remarkable for its amazing produce, and its beneficial effects when used as a food for cattle, while very little care is requisite in its cultivation. Two chests of its seed, and specimens of the prangos hay, have been forwarded to this country, and presented by the Hon. Court of Directors of the East India Company to the Horticultural Society; and though it is much to be regretted, that the vegetative power of the seeds had been so much exhausted, as to render it doubtful whether they will grow or not, there is reason to hope that speedier means may be employed to obtain seed, now that attention is called to the plant. The prangos bay-plant is a perennial herbaceous plant, with a large fleshy root-stock, usually measuring six or seven inches in diameter, and formed by the aggregation of an immense quantity of crowns, or winter buds, clustered together at or above the surface of the ground. These crowns are closely covered by the fibrous remains of the old leaves, which must be effective in protecting the buds from frost. From each crown rises an abundance of finely-cut leaves, about two feet in length, and of a highly fragrant smell when dried, similar to that of new clover hay. Mr. Lindley (judging from the specimen) supposes, that each plant will produce about 14 lbs. of dry fodder; and, allowing each plant to occupy a space of ground four feet square, the produce would be 14 tons per acre; and it is said to thrive on very inferior land.
The days are now visibly longer, and we are busily engaged in the pleasing occupation of observing the renovation of nature. Every tree and every shrub presents something new; and to those who are fond of botany, the present season of the year is peculiarly interesting. What can be more delightful to an intelligent mind than to view the opening budthe expanded leaf—the first appearance of the flower bud-its perfection-and, last of all, its wonderful fructification! But, in observing this beautiful progress of vegetation, let us not forget to adore the great Author of those immutable laws that govern the whole system of vegetable and animal creation.
Hail! bail! revived, reviving SPRING,
Fair type of heav'n's eternal year;
Lo! gratitude salutes thee here.
To echo back the common lay,
To join in bounty's holiday.
Be sacred every grateful choir;
That endless bounty can inspire.
Owinter at Smyrna. The houses, except those erected by Europeans, have seldom chimneys or fire-places in the rooms. In cold weather it is usual to place a pan of charcoal beneath a table, over which a carpet or handsome counterpane is spread, the sides reaching to the floor: the family sit round this, warming their legs and hands under the cover. As winter advances, the sky, which in summer is most remarkably clear and serene, varies; and we have, alternately, sunshine and rain. Southerly winds chiefly prevail, bringing clouds on the mountains, from which proceed thunder and lightning; the showers renew the verdure, which, in the middle of December, is as fine as can be conceived, marigolds and anemonies springing spontaneously from the turf, beneath the olive trees, in great profusion; at the same time, thickets of myrtle, in blossom, adorn the waste; and, in the gardens, the golden fruit glitters among the deep green leaves of the orange trees. The southerly quarter is warm as well as wet, but the flowers which it produces instantly droop and wither before the north and easterly winds. These, in summer, are hot, coming over parched plains and naked mountains exposed to the sun; but, at this season, are extremely bleak and penetrating, and bring snow on the distant hills; that or sleet rarely falling in the valleys. In the coldest day we felt our thermometer was at 49°, but in December the sun, at times, was powerful, and the air sultry; and once in that month the thermometer rose to 80° in the shade. We had plenty of daffodils and hyacinths. Early in February the almond trees blossomed, and roses and carnations were common, and sold about the streets. Upon the whole we enjoyed, except in some few intervals, an azure sky, with exquisite softness, such as cannot be described.Chandler's Travels in Asia.
Scene in Brazil.
(From Spix and Martius's Travels.) We stopped at the Fazenda Capão, close on the bank of the river, to secure our baggage, till means could be found to convey it across. We fancied ourselves transported to an entirely unknown country. Instead of the dreary, leafless forest, or the campos of the lofty Sertâo, we were surrounded with luxuriant woods, bordered with extensive fish-ponds. On visiting one of these ponds in the evening, what a singular scene presented itself to our view! Hundreds of the rose-coloured spoonbill were drawn up in long lines along the shore, and waded slowly forwards, diligently exploring the marsh with their bills. Farther in the water, some large storks, taburus, and tujujus, were gravely stalking about, pursuing the fish with their long bills. On a small island in the middle of the pond reposed numerous flocks of ducks and water-hens, and large flocks of lapwings flew rapidly around the skirts of the forest, in chase of insects. There was an incessant chattering, screaming, and chirping, of the most various kinds of birds; and the longer we contemplated this singular sight, in which the animal creation, with all their innate independence and vivacity, were the only actors, the more unwilling were we to interrupt the pleasures of the scene by a hostile shot. · We certainly saw here above 10,000 animals together, each in its manner pursuing the natural impulse of self-preservation. The picture of the primitive creation seemed renewed before our eyes, and this delightful scene would have made a still more pleasing impression, had not our observations ended in the reflection, that war, eternal war, is the watchword, and the mysterious condition of all animal existence. The innumerable tribes of marsh and water-fowl, which, independent of each other, here follow their own instinct, seek every one its own prey of insects, frogs, and fish, as each is, in its turn, pursued by some other enemy. The mighty