Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

made, colour being affected by the same cause, illumination. The difficulty in preserving delicate towards the base generally showing pink or golden, | line, with painting effects of colour bathed in light; and nearer the harder apex, blue and purple tints. I supplemented by the more limited resources of even

Some species have hollow spines ; such specimens the best chromo-lithographer (a condition of things are deeply furrowed longitudinally on the outside, seen in the present subject) reduces such drawings, and are generally too large to make perfectly circular when printed, to mere semblances of the reality ; sections to fall within a microscopic “field" of view, but they offer, at least, sufficient inducement to but delicately cut and ground ; segments of such slices direct attention to the general elegance found in display such remarkable elegance and neatness of these most popular of microscopical objects. design, that when carefully illuminated, and the Crouch End, configuration of the parts studied, they at once impress the mind with their adaptability to purposes of artistic decoration. It is possible no class of microscopical presentations can be more suggestive

THE VIOLET. to the designer of geometrical patterns, and under various conditions of light they are materially altered P UY my sweet violet, a penny a bunch! is one of in appearance. Many parts with transmitted light D the familiar cries we hear every morning at show configuration, and but slight colour or sub this time of year (spring) as we hasten to our stance ; under the radiation of dark ground illumina respective callings in London (and no doubt in other tion they become totally different, and flash out cities as well). It is a most refreshing sight, to any exquisite translucent pearly lustres. With the polari person who has the least spark of the love of nature, scope, especially when the cutting is carefully selected to look at the beautiful baskets of button-hole for extreme thinness, but yet preserving the denser bouquets which meet our eyes in the different streets, parts intact, the beauty is incomparable. Even but more particularly in the neighbourhood of the mounted as purely opaque objects, under the radiance Bank of England and Royal Exchange. The city of the side speculum, porcellaneous specimens show a clerk on his way to his office, purchases a bunch of rare delicacy.

violets-places them on his desk, surrounded with his A minute examination of one of these sections day-books, ledgers, and all the paraphernalia of a recalls the rings and medullary rays of the stem of an

mercantile house : perhaps once or twice during the exogenous tree, and their number and position (as in day, while his mind is engaged on the routine of his the tree) depends on the age of the spine and the daily duties, the delicious perfume from his morning part from which it is cut. In the centre is an open purchase causes him for a few moments to look up at network slightly divergent, at intervals zones of these emblems of modesty and innocence, and awakens larger deposits, calcareous tracery intervening, the a train of thought of the days of his childhood, when whole cut up by equidistant structural radiations ; he and his companions hunted for the fragrant flower illuminated with the paraboloid, what appear to among the green fields and hedgerows in the early be the larger “spaces," as distinguished from the spring. general intersections, are seen of uniform substance But time flies ; work must be finished ; no leisure and colour. A spine may be defined as a fluted spur for such meditations; still those few moments have of connective hard pellucid tissue, with interspaces, not bean spent in vain : his brain has been rested by a filled with solid glass. Spines of the British Echini change of thought, and he is enabled to go on with have no concentric rings, it is supposed in con- | his work with fresh energy and vigour. Thanks to sequence of periodical shedding, while in tropical the little violet. This flower was held in high estimaspecies in the course of growth, layers are added. A tion by the ancient Greeks. A golden violet was crushed spine resolves itself into glass-like particles, offered as a prize in their floral games, and we are transparent and brittle. A power of repairing | told in their fables that Ia, the daughter of Atlas, fracture and injury has been observed, the vitality fleeing into a wood from the pursuit of Apollo, was of the spine and its increase in size is maintained through the power of Diana changed into a violet, through a connective tissue at the base, and although which still retains the bashful timidity of the nymph, the internal structure is apparently unprovided with by partly concealing itself from the gaze of Phæbus in vessels, reparation takes place, as long as the animal its foliage. The Greek name for this flower was 'lov, he living and the injured spine attached; many said to have been given it because lov the daughter of sections, especially when cut through the length, Inarchus, whom Jupiter transformed into a heifer, fed often reveal such interferences of regularity, obviously upon violets, or, as some mythologists state, sprung the result of injury, and recuperative power.

