Amongst the many stove-plants cultivated for the beauty, elegance, or curious appearance of their foliage, there are many much more stately, but scarcely one more interesting, than the singular little aquatic plant that heads this paper. Years ago, some gentleman travelling in Madagascar discovered the Ouvirandra; but not being able to send home living specimens of it, he forwarded some dried ones, and these, for the curious and novel formation of their leaves, were highly prized at the time, and carefully preserved. About sixteen years ago, the Rev. William Ellis, so long associated with missionary enterprises in Madagascar, introduced some plants, and forwarded them to Kew, the first living examples of it ever introduced to England.

Since its introduction to this country it has never attained the popularity it unquestionably deserves: why, is not easily determined. One writer has described it as difficult to grow; another asserts the opposite, and says it is as easily grown as any other stove-plant. One cultivator has asserted that it has fallen into bad repute through being grown in too deep water; while, singularly enough, another contends that the cause of failure is through growing it in too shallow vessels. I think all these are wrong to some extent, and I hold the opinion that neglect has done more than anything else to narrow the scope of its cultivation. There are some cultivators who make a pet of a new plant for a time, but when something else turns up, or work presses on their hands, their enthusiasm cools, and plants are left to take care of themselves, and frequently to perish. It has been so with the Ouvirandra; and as it was growing in its natural element, water, they thought it would take no harm if left to itself for a week or two. The same neglect would have killed other stove-plants than this under notice. This is how it has been treated; and not having had even the ordinary attention required by other plants, it has got the reputation of being difficult to cultivate.

A cultivator who goes about his work systematically, can grow the Ouvirandra as well as any other plant under similar conditions; but inattention to changing the water has wrought much mischief, and seriously affected the health of the plants.

As some of your readers may not have seen this plant, I send a sketch of a single leaf of it. The leaves of the plant are entire, oblong in shape, and the veins, except about five or six, which run longitudinally, are in parallel lines across the leaves, between which are little square holes or cavities, which give to it precisely the form of lattice-work, or a rope ladder; hence its common name, the Lattice plant. The leaves grow from 9 to 15 inches in length, and are of a beautiful dark-green hue. O.. Berneriana is of much larger growth, producing leaves from 15 to 20 inches in length, and of a bright green colour, but they are not so open as those of O. fenestralis. They are both well worth cultivation where space will permit. A good plant of 0. Berneriana will fill a tub 3 feet in diameter, while an ordinary-sized plant of 0. fenestralis will grow in an inverted bell-glass 18 inches in diameter - in fact, a very good thing in which to grow it, as it shows off the beauties of its leaves to the best advantage; while a large tub or slate cistern about 18 inches deep will be required for O. Berneriana.

But now to the cultivation of this interesting plant. Having decided on the material of which the vessel shall be composed in which the plant is to grow, whether of slate, wood, or glass, it should be plunged to one-third of its depth in bottom-heat in the warmest corner of the stove. This done, place 2 or 3 inches of clean washed gravel from the river-side over the bottom, and fill it up to the brim with rainwater previously heated to between 70° and 80°. The soil I have proved best suited to this plant is rough turfy loam, broken into small pieces with the hand, the very fine soil sifted from it, and one-third of coarse river-sand added. Prepare the pots, or pans, which are better, if to be had of a convenient size, in the same way as for other plants, by placing crocks at the bottom, and some of the largest pieces of turf on the top of these, to prevent the soil from mixing with them. If the plants are young seedlings with no ball to them, dip the roots in dry river-sand till they are quite covered with it before placing the plants in the pots. In the case of older plants, loosen as many of the roots as possible round the sides of the ball, spread them out on the top of the fresh soil, and sprinkle sand over them before filling up with soil.

This prevents it from adhering to the roots. Keep the collar of the plants up to the level of the rim of the pot, and press the whole of the soil pretty firmly about it. Next place the pot on the floor, and water through a fine rose till the whole of the soil is thoroughly soaked, and every particle of soil washed off the leaves. Allow the plants to stand a few minutes till the water gets drained from them, when they may be gently placed in the aquarium. If the plants are small, place them within 5 or 6 inches of the surface by standing them on inverted pots, and as the leaves increase in length put them a couple of inches deeper. The best rule I can lay down for this is, have your plants so placed that the longest leaves just touch the surface of the water. I have no doubt some will dispute this, for I have seen them recommended to be planted so that they may have eighteen inches of water above the soil in which they grow. I have seen plants under this treatment, but never in such a healthy state as when grown nearer the surface.

To try it, I once placed a young plant 15 inches below the surface, and the first leaf that was produced was 1 1/4 inch longer; but I found that it was the stalk that had gained so much, while the blade of the leaf was not in the least longer, but a quarter of an inch narrower. Now, the aim of cultivators should be to produce long broad leaves on short stout stalks. I have never yet seen those desirable qualities in plants grown in deep water. In the 'Treasure of Botany' it is stated that "the leaves grow in radiating clusters round the rhizome, and float just beneath the surface of the water, presenting a flat side to the light," and "it grows on the margins of running streams in shallow water".

Ouvirandra Fenestralis The Lattice Plant Of Madaga 40012

"Fusileer" (who, I presume, has been at Madagascar to see) stated in the 'Field': "We never observed it in deep water, but in the shallows and scours of clear gravelly or pebbly streams. The leaves floated on the surface of the water, and the flowers, which were of a bluish lilac colour, grow on stems rising about a foot or 18 inches above the surface." From these statements I learn that the Ouvir-andra grows in shallow water, in clear running streams. Now, it is easy to grow it near the surface of the water, but how are we to have a running stream at a temperature of 75° in our stoves 1 The greatest difficulty lies in keeping the water as warm, as sweet, and as clear as possible, and so nearly approaching the character of that in its native streams, where

"Soaring high, the mighty sun

Makes Britons seek the shades, And wish for Britain's shores again,

Her mountains, streams, and glades".

I think this difficulty is got over as far as it can be got over without a real running stream, by keeping the plants in pots near the surface, where they can be washed daily when changing the water. A pot of water should be placed on the hot-water pipes, or elsewhere, to get heated every night; and at the usual time of watering other plants, empty the contents of this pot into the aquarium with some force on the leaves through a coarse rose. The aquarium should be set quite level, so that it may overflow all round. This mode of introducing the water keeps the leaves as clean as could be desired, and it never disturbs any sediment that may rest at the bottom so as to spoil the purity of the water. Further than this daily change of water, little attention is needed. Should any conferva make its appearance, the plants should be lifted out, and the aquarium emptied, thoroughly cleaned, and refilled with fresh water at once. The plants will be benefited by being occasionally lifted out and watered overhead, the same as directed to be done after potting, as the soil sometimes gets rather loose round the collar of the plants; but this is not necessary so long as the leaves are kept clean.

In conclusion, although I have recommended the plants to be kept near the surface of the water, I at the same time caution beginners not to attempt to grow them in shallow water. We are told that they grow in shallow water in their native habitat; but we must bear in mind that we have not got a continued circulation of fresh water passing amongst their leaves and roots from which they can derive a continual supply of food. The greater the body of water, the better are the chances of success with the plant. R. J. G. P.