On the male trees most of the flowers include pistils, but these likewise drop off at an early period; and the ovules, which ultimately abort, are very small compared with those in female flowers of the same age.
Of the other or monoicous sub-group of polygamous plants, or those which bear hermaphrodite, male and female flowers on the same individual, the common Maple (Acer campestre) offers a good instance; but Lecoq states that some trees are truly dioecious, and this shows how easily one state passes into another. (Introduction/19. 'Geographie Botanique' tome 5 page 367.)
A considerable number of plants generally ranked as polygamous exist under only two forms, namely, as hermaphrodites and females; and these may be called gyno- dioecious, of which the common Thyme offers a good example. In my seventh chapter I shall give some observations on plants of this nature. Other species, for instance several kinds of Atriplex, bear on the same plant hermaphrodite and female flowers; and these might be called gyno-monoecious, if a name were desirable for them.
Again there are plants which produce hermaphrodite and male flowers on the same individual, for instance, some species of Galium, Veratrum, etc.; and these might be called andro-monoecious. If there exist plants, the individuals of which consist of hermaphrodites and males, these might be distinguished as andro-dioecious. But, after making inquiries from several botanists, I can hear of no such cases. Lecoq, however, states, but without entering into full details, that some plants of Caltha palustris produce only male flowers, and that these live mingled with the hermaphrodites. (Introduction/20. 'Geographie Botanique' tome 4 page 488.) The rarity of such cases as this last one is remarkable, as the presence of hermaphrodite and male flowers on the same individual is not an unusual occurrence; it would appear as if nature did not think it worth while to devote a distinct individual to the production of pollen, excepting when this was indispensably necessary, as in the case of dioecious species.
I have now finished my brief sketch of the several cases, as far as known to me, in which flowers differing in structure or in function are produced by the same species of plant. Full details will be given in the following chapters with respect to many of these plants. I will begin with the heterostyled, then pass on to certain dioecious, sub-dioecious, and polygamous species, and end with the cleistogamic. For the convenience of the reader, and to save space, the less important cases and details have been printed in smaller type .
I cannot close this Introduction without expressing my warm thanks to Dr. Hooker for supplying me with specimens and for other aid; and to Mr. Thiselton Dyer and Professor Oliver for giving me much information and other assistance. Professor Asa Gray, also, has uniformly aided me in many ways. To Fritz Muller of St. Catharina, in Brazil, I am indebted for many dried flowers of heterostyled plants, often accompanied with valuable notes.
HETEROSTYLED DIMORPHIC PLANTS: PRIMULACEAE.
Primula veris or the cowslip. Differences in structure between the two forms. Their degrees of fertility when legitimately and illegitimately united. P. elatior, vulgaris, Sinensis, auricula, etc. Summary on the fertility of the heterostyled species of Primula. Homostyled species of Primula. Hottonia palustris. Androsace vitalliana.
(FIGURE 1.1. Primula veris. Left: Long-styled form. Right: Short-styled form.)
It has long been known to botanists that the common cowslip (Primula veris, Brit. Flora, var. officinalis, Lin.) exists under two forms, about equally numerous, which obviously differ from each other in the length of their pistils and stamens. (1/1. This fact, according to Von Mohl 'Botanische Zeitung' 1863 page 326, was first observed by Persoon in the year 1794.) This difference has hitherto been looked at as a case of mere variability, but this view, as we shall presently see, is far from the true one.