Gardeners Dictionary: Lawsonia

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)

LAWSONIA. Lin. Gen. Plant. 433. Henna. Ludw. 143.

The flower has a small permanent empalement, divided nto four parts at the top. The flower is composed of four oval spear shaped petals, which spread open, and eight slender stamina the length of the petals, which stand by pairs between them, terminated by roundish summits. It hath a roundish germen, supporting a slender permanent style, crowned by a beaded stigma. The germen afterward becomes a globular capsule ending in a point, having four cells, filled with angular seeds.

This genus of plants is ranged in the first section of Linneæus's eight class, intitled Octandria Monogynia, which includes those plants whose flowers have eight stamina and one style.

The SPECIES are,

1. LAWSONIA (Inermis) ramis inermubus. Flor. Zeyl. 134. Lawsonia whose branches have no spines. Ligustrum Ægyptiacum latifolium. C. B. P. 476. Broad-leaved Egyptian Privet, called Alhenna, ro Henna, by the Arabians.

2. LAWSONIA (Spinosa) ramis spinosis. Flor. Zeyl. 134. Lawsonia with prickly branches. Rhamnus Malabaricus MAIL-ANSKI. Pluk. Alm. 38. tab. 220. Malabar Buckthorn, called Mail-anski.

The first sort grows naturally in India, Egypt, and other warm countries, where it rises with a shrubby stalk eight or ten feet high. The branches come out by pairs of opposite; these are slender, and covered with a whitish yellow bark, and garnished with oblong small leaves of a pale green, ending in acute points, placed opposite. The flowers are produced in loose bunches at the end of the branches; they are of a gray or dirty white colour, and are composed of four small petals which turn backward at the top. The flowers are succeeded by roundish capsules with four cells, filled with angular seeds.

The leaves of this shrub are much used by the Egyptian women to colour their nails yellow, which they esteem an ornament.

The second sort grows naturally in both Indies, for I have received specimens of it from the Spanish West-Indies, where it was found growing naturally in great plenty.

This rises with a woody trunk eighteen feet high or more. The wood is hard and close, covered with a light gray bark. The branches come out alternate, and are garnished with oblong oval leaves, which stand without order; and at the joints where the leaves are placed, come out single, strong, sharp thorns. The flowers are produced in loose bunches from the side of the branches; they are of a pale yellow colour, and of a disagreeable scent; they have four petals, which spread open; between each of these are situated two pretty strong stamina, terminated by roundish summits. After the flowers are past, the germen becomes a roundish capsule with four cells, including many angular seeds.

These plants are both propagated by seeds, which should be sown on a hot-bed early in the spring, that the plants when they come up may have time to get strength before winter. When the plants are fit to remove, they should be each planted in a small pot filled with light sandy earth, and plunged into a hotbed of tanners bark, where they must be screened from the sun till they have taken new root; then their treatment should be the same as that of the Coffee-tree, with this difference only, not to let these plants have so much water; but especially in the winter, during which season it should be given to them very sparingly,for by over-watering these plants I have known many of them destroyed; these plants are too tender to thrive in the open air in England, so they must constantly remain in the stove, but in hot weather they should have plenty of free air admitted to them.

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