Order XXXVII. Thymelaceae, Lindl.—Daphnads.
Thymeleae, Jussieu.—Daphnoideae, Endl.
Characters.—Calyx inferior, tubular, coloured; the limb 4 cleft, seldom 5-cleft, with an imbricated aestivation. Corolla 0, or sometimes, scale-like petals in the orifice of the calyx. Stamens definite, inserted in the tube or its orifice; often 8, sometimes 4, less frequently, 2; when equal in number to the segments of the calyx, or fewer, opposite to them; anthers 2-celled, dehiscing lengthwise in the middle. Ovary composed of a single carpel, with 1 solitary pendulous anatropal ovule; style 1; stigma undivided. Fruit hard, dry, and nut-like, or drupaceous. Albumen 0, or thin and fleshy; embryo straight; cotyledons plano-convex, sometimes lobed and crumpled; radicle short, superior; plumule inconspicuous.—Stem shrubby, very seldom herbaceous, with tenacious bark. Leaves without stipules, alternate or opposite, entire. Flowers capitate or spiked, terminal or axillary, occasionally solitary, sometimes unisexual by abortion, often inclosed in an involucre (R. Brown, with some additions).
Properties.—The prevailing property of the plants of this order is acridity. This depends on a principle contained in the bark and pericarp. The liber of many species is remarkably tough, and is applied to various useful purposes; as for making ropes, whips, a kind of cloth, &c.—The Lagetta lintearia or the Lace Bark Tree, which possesses the medicinal proper-lies of mezereon, and has been used in the same cases, [Wright's Med. Plants of Jamaica.] is provided with a bark, which may be separated into 20, 30, or more laminae, which are fine and white like gauze; and of these, caps, ruffles, and even whole suits of ladies' clothes, have been made. [Sloane's Nat. Hist. of Jamaica, vol. ii. p. 22.] Some few years since, a quantity of the stiffened lagetta cloth was imported into Liverpool under the name of guana.