From Frederick Bailey1    5 November 1879

Robert St Brisbane

November 5th 1879

Dear Baron Mueller

On the 11th of last August2 I sent you a shoot of a supposed poison bush which I had gathered at Maroochie it was numbered 13 of the few things then sent although I could at the time neither obtain flowers or fruit I still thought you might be able to detect it from perhaps some little peculiarity of the foliage I have this day received some flower specimens and I now send you them It is now nearly 2 years since I received two fruit which I have mislaid but it was something like this —3

have a peach-like pubescence From the flowers now to hand I find it belongs to Proteaceae and to me seems a connecting link between the genera Helicia Lour and Macadamia F. v. Muell.

for you will observe it has an irregular perianth. very revolute segments anthers on short broad filaments, connective of medium length but very obtuse free unequal hypogynous glands The fruit had not the hard putamen of Macadamia I have no specimens of the genus Helicia Lour and in fact never saw any — The man who brought me the specimens and who also showed me the plant growing is the one who say4 only about half a nut nearly killed him in fact he was so ill after eating it that he had to get off his horse and lie down for some time before he could get home — Is not this a strange story about a proteace which I have always considered safe and wholesome I have read up the Flora species of Helicia5 but it agrees with none I would have waited and got the fruit again and than6 have described the plant only thought you might have a form of the genus Helicia to associate it with. For forgive me but I feel some how that you scarcely care for any things I forward unless they happen to be what you ask for — I am most grateful for all your kindness to me. My collect[ing] correspondence &c &c is for the most part done and has been done for the love of the science at my own expense — Even now as keeper of the Herbarium for which I receive a paltry pittance — I am not found in a single book I have to trust to my own poor library which thanks to Father Woods contains some good works beside I must acknowledge by7 indebtedness to your writings I always consider that your extensive knowledge of the flora of Australia should be taken advantage of by other workers so as to keep down as much as possible the multiplicity of names and for that reason I would much rather not name myself — By the bye I have had the other day sent to me although in a young state plants of Xanthium strumarium Linn did you know of its being in Australia notice8 it in the Fragmenta[?]9 I think I'm right but it was loose fruit and young plants that were sent to me and they were said to be poisoning cattle

Your obediently

F M Bailey





Xanthium strumarium

MS annotation by M: 'Answ 14/11/79'. Letter not found.
Letter not found.
For sketch, see 79-11-05_image01.jpg.
i.e. those described in Flora australiensis, Bentham (1863-78), vol. 5.
or notice?
editorial addition.

Please cite as “FVM-79-11-05,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 20 September 2021,