- Class and Order
- Polyandria Polygynia
- Generic Character
- Cal. 6-phyllus. Petala 27. Caps. plures, in orbem digestæ, bivalves, monospermæ.
- Specific Character and Synonyms
- ILLICIUM floridanum floribus rubris. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 507. Ellis Act. Angl. 1770. (v. 60.) p. 524. t. 12. Ait. Kew. v. 2. p. 250.
Of the genus Illicium there are at present only two known species, viz. the anisatum and floridanum, the former a native of China and Japan, the latter of Florida; both of them are cultivated in this country, but the latter more generally, on account of the superior beauty of its flowers, which are of a fine deep red colour, and have the appearance of being double, though the petals are not preternaturally multiplied; when the plant is in bloom the peduncles hang down, when the petals drop they become erect; the blossoms are not distinguished by their fragrance, though the seed-vessels, and seeds (which do not come to perfection with us) are said to be strongly odoriferous; the foliage of this plant is also much admired: taking it indeed altogether, there are few shrubs held in higher estimation.
According to Mr. Aiton, this species was introduced by John Ellis, Esq. in 1776; but Isaac Walker, Esq. of Southgate, was the first who possessed it in this country, he informs me by letter, that he received plants of it from Pensacola in 1771, by the hands of Mr. John Bradley, and that he communicated some of them to Dr. Fothergill, Dr. Pitcairn, and Mr. Ellis. It flowers from April to July.
Cultivators differ widely as to their treatment of this plant, some keeping it in the stove, others in the green-house, while some have ventured to plant it in the open ground in warm situations; it probably is more hardy than we imagine; all agree in propagating it by layers, or by seeds if they can be procured. Linnæus, contrary to his usual practice, distinguishes the two species by their colour only, and Thunberg is disposed to regard them as mere varieties.