Page images
PDF
EPUB

ON THE NEWFOUNDLAND HEATHER.
By BERTHOLD SEEMANN, Ph.D., F.L.S.

(Plate LIII.) Dr. D. Moore has kindly supplied me with fresh specimens of the Heather which he received some years ago from Newfoundland, and which has been growing since then side by side with the common European Heather in the Glasnevin Gardens. It did not escape so acute an observer as Dr. Moore that biologically the Newfoundland Heather was different from the common British one ; that whilst the Newfoundland one always suffered from frost, and turned brown during the mild Irish winter, the common British form, growing by its side, was unaffected by cold, and retained its usual green colour. So what. : ever opinion botanists may arrive at respecting the systematic value of the Newfoundland Heather as a species, variety, or form, no argument can possibly set aside the biological distinction observed between the two.

At first sight the two plants look so very distinct that one could not possibly confound them, and nothing would seem easier than to form a good diagnosis for the two. But that is by no means the case. The leaves of the Newfoundland plant are always closely adpressed to the stem ; those of Calluna vulgaris are generally patent; the pedicels of the Newfoundland plant are always naked; those of the true C. vulgaris are, especially those of the lowest flowers, foliaceous, so that they form little branchlets, terminating in a solitary flower (Fig. 7); whilst the sepals and petals of the Newfoundland plant are ovate and inflexed, those of the common British Heather are rather oblong and not inflexed.

Again, in the Newfoundland plant the tip of the flowering branches does not put forth fresh shoots whilst the flowering lasts; but in the common British Heather a fresh shoot issues when the flowering is at its height. I confess I should have liked to have been able to give more definite characters, but for the present I shall not be able to do so, having to defer the final settlement of the question to next season. At one time I thought that the length of the style offered an additional tangible character, but I find that that varies considerably, there being long and short-styled forms in our common British Heather. However, I fully believe that the Newfoundland plant is a distinct species, which I

VOL. IV. [OCTOBER 1, 1866.]

would like to name Calluna Atlantica, and which I have also seen from Iceland and the higher Alps. Perhaps some Scottish specimens may also be referred to it. In German gardens there is cultivated a Heather under the name of Calluna vulgaris flore pleno. It agrees in foliage with my C. Atlantica, and does not stand the Continental winters in the open air, having to be treated as a greenhouse plant. Possibly this may belong to C. Atlantica, but I should not like to commit myself on this and other points connected with the natural history of these plants until I have once more an ample opportunity of investigating the whole matter. One thing is certain, that botanists would do well to look more closely at the genus Calluna than they have done, and not

came that it is only composed of one species when Nature herself poats out to them such important biological differences as those oberred by Dr. Noore.

Explanation or Plari LIII.–Fig. 1. Calluna Atlantica. 2. Calluna prevaris L. & Flower of C. Atlantica. 4. Stamens of ditto. 5. Stamen of Crashguarie & Gynaeium of C. dflantica. 7. Flower of C. vulgaris.

[graphic]

SCHEUCHZERIA PALUSTRIS, Linn.

By The Rev. W. A. LEIGHTON, M.A. This are plant was first discovered in England in 1787, at Lakeby Car, near Boronghbridge, Yorkshire, by the Rev. James Dalton, and figurelin E. Bot. t. 151 in 1807. Since that date it has been found in Thorne Mon D oncaster, Yorkshire, on the moss on the w side of Bomen , and also on the adjoining Shomere Moss,

Shrewsbury 1, by John Jendwine, Esq., Second Master of newsbury Sol d at Methven, Tear Perth, by Mr. Duff. The all

the Rev. 0. M Fielden, incumbent of Welsh sre, have been led by finding this summer scimens of it (on which is now before me) in

Moss, Shropshi
Sept. 24, 1866.

FFINITY OF FERNS. SMITH, ALS al, Dr. Hance replies to my remarks at

page 15 of the current volume, on his views of the genus Brainea. To what I there stated I have but little to add. The different views taken by pteridologists seem to arise chiefly by some giving preference to the principles of the Linnæan School, while others to those of Jussieu; by the former, Brainea is correctly placed in alliance with Gymnograms, and by the latter with Sadleria.

In my · Ferns British and Foreign,' I have endeavoured to show the principle on which I founded my views, the relative value of the different organs employed in the classification of Ferns, and the conclusions I have arrived at after a study of the subject for above forty years, assisted by an extensive Herbarium* of my own, ample opportunity of consulting the late Sir William Hooker's, and studying nearly one thousand living species under my supervision for a number of years. The study of these materials has led me to arrive at affinities in many cases different from that held by other pteridologists; and with the explanation given in that book it does not seem necessary to enter further into the subject at this place.

In my original article at page lõ, in speaking of the Darwinian theory, the word not has been omitted, either in the MSS. or by the printer, and the statement consequently conveys a meaning contrary to what I intended, and so may have caused my views to be misunderstood. The sentence should be, “then the Cycad-looking stem of Brainea should not be compared with humble Gymnograms.

Kew, September 14, 1866.

BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF

SCIENCE. The British Association met at Nottingham on the 22nd of August and following days, under the Presidency of Wm. Grove, Esq., Q.C., he famous physicist. In his inaugural address he exhibited in a *;iumphant light the progress of science, the subtlety of its observacions, the grandeur of its discoveries, and the wide view which they en out into the realms of nature and her laws, their harmonious eration, their marvellous unity and system, the prodigious scale of e forces they engender, and the mode in which the greatest variety f effects results from the simplest principles.

* Now in the British Museum.

[graphic]
[graphic]

were driven southwards during the glacial period, when many of them changed their forms in the struggle that ensued with the displaced temperate plants; that on the returning warmth, the Scandinavian plants, whether changed or not, were driven again northwards and up to the mountains of the temperate latitudes, followed, in both cases, by series of pre-existing plants of the temperate Alps. The result is the present mixed Arctic flora, consisting of a basis of more or less changed and unchanged Scandinavian plants, associated in each longitude with representatives of the mountain flora of the more temperate regions to the south of them.

“The publication of a previously totally unknown flora, that of the Alps of tropical Africa, by Dr. Hooker, has afforded a multitude of facts that have been applied in confirmation of the derivative hypo. thesis. This flora is found to have relationships with those of temperate Europe and North Africa, of the Cape of Good Hope, and of the mountains of tropical Madagascar and Abyssinia, that can be accounted for on no other hypothesis, but that there has been ancient climatal connection and some coincident or subsequent slight changes of specific character.”

The following were the papers bearing upon botany which were read at the Association, with lengthened abstracts of several of which we are able to present our readers :

H. Hennessy, F.R.S.On the probable cause of the existence of a North European Flora in the West of Ireland, as referred to by the late Dunfresor E. Forbes.

1, F.R.S. - On the ballast Flora of the coasts of Durham
berland.
Honker. - On Island Floras.

the occurrences of Lemna arrhiza in Epping 263.

the zones of the Coniferæ from the Mediterne Maritime Alps.

M.D.-Botanical notes of a Tour in the Islands and. S.—The Poor Man's Garden. the distribution of Mosses in Great Britain and he geography and geological history of the present

« PreviousContinue »