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from all delicate questions concerning the amatorial sensibility of the anthers and stigma, &c. &c.—there is one kind of consciousness which we need not hesitate to say is distinctly possessed by plants :they know what time of year it is—they do not mistake September for March. In the autumn they know that winter is coming, and they make preparation for it by completing the requisite processes with unwonted rapidity. Early peas sown in July behave very differently afterwards from early peas sown in January, in whatever way the horticulturist may treat them. With the same altitude of the sun and length of day, at one season the cabbage forms its heart, the turnip its bulb ; at another they both will run up to seed, as every gardener knows to his plague. There is a degree of superstitious mystery about the most lucky time for sowing cabbage-seed. We have been informed, as a matter of faith, and a grand arcanum, that the only propitious day in the year for Early Yorks is the 19th of July. The old gardeners are given to planning their operations according as the moon is waning or waxing. But of this at least we feel certain ; either plants have a sort of innate consciousness of season, or they are set in action by influences quite inappreciable by our senses. It is true we can stimulate them and partially deceive them by forcing—but how difficult is it to retard them beyond their appointed times !

The most defective part of Garden Literature is that which relates to the Natural Theology of vegetation-proofs of creative design in the structure, growth, and utilitarian fitness of plants. Paley, in his charming book, has a short chapter on these things, and he gives a sufficient reason why it was not a longer one: I think a designed and studied mechanism to be, in general, more evident in animals than in plants; and it is unnecessary to dwell upon a weaker argument, where a stronger is at hand.

is at hand. He was wise in battling against atheism with the strongest possible weapons, and, what he had set his hand to do, to do it with all his might. But we wish some able botanist would ponder his phrase in introducing the little he does say on the other topic : * There are a few observations upon the vegetable kingdom which lie so directly in our way that it would be improper to pass by them without notice.' That-beyond what the Archdeacon took as lying directly in his way-a whole treasury of unappreciated facts remains to be collected, we cannot doubt; that they are less obvious, and not demonstrable, like the articulations of the vertebrate animals, even on the dinner-table-nay, at supper a pleasant of philosophy where our knowledge is yet imperfect, are not without their use, as they encourage the execution of laborious experiments, or the investigation of ingenious deductions, to confirm or refute them.'


lecture may be delivered on the lobster and the crab—explains the delay, but ought, in fact, to be a spur to ambitious students. Still, indications are to be met with here and there — for instance :

* The bitter, narcotic, and acrid juices of plants are secreted by their glands for the defence of the vegetable from the depredation of insects and of larger animals.-Opium is found in the leaf, stalk, and head of the poppy, but not in the seeds. A similar narcotic quality exists in the leaf and stem of the hyoscyamus (henbane), but not in the seeds. An acrid juice exists in husks of walnuts, and in the pellicle or skin of the kernel, but not in the lobes or nutritious part of it. These seem to have been excluded from the seed, lest they might have been injurious to the tender organs of digestion of the embryo plant. Other vegetables possess glands adapted to the secretion of various fluids more or less aromatic, acrid, or astringent. All which deleterious juices seem to have been produced for the protection of the plant against its enemies, as appears by the number of poisonous vegetables which are seen in all our hedge-bottoms and commons, as hyoscyamus, cynoglossum, jacobæa, and common nettles, which neither insects nor quadrupeds devour (?), and which are, therefore, of no known use but to themselves, and possess a safer armour in this panoply of poison than the thorns of hollies, briars, and gooseberries.' - Phytologia, p. 86.

It is something of this kind of argument which we should like to see better illustrated. A higher purpose might have been supposed than that the wonderful secretions from the glands of many plants were merely to render distasteful, and so secure from injury, things always impassive, and often, if not ephemeral, of but semi-annual duration. But the cap-a-pie armour of the gorse is not potent to save it from being eaten ; and as to the panoply of poisons, our own ancient goat—whose progeny would make a very respectable population for a newly-discovered group of islands, to the delight of the Darwin next touching there, after a few weeks of salt beef and pork—she holds in utter scorn Mrs. Barbauld's kind caution

. Do not eat the hemlock rank,

Growing on the shady bank !'but will take you a mouthful of narcotics—tobacco included, if you like-and, looking you full in the face, will despatch them into her first stomach, and then search about for the next highseasoned vegetable.

