None of the species, however, when insects were excluded, made a near approach to full fertility. But the long-styled form of P. Sinensis gave, under these circumstances, a considerable number of seeds, as the corolla in falling off drags the anthers, which are seated low down in the tube, over the stigma, and thus leaves plenty of pollen on it.

HOMOSTYLED SPECIES OF PRIMULA.

It has now been shown that nine of the species in this genus exist under two forms, which differ not only in structure but in function. Besides these Mr. Scott enumerates 27 other species which are heterostyled (1/13. H. Muller has given in 'Nature' December 10, 1874 page 110, a drawing of one of these species, viz. The alpine P. villosa, and shows that it is fertilised exclusively by Lepidoptera.); and to these probably others will be hereafter added. Nevertheless, some species are homostyled; that is, they exist only under a single form; but much caution is necessary on this head, as several species when cultivated are apt to become equal-styled. Mr. Scott believes that P. Scotica, verticillata, a variety of Sibirica, elata, mollis, and longiflora, are truly homostyled; and to these may be added, according to Axell, P. stricta. (1/14. Koch was aware that this species was homostyled: see "Treviranus uber Dichogamie nach Sprengel und Darwin" 'Botanische Zeitung' January 2, 1863 page 4.) Mr. Scott experimented on P. Scotica, mollis, and verticillata, and found that their flowers yielded an abundance of seeds when fertilised with their own pollen. This shows that they are not heterostyled in function. P. Scotica is, however, only moderately fertile when insects are excluded, but this depends merely on the coherent pollen not readily falling on the stigma without their aid. Mr. Scott also found that the capsules of P. verticillata contained rather more seed when the flowers were fertilised with pollen from a distinct plant than when with their own pollen; and from this fact he infers that they are sub- heterostyled in function, though not in structure. But there is no evidence that two sets of individuals exist, which differ slightly in function and are adapted for reciprocal fertilisation; and this is the essence of heterostylism. The mere fact of a plant being more fertile with pollen from a distinct individual than with its own pollen, is common to very many species, as I have shown in my work 'On the Effects of Cross and Self-fertilisation.'

Hottonia palustris.

This aquatic member of the Primulaceae is conspicuously heterostyled, as the pistil of the long-styled form projects far out of the flower, the stamens being enclosed within the tube; whilst the stamens of the short-styled flower project far outwards, the pistil being enclosed. This difference between the two forms has attracted the attention of various botanists, and that of Sprengel, in 1793, who, with his usual sagacity, adds that he does not believe the existence of the two forms to be accidental, though he cannot explain their purpose. (1/15. 'Das entdeckte Geheimniss der Nature' page 103.) The pistil of the long-styled form is more than twice as long as that of the short-styled, with the stigma rather smaller, though rougher. H. Muller gives figures of the stigmatic papillae of the two forms, and those of the long-styled are seen to be more than double the length, and much thicker than the papillae of the short-styled form. (1/16. 'Die Befruchtung' etc. page 350.) The anthers in the one form do not stand exactly on a level with the stigma in the other form; for the distance between the organs is greater in the short-styled than in the long-styled flowers in the proportion of 100 to 71. In dried specimens soaked in water the anthers of the short-styled form are larger than those of the long-styled, in the ratio of 100 to 83. The pollen-grains, also, from the short-styled flowers are conspicuously larger than those from the long-styled; the ratio between the diameters of the moistened grains being as 100 to 64, according to my measurements, but according to the measurements of H.

The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species Page 23

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book