from her breath. The Athenians, we know from the An attempt was made by the writer to depict, in the writing of Anacharsis, had beautiful gardens attached second volume of Coles' “Microscopical Studies” to their country houses, in which they cultivated the (Methods of Research) one of these sections to narcissus, hyacinth, iris, and violets of different colours, illustrate appearances under four different modes of I likewise roses of various kinds. All these flowers were stamens.

extensively sold at Athens in a market appropriated | feeling in France, the violet being the emblem of the for their disposal ; even in the cold season violets were liberal party. In 1814 many pictures were circulated to be seen there--for Aristophanes, in his Seasons, in France which appeared to represent merely a speaking of the glories of that luxurious city, says : bunch of most innocent violets, but a little scrutiny

of the shadows cast by the violets enabled any one “There you shall at mid winter see

looking for such a thing to discover portraits of the * wreaths of fragrant viulets, Covered with dust as if in summer.”

first Napoleon and his wife and son—(vide “ Flower

Lore.'') The violet was the favourite flower with Vitruvius, a celebrated writer, who flourished under

Napoleon the first ; and the Bonapartists, during the Julius Cæsar, tells us that the flowers of the violet

banishment of their chief to Elba, while plotting for were not only used to adulterate or counterfeit the

his return, filled their snuff-boxes with violet-scented celebrated blue of Athens, but were also employed to

snuff, and when offering a pinch would significantly moderate hunger, to cure ague and inflammation of the

enquire : Do you love this perfume ? and at the time lungs, &c., and the blossoms worn as garlands were

when he was expected to return to France, they considered as a charm against falling sickness. The

toasted his health under the name of Caporal Violetta Romans used to put large quantities of violet petals

or the flower that returns with the spring. into casks, and cover them with good wine; from

Botanically, the violet belongs to the order Violacer, this infusion they procured a drink called Violatum,

which contains about a hundred species spread over which was only used on festive occasions. The petals

the greater part of the globe, but is limited in Europe of roses were also used in the same fashion, and called

to the single genus Viola, containing several varieties, Rosaltum. Pliny gives a long list of the virtues of this

as the marsh violet (v. palustris), hairy violet (V. flower. The ancients believed the seed counteracted

hirta), dog violet (V. canina)(V. tricolor) heart'sthe effects of scorpions' stings. The violet has been

ease or pansy-all (except V. odorata) with scentless in all ages a favourite flower, and is recognised by the

flowers. In all the British violets, except the pansy, poets as the emblem of modesty and innocence.

the perfect flowers seldom set their fruit ; but if a plant Spencer calls it the cool violet, and Shakespeare

is examined during the summer and autumnal months, compares the soft strains of plaintive music to its

large capsules, containing fertile seeds, will be found perfume.

produced by minute flowers almost without petals or That strain again ; it had a dying fall.

0, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,

It was the violet which induced John Bertram, a
Stealing and giving odour."— Twelfth Night.

Quaker of Pennsylvania, and the friend and patron of And again, the touching remark of Ophelia, who

Alexander Wilson, to study plants. He had employed coloured all nature with hues of her own sad thoughts,

his time in agricultural pursuits without the know“I would give you violets, but they withered all when

ledge of botany, but one day he gathered a violet, my father died.” Milton makes echo dwell amongst

examined its formation, and reflected upon it until he violets :

became so prepossessed with the flower that he dreamed

of it. This circumstance inspired him with a desire of “Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph that lives unseen, By slow Meander's margent green

becoming acquainted with plants, he therefore learned And in the violet embroider'd vale."

