The properties which constitute a good Auricula

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The properties which constitute a good Auricula


A detailed account of the properties which make for a good auricula. The text is taken from an entry in John Dicks's A New Gardener's Dictionary ... London : 1769.



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The properties which constitute
a good Auricula

The Auricula Flower, consists of a Bunch or
Truss of Petala by florists called Pipps sup-
ported by as many Pedicles, or little foot
stems, rising out of the top of one main
stalk. - The properties may
therefore be well distinguished, and divided
First Into those which respect the Pipps - 2dly
those which respect the Bunch or Truss. and
3dly - those which belong to the main Stalk.

1st: Of the Pipps.

The Petals, or Pipps, of an Auricula have four
remarkable parts. - viz - the Disk or outer rim
the Eye, or inner rim. the Tube. or pipe. and the
Brush, or thrum, so termed in the Florists lan
guage but otherwise called Chives and
Apices, by Botanists.


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Properties belonging to the perfection
of the Pipps are.

First. The Disk. or rim, to be of a lively good Colour
such as may suddenly strike and captivate
the sight; for this is the foundation of all the
rest: it is that, which makes a flower valuable
at all, or to be preferred before the Grass, or
Foliage, of the plant. which bears it. If the
colours therefore make a faint, or dead appearance or
are of an inelegant and ordinary tinge, or
hue, the flower is good for nothing, even
tho' all its other properties are the most
excellent, because all the rest are not otherwise
of any account; but as they assist in the
more full & perfect display of this chief one
of the Colour.

2dly - The Colours (in all painted & brindled flowers)
ought to be so equally distributed over the
Rim or Disk, that there may be an agreeable

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uniformity amidst the variety; so that upon the whole
the sight may not be in the least offended with
any disproportion, or see-one side remarkably
of a lighter, or darker, hue than ye other.

3dly The out edge of the rime ought to be of a round
figure, or at least so near it, as that the inden-
-tures may bear but a small proportion to
the breadth of the Disk ; for when these are
deep and wide, and the points of the segments
stand in the star form, greatly divided, the
vacances will offend the sight with an obvius
deficiency and want. The case is still worse
in those Pipps which are subject to run out
into a greater breadth, on one side of the eye
than on the other this irregularity & disproportion
is very disagreeable.

4 - The eye (which is the Iris or Annulus that environs
the Tube or Pipe) ought to be formed like the
disk - either perfectly, or near round; and of
one entire clear Colour; of a strong and pure

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white in all painted and brindled flowers
and either the same, or of a bright yellow or good
straw colour, in whole-coloured flowers.

5thly. The eye should be well defined from the Disk,
that is, it ought not to be mixed with, or shaded
into it, so as to occasion any indistinctness between
the edge of the one, and of the other.

In flowers, where these two properties of the eye
are imperfect, the lively contrast or opposition
betwixt the Rim and the Eye which otherwise
reciprocally shew one another off to advantage
is in great measure destroyed.

6ly the face of the whold pipp (disk, & eye) ought
to be so wel opened, as to lie exactly, or very
near flat; for when it either inclines inwards,
as a Martagon, both the true form of the Flower
and part of the colours, are thrown out of
sight, & the whold Truss is greatly disfigured.

7ly The

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7ly The Tube or Pipe should stand exactly in the
center of the Pipp, and be truly circular, or

8ly The Tube should be well filled with Chives,
and their Apices, in the form of a Bush, generally
called the Thrum; arising even with the face
of the Pipp: for when only the the Style or
Pointal arises, like a pin, without being
encompassed, with the chives, to the same
hight, the flower is called pin-eyed; & shews
a chasm, or vacancy, so very unpleasant to the
curious eye of a Florist. that such flowers tho'
they may otherwise have good properties, yet
failing in this central beauty, nothing
can attone for it. and they are held of very
small Account.

9ly The Thrum should be of a bright colour, and
the Chives, & Apices, of which it is composed,
clear & distinct; for when they seem clotted

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together or look battered or mis-shapen, or of
a dull colour the beauty of the flower is greatly
disturbed and impaired.

