thapsus, and these produced two, two, and three seeds. To show how unproductive these seven capsules were, I may state that a fine capsule from a plant of V. thapsus growing close by contained above 700 seeds. These facts led me to search the moderately-sized field whence my plant had been removed, and I found in it many plants of V. thapsus and lychnitis as well as thirty-three plants intermediate in character between these two species. These thirty-three plants differed much from one another. In the branching of the stem they more closely resembled V. lychnitis than V. thapsus, but in height the latter species. In the shape of their leaves they often closely approached V. lychnitis, but some had leaves extremely woolly on the upper surface and decurrent like those of V. thapsus; yet the degree of woolliness and of decurrency did not always go together. In the petals being flat and remaining open, and in the manner in which the anthers of the longer stamens were attached to the filaments, these plants all took more after V. lychnitis than V. thapsus. In the yellow colour of the corolla they all resembled the latter species. On the whole, these plants appeared to take rather more after V. lychnitis than V. thapsus. On the supposition that they were hybrids, it is not an anomalous circumstance that they should all have produced yellow flowers; for Gartner crossed white and yellow-flowered varieties of Verbascum, and the offspring thus produced never bore flowers of an intermediate tint, but either pure white or pure yellow flowers, generally of the latter colour. (2/24. 'Bastardzeugung' page 307.)

My observations were made in the autumn; so that I was able to collect some half-matured capsules from twenty of the thirty-three intermediate plants, and likewise capsules of the pure V. lychnitis and thapsus growing in the same field. All the latter were filled with perfect but immature seeds, whilst the capsules of the twenty intermediate plants did not contain one single perfect seed. These plants, consequently, were absolutely barren. From this fact,--from the one plant which was transplanted into my garden yielding when artificially fertilised with pollen from V. lychnitis and thapsus some seeds, though extremely few in number,--from the circumstance of the two pure species growing in the same field,--and from the intermediate character of the sterile plants, there can be no doubt that they were hybrids. Judging from the position in which they were chiefly found, I am inclined to believe they were descended from V. thapsus as the seed-bearer, and V. lychnitis as the pollen-bearer.

It is known that many species of Verbascum, when the stem is jarred or struck by a stick, cast off their flowers. (2/25. This was first observed by Correa de Serra: see Sir J.E. Smith's 'English Flora' 1824 volume 1 page 311; also 'Life of Sir J.E. Smith' volume 2 page 210. I was guided to these references by the Reverend W.A. Leighton, who observed this same phenomenon with V. virgatum.) This occurs with V. thapsus, as I have repeatedly observed. The corolla first separates from its attachment, and then the sepals spontaneously bend inwards so as to clasp the ovarium, pushing off the corolla by their movement, in the course of two or three minutes. Nothing of this kind takes place with young barely expanded flowers. With Verbascum lychnitis and, as I believe, V. phoeniceum the corolla is not cast off, however often and severely the stem may be struck. In this curious property the above-described hybrids took after V. thapsus; for I observed, to my surprise, that when I pulled off the flower-buds round the flowers which I wished to mark with a thread, the slight jar invariably caused the corollas to fall off.

These hybrids are interesting under several points of view. First, from the number found in various parts of the same moderately-sized field. That they owed their origin to insects flying from flower to flower, whilst collecting pollen, there can be no doubt. Although insects thus rob the flowers of a most precious substance, yet they do great good; for, as I have elsewhere shown, the seedlings of V.

Charles Darwin

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