for that purpose as much Latin as was necessary, and From Googes' translation of that old work, the soon became the most learned botanist of the new Popish Kingdom, we find that the violet was among world. The colour extracted from the violet by inthe flowers used in the ceremony called “ creeping to fusion affords the very delicate test called violet paper the cross" on Good Friday, and, no doubt, it was used by chemists for acids and alkalies, being reddened present in all the old floral usages of spring in “days by the former, and rendered green by the latter. gone by.” Our old botanist Gerard mentions several Syrup of violets is greatly used by confectioners for kinds of violets in his Herbal, but the sweet violet he making confections, candies, &c., also by perfumers for says has a great prerogative above all others, for one scenting oils, pomades, and making Eau des Violettes. reason he states, “because they are delightful to look Large quantities of violets used to be cultivated at upon, and pleasant to smell too. They also bring to Stratford-upon-Avon for this purpose. The root, or the mind the remembrance of all kinds of virtues. rather the underground stem, has a strong smell, For it would be unseemlie for him that đoth look particularly when dried, and its taste is acrid, bitter upon and handle faire ard beautiful things, and who and nauseous. frequenteth and is conversant in faire and beautiful Professor Burkman states, that in some parts of things to have his mind not faire--but filthee and Gloucestershire the violet is considered unlucky to deformed.” In the reign of Charles II. a conserve have in the house, the reason alleged being that these called violet sugar, or violet plate, was sold by flowers “certainly brought in fleas.” Probably the apothecaries, and continually recommended by phy warmer weather of spring which ushers in the violet, sicians to their consumptive patients.

said to be “a stinking flower" by the foxhunter, This flower has been made the badge of political | causes the troublesome little insect to be hatched.

Violets are cultivated on a large scale round | species. Perhaps no department of natural history London, at Twickenham, Strawberry Hill, Rich has come more to the front lately than that of land mond, and other places on the banks of the Thames. and fresh-water mollusca. Mr. Adams is well known They are usually grown under orchard trees, a as a conchologist, and he therefore knows what he is position in which they thrive remarkably well. They | writing about. Moreover, he also knows how to are also grown in large quantities in some parts of present his knowledge in a useful form. The present Kent, Surrey and Sussex, Pevensey, &c. Violet work, besides describing every species, its habits, culture is said to be a most lucrative industry.

localities, &c., gives an account of all the varieties, HAMPDEN G. GLASSPOOLE. | hints on arranging and preserving shells, &c.

NOTES ON NEW BOOKS.

FERTILISATION OF ORCHIS MASCULA.

By EDWARD MALAN. A BIBLIOGRAPHY, Guide, and Index to la Climate, by Alexander Ramsay, F.G.S. IN a back number of SCIENCE-GOSSIP (Aug. 1883, (London : W. S. Sonnenschein & Co.). This is in 1 p. 181), your correspondent G. M. pointed out reality a magazine of systematic notes relating to some errors into which I had fallen with respect to climate, with digests of papers and books, &c., on

the fertilisation of O. mascula, and, when, in a the subject. The volume exhibits immense industry subsequent number (Nov. 1883, p. 249), I asked and research, and the student will save much time him to favour me with his address, he did so at once by using it as a reference book.

with the utmost courtesy. Edible British Mollusca, by M. S. Lovell (London: To this day, shame on me, he has received neither L. Reeve & Co.). The second edition of this nicely thanks, answer, nor recognition of any sort. . got-up book has appeared, illustrated by beautiful But I have not been idle, meantime, and if G. M. coloured plates, and containing a large number of will read what I now have to say, he will see, and, recipes for cooking all our natural mollusca. The I trust, accept the reasons for my lengthened silence. reader will be astonished to find what a number of The reasons are two. I waited in hopes that recipes are available. There is a good deal of quaint some one would reply to his remarks, for here and reading in the work, and altogether it is one unique there he has not quoted my words quite correctly ; in this department of literature.

and I wanted to make further observations, by way A Handbook of the Geology of Shropshire, by J. D. of verifying my statements. Quod feci. La Touche (London : Edward Stanford). Mr. La First of all, as regards the quotation from Mr. Touche is well known as a field geologist and ardent Darwin's book, it was not, of course, given word for worker with the hammer, and he has laid all British word. It wasn't meant to be given word for word, students under obligation by bringing out this com: and I thought that the absence of inverted commas pendious little handbook of the geology of perhaps would show as much, but I see now that my version the most interesting geological county in Great is different in words and substance from the original. Britain. It is a digest of all that is good and useful I am exceedingly obliged to G. M. for correcting me. from “Siluria” to the last published paper of I will be more careful in future. Callaway, Lapworth, Hopkinson, Maw, and others, 1 I do not think, however, that my remark about the besides the author's own original observations; and viscid drop, which exudes directly the rostellum is it is illustrated by twenty lithographed plates, con touched, is altogether wrong. At any rate there is taining above 700 figures of fossils from the Cambrian no inaccuracy or confusion in what I said. A viscid to the Old Red Sandstone inclusive.

