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The Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta1

Nature volume 50, pages 308309 | Download Citation



THE ponderous and important Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, are known to all students of Indian flora. We have from time to time referred in terms of praise to these solid monuments of Dr. King's industry, and to the skill of the native lithographers and printers. The fourth volume of the Annals is before us, and is of equal excellence to the preceding ones. It is concerned with “The Anonaceæ of British India,” a family of about six hundred species of woody plants. Although Dr. King, in an admirable introduction, gives an outline of the arrangement of the whole family, the present monograph only contains “a detailed account of those species which are indigneous to British India proper, to that part of the Malayan Peninsula which is under British protection, to the Islands of Singapore, Pangkore and Penang, and to the Nicobar and Andaman groups. This is the geographic area covered in the latter volumes of Sir Joseph Hooker's Flora of British India; and it may in the broad sense be considered for botanical (though not for political) purposes as British India, as distinguished from Dutch or Netherlands India, which consists of the Malayan Archipelago. The majority of the species indigenous to the British Indian area have already been dealt with by Sir Joseph Hooker and the late Dr. T. Thomson in that splendid fragment their Flora Indica (published in 1855), and still more recently by Sir Joseph Hooker in the first volume of his Flora of British India. It is with no idea of improving upon the work of these distinguished authors that I have re-described the same species in the following pages, but chiefly in order that the species which have been discovered since the order was dealt with by them may be described, and that the relations of the new to the older species may be understood.” Dr. King points out that the Malayan Peninsula remains even now but partially explored, and that its complete examination must bring to many new Anonaceœ But as there was an opportunity of printing a fully illustrated account of the family at the present time, and as there is no knowing when the mountain range which forms the backbone of the Peninsula may be explored, it was decided to publish the monograph, and risk the charge of having done so prematurely.

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