Front Page Titles (by Subject) Notes on the Species of Oenanthe FEBRUARY 1845 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXXI - Miscellaneous Writings
Return to Title Page for The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXXI - Miscellaneous Writings
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Notes on the Species of Oenanthe FEBRUARY 1845 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXXI - Miscellaneous Writings 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXXI - Miscellaneous Writings, ed. John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1989).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The online edition of the Collected Works is published under licence from the copyright holder, The University of Toronto Press. ©2006 The University of Toronto Press. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or medium without the permission of The University of Toronto Press.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Notes on the Species of Oenanthe
Phytologist, II (Feb. 1845), 48-9. Signed “J.S. Mill / Kensington, January, 1845.” Not republished. Not listed in Mill’s bibliography.
the readers of The Phytologist, and all botanists, are much indebted to Mr. H.C. Watson for his careful, and I believe accurate investigation, in the January number, of the three species of Oenanthe, hitherto confounded under the names of peucedanifolia and pimpinelloides (Phytol. ii. 11).1 I have long been convinced that there was some unknown quantity to be determined among the English species of this very interesting genus, which has until lately received very little critical investigation in this country. It is not generally known that one of these three species grows abundantly in so familiar and much frequented a locality as Battersea fields. I have observed it there for more than twenty years past, in a small patch of grass land, which is passed through in crossing the fields diagonally from Nine Elms, at an acute angle with the direction of the river. Valeriana dioica and Polygonum Bistorta grow copiously near the spot. I have never yet been able to procure the fruit, as the grass is always cut before the plant is out of flower. But the leaves, the tubers, and the bracteae, agree in their characters with Mr. Watson’s Oe. Smithii, and quite differ from those of Oe. Lachenalii. The same plant, or one apparently the same, has been seen by me many years ago, as well as lately, in meadows adjoining the river Wey, near Weybridge. Neither of these stations appears to be known to Mr. Watson; to whom I can also contribute an authentic station for his Oe. pimpinelloides, viz. a maritime bog at the little village of Bishopstone, near Seaford, in Sussex, where I gathered unquestionable specimens in July, 1827.2
While I am on the subject of this genus, I should be glad if any of your correspondents could inform me whether they have ever found the Oe. crocata with the yellow acrid juice, which until lately has been attributed to it by all botanists. I have examined numberless living specimens of the plant in Surrey, and other counties around London, for the express purpose, and have never, in any one single instance, discovered the smallest vestige of such a juice. The assertion is a curious example of the servile manner in which even scientific observers copy each other’s statements, without verifying them.
[1 ]Hewett Cottrell Watson (1804-81) known as the father of British topographical botany, “Some Account of the Oenanthe pimpinelloides, and peucedanifolia of English Authors,” Phytologist, II (Jan. 1845), 11-15.
[2 ]For Mill’s journal of the walking tour in 1827 during which he collected specimens, see CW, Vol. XXVII, pp. 455-75.