drop does exude. I have seen it do so frequently. The Microtomist's Vade Mecum, by Arthur Bolles For instance, a viscid drop almost invariably exudes Lee (London :J. & A. Churchill). This is a valuable when the air is dry and the sun shining. Then, for book, especially to medical students who are diligent some reason, the pollinia are not inclined to adhere, in the use of the microscope, as it describes all the and bees, as if aware of this, scarcely deign to visit methods of microscopic anatomy. It is intended, the spikes on fine days. I have fertilised literally however, more for the instructed anatomist than the scores of orchis flowers in Mr. Darwin's own way, beginner, and therefore country doctors who wish to i.e. with a pencil, and repeatedly a tiny drop of keep their “hand in ” work they always loved, but milky fluid has remained on the point of the pencil, have found little time to continue, will bail this little without either pollinium becoming detached. Therework with pleasure.

sore please observe that I did not use the expression The Collector's Manual of British Land and Fresh explosion, nor did I say a pollinia. By explosion, I water Shells, by Lionel E. Adams (London: George presume, a forcible expulsion is intended. This will Bell & Sons). A beautifully got-up little manual, not apply to 0. mascula. I have, also, on very with exquisitely engraved figures of every British | many occasions, watched with great delight the drop shoot out from the flower of Listera ovala and themselves, concealed from view. For want of some Neottia Nidus-Avis and once, while fertilising a spike name I will call this process the thong. This thong, of Spiranthes autumnalis, the flowers behaved in the then, is the wonder of the whole. While drawing same way, though not with such force. Besides, my it (May 1, 1882), I was entirely at a loss to account statement is so easily proved or refuted. Let only for its use, but subsequently it dawned on me. As anyone go out this lovely May day, and make the far as I understand its economy at present, it seems experiment with a spike of 0. mascula, and, provided to be attached at its upper end, something like the the sun is shining and the air dry, I believe a viscid tongue of a frog, and, apparently, for the same drop will exude. For it must be remembered that a | reason. It is highly elastic and retractile. I do not warm cloudy morning is necessary to enable the observe that G. M. notices it. He says " should the pollinia to escape freely, and indeed it is only on such pouch be depressed without the pollinia being a morning that I have ever seen humble-bees visiting removed, it rises and protects the viscid balls ; or if the plant. Thus the chances of 0. mascula being fertilised by humble-bees in the legitimate way are very often narrowed down to an extremely small margin.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Next, as to the lip or pouch which covers the viscid , only one be removed, it rises and protects the other." balls attached to the base of the pollinia. In the Exactly so: but why? The pouch rises and returns spring of 1882, I made this drawing of the anthers of to its place, I believe, because of this elastic thong, 0. mascula, and I think it is correct. I had it by but not of its own accord. And further, I believe me in 1883, when I wrote my paper, but I forebore that this thong is expressly intended to prevent the from describing it, as I had already sent in too many removal of both pollinia at once, which it certainly diagrams, and there were the plates also in Mr. often does do, for the humble bee becomes quarrel. Darwin's book. I should like to make a few remarks some when two pollinia are attached to his forehead, about it now.

and tries to rub them off. This I have witnessed. To my mind, and probably to the minds of those One single pollinium, on the contrary, appears to who examine the drawing attentively, the most cause little or no inconvenience. If this is a fact, wonderful part of this most wonderful piece of it is a very interesting and marvellous one. mechanism, is the central strap-like process arising Then G. M. finds my description of the drying of from and attached to the rim of the pouch, and the viscid disc rather misleading. Here is a drawing passing between the enclosed caudicles of the pollinia, of a pollinium made on May 12, 1883. It is the until its end is on a level with the pollen-masses | most perfect one I have been able to observe

