Page images

3. The Beneficial Effects of the Association of Botany with Horticulture.

The pursuit of horticulture demands books and herbaria, as that of scientific botany requires cultivated, living plants. Thence the necessity, which is more and more recognized, of bringing together the materials for comparison in the same town, the same establishment, and even under the same administration, organized so as to facilitate the use of them. How many institutions in Europe, either private or public, would be benefited by this arrangement ! How many towns and countries are now deficient—some in libraries, some in herbaria, some in respect to horticulture! Professional men proffer their complaint ; let us hope that public opinion may end by listening to them.*

The bringing together the means of study, I have said, is desirable. Not less so is the interchange of ideas and impressions both of botanists and horticulturists. Each of these classes must clearly have distinct characteristics; but the one should be influenced by the other. By these means some too retiring dispositions may be brought out, and certain dormant powers developed. Horticulture, for instance, has a commercial tendency which may be carried too far. Charlatanism may slide in amongst flowers. Botany, on the contrary, is a science, and consequently rests on the investigation of pure and simple truth. A horticulturist who allows himself to be influenced by a scientific spirit, necessarily frees himself from over-selfish tendencies. Natural history, on its side, by reason of the perfection of its method, its nomenclature and its minute observations, has something technical and dry about it, which contrasts with the grandeur of nature and with the sentiment of art. It is for horticulture, combining as it does the planning and the decorations of gardens, to develop the æsthetic faculties of the savant, as of the world in general. A lovely flower, beautiful trees, a splendid floral exhibition, excite a sort of admiration, and even enthusiasm, similar to the effects produced by music or painting.

The powers of the German composers of modern days, and those of the Italian painters of the sixteenth century, are justly extolled; but may it not also be said, that in point of art they are equalled in their

they can be appended to the scientific nomenclature : as when we say Brassica campestris oleifera, instead of, shortly, Colza.

* The Botanical Gardens at Kew are a fine example of what should be done, either on a large or a more modest scale, in many towns where the means of study are yet inconvenient or incomplete.

way by the beautiful parks of old England? The feeling of harmony in form and colour, is it not also studied in them? The effect of contrast, is it not skilfully managed ? The gradual transition from architectural to natural beauties, is it not treated in an admirable manner? Yes; decidedly the English landscape-gardeners are poets ; they have drawn from the same sources of inspiration as the most national writers of their country, and that source is the appreciation, so universal in England, of the beautiful, in an aspect of nature which is elegant and attractive, though somewhat severe.

Thus, gentlemen, for the development of our talents, as well as for our actual benefit, art and science keep pace together. Let us rejoice over their union, rendered conspicuous to-day by this congress of botanists, held in connection with a great floral exhibition ; and after these general observations—perhaps rather too protracted-let us enter upon the consideration of those more truly scientific subjects, in which many among you are no doubt disposed to take part.

On the conclusion of M. De Candolle's address, a vote of thanks was warmly tendered to him, on the motion of Sir C. Wentworth Dilke. Sir Roderick I. Murchison, in seconding the motion, alluded to the philosophic views of the President, and the masterly way in which he had handled his subject. Mr. Bennett (of the British Museum), on the part of the botanists of Britain, tendered his thanks to the eminent Chairman for the honour he had conferred on them by presiding, and specially for the preparation of so admirable an address, to which M. De Candolle briefly replied.

Dr. Schulz-Bipontinus, Diedesheim, a Vice-President of the Imperial Leopoldine Academy, offered the congratulations of that learned and ancient body to the President and members of the Congress.

The Congress then proceeded to hear the papers, abstracts of which had been placed in the hands of the audience.

Dr. Moore, Dublin, exhibited and described specimens of Megacarpæa polyandra, a Cruciferous plant with fifteen stamens.

Mr. Rivers, Sawbridgeworth, made some remarks on Seedling Peaches and Nectarines.

Professor CASPARY, Königsberg.--"On the Change in the Direc

tion of the Branches of Woody Plants caused by Low Degrees of Temperature.”

