* Alcea. l. 69. Flore pleno. Double hollyhock. The double flowers, so much ad∣mired by the florists, are termed by the botanist vegetable monsters; in some of these the petals are multiplied three or four times, but without excluding the stamens, hence they produce some seeds, as Campanula and Stramoneum; but in others the petals become so numerous as totally to exclude the stamens, or males; as Caltha, Peonia, and Alcea; these produce no seeds, and are termed eunuchs. Philos. Botan. No. 150.

These vegetable monsters are formed in many ways. 1st. By the multiplication of the petals and the exclusion of the nectaries, as in larkspur. 2d. By the multiplication of the nectaries and exclusion of the petals; as in columbine. 3d. In some flowers grow∣ing in cymes, the wheel-shape flowers in the margin are multiplied to the exclusion of the bell-shape flowers in the centre; as in gelder-rose. 4th. By the elongation of the florets in the centre. Instances of both these are found in daily feverfew; for other kinds of vegetable monsters, see Plantago.

The peranth is not changed in double flowers, hence the genus or family may be often disovered by the calyx, as in Hepatica, Ranunculus, Alcea. In those flowers, which have many petals, the lowest series of the petals remains unchanged in respect to num∣ber; hence the natural number of the petals is easily discovered. As in poppies, roses, and Nigella, or devil in a bush. Phil. Bot. p. 128.


 [ return to text ]