Gardeners Dictionary: Caesalpina

Gardeners Dictionary:
containing The Best and Newest Methods of Cultivating and Improving The Kitchen, Fruit, Flower Garden, and Nursery; As also for Performing the Practical Parts of Agriculture: Including The Management of Vineyards, With the Methods of Making and Preserving Wine, According to the present Practice of The most skilful Vignerons in the several Wine Countries in Europe.

Together with Directions for propagating and improving, From real Practice and Experience, All sorts of Timber Trees.

The Eight Edition,
Revised and Altered according to the latest System of Botany; and Embellished with several Copper-Plates, which were not in some former Editions.

By Philip Miller, F. R. S.
Gardener tothe Worshipdul Company of Apothecaries, at their Botanic Garden in Chelsea, and Member of the Botanic Academy at Florence.

Printed for the Author;

(Lontoo 1768)

CÆSALPINA. Plum. Nov. Gen. 9. Brasiletto.

This plant was so named by father Plumier, who discovered it in America, in honour of Andreas Cæsalpinus, an eminent bonanist, and one of the first writers on a method of claffing plants.

The Characters are,
In bath a quinquefid pitcher-shaped empalement, the under lobe being large. The flower hath five almost equal petals, of the butterfly kind. It hath ten declining stamina which are distinct, and terminated by roundish sunnits, and an oblong germen supporting a single style the length of the stamina, crowned by a blunt stigma. The empalement afterward becomes an oblong compreffed pod, with one cell inclosing three or four compressed seeds.

This genus of plants is ranged in the first section of Linnæus's tenth class, intitled Decandria Monogynia, the flower having ten separate stamin and one style.

The Species are,

1. CÆSALPINA (Brasiliensis) foliis duplicato-pinnatis, foliolis emarginatis, floribus decandris. Cæsalpina with doubly winged leaves, whose small leaves are indented et the end, and flowers with ten stamina. Pseudo-fantalum croceum. Sloan. Hist. Jam. Vol. II. p. 184. Safron-coloured Bastard Saunders, commonly called Brasiletto.

2. CÆSALPINA (Arista) foliis duplicato-pinnatis foliolis emarginatis, floribus decandris. Cæsalpina with doubly winged leaves, whole small leaves are oval and entire, and flowers with five stamina. Cæsalpina polyphylla aculis horrida. Plum. Nov. Gen. 28.

The first sort is the tree which affords the Brasilettowood, which is much used in dyeing. It grows naturally in the wartnest parts of America, from whence the wood is imported for the dyers; and the demand for it has been so great, that there are no large trees left in any of the British colonies, the biggest scarce exceeding eight inches in diameter, and fifteen feet in height. It hath very slender brances, which are armed with recurved thorns. The leaves are winged, branching out into many divisions, each being garnished with small oval lobes which are indented at the top, and are placed opposite. The foot-stalks of the flowers come out from the side of the branches, and are terminated by a loose pyramidal spike of white flowers, which are shaped somewhat like those of the butterfly kind, having ten stamina which are much longer than the petals, and terminated by roundish yellow summits. The germen afterwards becomes a long compressed pod with one cell, inclothing several oval flat seeds.

The second fort grows naturally in the same countries with the first, but is or larger size: it sends out many weak irregular branches, armed with short, strong, upright thorns. The leaves branch out in the same manner as the first, but the lobes (or small leaves) are oval and entire. The flowers are produced in long spikes like those of the former, but are variegated with red, these have each but five stamina, therefore, according to Linnaæus's system, should bot be ranged in this class; but as in all the other characters they agree, I have continued them together.

Dr. Linnæus has joined these two species together, in which he has been followed by Dr. Burman; but if either of them had seen the plants, they could not have committed this mistake. To this genus Linnæus has added two other species, one of which is Guilandina, and the other a Bauhinia: to the latter he has added the Synonime of Colutea Veræ Crucis Cesicaria, which is a plant totally different, being genuine Colutea. I received this from the late Dr. Houstoun, who found it growing naturally at La Vera Cruz, in New Spain.

These plants are propagated by seeds, which should be sown in small pots filled with light rich earth early in the spring, and plunged into a hot-bed of tanners bark, observing to water the earth as often as it appears dry, in order to promote the vegetation of the seeds, and if the nights should prove cold, the glasses of the hot-bed should be covered with mats, to keep the bed in a moderate warmth. In about six weeks after, the plants will begin to appear, when they must be carefully cleared from weeds, and frequntly refreshed with water; and, in warm weather, the glasses of the hot-bed should be raised in the middle of the day, to admit fresh air to the plants, which will greatly strengthen them, otherwise they are apt to draw up weak. When the plants are about three inches high, they should be carefully taken out of the pots, and each transplanted into a separate small pot filled with fresh light carth, and plunged into the hot-bed again, observing to water them, and screen them from the heat of the sun until they have taken new root; after which time, the glasses of the hot-bed should be raised every day, in proportion to the heat of the weather, to admit fresh air to the plants. In this hot-bed the plants may remain till autumn, when they should be removed into the stove, and plunged into the bark-bed, where they may have room to grow. These plants being tender, should always be kept in the bark-stove, and have a moderate share of heat in the winter, and being placed among other tender exotic plants of the same country, will afford an agreeable variety.

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