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The Origin of the Cultivated Cineraria


RETURNING from abroad, I have just seen Mr. Dyer's letter in NATURE, March 14. Of the matters there treated I ask leave now to deal with one only, that numbered (18). This is a point of fact—the origin of the cultivated Cineraria. At a meeting of the Royal Society, on February 28, Mr. Dyer exhibited a specimen of Cineraria cruenta from the Canaries, side by side with a plant of the common cultivated form. With the object of minimising the value of “sports” in evolution, this exhibition was made to illustrate what can be done “by the gradual accumulation of small variations.” Mr. Dyer stated, if I rightly understood him, first, that of the two forms exhibited, the one had been produced from the other; secondly, that, as far as is known, this process of evolution had been accomplished by the gradual accumulation of small variations, and not by the selection of “sports” or seedlings presenting notable and striking variations. That in the case of a plant much modified by gardeners in recent times such a history would be highly unusual, Mr. Dyer will, I think, admit.

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BATESON, W. The Origin of the Cultivated Cineraria. Nature 51, 605–607 (1895).

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