WE opened this little pamphlet in the hope of finding in it a new contribution to the literature of the self-fertilisation and cross-fertilisation of plants, but were disappointed to discover that it consisted of little besides a résumé of the labours of others in this field. The instances in which the self-fertilisation of hermaphrodite flowers is prevented by the fact that the stigma and the stamens ripen at different times, are mostly taken from Prof. Hildebrand's “Die Geschlechter-Vertheilung bei den Pflanzen,” and from that botanist's contributions to the “Botanische Zeitung.” On the laws of dimorphism and trimorphism we have little but the examples so elaborately worked out by Mr. Darwin in the genera Linum, Primula, and Lythrum. It is singular that from the time that Sprengel first called attention to the provisions, which favour cross-fertilisation in plants, now more than seventy years since, so little had been done in this field until the researches of the two eminent botanists above named, and even now they have so few fellow-labourers. There is no department of physiological botany more beneath the eye of very dweller in the country, or of any one who possesses a garden, none which presents so many points of interest even to the casual observer, and so many illustrations for the advocate of the doctrine of “design,” and none in which a careful series of observations would be more fertile in results of importance. If country botanists would bestow a portion of the energy which has been wasted in mere collecting, and the eradication of rare plants from their native haunts, on systematic physiological observations, the gain to genuine science would be immense.
Das Gesetz der vermiedenen Selbstbefruchtung bei den höheren Pflanzen.
Von Dr. O. W. Thome. (Williams and Norgate.)