It is a pleasure to cull a few miscellaneous examples of what we mean from Sir James Smith :

• We can but imperfectly account for the green so universal in the herbage of plants; but we may gratefully acknowledge the beneficence



of the Creator in clothing the earth with a colour the most pleasing and the least fatiguing to our eyes. We may be dazzled with the brilliancy of a flower-garden, but we repose at leisure on the verdure of a grove or meadow.' - p. 68.

By an extraordinary provision of nature, in some annual species of Mesembryanthemum, natives of sandy deserts in Africa, the seed vessel opens only in rainy weather; otherwise the seeds might, in that country, lie long exposed before they met with sufficient moisture to vegetate.”—p. 221.

Many curious contrivances of nature serve to bring the anthers and stigmas together. In Gloriosa the style is bent, at a right angle from the very base, for this evident purpose. In Saxifraga and Parnassia the stamens lean one or two at a time over the stigma, retiring after they have shed their pollen, and giving place to others: which wonderful economy is very striking in the garden rue, Ruta graveolens, whose stout and firm filaments cannot be disturbed from the posture in which they may happen to be, and evince a spontaneous movement unaffected by external causes.

But of all flowers that of the Barberrybush is most worthy the attention of a curious physiologist. In this the six stamens, spreading moderately, are sheltered under the concave tips of the petals till some extraneous body, as the feet or trunk of an insect in search of honey, touches the inner part of each filament near the bottom. The irritability of that part is such that the filament immediately contracts there, and consequently strikes its anther, full of pollen, against the stigma. Any other part of the filament may be touched without this effect, provided no concussion be given to the whole.'—p. 264.

Two or three years back, a lively writer in a popular journal attempted to start the subject in its columns by the following little excursus on the Crocus :

The Crocus appears to me to furnish an instance of adaptation to a peculiar natural locality, which, as far as I am aware, has not hitherto been noticed in print. Gardeners know that their patches of crocuses rise to the surface in a very few years, so that you cannot rake the beds in which they grow without dragging them from their places. In old, neglected gardens, about farm-houses or untenanted mansions, the corms, or, in popular language, the bulbs, will probably be quite exposed, without a sprinkling of mould over them. Now, this exposure is not necessary for the health of the plant, but the contrary. It will thrive better at the depıh of at least three inches. There must, therefore, be some other final cause, if any, for this gradual uprising, by the annual formation of a new corin above that of the previous spring.

• Having occasion some years ago to pass through Switzerland by the route of the Simplon, I observed a little below the village that bears that name, and of course on the Italian side of the descent, a large tract covered with crocuses. It was in the middle of May, but they were not yet in bloom. Although to this day quite ignorant of

their size, colour, or species, I have often regretted that I did not dig some up to bring home with me. It would have been so easy; only a little pleasurable trouble. But regrets are unavailing, except as warnings to avoid, so far as depends upon ourselves, all future causes for regret.

• Spring creeps very slowly up the sides of the mountains even with a southern aspect. They had not long been uncovered from the snow, which a little higher up was thawing from day to day. The spot occupied by the crocuses was a swampy hollow of considerable extent, but I observed none on the drier billocks around it. The swampiness was caused, not by one of those little burns so innumerable and so beautiful in mountainous countries, but by the trickling down of the water from the line of melting snow, which brought with it, from the hill-side, a small but perceptible deposit of mud. This thin layer is of course annually repeated, and a stationary bulb would in a few years be buried beyond the power of vegetation. I cannot think it fanciful to believe that the upward progress of the corms is designed to enable them to keep pace with the gradual elevation of the soil in which they are rooted.

