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Sargassum 1

    Abstract

    THIS paper opens with a discussion of the value of the species Sargassum bacciferum, the particular species of this genus which is well known as the Gulf-weed. The author considers that the floating plants to which this name has been given are simply fragments of many varieties or species of Sargassum, more particularly of S. vulgare. In support of this view he points out that, from the accounts of nearly all authors who have examined specimens, it appears that the lower part of the stem had been broken across, and that it is therefore fair to conclude that they belong to plants which are rooted under ordinary circumstances. This conclusion had been already arrived at by Rumphius, C. Agardh, Rennell, Humboldt, and more recently by G. von Martens; but of these writers Rennell and Humboldt are of opinion that the floating fragments continue to grow, and in this they agree with Thunberg, Meyen, and Harvey. Dr. Kuntze contends that there is not sufficient evidence forthcoming to establish the correctness of this view. He urge; that, even admitting that some growth takes place, it is only temporary, and that it therefore affords no ground for regarding these as pelagic plants. The only other cases of growth of Fuci when floating are offered by Macrocystis pyrifera (Sir Joseph Hooker, “Flora Antarctica,” vol. i.), and by Fucus vesiculosus (Mr. Moseley, “Notes by a Naturalist on the Challenger”), and doubtless Dr. Kuntze's objections apply to these also. The question naturally arises as to whether these floating plants are actively living, or are dying, or dead.

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