This remarkable plant, to which His Royal Highness Prince Albert has permitted one of his titles to be given, and which will probably rank among the most highly rained of our hardy evergreen-trees, is a native of the mountains of Patagonia, where it was fonnd by Mr. William Lobb, forming a beantiful tree thirty feet high. In the nursery of Messrs. Veitch, of Exeter, it has lived in the open air for four years withont shelter, and has all the appearance of being well-adapted to the climate of England. The country in which it grows is, indeed, more cold and stormy than any part of Great Britain, as is shown by the following account of it, given by Mr. Lobb in one of his letters to Messrs. Veitch: -

"During my absence, I visited a great part of Chiloe, most of the islands in the Archipelago, and the coast of Patagonia for about one hundred and forty miles. I went up the Corcobado, Caylin, Alman, Coman, Reloncavi, and other places on the coast, frequently making excursions from the level of the sea to the line of perpetual snow. These bays generally run to the base of the central ridge of the Andes, and the rivers take their rise much further back in the interior. The whole country, from the Andes to the sea, is formed of a succession of ridges of mountains gradually rising from the sea to the central ridge. The whole is thickly wooded from the base to the snow line. Ascending the Andes of Comau, I observed, from the water to a considerable elevation, the forest is composed of a variety of trees, and a sort of cane so thickly matted together that it formed almost an impenetrable jungle. Further up, amongst the melting snows, vegetation becomes so much stunted in growth, that the trees, seen below one hundred feet high and eight feet in diameter, only attain the height of six inches.

"On reaching the summit, no vegetation exists - nothing but scattered barren rocks, which appear to rise amongst the snow, which is thirty feet in depth, and frozen so hard that on walking over it the foot makes but a slight impression.

"To the east, as far as the eye can command, it appears perfectly level. To the south, one sees the central ridge of the Andes stretching along for an immense distance, and covered with perpetual snow. To the west, the whole of the islands from Guaytecas to the extent of the Archipelago, is evenly and distinctly to be seen.

"A little below this elevation, the scenery is also singular and grand. Rocky precipices stand like perpendicular walls from two hundred feet to three hundred feet in height, over which roll the waters from the melting snows, which appear to the eye like lines of silver. Sometimes these waters rush down with such force,, that rocks of many tons in weight are precipitated from their lofty stations to the depth of two thousand feet. In the forest below, everything appears calm and tranquil; scarcely the sound of an animal is heard; sometimes a few butterflies and beetles meet the eye, but not a house or human being is seen. On the sandy tracts near the rivers, the lion or puma is frequently to be met with, but this animal is perfectly harmless if not attacked".

It is from this wild and uninhabited country that many of the fine plants raised by Messrs. Veitch were obtained, and among them the Saxe-Gothcea, Podocarpus nubigena, Fitz-Roya patigonica, and Libocedrus tetragona. Of these he writes thus: - "The two last (Fitz-Roya and Libocedrus) I never saw below the snow line.

The former inhabits the rocky precipices, and the latter the swampy places between the mountains. The first grows to an enormous size, particularly about the winter snow line, where I have seen trees upwards of one hundred feet high, and more than eight feet in diameter. It may be traced from this elevation to the perpetual.

Saxe Gothaea Conspicua 120075


Saxe Gothaea Conspicua 120076


Saxe Gothaea Conspicua 120077


* snows, where it is not more than four inches in height. With these grow the Yews (Saxe-Gothaea and Podocarpus nubigena), which are beautiful evergreen-trees, and, as well as the others, afford excellent timber".

Saxe-Gothaea may be described as a genus with the male flowers of a Podocarp, the femalea of a Dammar, the fruit of a Juniper, the seed of a Dacrydium, and the habit of a Yew. Its fleshy fruit, composed of consolidated scales, inclosing nut-like seed, and forming what is technically called a Galbulus, places it near Juniperus, from which it more especially differs in its anthers not being peltate, nor its fruit composed of a single whorl of perfect scales, and in its ovule having two integuments instead of one. In the last respect, it approaches Podocarpus, and especially Dacrydium; but the exterior integument of the seed is a ragged, abortive membrane, enveloping the base only of the seed, instead of a well-defined cap. In a memorandum in my possession, by Sir William Hooker, I find this distinguished botanist comparing Saxe-Gothaea to a Podocarp with the flowers in, a cone - a view which he was probably led to take by the condition of the ovule, and which may be regarded as the most philosophical mode of understanding the nature of this singular genus, to which Nageia may be said to be a slight approach, and which is not distinguishable, by habit, from a Podocarp.

A.   Branch of Saxe Gothaea conspicua.

A. - Branch of Saxe-Gothaea conspicua.

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Saxe Gothaea Conspicua 120079

B. - Fructification of Saxe-Gothaea.

In its systematic relations, Saxe-Gothaea possesses great interest, forming as it does a direct transition from the one-flowered Taxads to the true imbricated Conifers, without, however, breaking down the boundary between those orders, as I understand them, but rather confirming the propriety of limiting the Coniferous order to those genera which really bear cones instead of single naked seeds. In the language of some naturalists, Saxe-Gothaea would be called an osculant genus between Taxads and Conifers.

The leaves of this plant have altogether the size and general appearance of the English Yew, Taxus oaccata; but they are glaucous underneath, except upon the midrib and two narrow stripes within the edges, which are pale green. The male flowers consist of spikes appearing at the ends of the branches, in a raceme more or less elongated. These spikes (Fig. B, 1) grow from within a few concave acute scales, which form a kind of involucre at the base. Each male is a solitary membranous anther, with a lanceolate, acuminate, reflexed appendage, and a pair of parallel cells opening longitudinally. The female flowers form a small, roundish, pedunculated, terminal, scaly, imbricated cone (Fig. B, 8). The scales are fleshy, firm, lanceolate, and contracted at their base, where they unite in a solid centre. All appear to be fertile, and to bear in a niche in the middle, where the contraction is, a single inverted ovule (Fig. B, 4). The ovule is globular, with two integuments beyond the nucleus; the outer integument is loose and thin, and wraps round the ovule in such a way that its two edges cannot meet on the under side of the ovule; the second integument is firm and fleshy; the nucleus is flask shaped, and protrudes a fungous circular expansion through the foramen.

The fruit (Fig. B, 5) is formed, by the consolidation of the free scales of the cone, into a solid, fleshy mass of a depressed form, and very irregular surface, owing to many of the scales being abortive, and crushed by those whose seeds are able to swell; while the ends of the whole retain their original form somewhat, are free, rather spiny, and constitute so many tough, sharp tubercles. The seed (Fig. B, 6) is a pale brown, shining, ovate, brittle nut, with two very slight, elevated lines, and a large, irregular hilum; at the base, it is invested with a short, thin, ragged membrane, which is the outer integument in its final- condition. The nucleus lies half free in the interior, the fungous apex having shrivelled up and disappeared.