le and holding down lower tip of seed-coats, which have been partially ruptured by the growth of the arched hypocotyl.

The accompanying figure (Fig. 62) will render this description intelligible. Forty-one seeds of Cucurbita ovifera were laid on friable peat and were covered by a layer about an inch in thickness, not much pressed down, so that the cotyledons in being dragged up were subjected to very little friction, yet forty of them came up naked, the seed-coats being left buried in the peat. This was certainly due to the action of the peg, for when it was prevented from acting, the cotyledons, as we shall presently see, were lifted up still enclosed in their seed-coats. They were, however, cast off in the course of two or three days by the swelling of the cotyledons. Until this occurs light is excluded, and the cotyledons cannot decompose carbonic acid; but no one probably would have thought that the advantage thus gained by a little earlier cast-

* 'Bull. Soc. Bot. de France,' tom. xxiv. 1877, p. 201. [page 103]

ing off of the seed-coats would be sufficient to account for the development of the peg. Yet according to M. Flahault, seedlings which have been prevented from casting their seed-coats whilst beneath the ground, are inferior to those which have emerged with their cotyledons naked and ready to act.

The peg is developed with extraordinary rapidity; for it could only just be distinguished in two seedlings, having radicles .35 inch in length, but after an interval of only 24 hours was well developed in both. It is formed, according to Flahault, by the enlargement of the layers of the cortical parenchyma at the base of the hypocotyl. If, however, we judge by the effects of a solution of permanganate of potassium, it is developed on the exact line of junction between the hypocotyl and radicle; for the flat lower surface, as well as the edges, were coloured brown like the radicle; whilst the upper slightly inclined surface was left uncoloured like the hypocotyl, excepting indeed in one out of 33 immersed seedlings in which a large part of the upper surface was coloured brown. Secondary roots sometimes spring from the lower surface of the peg, which thus seems in all respects to partake of the nature of the radicle. The peg is always developed on the side which becomes concave by the arching of the hypocotyl; and it would be of no service if it were formed on any other side. It is also always developed with the flat lower side, which, as just stated, forms a part of the radicle, at right angles to it, and in a horizontal plane. This fact was clearly shown by burying some of the thin flat seeds in the same position as in Fig. 62, excepting that they were not laid on their flat broad sides, but with one edge downwards. Nine seeds were thus planted, and the peg was developed in the [page 104] same position, relatively to the radicle, as in the figure; consequently it did not rest on the flat tip of the lower half of the seed-coats, but was inserted like a wedge between the two tips. As the arched hypocotyl grew upwards it tended to draw up the whole seed, and the peg necessarily rubbed against both tips, but did not hold either down. The result was, that the cotyledons of five out of the nine seeds thus placed were raised above the ground still enclosed within their seed-coats. Four seeds were buried with the end from which the radicle protrudes pointing vertically downwards, and owing to the peg being always developed in the same position, its apex alone came into contact with, and rubbed against the tip on one side; the result was, that the cotyledons of all four emerged still within their seed-coats. These cases show us how the peg acts in co-ordination with the position which the flat, thin, broad seeds would almost always occupy when naturally sown. When the tip of the lower half of the seed-coats was cut off, Flahault found (as we did likewise) that the peg could not act, since it had nothing to press on, and the cotyledons were raised above the ground with their seed-coats not cast off.

Charles Darwin

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