10ly The Rim the Eye and the Pipe ought all to bear
an agreeable proportion to one another; for
where any one of these is beheld either too
large or small with respect to the other
two, it will give the sight of a florest great
offence : thus if the Rim is too large, and the
whole Pipp will look heavy and clumsey and
the Eye will appear narrow and mean; if
the rims is too small it will looke abortive
and the eye monstrous: also if the Pipe is too
wide the Thrum cannot fill it duly, and it
will look vacant if the pipe be too small or
narrow it will seem pinched and the Thrum
will not have room, so that there will be an
apparent want of due grace, air and freedom.


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Perhaps the best proportion may be observed
where the semidiameter of the Pipe is one
the Breadth of the annulus of the Eye one
& the breadth of the Disk or Rim one & a half.

2ly Of the Bunch or Truss.

11ly It is excellent properly of an Auricula to be a
good Trusser; that is one which generally puts
forth a great number of Pipps from the main
stalk. for by that means the beauties of the
flower are vastly multiplied and make in
the whole a most noble & delightfull appearanc[e]

12ly The length of the pedicles which support the
Pipps in the Truss should be proportioned to
the number and size of the Pipps that they
sustain; for if the pedicles are very long &
the Pipps few and small there will be unsi=
ghtly vacances in the Truss or if they are
short, and the Pipps maney and large, they

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will be too much crowded to gether ; so that
neither the colours can be fully viewed nor the
other properties of the Pipps duly displayed.

13th the Pedicles should be sufficiently strong and
firm that they may not droop with the weight
of the Pipps nor fall loose and jangle in a
disorderly manner but support the Truss entire
and close without either vacancy or crowding
so as to form one compleat free blown flower

14ly The Pedicles ought to be near all of the same
lenght so that the pipps may stand together
at the like hight and form a regular Umbel
or rather Corymmbus which is the formal
perfection of the Truss.

15ley The Pipps should be all similar; yt is so near of
the same size & colour as not to be easily
distinguished from one another; for otherwise
the uniformity unity and Harmony of the
Truss will be distroyed and tho' ever so perfectly

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perfectly formed, it will appear as if it were
made up of Pipps, taken from different
sorts of Ariculas.

16ley It is and exceeding good property of an Auricula
to blow freely, and expand all its pipps nearly
at one time; for by this means, the colours
in them all will appear equally fresh &
lively, where as in those which do not blow
some of their Pipps, till others have passed
their prime, the whole appearance of the
Truss falls much short of that beauty
which would otherwise be seen.

3ley Of the main Stalk.

17ley The Stalk, which supports the Truss, ought to
be streight, & sufficiently strong to bear it up
without drooping.

18ley It is an excellence of the Stalk, to be lofty as
as well as erect; for thereby the Truss and -

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and consequently the whold flower will make
a more stately appearance.

To these eighteen properties, which compleate the
Florists idea of a beautifull Auricula ought
to be added the gracefull display of a good
plant covering the top of the flower-pot with
fresh verdure or foliage of luxurious growth
& an agreeable green colour; such as is express
ive of the most perfect health & vigour: this
vastly enriches the whole view of the flower &
plant taken together Moreover tho' every
Auricula that has the above mentioned
properties cannot fail of pleasing the most
curious & critical Florists, yet as upon one hand
as an Auricula may be somewhat deficient
in several particulars, of small consideration,
and yet be justly esteemed a fine and valuable
flower; so on the other hand it will be a farther

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addition to the excellence of an Auricula,
which has all the properties, that it naturally
stands long in Bloom, & wears its colours with
out fading, or Alteration ; and also when
the flower begins to decay (as decay it must
like all other terrestrial beauty) if the
colours fade equally, slowly and gradually,
the Florists think it an addition to its character,
& is by them termed Dying-well.

Original Format

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“The properties which constitute a good Auricula,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed February 25, 2024,