Four of these fruits contained the highest possible number of seeds, namely 4, and four other fruits contained each 3 seeds. The 12 illegitimately fertilised short-styled flowers yielded 7 fruits, including on an average 1.86 seed; and one of these fruits contained the maximum number of 4 seeds. This result is very surprising in contrast with the absolute barrenness of the long-styled flowers when illegitimately fertilised; and I was thus led to attend carefully to the degree of self-fertility of the short-styled plants. A plant belonging to this form and covered by a net bore 28 flowers besides those which had been artificially fertilised, and of all these only two produced a fruit each including a single seed. This high degree of self-sterility no doubt depended merely on the stigmas not receiving any pollen, or not a sufficient quantity. For after carefully covering all the long-styled plants in my garden, several short-styled plants were left exposed to the visits of humble-bees, and their stigmas will thus have received plenty of short-styled pollen; and now about half the flowers, thus illegitimately fertilised, set fruit. I judge of this proportion partly from estimation and partly from having examined three large branches, which had borne 31 flowers, and these produced 16 fruits. Of the fruits produced 233 were collected (many being left ungathered), and these included on an average 1.82 seed. No less than 16 out of the 233 fruits included the highest possible number of seeds, namely 4, and 31 included 3 seeds. So we see how highly fertile these short-styled plants were when illegitimately fertilised with their own-form pollen by the aid of bees.

The great difference in the fertility of the long and short-styled flowers, when both are illegitimately fertilised, is a unique case, as far as I have observed with heterostyled plants. The long-styled flowers when thus fertilised are utterly barren, whilst about half of the short-styled ones produce capsules, and these include a little above two-thirds of the number of seeds yielded by them when legitimately fertilised. The sterility of the illegitimately fertilised long-styled flowers is probably increased by the deteriorated condition of their pollen; nevertheless this pollen was highly efficient when applied to the stigmas of the short-styled flowers. With several species of Primula the short- styled flowers are much more sterile than the long-styled, when both are illegitimately fertilised; and it is a tempting view, as formerly remarked, that this greater sterility of the short-styled flowers is a special adaptation to check self-fertilisation, as their stigmas are eminently liable to receive their own pollen. This view is even still more tempting in the case of the long-styled form of Linum grandiflorum. On the other hand, with Pulmonaria angustifolia, it is evident, from the corolla projecting obliquely upwards, that pollen is much more likely to fall on, or to be carried by insects down to the stigma of the short-styled than of the long-styled flowers; yet the short-styled instead of being more sterile, as a protection against self-fertilisation, are far more fertile than the long-styled, when both are illegitimately fertilised.

Pulmonaria azurea, according to Hildebrand, is not heterostyled. (3/12. 'Die Geschlechter-Vertheilung bei den Pflanzen' 1867 page 37.)

[From an examination of dried flowers of Amsinckia spectabilis, sent me by Professor Asa Gray, I formerly thought that this plant, a member of the Boragineae, was heterostyled. The pistil varies to an extraordinary degree in length, being in some specimens twice as long as in others, and the point of insertion of the stamens likewise varies. But on raising many plants from seed, I soon became convinced that the whole case was one of mere variability. The first-formed flowers are apt to have stamens somewhat arrested in development, with very little pollen in their anthers; and in such flowers the stigma projects above the anthers, whilst generally it stands below and sometimes on a level with them.

The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species Page 48

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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