RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1855. Effect of salt-water on the germination of seeds. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 48 (1 December): 789.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, OCRed, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 2002-8, textual corrections by Sue Asscher 12.2006. RN3

[page] 789

Effect of Salt Water on the Germination of Seeds.—In my communication of last week1 it is printed by mistake that the fruit of "evergreens," instead of the fruit of the Euonymus, did not sink after immersion in salt water during a month. I may add that I think that the experiments on immersion of seeds in sea water have some little interest, as showing that we cannot infer from seeds of certain orders long retaining their power of germination in a dry condition, that these same seeds will retain it under different conditions. Thus the Solaneæ and Leguminosæ are believed to keep longest when preserved in the ordinary way in a dry state, and the Solaneæ seem generally to resist well the salt water, whereas most Leguminosæ resist much worse, as I have shown in your number of the 26th May,2 than other orders. I have lately tested this conclusion with quite fresh seeds of Trifolium incarnatum and Kidney Beans. Indeed with respect to some Leguminosæ I have reason to believe that a short immersion in plain water will kill them. So with respect to the subject lately discussed in your columns, namely how long seeds will remain alive when buried in damp earth, I do not see that any safe conclusion can be drawn from the length of time during which the same seeds can retain their vitality whilst dry. C. Darwin, Down, Bromley, Kent.

1 Darwin 1855.

2 Darwin 1855.

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