A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 822 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14.
us PHYLLACHNE, together with the MNIARUM, (see Forster, Nova Genera Plantarum).  These plants, or the greater part of them, have a peculiar growth, particularly adapted to these regions, and fit for forming soil and mould on barren rocks.  In proportion as they grow up, they spread into various stems and branches, which lie as close together as possible; they spread new seeds, and at last a large spot is covered; the lowermost fibres, roots, stalks, and leaves, gradually decay and push forth on the top new verdant leaves:  The decaying lower parts form a kind of peat, or turf, which gradually changes into mould and soil.  The close texture of these plants hinders the moisture below from evaporating, and thus furnishes nutriment to the vegetation above, and clothes at last whole hills and isles with a constant verdure.  Among these pumilous plants, some of a greater stature begin to thrive, without in the least prejudicing the growth of these creators of mould and soil.  Among these plants we reckon a small ARBUTUS, a diminutive myrtle, a little dandelion, a small creeping CRASSULA, the common PINGUICULA alpina, a yellow variety of the VIOLA palustris, the STATICE armeria, or sea pink, a kind of burnet, the RANUNCULUS lapponicus, the HOLCUS odoratus, the common celery, with the ARABIS heterophylla.  Soon after we observed, in places that are still covered with the above-mentioned mossy plant, a new rush (JUNCUS triglumis,) a fine AMELLUS, a most beautiful scarlet CHELONE, and lastly, even shrubby plants, viz. a scarlet- flowered shrubby plant of a new genus, which we called EMBOTHRIUM coccineum; two new kinds of berberis, (BERBERIS ilicifolia et mitior;) an arbutus with cuspidated leaves (ARBUTUS mucronata;) and lastly, the tree bearing the winter’s bark (DRYMIS winteri,) which, however, in these rocky barren parts of Terra del Fuego never exceeds the size of a tolerable shrub; whereas in Success Bay, on a gentle sloping ground, in a rich and deep soil, it grows to the size of the largest timber.  The falling leaves, the rotting mossy plants, and various other circumstances, increase the mould and form a deeper soil, more and more capable of bearing larger plants.  Thus they all enlarge the vegetable system, and rescue new animated parts of the creation from their inactive chaotic state.”—­F.


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