The author, in this paper, gave with much elaboration the result of his observations on the motion observed in the branches of trees in frosty weather. He showed that there is in winter a movement of the branches to the left-hand side, the amount of which is in direct proportion to the intensity of the frost. 2ndly. There is in many cases, in addition to the lateral motion, a vertical one from above downwards, also in proportion to the intensity of the frost. 3rdly. In other cases the vertical motion takes place in the opposite direction; that is, the branches move upwards as soon as frost sets in, and rise proportionately to the severity of the cold: e. g. Acer Negundo, etc. 4thly. In other woody plants the branches are observed to rise in mild weather, and to droop during severe frost: e.g. Æsculus Hippocastanum, etc.

Mr. J. E. HOWARD, London.—“ Observations on the Present State of our Knowledge of the Species of Chinchona.

“The chief cause of the confusion in our knowledge of the Chinchonas has been the tendency to systematize without a full acquaintance with the details. I entirely disbelieve in all the so-called typical forms, and in all the attempts to classify and arrange them. The very best of these attempts seems to me to break down (as shown by Karsten), even as regards the exact limits of the genus itself, which blends by intermediate links with the other Chinchonaceous genera. I wish to direct especial attention to the spelling of the name of the genus, whether as Cinchona or as Chinchona; also to the name of an allied genus, whether as Cascarilla or as Ladenbergia. Nothing would tend so well to settle these questions as the free expression of opinion at a Botanical Congress. I would also point attention to the necessity of considering some as markedly distinct forms rather than as mere varieties having sub-varieties, until all ends in confusion. If this be admitted, the Chinchona Pitayensis, c. lancifolia, C. purpurea, C. erythroderma, C. Pelletierana, etc., would take their legitimate place; and I propose, by the side of these, to place the C. Bonplandiana vars. colorata and lutea, as representing a distinct form of the Loja bark. I would confine the name Chinchona Condaminea to the real Quina primitiva (if the having cured the Countess of Chinchon entitles it to this appellation), abolishing Pavon's barbarous name Chahuarguera. I have attempted to reduce into practical use Karsten's varieties of C. lancifolia ; viz. obtusifolia, obovata, tunila? angustifolia ? and Almaguerensis? The last three I venture myself to suggest. The varieties of Chinchona Calisaya I do not venture to do more than allude to, as I hope Dr. Weddell may further elucidate this subject. In conclusion, I will express my opinion that every well-defined region of the Andes has its own prevalent and characteristic Chinchonas, which are incapable of being reduced to any one typical form ; and I believe that no one species has been clearly proved to prevail unchanged from end to end of the Chinchonaceous region; and I think that the plants which resemble each other in distant parts will be found analogous rather than identical."

Mr. Howard illustrated his paper by numerous specimens of barks, dried speciinens of plants grown in India, and in the discussion which followed he said that he had succeeded in obtaining quinine from the bark of C. officinalis, which he cultivated in his own stove, and procured very nearly as much quinine as is yielded by bark of the same age in its native country. This is probably the first time that quinine has been extracted from bark grown in Europe.

Dr. WEDDELL, Poitiers, advocated the propriety of adhering to the spelling of the name of the genus employed by Linnæus ; and at the meeting of Con. gress on the following day, Mr. Howard gave in his adherence to this view.

Professor KARL Koch, Berlin.—“Some Propositions with respect to Systematic Botany."

Three especial sources of difficulty beset the systematic botanist of our day. 1st. The confused nomenclature. 2nd. The scattered literature. 3rd. The distribution of great numbers of plants by nurserymen under fanciful names. One man can do but very little to remove these obstacles, but a Congress of botanists and horticulturists will be better able to effect the necessary changes and improvements.

Professor Koch proposed to obviate the confused synonymy by retaining the specific name first given ; but as regards the generic name, to place that which recent investigation has adopted, first, and the one by which it was first described afterwards, in a parenthesis. If an author's name be given, it should be that of him who first described the plant. Our nomenclature begins with Linnæus, and hence all botanists prior to him are to be disregarded. Linnæus, for instance, describes Ornithogalum luteum, but Salisbury discovered characters of sufficient importance in this plant to justify him in making a new genus, Gagea. Our plants should therefore be called Gagea lutea (Ornithogalum), Linn.

