THIS book supplies a want that every real student of systematic botany must have felt. The introductory chapters are devoted to an inquiry into the morphology of the flower and its parts, and the inflorescence; while the subsequent chapters are a full exposition under the head of each family and order of the floral type and its most important modifications. Preceding each order is a list of the most important works bearing on it, and every quotation is accompanied by a full reference. Hence the book is both a Thesaurus of the literature of its subject, and moreover a Prodromus of phanerogamic morphology. Pespite the modest title, the vegetative arrangements are explained wherever they present interest, and the same ungrudging pains are often extended to fruit and seed. Unlike too many authors Prof. Eichler is utterly free from provincialism. He cites as freely and constantly foreign botanists as those who have used the German language. Unfortunately we are but poorly represented, for morphological research is all but unknown in England, and is untaught by both our swarms of botanical lecturers and the great institutions which are the outward and visible sign of what Government recognises as botany. The medical curriculum has overborne original teaching by the former, the herbarium has stunted all else in the latter. Hence few of our botanists are able, like an Eichler or a Baillon, to check observations on the adult flower, with its parts distorted by drying and soaking, by their own knowledge of the growth of the living plant. Even the greatest sagacity and experience must be at a loss sometimes from this weakness in the very foundations of their work. For this reason one regrets the more that Eichler makes not a single reference to the works of Griffith, perhaps the greatest botanical genius England ever possessed, who found out for himself the value of developmental research and worked out many a flower by its aid.


Construirt und erläutert von Dr. A. W. Eichler., Professor der Botanik an der Universität Kiel. (Leipzig: W. Engelmann. Theil i., 1876, Theil ii., 1878.)

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HARTOG, M. Blüthendiagramme . Nature 19, 70–71 (1878).

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