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Contributions to Botany, Iconographic and Descriptive

Nature volume 5, pages 4243 | Download Citation



MR. MIERS'S long-promised Monograph of the Menispermaceæ forms the third volume of his valuable “Contributions to Botany.” The intimate acquaintance of this veteran botanist with South American plants, and his long study of this particular family, extending over more than twenty years, render his observations peculiarly valuable to all systematic botanists. Although in some important particulars Mr. Miers, combats the views of such high authorities as the authors of the “Flora Indica,” and those of the “Genera Plantarum,” he adduces reasons for his dissent, which will, at least, need careful consideration from all who hereafter write on these plants. Mr. Miers retains, with some modifications, his views of the structure of the different organs in this order published in the Annals of Natural History in 1851, and classifies the genera which constitute it into seven tribes, on characters dependent mainly on the structure of the fruit, and on the position of the cotyledons relatively to the radicle, whether incumbent or accumbent. The establishment of sixty-four distinct genera in the order, instead of the thirty-one admitted by Bentham and Hooker, may be open to criticism, but several of them contain only single species now for the first time described, which appear to be altogether aberrant types of the order. Good plates are always valuable; and we have here sixty-six, drawn on stone by the author himself, containing careful dissections to illustrate the salient characters of the genera and more important species. This concluding volume of Mr. Miers;s “Contributions to Botany” is no less valuable than any of its predecessors as a record of laborious and conscientious devotion to science.

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