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The Variation Of Animals And Plants Under Domestication

C. Darwin
History, Biology

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of the reasons which induce me to believe that all organic beings occasionally cross, though perhaps in some cases only at long intervals of time. (15/14. With respect to plants, an admirable essay on this subject (Die Geschlechter-Vertheilung bei den Pflanzen: 1867) has been published by Dr. Hildebrand who arrives at the same general conclusions as I have done. Various other treatises have since appeared on the same subject, more especially by Hermann Muller and Delpino.) I will merely recall the fact that many plants, though hermaphrodite in structure, are unisexual in function;—such as those called by C.K. Sprengel DICHOGAMOUS, in which the pollen and stigma of the same flower are matured at different periods; or those called by me RECIPROCALLY DIMORPHIC, in which the flower's own pollen is not fitted to fertilise its own stigma; or again, the many kinds in which curious mechanical contrivances exist, effectually preventing selffertilisation. There are, however, many hermaphrodite plants which are not in any way specially constructed to favour intercrossing, but which nevertheless commingle almost as freely as animals with separated sexes. This is the case with cabbages, radishes, and onions, as I know from having experimented on them: even the peasants of Liguria say that cabbages must be prevented "from falling in love" with each other. In the orange tribe, Gallesio (15/15. 'Teoria della Riproduzione Vegetal' 1816 page 12.) remarks that the amelioration of the various kinds is checked by their continual and almost regular crossing. So it is with numerous other plants. On the other hand, some cultivated plants rarely or never intercross, for instance, the common pea and sweet-pea (Lathyrus odoratus); yet their flowers are certainly adapted for cross fertilisation. The varieties of the tomato and aubergine (Solanum) and the pimenta (Pimenta vulgaris?) are said (15/16. Verlot 'Des Varietes' 1865 page 72.) never to cross, even when growing alongside one another. But it should be observed that these are all exotic plants, and we do not know how they would behave in their native country when visited by the proper insects. With respect to the common pea, I have ascertained that it is rarely crossed in this country owing to premature fertilisation. There exist, however, some plants which under their natural conditions appear to be always selffertilised, such as the Bee Ophrys (Ophrys apifera) and a few other Orchids; yet these plants exhibit the plainest adaptations for crossfertilisation. Again, some few plants are believed to produce only closed flowers, called cleistogene, which cannot possibly be crossed. This was long thought to be the case with the Leersia oryzoides (15/17. Duval Jouve 'Bull. Soc. Bot. de France' tome 1

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