Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
That Mountain Lily (S707am: 1910/1917)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A 1910 letter to A. Bartels reprinted in a letter to the Editor of The Brisbane Courier (Queensland) from C. T. White in 1917. It appeared on page six of the 10 October issue. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S707AM.htm


     Mr. C. T. White, Acting Government Botanist, writes as follows: Sir,--With reference to the "lily" described in your Monday's issue and subsequently remarked on the following day by your correspondent. I have seen the specimen, and as can easily be seen from your description it is the "Queensland Spear Lily" (Doryanthes Palmeri). There are several plants growing in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, and according to a catalogue prepared by the late F. M. Bailey the plant was growing in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, and at the Acclimatisation Society's Garden, at Bowen Park, as far back as 1884. The closely allied New South Wales Doryanthes excelsa, of which by some the Queensland plant is looked upon as a variety, was cultivated and flowered in England as far back as 1815. I do not know the plant referred to by your correspondent as "Cunninghamii gigantea." Both of these, I may mention, are specific names, and therefore cannot represent the scientific name of any plant. The specimen is on view in the museum at the Botanic Gardens.

     Apropos of the discussion of this plant, the following letter which Mr. A. Bartels, of Brisbane, received in 1910 from the late Dr. Alfred R. Wallace, the celebrated naturalist and author, is of interest. Dr. Wallace wrote from "Old Orchard," Broadstone, Wimborne: "I am very much obliged to you for sending me bulbs of 'Doryanthes Palmeri.' They reached me a week later than your letter, in fair condition, considering the long voyage, but I fear they are not very suitable for sending in this way. The two smaller ones were in best condition, having three or four leaves quite green, but no live roots. The larger ones had no green on the leaves except quite at the base, but two or three of the fleshy roots were alive for a few inches at the base. I have potted the two smaller, and planted out the larger in my greenhouse, and hope they will grow, and as the spring is coming on they will have a chance. The plant of 'Doryanthes Palmeri' I have raised from seed is, I think, now in its fifth year. It has a fine clump of about 50 leaves, the longest about five feet long and four inches broad, quite healthy and still growing vigorously, but as yet with no sign of flower spike. I had two, but planted one out of doors two years ago, and the first frost killed it. If those you sent me grow, I will try them out of doors in better place for them--in a small wood. My large one is in a border in my greenhouse, from which frost is completely excluded."


*                 *                 *                 *                 *

Return to Home