To Edward Ramsay   19 August 1874

Melbourne 19/8/74.


My letters for Europe & India are just written and despatched, dear Mr Ramsay; so I hasten to get a few lines to post to day for you, as the Sydney Steamer leaves at noon. The Livistona-Palm, about which I telegraphed and which vernacularly might be distinguished as the "Ramsay's Shield-palm" or Parasol-palm" I have diagnosticised in the new number of the Fragmenta,1 and copies of that number have gone already by this post to Kew and a few other English scientific establishments I only trust, that the same species may not meanwhile also have been published by Wendland, who had my palms on loan; but I do not remember, that this Livistona Ramsayi was among them. I shall send you the print in a few days.

I shall go further into details concerning palms in one of the next numbers of the Fragmenta, and trust you will let me have timely all your species, if they can be procured again in the North.

I applied to Hill2 for his Cocos & Areca, but he evidently wishes to avoid sending them to me for correction or confirmation; for he replies, that he had sent them just on board of a ship for Kew. That is the support I get from him in my supposed Central position in Australia and as the local author; yet I invariably afford him information, altho' he has not in a single instance acknowledged it in his reports. I may therefore get the Areca & Cocos (if such they be) from you before I am forestalled at Kew.

I have no desire to deprive Kew of anything, but as there in Kew Museum & in British Museum there since the last century3 for many years past infinitely more material than ever can be worked up there, the Australian material after my great sacrifices might justly & fairly be left to my experience here. The Cycas fruits just sent by you are those of C. The ♀ rachis of C. media Normanbyana is stalkless & bears never more than 1 or 2 seeds, and the foliage is said to be curly It is very possible, that there are several more Cycas sp. yet to be defined.

Might it do any good you writing to Inspector Johnstone to send any material he may have to me. Some new species could be named after him. Surely he deserved to have one of the Musae called after him.

Many thanks for information on the trunk bearing Dicksonias

I will early send all the numbers & plates of the Fragmenta still available

Regardfully yr

Ferd von Mueller


Mr Hill sent me last week for naming (of course he did not even know the natural order) Royenia4 villosa L. a S. African climber as from the forests of Brisbane No fruit was sent, but young leaves & a few flowers, which seem to show no specific distinctions. In the absense of fruit I could not be definite in my judgment. What do you think of it. Is R. villosa cultivated in Sydney?, or is there really a new Royenia in Australia? It would not be very surprising, because a few species of Diospyros & Maba occur also in S Africa. It was pleasing to me to become at the Governors rooms here acquainted with the excellent Comm Goodenough,5 who was not aware that the genus Goodenia was named after his Grandfather the Bishop of Carlisle whose name I knew in my boyhood already as I found the rare Carices then in W. Schleswig which the Bishop had described in 1787.

I missed a glorious chance of going with Capt. Moresby in his second trip to N Guinea I never learnt he went again. Do you know whether further surveys there will go on and when the Challenger6 is likely to be there.

Regardfully yr

Ferd von Mueller


I like much to go there for a few months myself

Who is Charley after whom one Musa was named.7





Cycas media

Cycas Normanbyana




Livistona Ramsayi



Royenia villosa

B74.08.01, pp 221-2.
Walter Hill.
there since the last century is a marginal insertion, its position marked by an asterisk .
Royena ?
Commodore James Goodenough.
The oceanographical research ship, HMS Challenger .
Musa charlioi was named in Hill (1874), p. 7, where the name is explained as 'Native Police who was found very useful upon the expedition'; Hill had accompanied the Queensland North-East Coast Expedition from the end of September to the end of December 1873; see Dalrymple (1874). See also M to E. Ramsay, 24 July 1874 (in this edition as 74-07-24a).

Please cite as “FVM-74-08-19,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 22 September 2021,