Genus 4. Cardamine, Linn.
1. C. xanthina, sp. nov.
Plant herb; perennial, small, depressed; leaves spreading horizontally, subrosulate; root long, thick, white, tapering. Leaves radical, numerous, imbricate, with a few on flowering-stem near its base, glabrous and slightly hairy, spathulate-acute, 1 ½ in.–2 ½ in. long, membranous, much and deeply cut, sinuate - lobed, subpinnatifid; lobes regularly opposite their margins, variously cut and toothed, decreasing gradually to
petiole; petiole ¾ in.–1 in. long. Flowering-stems (several) horizonal and suberect, 5 in.–7 in. long, terete, slender, greenish and purple, having (with pedicels) curious small scattered white hooked hairs reversed. Flowers few, solitary, 2–3 scattered on stem from middle upwards on long slender pedicels and 4–6 together forming a small loose corymb at top. Calyx sepals 4, oblong, green-purple striped, subechinate, 2 outer slightly concave, their tips obtuse and involute, 2 inner tips acute, with membranous white margins. Corolla 5 lines diameter, bright-yellow, patent, shining, flat, vertical; limb suborbicular-obovate, gradually decreasing from below middle to base; tip slightly truncate. Stamens stout, 4 long, 2 short; style 1 ½ lines long, stout, erect (with pod), as long as long stamens; stigma large, circular, densely pubescent. Pod ¾ in.–1 in. long, linear-subterete, slightly compressed. Seeds oblong, light-brown, smooth.
Hab. Napier, in house-paddock; flowering October, 1898: W. C.
Obs. I. This little plant has caused me much research and diligent examination, not only from its being wholly new to me, but from its bright-yellow and striking flower, its long style, its large bushy stigma, and its subterete pod; so that it scarcely belongs to the true Cardamine genus, as laid down by Bentham and others—i.e., flowers “white,” pods “flat,” and seeds “pitted”—:not withstanding its resemblance—primâ facie—to some of Sir J. D. Hooker's Auckland and Campbell Islands Cardamine—as given in his drawings of them in his Flora of those islands—is very great. Moreover, while Bentham says of the genus the flowers of Cardamine are “white” (and certainly all our known southern species are so) and their seeds “pitted,” yet we have a British Cardamine with coloured flowers—e.g., C. pratensis: and C. purpurea, a North American species, has dark-purple flowers; and I notice in the “Index Kewensis” a C. flavescens, which, not knowing it, I suppose to have yellowish flowers; and Bentham himself, in his “Flora Australiensis,” describes four species of Australian Cardamine with their seeds “not pitted.” (l.c., vol. i., pp. 69, 70); and Hook, f., in his ample descriptions of the Cardamine of Auckland and Campbell Islands, describes two species fras having pods “linearibus compresso-tetragonis.”
II. Further, I am not certain of my plant being truly indigenous, for, were it so, I must surely have noticed its striking open bright-coloured flower attracting notice. Last year I found three small plants, distant from each other, growing in the side of the pathway to my house, which, from their appearance, were from the year before. This pathway had been then—in the former year—cleared out and laid down thickly with limestone gravel from the quarry. At first sight I
supposed them to be shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), which grows here plentifully; and I am pretty certain this plant is not of any described Australian cruciferous genera. I have, however, now plenty of specimens, and shall send some shortly to Kew for examination.