* Genista. l. 57. Dyer's broom. Ten males and one female inhabit this flower. The males are generally united at the bottom in two sets, whence Linneus has named the class "two brotherhoods." In the Genista, however, they are united in but one set. The flowers of this class are called papilionaccous, from their resemblance to a butterfly, as the pea-blossom. In the Spartium Scoparium, or common broom, I have lately observed a curious circumstance, the males or stamens are in two sets, one set rising a quarter of an inch above the other; the upper set does not arrive at their maturity so soon as the lower, and the stigma, or head of the female, is produced amongst the upper or immature set; but as soon as the pistil grows tall enough to burst open the keel-leaf, or hood of the flower, it bends itself round in an instant, like a French horn, and inserts its head, or stigma, amongst the lower or mature set of males. The pistil, or female, continues to grow in length; and in a few days the stigma arrives again amongst the upper set, by the time they become mature. This wonderful contrivance is readily seen by opening the keel-leaf of the flowers of broom before they burst spontaneously. See note on Collinsonia, Gloriosa, Draba.
[ return to text ]