THE GREAT WATER
WITH A BRIEF ACCOUNT
OF ITS DISCOVERY AND INTRODUCTION INTO CULTIVATION:
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY WILLIAM SHARP,
GROWN AT SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS, U. S. A.
BY JOHN FISK ALLEN.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR,
BY DUTTON AND WENTWORTH, 37 CONGRESS STREET. 1854.
( Color Images © The
University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art - Click to enlarge
Images © The University of Kansas Spencer
Museum of Art - Click all to enlarge
(United States, born England, 1803-1875)
These images from 1854 were drawn on stone and printed by Sharp,
America's first chromolithographic printer. This was the earliest
example of large scale color printing in the United States.
This is an
illustration of the first two cycles of the growth of the lily;
at the twelfth page the diary of this can be found.
The left hand drawing
represents the plant when the first cycle of five leaves is completed,
every successive leaf being larger than its predecessor. The
right hand figure exhibits the plant when the second cycle is
This is the mode
of its growth; a continued repetition of the cycle of five leaves,
with a steady advance in their size until the maximum one, which
usually is the twenty-seventh or twenty-eighth, is produced,
when, if the plant is in health, the last-named leaf is accompanied
by the flower-bud.
After the plant has
commenced flowering the first year, the successive leaves do
not enlarge, but remain of the same size, or diminish gradually
as the sun withdraws to the south; increasing again as it returns
to the north in the spring. These leaves do not grow regularly
from left to right, but they follow what is called the five-ranked
arrangement. What this is can be seen by the drawings; every
successive leaf in the growing plants being larger than the previous
one. On the right hand figure the smallest leaf is the sixth
which the plant made, and this grew directly over the first,
or simple spear, like a shoot of grass. On the third cycle, the
eleventh leaf appeared over the sixth, and every leaf throughout
is true in its growth to this arrangement.
When a plant is in
deep water this cannot be ascertained. In two plants grown in
shallow water, and afterwards placed in deeper, we have been
able to notice this. On a third, where the seed was sown at a
depth of five feet, nothing of its growth was observable before
the fourth shoot; the first leaf which floated upon the surface
came up. Under ordinary circumstances the three first shoots
do not come to the surface; if the seed should vegetate in only
two or three inches of water, probably they would. Upon the plant
sown in deep water, the first leaf which floated extended its
stem six or eight feet to bring it to the surface, whereas on
those in shallow water, they attained but a small portion of
that length, thus indicating with what ease it adapts itself
to its position. A matured plant will grow the petiole upwards
of fifteen feet, if sufficient room is provided.
The bud which should
produce the eleventh leaf is not represented in the drawing;
coming as it does directly over the first and sixth shoots, it
would have interfered with the proper showing of the latter.
This leaf-bud is folded up closely, when it first appears on
the surface side, presenting a slight induration. This folding
may be explained thus; --close the hands by placing the fingers
upon the palms of each, separately, let the thumbs fall naturally
upon the fingers, bring the closed hands together, the wrists
touching firmly and the fingers loosely; the slight opening between
the fingers of each hand may be considered as corresponding to
the lines of the ribs, wanting the cross line; this suture between
the hands representing the induration at the centre, where the
unfolding of the leaf has begun. By extending the thumbs upwards
somewhat, and closing the hands firmly at the wrists at the same
time, slowly opening the fingers upwards, outwards and downwards,
the process of unfolding can be seen. The outside of the bud
constitutes the under and ribbed side of the leaf, as shown in
The second plate is
a representation of portions of the leaves of a matured plant,
with the expanding flower of the actual size, as described on
the twelfth page. An opening or unfolding leaf, with a leaf-bud
just emerging above the water, with the accompanying flower-buds,
is a partial view of the plant as mentioned at the ninth and
thirteenth pages. The largest leaf measuring 71 to 72 inches
in diameter, with eight leaves of different sizes. The small
size of the tank rendering it necessary to remove the older ones
to make room for those expanding. In its native waters five leaves
is named as the maximum number found upon a plant, and it does
not appear that more than ten can be maintained in health under
cultivation in the latitude of Boston.
The third plate is a
drawing of the underside of the leaf. It will be remembered that
the shape is nearly round. This is in perspective, that the wonderful
mechanism may be the better shown.
The fourth plate shows
the flowers, during the intermediate stages, as mentioned at
pages nine and thirteen. But they continue in these forms a short
time only. Advantage has been taken here to show the curious
sporting habit in the various markings of the crimson. These,
with the full blown flower, as shown in plate fifth, being correct
illustrations of the earliest flower; as mentioned on the ninth
page, and also in Mr. Meehan's communication on the eleventh
Plate fifth is the
full blown flower, or just completing the bloom, as the stamens
have yet to unfold somewhat in the centre.
The bud nearest the
flower is represented as it appears usually the day before unfolding,
rather more advanced than it would be seen at this time. A fruit
is also shown here, having risen to the surface after perfecting
its seed. To make the illustrations as complete and varied as
possible, without adding too much to the cost by a multiplication
of the plates, has been the governing motive in their arrangement.
Plate sixth is a view
of the form of the flower mentioned at the thirteenth page, being
that of the sixth and seventh which expanded on the plant at
Salem. The cause of this sport cannot be determined, earlier
and later flowers expanding fully.