RECORD: J. B. W. 1858. Accidental Fertilisation of Papilionaceous Plants. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette (20 November): 845.
REVISION HISTORY: Scanned by John van Wyhe, transcribed (single key) by AEL Data 8.2008. RN1
Accidental Fertilisation of Papilionaceous Plants.—I can corroborate some of the statements contained in Mr. Darwin's very interesting communication on this subject at p. 828. I am in the habit of growing the Black Belgian Kidney Bean (Haricot d'Algiers) and a small seeded white Haricot side by side with the common Scarlet Runner, and I find a great tendency to seminal variation in the two first-named, but none in the Scarlet Runner except a slight variation in the colour of the seeds, which is probably not greater than would occur if that variety was grown alone. When I first obtained from the Horticultural Society the very distinct kind known as the Black Belgian, its seeds were of a jet black colour, and the pods they produced were of a creamy white, and much more fleshy than those of the common Runner. I find, however, every year many pods that are thinner in substance and almost green in colour, while the seeds they contain are not black but darker or lighter slate colour, so that it is only by making a selection of seeds, that I am enabled to keep the sort true. I imagine that this variation must be caused by cross impregnation with the white Haricot, although that plant is so different in appearance from the black one that many botanists would certainly make them distinct species. The seeds of the small Haricot ought to be pure white, but there are always some among them of a pale dun colour which are picked out and thrown away, so that I have no notion of what they would produce if sown. It is well known to gardeners, that the dwarf varieties of Kidney Bean are extremely liable to cross when two or more sorts are grown side by side, although some strongly marked varieties, such as the Newington Wonder, are less readily affected by foreign influence. With regard to Peas, I think it certain that some at least of the new varieties, which are annually sold at high prices to a confiding public, are the result of accidental cross impregnation; and yet such crosses cannot be of frequent occurrence, for I have grown both the Auvergne Pea and the Champion of England intermixed with other kinds during several years, and they are still perfectly true. It is well known that many of the most valuable varieties of the Brassica tribe of vegetables have been originated by hybridisation, and the facility with which they cross many a poor gardener discovers to his sorrow when his "Unapproachable" Cabbage, or his "Unmatchable" Broccoli, has been hopelessly spoiled by intermixture with the vile "Greens" of his slovenly neighbour. I have heard it said, however, that none of the culinary Cabbages will cross with the Turnip, which is a very curious thing if true. Perhaps Mr. Darwin can tell us something about it J. B. W.
Ringing Vines.—I selected three strong Hamburgh Vines in a cold Vinery and two on a west wall out of doors, and cut off the bark in the fashion exhibited by the specimens sent, as soon as the berries were of the size of Peas. The first bunch operated on a produced berries as large as the others not operated on, and became coloured rather sooner, but when cut was not tasted, as it was mixed with other bunches. The second cut from the notched wood sent had larger berries than the others on the same Vine, but were colourless, without sugar, and insipid. The third just cut from wood sent, not notched, the berries small, colourless, and acid, the bunch itself large. Fourth, out of doors berries larger than the others on same Vine, well coloured but acid. Fifth, out of doors, berries small, well coloured, but acid. Sigma.
The "Kum Quat."—Under this name will be found at p. 214 of the Gardeners' Chronicle for 1849 a notice of a remarkable variety of Citrus japonica, which is stated to be extensively grown in pots at Shanghae, where it forms a very beautiful object in the month of January, when loaded with its small oval orange-coloured fruit. The writer thinks if the "Kum Quat" was better known in England it would be highly prized for decorative purposes during the winter months. It is much more hardy than any of its tribe. It produces its flowers and fruit in great abundance, and would doubtless prove a plant of easy cultivation. To succeed with it as well as the Chinese, however, one little fact should be kept in view, viz., that all the plants of the Orange tribe which fruit in a small state should be grafted. I have made inquiries in several quarters where I thought this plant was likely to be found, but have not as yet been able to meet with it. I believe it was introduced by Mr. Fortune, and if so, it is surely in the trade somewhere about London. I should be much obliged for any information respecting this little Orange, with which some of your correspondents may probably be able to furnish me. B. [The difficulty with this consists in growers not knowing what stock it requires. It will not live on the Orange. The Chinese work it on Limonia trifoliata.]
Hickory Nuts.—I send you some kernels of the Hickory Nut, which has ripened this year. Is not this unusual? D. C. L., Dorsetshire. [Yes.]
Pampas Grass.—My largest plant here has 83 spikes on it 12 feet 3 inches high. This is the parent plant; the offset from it has 72 spikes of same height. Frederick Perkins, Chipstead Place, Sevenoaks.
HORTICULTURAL: ST. JAMES'S HALL. Special General Meeting for Exhibition of Fruit and Flowers. Nov. 17.—J. J. Blandy, Esq., V.P., in the chair. The following Fellows were elected, viz.:—
Lord Harris, Madras.
Hon. Ed. Fredk. L. Gower, Chiswick House.
Major E. R. Wood, Stout Hall, near Swansea.
J. P. Atkins, Esq., Halstead Place, Sevenoaks.
J. Gough, Esq., Mount Nod, Lewisham.
Hy. Waters, Esq., 26, Regent Street.
Mr. Edward Spary, Queen's Graperies, Brighton.
Dr. Lindley briefly adverted to some of the more striking features of the admirable collections brought together on this occasion, but referred for all details to the objects themselves, which the vastness of the display rendered it impossible to point out with any advantage to the visitors. Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Mary honoured the exhibition with an early inspection. We also understand that about 3000 persons were present, of whom nearly 500 were Fellows of the Society or bearers of their ivory tickets.
The following is, we trust, as faithful an account of the various subjects of exhibition as it was possible to prepare:—
In the class of Pears, consisting of dishes of Seckel, Winter Nelis, Glou Morceau, Beurré Diel, Knight's Monarch, Passe Colmar, Easter Beurré, and Beurré, Rance, there were several highly interesting exhibitions. The best was furnished by Mr. Ingram, gr. to Her Majesty at Frogmore. Seckel in this collection from a north wall was very good; Winter Nelis from the same aspect was well coloured; Knights's Monarch from a west wall was unusually large, Beurré Rance was from a north-east wall, large and beautifully covered with russet; Beurré Diel, from a similar aspect, was also well coloured and covered with russet; Glou Morceau was large and fine; they came from a west wall, as did also Passe Colmar. All were ripe and fit for table, even Easter Beurré and Beurré Rance. Another excellent lot came from Mr. Cox, gr. to W. Wells, Esq., of Redleaf. In this group Seckel was good, but not so well coloured as that from Frogmore; Winter Nelis was very large, and there were also fair specimens of Beurré Rance. The best group was furnished from the Carse of Falkirk by Mr. Carmichael, gr. to the Countess of Dunmore. Seckel in this collection was larger and better coloured than any in the Hall; the other varieties were however smaller than the same kinds grown in a more southern climate. Mr.
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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
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