* Meadia. l. 61. Dodecatheon, American Cowslip. Five males and one female. The males, or anthers, touch each other. The uncommon beauty of this flower occasioned Linneus to give it a name signifying the twelve heathen gods; and Dr. Mead to affix his own name to it. The pistil is much longer than the stamens, hence the flower-stalks have their elegant bend, that the stigma may hang downwards to receive the fecundating dust of the anthers. And the petals are so beautifully turned back to prevent the rain or dew drops from sliding down and washing off this dust prematurely; and at the same time exposing it to the light and air. As soon as the seeds are sormed, it erects all the flower- stalks to prevent them from salling out; and thus loses the beauty of its figure. Is this a mechanical effect, or does it indicate a vegetable storgé to preserve its offspring? See note on Ilex, and Gloriosa.
In the Meadia, the Borago, Cyclamen, Solanum, and many others, the filaments are very short compared with the style. Hence it became necessary, 1st, to furnish the stamens with long anthers. 2d. I'o lengthen and bend the peduncle or flower-stalk, that the flower might hang downwards. 3d. To reflect the petals. 4th. To erect these pe∣duncles when the germ was fecundated. We may reason upon this by observing, that all this apparatus might have been spared, if the filaments alone had grown longer; and that thence in these flowers that the filaments are the most unchangeable parts; and that thence their comparative length, in respect to the style, would afford a most permanent mark of their generic character.
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