Class and Order.
Cor. rotata. Pistillum declinatum. Stamina tubo corollæ infidentia. Antheræ demum spirales. Peric. 2-loculare.
Specific Character and Synonyms.
CHIRONIA baccifera frutescens baccifera. Linn. Syst. Veget. ed. 14. Murr. p. 229. Ait. Kew. v.
1. p. 258.
CENTAURIUM minus arborescens pulpiferum. Comm. rar. 9. t. 9.
CENTAURIUM minus africanum arborescens angustifolium. Old. afr. 26.
The Chironia baccifera, a native of Africa, is a plant not unfrequent in our greenhouses; its flowers are curious in their structure, of a lively hue, and suceeded by round seed-vessels, which, when ripe, have the appearance of red berries, whence its name of baccata; if we carefully examine these seed-vessels, we shall find that they are not properly berries, for on cutting them transversly, they are found to be hollow and to be divided into two cells (vid. Pl.) in which are contained small black seeds, whose surface is beautifully reticulated with impressed dots; the sides of the seed-vessel are fleshy, and do not appear to divide or split in any regular manner for the discharge of the seed; they must however be regarded rather as capsules than berries: in the genus Hypericum, the seed-vessels are found to vary in a somewhat similar manner; in this part of the fructification there is not, therefore, that deviation which has been supposed, but there is a very great one in the antheræ, which do not ultimately become spiral.
This plant, which grows to the height of a foot and a half or two feet, becomes very bushy, rather too much so in point of ornament, and produces both flowers, and fruit, during most of the summer.
Though regarded as a greenhouse plant, it does not ripen its seeds well unless kept in the stove; is with difficulty raised from cuttings, from seeds readily, by which it requires to be frequently renovated.
Was cultivated by Mr. Miller in 1759. Ait. Kew.
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