• The narcissus, which grows wild in the south of Europe, in marshes that are froin time to time inundated, also rises, though more slowly than the crocus. The garden hyacinth likewise moves upwards. The tulip and the meadow saffron (colchicum autumnale) appear to bave the faculty of accommodating themselves at once to the most suitable depth of soil, forming an entirely new bulb above or below the old one, which is left a hollow shell; as if its whole substance had been transferred, like the honey that bees will remove from the comb in a bell glass to the hive beneath. A curious essay might be written on the locomotion of plants, by any one who chose to avail himself of the information which our great horticultural and botanical institutions render available to the industrious. Were it not for the power of rising to the surface, my unknown crocus of the Simplon would in a few years certainly be overwhelmed by the annual topdressing; and the species affecting such situations would become extinct, for the crocus rarely seeds.' [This, pace tanti riri, is a slip—some species form seed freely, others scarcely ever.] “As it is, those in the Alps may have risen yards. Some of our native orchids, by the yearly decay of one of their two bulbs, and the formation of a fresh one on the opposite side, proceed onwards at not a slow rate. The strawberry puts on seven-leagued boots in comparison, and frequently escapes from the rich man's garden to refresh the way-side traveller. How many years would it take a new seedling strawberry to travel by runners from London to the Land's End? The raspberry mines its way to a fresh station, by a subterranean, mole-like process, blind but not unguided, and then rises unexpectedly to the light of day. The elaterium, or squirting cucumber, is furnished with a fire-engine for the dispersion of its seeds; the touch-me-not balsam scatters them like an exploded shell. Even the humblest of the race, the champignon, and many other fungi, start from a centre and travel outwards in circles, imitating, in their lowly way, the progress of sound and light.


If it be asked - Why should the Supreme Being bestow this care on the preservation of a useless, unseen Crocus, that vegetates amidst perhaps inaccessible hill tops, where there is scarcely an insect to sip its sweets, much less a human eye to admire its beauty ?-we in return deinand—Is it for your own merits, caviller, for your usefulness, your services to mankind, that you have been created, supported, and spared so long by the mercy of a benevolent God?'

The topic excited some little interest for the time amongst the readers of the Gardener's Chronicle, but the thesis still awaits the deliberate handling of a master.

At the present epoch, when the horticultural societies and the great nurserymen have their active agents surveying the world from China to Peru,' the amateur gardener can hardly get on with satisfaction to himself, especially amongst his flowers, without acquiring some knowledge of botanical arrangement; and therefore, at this point of our discourse, let us give the beginner a caution not to be persuaded into the belief that the Linnæan system is altogether obsolete and good for nothing. Dr. Lindley in his Preface speaks of that method of investigating the productions of the vegetable kingdom which, under the name of the Natural System, has gradually displaced more popular classifications :-well adapted indeed to captivate the superficial inquirer, but exercising so baneful an influence upon botany, as to have rendered it doubtful whether it even deserved a place among the sciences.' With all deference to the Doctor, we might rejoin that, if the Natural System were permitted entirely to extinguish the Linnæan, botany would soon deserve a place among the mysteries instead of the sciences. The superficial inquirer' is the very person who wants a clear and frank-minded guide that will show him what he wants, instead of letting him lose himself in a boggy maze where he can find no firm footing. It is, doubtless, convenient to be able to send a box of plants to be named by a practised adept in the Natural System ; but it is more independent to be able to do it one's self on the Linnæan. The Natural System, as a mode of identifying plants, puts us in mind of the curiosa Latinitas of the prescriptions of our medical men ; it is an excellent contrivance for fencing off the profane vulgar. The apprentice shall be bound for seven long years, or he shall not be admitted into the craft at all. But middle-aged people begin to estimate the comparative lengths of life and of art; and if they set out on any fresh scientific journey, or perhaps mere excursion, they wish to find themselves on a smooth turnpike, with low hedges, over

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