85. Amomum Clusii, Smith.—Clusius's Cardamom.
Fructus, xiv., Clusius, Exotic, lib. ii. cap. xv. pp. 37 and 38; Granis paradysi sive Mellegetae affinis fructus, Bauhin, Pinax, p. 413; Amomum Clusii, or Long-seeded Amomum, Smith, Rees's Cyclop, vol. xxxix., Addenda.—Capsule ovate, pointed, slightly triangular, cartilaginous, striated, smooth, yellowish [reddish, Smith] brown. The seeds have scarcely any flavour, are oblong or ovate, inclining to cylindrical, dark-brown, highly polished, as if varnished; with a pale yellowish brown, corrugated, and notched margin surrounding the scar.
On comparing my specimen (Fig. 249), which was given to me by a druggist, with the one marked A. Clusii, in Sir J. E. Smith's collection of fruits in the possession of the Linnean Society, I find the seeds of the latter are somewhat longer, and rather moro cylindrical; in other respects, the two specimens agree.
I have subsequently received, from Dr. T. W. C. Martius, specimens of a fruit marked "Cardamomum maximum von Amomum Clusii?" The capsules are somewhat plumper, but in other respects they agree with the preceding. I gave one of them to Professor Guibourt, who has published o figure of it. [Hist. Nat. des Drog. 4éme édit. t. ii. p. 220, fig. 120, 1849.]
I have received from Dr. Daniell specimens of an Amomum which greatly resembles, if it be not identical with, A. Clusii. The capsules (Figs. 250 and 251), however, are narrower and more tapering than the latter. The seeds (Fig. 252) are obovate, highly polished, smooth, and dark brown. Are these capsules the produce of A. Afzelii? Dr. Daniell [Sketches of the Medical Topography of the Gulf of Guinea, pp. 111 and 112, 1849.] says they grow in the thickets at Attahpah, on the gold and slave coasts, and plentifully on the outskirts of Clarence and Fernando Po, where they are known under the name of "bastard Melligetta." The seeds are contained in a soft acidulous pulp of a pleasant flavour, which the natives use in lengthened expeditions to allay thirst, and also as an adjunct to allay the irritative effects of cathartic and other medicines.