Notice the superb symmetry of its proportion, | able as to compel outspoken admiration. The nectary Notice particularly the viscid disc, and the way the formed a case for the proboscis as if made to measure ! caudicle is attached to it. Now, whether the viscid Then, to assure myself of my theory, I took a fly-rod, disc as a whole dries or not, seems to me a little and removing the top-joint, and holding the thicker beside the question. Perhaps it does, and perhaps it end so as to give the remaining 9 ft. a gentle free does not. I am not evading the question, but I horizontal motion, I observed the airy delineations prefer to ask how it would be possible to maintain and peculiar shape the rod took. Well, it was, of such a structure as this pollinium perfectly rigid and course, something like a flat paint-brush, the in a perfectly upright position for 30 seconds even, minimum of the sweep being at about 2 ft. 6 in. from without some depression taking place ? How would the tip (i.e. of the whole, nearly). This was a it be possible even on an immovable basis? How most singularly faithful representation of the bee's would it be possible in architecture? Let us take an proboscis, and the reason of the spear-like shape at instance. A Greek column, the ideal of simplicity once became apparent. Really this is worth close and strength, tapers towards the capital and thickens observance. towards the base. The thickening occurs at one

(To be continued.) third of the distance from the base, as being the weakest point. Experiment with a roll of moist clay. The construction, therefore, of this pollinium must evidently induce rather than prevent a subsidence,

GOSSIP ON CURRENT TOPICS. and the drying of the viscid disc can only assist in a secondary degree. What actually does occur

By W. MATTILU Williams, F.R.A.S., F.C.S. during the operation of fertilisation is this. The THE Editor of “The Popular Science Monthly" humble bee alights on the labellum and cranes his 1 (New York) says “ Harvard University is to be serviceable head well forward, in order to sweep the congratulated on its leadership in the important work base of the nectary in a horizontal manner with his of liberalising the traditional college education.'' proboscis, so that when he withdraws his head, with This refers to a reform of the practice of forcing a pollinium attached, the pollinium projects from his

modern students, whatever their ultimate aim may be, forehead, not at all in an upright position, but nearly to waste their time and degrade their intellects by at right angles. Why a forward movement of the tedious and shallow cramming of memory with depression is bound to occur ! and even without the

those dead languages which constitute the sole depression, the pollen-mass would strike on the attainments of the dominating pedagogues, whose stigma, only there would not be the same chance of

vested interests and monkish inheritance our universileaving so much pollen. I trust this is plain now,

ties are still constructed to uphold. The University but I trust also that G. M. will observe and consider of Harvard is a great and growing university, its for himself.

degrees are justly honoured everywhere. What then While touching on this subject, I wish to draw

will follow ? attention to another delightful piece of intentional Simply the natural operation of the laws of supply adaptation. If, as I have just supposed, the thong and demand. A trip across the ocean is a trifling retains the pouch in its proper position, then a mere exploit now-a-days, and in itself an almost necessary forward thrusting movement on the part of the bes element of a truly liberal education. Therefore, if will not be sufficient to disengage the pollinia, a fact Harvard continues moving in this direction faster than which I have often proved with the pencil ; but a our universities the practical British parent, who is horizontal movement from side to side will be now groaning with disgust at the intolerable impedinecessary, or a rotatory movement of the pencil, which ments that are placed on the threshold of our amounts to the same thing. Now do please notice | academies, will simply send his son where he can the shape of the nectary (SCIENCE-Gossip, April obtain what he requires ; the useful and truly 1883, p. 76), widened as it is towards its end, like elevating culture of scientific education, without the the mandibles of a spoonbill's beak, and do please preliminary penalty of learning what every sensible tell me what it is for, if it is not to allow of the man contemptuously forgets, as soon as he enters horizontal movement of the bee's proboscis ? Perhaps upon the practical business of life. This competition you will object that the nectary is not widened will tell most powerfully on the non-clerical unithroughout. I anticipated that objection on Aug. 22, versities. Oxford and Cambridge will not for a long 1884, by securing the proboscis of a dead bumble. time be sensibly affected by it, but the London bee, and I found that it resembled a spear, with the University and others which, like it, were intended shaft thickened at the base and tapering till it joined by their founders to supply modern and secular the head. The head was nearly 1 inch long, and the requirements, may suffer seriously and soon. They shaft | inch long (i.e. the head was , of the whole will lose the students they can least afford to spare, length), and when compared with the length and viz. those endowed with the higher intellectual shape of the nectary, the adaptation was so remark- | powers demanded by science, and who consequently

« AnteriorContinuar »