Grasses are propagated by extending their roots, or rather underground stems called rhizomas or by seed. Those species that produce an abundance of seeds seldom increase very rapidly by their roots, while those most readily by their roots are less bountiful in the production of seed. Thus nature secures the presentation of each species, by one or other of these methods.
The minute pollen grains elaborated in the anthers are supposed to contain the true propagating cells. [each] These grains must find their way to the stigma at the time when this organ is in the proper state of growth to receive it; and its function here is essential to the [growth] perfection of the seed. The sac contained in the grain of pollen soon ruptures its coatings and penetrating through the openings in the stigma is elongated in a most wonderful manner until its extremity reaches the [crossed out] cavity at its base. The extremity of this pollen-tube here expanded and by the development of new cells forms the embryo, or little plant securely enveloped within the integuments of the seed.
The durability of seed is also one of the remarkable provisions for the preservation of plants. Had the wheat crop been entirely destroyed throughout the world, so that no seed was produced for a whole year, this invaluable grain would have been restored to us from seeds preserved for more than three thousand years in the foods of an Egyptian mummy. That seeds may also be buried in the ground and remain for a number of years until some favorable conditions cause them to germinate is also quite certain;
and accounts for the sudden appearance of certain plants at places where it would otherwise be very difficult to explain their origin. In this way possibly in some cases the mysterious appearance of cheat or chem may be accounted for.
Most of the grasses are [Monoecious] [hermaphrodites] or have their stamens & pistils, in the same [plant] flowers, like the wheat, oats, &c: but many of them, as Indian corn, wild rice &c are [Dioecious] Monoecious or have these organs on separate flowers on different parts of the plant. Corn it will be remembered has the stamens situated at the summit of the culm, hence the pollen has a specific gravity greater than the air so that it falls upon the stigma known to farmers as the "silk"; But the wild rice has the stamens below, and the pollen grass are lighter than the air and consequently rises like so many little balloons until they meet the stigma which is turned downwards as if purposely to catch these grains!
The artificial hybridizing of plants consists in applying the pollen of one plant to the stigma of another, and carefully excluding all contact with the pollen of the plant experimented upon. In the case of Indian corn this might easily be done by planting rows of two kinds, and carefully destroying the [tastles?] of one of the kinds before they are fully matured.-
[Sketch of a grass and roots with labeled anatomy on right of page]
All vegetable cells are of the same nature and all plants consist of cells-The differences we see among plants are accounted for by the different grouping or combination of these cells, their differing contents, and their different forms.
The progress of botany, strange as it may seem was materially aided by the imagination of the poet Goethe who conceived the idea of a typical plant after which all the various forms of vegetation were conceived to be moddeled [modeled].
The form and condition of plants are ever changing. The seed germinates & disappears-leaves are formed succussing and the lower ones die away while others are found above. Finally the whole strength of the stalk & leaves is exhausted in the production of seeds destined again to go through the same process the next year!
The suggestion of Wolff & Gothe that all the various parts of a plant, [the] may be reduced to two the axis or stem, and the leaf and their modifications appears to have been adopted and amplified by later investigations. It seems difficult to believe that the Calex, Corolla, and even stamens, pistils, & the coverings of the seed are only so many modified leaves. Yet this appears to be the case
In the floral envelopes of the gramina the [modifreats?] is less than in most other species. The [chaff?]-or the glumes & palae, [are leaves] differ but slightly from true leaves.-
The grain or seed consists of a whole plant root, stem, leaves, and bud-
The first leaf completely surrounds & covers the axis, like a sheath.
The woody fibers of grasses are scattered about the body of the culm instead of being arranged in concentric circles as in the trees. [and other dicotyledous plants.]
The flowers of grasses are mostly compound, or have more than one [subtended?] by a common calyx (the glumes) as in the sim-flower which instead of being (as many suppose) a single flower is a combination of many hundreds. So in grasses each little spikelet may be considered as a compound flower.
Grasses were created before the present orders of things was finally established by the creator as is [illegible] by the discovery of--- genera and ---- species in a fossilized state. But their existence seems to have been commenced long after the lower orders of [ferns?] &c found in the Coal measures.-
Ash of wheat straw .60 pr ct Burly stram 57 pr ct silica. Silex a constitutent of grasses &c [Not of other orders of plants] It is this that gives strength & rigidity to the stalk, and it is as essential to the growth of the grass as any other element. The epidermis is almost entirely silica.
Liebig divides the cultivated plants as follows Alkali plants-as Potatoes, Beets &c Lime plants-as Clover, Pears &c Silex plants, the Grasses Phosphorus plants-Rye, wheat &cProbably the last should have been Silico-phosphorus, plants as they contain both substances.
[Line crossed out]
Grasses are fewest at the Equator, and increase gradually towards the poles-
There are about 4000 species of grasses, of which only about 70 are cultivated as food for man.
[Schleider' Boussingault multiplies the number of days a plant requires to grow, by the mean temperature of the same period, which may be considered the quantity of heat required by the plant. Hence a greater heat requires a less time, and a lesser heat a longer time to perfect any given plant-[Summer heat therefore regulates the growth of plants not the mean nor the [winter?] temperature.
A curious inquiry perhaps worth carrying out!
Barley Most northern grain 65 deg. 60. Oats. Rye-next Wheat-The Indian corn next [lat 60] -51Rice next-37-