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On the Interior of Plants. Letter II. By Mrs. AGNES
To Mr. NICHOLSON.
I Shall now give a regular history of buds, and their man
ner of growing, as it has been hinted to me, that the sketch I gave in my last was not sufficiently explanatory and ample, considering the importance of the subject to botany, its novelty, and how little the real formation of the interior of plants is understood. It is certain, that the diligence of gardeners has far exceeded the labour of physiologists in this respect, and established first from accident, and then from practical experience, many rules, which should have been suggested and taught by the philosophers of botany; but I believe the scientific part of this science seldom travels as fast as the practical, and that it is usually left for the former to account for the reason why the process is good or bad, after it has been thoroughly established. But this may not always be the case; when once we have a thorough knowledge of the "interior formation of plants", the sciVOL. XXIX, No. 131.-MAY, 1811. B. entific
others. - The whole plant is formed of leaves, till flowering time, except the root, (which in every respect agrees with other plants, having the same divisions between the root and leaves, as I discovered between the root and stem in other plants, and which I called the grand obstruction): but when the time arrives for the plants to become prolific, there tans up from the root a slender thread, at first like packthread, within the axil of the leaf, and under the cuticle. This by degrees increases. It is composed of many little parcels of the germe of buds, in each of which is the knot of the line of life. As they rise, they enlarge, till, too much swelled for confinement, they burst forth into flowers; appearing to grow from the leaf: but they have in reality no connexion with it, except that of borrowing from it the spiral and nourishing vessels, which run into the corolla. I have traced the palm when just going to flower: for though from the want of air in the hothouse, it had never flowered, yet the buds were within. I found more in the root just ready to run up, and some half way; it is exactly made like the grasses, and like the arums, and every plant of that kind which has no stem; but in palms it is impossible to know all this without dissecting one. This order of plants flowers in various ways, but generally, at the top of the plant. The grasses carry up their diminutive buds through the flower stalk, one by one, with the line of life. In the arums it is very easy to trace the buds, but they increase more and in a quicker manner than in most of this class,
4th sort of bud. My fourth sort of bud is confined within a bulbous root. This explains itself; it begins at the root, and completes its form, more than is usual in any other plant, except those of the ranunculus tribe. Before it leaves the root all its parts are generally designed; they only enlarge, and the peduncle grows and raises them to view, having the bud at the top, hence the histories of the flowers to be found within the bulb. There are many however, that by no means resemble, what they are to be, any more than many germes, when first concealed in the bud; because the parts are yet seldom proportioned to each other. The tulip and hyacinth are peculiarly perfect in the bulb.
I have now given a simple account, sufficient to make all understand