This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Ixia Chinensis. Chinese Ixia.
Cor. 6-partita, campanulata, regularis. Stigmata 3.
IXIA chinensis foliis ensiformibus; floribus remotis, panicula dichotoma, floribus pedunculatis. Linn. Sp. Pl. v. i. p. 52. Ait. Hort. Kew. v. i. p. 62.
MORaeA chinensis caule compresso, foliis ensiformibus, panicula dichotoma, floribus pedunculatis. Murr. Syst. Vegetab. p. 93.
In that elaborate and inestimable work, the Hortus Malabaricus, we have a good figure of the plant here exhibited, accompanied by a minute description; the author informs us that it grows spontaneously in India, attaining the height even of five or six feet, and affecting a sandy soil; the natives consider it as an antidote to poisons in general, and regard the bruised root as peculiarly efficacious in curing the bite of the serpent, called Cobra de Copella.
We raised plants of it last year from seeds imparted to us by J. Ibbettson, Esq. of the Admiralty; this year, during the months of August and September, many of them have flowered, and capsules are forming which have every appearance of producing perfect seeds; the root of this plant is yellow, and tuberous like that of the Iris, the leaves also greatly resemble those of that tribe, it grows to the height of about three feet, and produces a considerable number of flowers in succession each of which is of short duration.
The root and radical leaves as represented on the plate are much smaller than in plants which have been long established.
Our plants stood in pots in the open ground through the winter of 1790-1 without injury, but it must be remembered, that the weather during that period was uncommonly mild; it will be safest therefore to consider it as a tender herbaceous plant.
It differs so much in its fructification from many others of the genus, that Prof. Murray has considered it as a Moraea, with which, in our humble opinion, it has scarcely any affinity.