Secondly, the scattered literature. Botanists nowadays write in German, French, English, Italian, etc., and in a large number of different periodicals, so that it becomes very difficult, or even next to impossible, for a man to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the literature of the subject. Professor Koch proposes, therefore, to select a number of botanists from various countries to examine and collate the separate publications of their several countries. A general editor is to be appointed in a European town where there is a good library, and all extracts are to be sent to him at that place. The general editor is to arrange these extracts scientifically, and to publish them in the Latin language.

Thirdly, as to the importation of plants by nurserymen. No disadvantage would ensue if the horticulturist were to adopt a provisional name in the first instance, and then apply to a botanist for the correct name, which could then be published; but in adopting this plan, there are two difficulties to be encountered. Gardeners would seldom take the trouble to change the provisional for the scientific name ; and they would not always know which botanists studied particular families, or would not venture to trouble them. This ought, therefore, to be the task of a Botanico-Horticultural Congress.

Fourthly, many botanists have already devoted themselves to particular families, and it is to be desired that others should do the same. Horticulturists might then apply to these botanists for information, etc. Professor Koch then pointed out several instances where he has succeeded in carrying out the proposed reforms.

The Congress then adjourned until eleven o'clock on the following day, when the following papers were read :

Dr. DAVID MOORE and Mr. A. G. MORE, Glasnevin.--"On the Climate, Flora, and Crops of Ireland."

The authors remarked upon the well-known humidity of the climate, and the singularly slight difference that there is between the summer and winter temperature ; a difference that at Dublin is only 177° Fahr., and on the west coast as small as 14°. Indeed, that of winter, they said, is as high as though the island lay 15 degrees nearer the equator. Hence the peculiarity of the Irish flora, of which they gave a list of the more interesting species, and an accompanying map to show their geographical distribution. The humidity of the climate and its low summer temperature, they find to be unfavourable to the ripening of fruit and wheat, but such as to render Ireland the country of all Europe the best fitted for green crops and cattle grazing.

Appended were some interesting returns sent in by gardeners in the counties of Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, and Fermanagh, in answer to queries as to their success with fruit trees, and half-hardy shrubs and flowers. These returns agree in showing that the climate of the southern and western counties is ` ill-adapted to the growth of fruit, but favourable to that of evergreens.

Professor LECOQ, Clermont-Ferrand.-1. “Sur la culture et le mode d'emploi du Colchique Byzantin.”

A description of the plant, and of the method of cultivating it, was given. The author recommended it for use in greenhouses and living rooms, its corms being concealed by Lycopodium.

2. “De la migration des plantes des montagnes.”

The object of M. Lecoq was to show that the mountains of Auvergne have received their Alpine plants by the agency of birds and of wind, and not by a gradual migration during a supposed glacial period, the existence of which he denies altogether.

This district, he said, was, at the tertiary period, a vast plateau, with a mean altitude of 8–900 feet. Volcanic eruptions then inundated it, altered its soil and climate, and raised it in some places 1000 metres. “Then,” said he, “clouds began to settle on the heights and snow to accumulate, and innumerable streams flowed from its icy summits, and by their murmurs seemed to call to a foreign vegetation to come to enjoy these happy conditions. The hospitable appeal was heard,” etc.

The boreal species, with which alone we are concerned, and a list of which, about 104 in number, he gave, could not, he said, have arrived till after the volcanic elevation of the district, and they could only have come from the Alps, the Pyrenees, Lapland, or the mountains of Grenada. But as all these species are either Alpine or Pyrenean, with the one solitary exception of the Arabis Cebennensis, we may assume that these two great chains were the home from which they came as colonists to France.

The intermediate country is low and flat, and afforded them no resting-place; Darwin's theory of their progress by means of a glacial period he rejected; and concluded that they must therefore have been transported thither through the air, and mainly by birds of passage and violent storms of wind.

Mr. H. HOWLETT.—“On Night-covering and Shading of Plant and Forcing Houses."

The author's object is to combine shading with night covering by means of one contrivance fitted to the roof. He pointed out the necessity for the former, and the great advantages to be derived from the latter; and suggested that both may be secured, by fitting on the roof a series of louvre boards moved by levers. The suggestion was offered as affording ground for discussion, but had not been practically tested.

Mr. HOWLETT exhibited a model of the apparatus ; in the discussion which followed, it was generally thought that the light would be too much excluded by the apparatus.

« PreviousContinue »