Column 2: Crossed Plants.

Column 3: Self-fertilised Plants.

Pot 1 : 96 : 73. Pot 1 : 86 : 78. Pot 1 : 69 : 29.

Pot 2 : 84 : 51. Pot 2 : 84 : 84. Pot 2 : 76 1/4 : 59.

Total : 495.25 : 374.00.

The average height of the six crossed plants is 82.54 inches, and that of the six self-fertilised plants 62.33 inches, or as 100 to 75. Every crossed plant exceeded its antagonist in height. In Pot 1 the middle plant on the crossed side was slightly injured whilst young by a blow, and was for a time beaten by its opponent, but ultimately recovered the usual superiority. The crossed plants produced spontaneously a vast number more capsules than did the self-fertilised plants; and the capsules of the former contained on an average 3.37 seeds, whilst those of the latter contained only 3.0 per capsule, or as 100 to 89. But looking only to the artificially fertilised capsules, those on the crossed plants again crossed contained on an average 4.46 seeds, whilst those on the self-fertilised plants again self-fertilised contained 4.77 seeds; so that the self-fertilised capsules were the more fertile of the two, and of this unusual fact I can offer no explanation.


These were raised in the usual manner, with the following result. I should state that there were originally eight plants on each side; but as two of the self-fertilised became extremely unhealthy and never grew to near their full height, these as well as their opponents have been struck out of the list. If they had been retained, they would have made the average height of the crossed plants unfairly greater than that of the self-fertilised. I have acted in the same manner in a few other instances, when one of a pair plainly became very unhealthy.

TABLE 2/7. Ipomoea purpurea (Sixth Generation).

Heights of Plants in inches:

Column 1: Number (Name) of Pot.

Column 2: Crossed Plants.

Column 3: Self-fertilised Plants.

Pot 1 : 93 : 50 1/2. Pot 1 : 91 : 65.

Pot 2 : 79 : 50. Pot 2 : 86 1/2 : 87. Pot 2 : 88 : 62.

Pot 3 : 87 1/2 : 64 1/2.

Total : 525 : 379.

The average height of the six crossed plants is here 87.5, and of the six self-fertilised plants 63.16, or as 100 to 72. This large difference was chiefly due to most of the plants, especially the self-fertilised ones, having become unhealthy towards the close of their growth, and they were severely attacked by aphides. From this cause nothing can be inferred with respect to their relative fertility. In this generation we have the first instance of a self-fertilised plant in Pot 2 exceeding (though only by half an inch) its crossed opponent. This victory was fairly won after a long struggle. At first the self-fertilised plant was several inches taller than its opponent, but when the latter was 4 1/2 feet high it had grown equal; it then grew a little taller than the self-fertilised plant, but was ultimately beaten by it to the extent of half an inch, as shown in Table 2/7. I was so much surprised at this case that I saved the self-fertilised seeds of this plant, which I will call the "Hero," and experimented on its descendants, as will hereafter be described.

Besides the plants included in Table 2/7, nine crossed and nine self-fertilised plants of the same lot were raised in two other pots, 4 and 5. These pots had been kept in the hothouse, but from want of room were, whilst the plants were young, suddenly moved during very cold weather into the coldest part of the greenhouse. They all suffered greatly, and never quite recovered. After a fortnight only two of the nine self-fertilised seedlings were alive, whilst seven of the crossed survived. The tallest of these latter plants when measured was 47 inches in height, whilst the tallest of the two surviving self-fertilised plants was only 32 inches. Here again we see how much more vigorous the crossed plants are than the self-fertilised.


The Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom Page 20

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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