NEWS - “Riviera Nature Notes” by Comerford Casey (1903)

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

 I have recently been able to acquire a second edition of the book by Comerford Casey comerford caseycalled “Nature Notes on Riviera” (1903) thanks to the recommendation by Dr Robert Hearn of Genoa University. In the index, there is the reference “Bicknell, C., often cited”. So I scanned through the book and found 10 references, any of which might be useful to a researcher...

Page 93 – Euphorbias
   “Mr C. Bicknell has given me the following note about the distribution of this characteristic plant. “I don’t think that E. dendroides likes such a modern formation as the tertiary sandstones and marls of the Bordighera district. It flourishes on the older rocks. There is a little of it in the Roya valley near Ventimiglia on the conglomerate, but only a little: thence eastward it does not reappear till Alassio.”

Page 94 – Euphorbias
    Casey quotes from C Bicknell’s “Flora of Bordighera”

Page 142 – Poisonous plants
    “The veteran naturalist Bruyat told me that he had often found these [Deilephila Nerii] larvae on the Oleander bushes in town; I have not been so fortunate. Mr. Bicknell says that quantities of them may be collected in the Nervia valley.”

Page 200 – Wayside Weeds
    “Mr. C. Bicknell informs me that in Italy the popular name Richetta is applied to Eruca sativa Lamk.

Page 203– Wayside Weeds
    “Mr. Bicknell (“Flora of Bordighera”) confirms my statement the O. cernua is naturalised here.” (and following two sentences)

Page 211 – The Judgement of Paris
   No mention of Clarence but some text on Saxifrage Florulenta, “a mythical plant” which Clarence and others prized highly.

Page 219 – The Judgement of Paris
    “Although Orchis provincialis is rare near Nice, it is given by Mr. Bicknell as very abundant under the chestnuts in certain districts of the Italian Riviera.”

Page 239 – Dry Fruits
    “Mr. Bicknell informs me that these rosaries [sold at the corner of the Place Massena] are made of Trapa verbanensis, a species known only in the Lago Maggiore, opposite Arona, in the bay of Angera.”

Don’t miss the effects of the Tarantula bite on Page 365.

Page 390 – Appendix II – Books Useful for the Study of the Flora
    “Bicknell’s “Flora of Bordighera and San Remo” is an admirable piece of work, but I venture to suggest that many botanists will find it difficult to reconcile themselves to the disappearance of such familiar generic names as Calamint and Muscari. I wish that this accomplished botanist would extend the book so as to include the whole Riviera, and add short characters.
“Moggridge’s “Contributions to the Flora of Mentone” and Bicknell’s “Flowering Plants and Ferns of the Riviera” are two beautiful collections of coloured pictures.”

Page 391 – Appendix III: Sights worth seeing
    “Bordighera: Mr. Bicknell’s Botanical Pictures, Herbarium, Riviera Fossils, and Drawings of Rock Engravings.”

    Review from Amazon: "The spread of the towns, the disforesting of the hills, and other causes are conspiring to destroy many of the conditions which made the Riviera of former days so happy a resort for the lovers of nature. But there will always be much to observe and much to study in so favored a region." Quirky, erudite and eminently readable, the fifty-four essays comprising "Riviera Nature Notes give an astonishingly clear picture of plant and animal life in the South of France at the turn of the twentieth century--not to mention a fascinating insight into the social mores of the time. A hundred years later the book is as fresh, topical and inviting as when it was first published. Preferring to remain anonymous as a naturalist, not only out of modesty but to guard the integrity of his liturgical writings, its clergyman author speaks of olives and pines, myrtles and figs, mosquitoes and rare butterflies--to name but a few of his subjects--with such passion and verve as to bring the land from the Ligurian coastline to the Maritime Alps vividly alive. With an engaging, sometimes acerbic voice speaking effortlessly across the years, this book will once again garner admirers among nature lovers, gardeners and travellers alike.”


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