This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
"This is by far the finest Melastomad which has ever been brought to Europe, not even excepting the Medinilla magnifica. The figure in the 'Fore des Serres' will enable the reader to judge of the merits of the plant, without rendering it necessary to speak of the size and abundance of its brilliant flowers, or of the blood-red color to which it owes its native name of Sangre de toro (Bull's blood.) It is a bushy freely flowering shrub, with a rusty down all over its branches, petioles, peduncles, pedicels, calyx, and the lower surface of the leaves. The leaves themselves are extremely thick and coriaceous, and are remarkable for their beautifully reticulated nerves. The racemes of flowers are as much as 2 feet in length, and bear each 15 or 20 flowers, with fleshy persistent petals, and a calyx opening into the shape of a soapbox.
"It was discovered in 1847 by Mr. Sohlim upon the far-famed Paramo de Cachiri, and has again been met with by the same traveller in the province of Ocafia, whence he has sent home company with several other beautiful plants which have also reached us, and to which we hope shortly to draw attention. Among them are Purdiea nutans, with gracefully bending spikes of white bracts and delecate pink flowers; Gonocalyz pulcher, a pretty little shrub with thick fleshy nearly orbicular leaves, and numerous bright red tubular flowers; Clethra consimilis, with leaves like Vaecinium, and pretty white corymbose flowers; several magnificent Bejarias; the pretty Begonia miniata, introduced last year, and already known for the ease and abundance with which it flowers; and lastly, several very fine Bpecies of Lisiaitihus, which we succeeded in raising from seed, but which afterwards died in spite of our utmost care." - Linden's Catalogue, 1854.
There is a specimen of this in our herbarium, from Mr. Linden, which enables us to verify the exactness of the foregoing account to a great extent The figures in the Flore des Serres represents it as being one of the most glorious of plants. It is said to hold its petals, contrary to the habit of Melastomads, and if so, it will far eclipse every crimson flowered species in cultivation. For exhibiting it will rank with Indian Azaleas or crimson Rhododendrons. The high price at which it is about to be "let out," viz, 50 fr. each, shows what a value is put upon it by its spirited importer.
Among Melastomads the genus is remarkable for having the operculate calyx of an Eucalyptus, but buried in ferruginous felt. - Gard Chron.