Total : 821.25 : 287.00.

The average height of the flower-stems of the sixteen crossed plants is here 51.33 inches; and that of the eight self-fertilised plants, 35.87; or as 100 to 70. But this difference in height does not give at all a fair idea of the vast superiority of the crossed plants. These latter produced altogether sixty-four flower-stems, each plant producing, on an average, exactly four flower-stems, whereas the eight self-fertilised plants produced only fifteen flower-stems, each producing an average only of 1.87 stems, and these had a less luxuriant appearance. We may put the result in another way: the number of flower-stems on the crossed plants was to those on an equal number of self-fertilised plants as 100 to 48.

Three crossed seeds in a state of germination were also planted in three separate pots; and three self-fertilised seeds in the same state in three other pots. These plants were therefore at first exposed to no competition with one another, and when turned out of their pots into the open ground they were planted at a moderate distance apart, so that they were exposed to much less severe competition than in the last case. The longest leaves on the three crossed plants, when turned out, exceeded those on the self-fertilised plants by a mere trifle, namely, on an average by .17 of an inch. When fully grown the three crossed plants produced twenty-six flower-stems; the two tallest of which on each plant were on an average 54.04 inches in height. The three self-fertilised plants produced twenty-three flower-stems, the two tallest of which on each plant had an average height of 46.18 inches. So that the difference between these two lots, which hardly competed together, is much less than in the last case when there was moderately severe competition, namely, as 100 to 85, instead of as 100 to 70.


A fine plant growing in my garden (one of the foregoing seedlings) was covered with a net, and six flowers were crossed with pollen from another flower on the same plant, and six others were fertilised with their own pollen. All produced good capsules. The seeds from each were placed in separate watch-glasses, and no difference could be perceived by the eye between the two lots of seeds; and when they were weighed there was no difference of any significance, as the seeds from the self-fertilised capsules weighed 7.65 grains, whilst those from the crossed capsules weighed 7.7 grains. Therefore the sterility of the present species, when insects are excluded, is not due to the impotence of pollen on the stigma of the same flower. Both lots of seeds and seedlings were treated in exactly the same manner as in Table 3/23, excepting that after the pairs of germinating seeds had been planted on the opposite sides of eight pots, all the remaining seeds were thickly sown on the opposite sides of Pots 9 and 10 in Table 3/24. The young plants during the following spring were turned out of their pots, without being disturbed, and planted in the open ground in two rows, not very close together, so that they were subjected to only moderately severe competition with one another. Very differently to what occurred in the first experiment, when the plants were subjected to somewhat severe mutual competition, an equal number on each side either died or did not produce flower-stems. The tallest flower-stems on the surviving plants were measured, as shown in Table 3/24.

TABLE 3/24. Digitalis purpurea.

The tallest Flower-stem on each Plant measured in inches: 0 signifies that the Plant died, or did not produce a Flower-stem.

Column 1: Number (Name) of Pot.

Column 2: Plants raised from a Cross between different Flowers on the same Plant.

Column 3: Plants raised from Flowers fertilised with their own Pollen.

Pot 1 : 49 4/8 : 45 5/8. Pot 1 : 46 7/8 : 52. Pot 1 : 43 6/8 : 0.

Pot 2 : 38 4/8 : 54 4/8. Pot 2 : 47 4/8 : 47 4/8. Pot 2 : 0 : 32 5/8.

The Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom Page 43

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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