When, in the autumn of
1842, I published my volume on the Grasses of Scotland, I stated at one
part of the preface. "My original purpose was to embrace in this
work all the Grasses of the United Kingdom, but the want of recent
specimens of the Grasses peculiar to England and to Ireland made it
necessary that, for the present, I should limit my plan. I propose,
however, as soon as I have gained the proper opportunities, to publish a
similar account of those additional species." Having taken pains since
that time to procure those opportunities, I hasten to redeem my promise,
by placing before the public the completion of my original plan.
The volume or part now
published contains, on the plan followed in " the Grasses of Scotland,"
a description of all the additional species peculiar to England as well
as to Ireland.
Of a few of the species
common to Scotland and to one or both of the other great divisions of
the United Kingdom, the descriptions have been repeated; and this has
been done expressly as often as it appeared that any thing had been
omitted, or that any characters could be added or amended, so as to
render the distinction of closely allied species more easy. For example,
all the species and varieties of the genus Bromus are described in
this volume, or there is a repetition of the descriptions of all the
species met with in Scotland, and therefore given formerly in the
"Grasses of Scotland" for the species of this genus are more numerous in
England than in Scotland, and every botanist will perceive at once a
ready source of the improvement of former descriptions in the comparison
of a greater number of species.
The plates are not
placed, as in "the Grasses of Scotland," at the end of the work, but,
for greater ease of reference, opposite to the descriptions to which
No pains have been spared
to make the arrangement of the Tribes and Genera as practically useful
as possible, which has led to some variations on the groups employed in
"the Grasses of Scotland."
With the same purpose of
rendering the work as practically useful as possible, I have introduced
a few tables, which I hope may prove of service in facilitating the
progress of the student in this difficult department of botany. The
first table exhibits the Grasses of the United Kingdom arranged
according to their time of flowering from the first week of April to the
third week of August In a separate column of the same table is indicated
the week of the summer and autumn months in which the seeds ripen, and
in the remaining columns are shown the habitat as peculiar to one or
more of the divisions of the United Kingdom, or common to England,
Ireland, or Scotland, also the page where each grass is described, and
the number of the plate where it is figured.
The remaining tables are
of less interest to the botanist, 'being drawn from authorities on
agriculture, and designed to afford to the cultivator some hints of a
general kind, under different circumstances, for the choice and
management of grasses.
In conclusion I have only
to add, that, to obviate misunderstanding hereafter as to the species
and varieties, I shall deposit with the Linnean Society of London a
specimen of the original grass plants employed in the descriptions and
figures throughout the entire work.
March 1st 1845.