Letter | Published:

Cross-fertilisation of Sweet-peas

Nature volume 82, page 308 (13 January 1910) | Download Citation

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Abstract

UNDER the above heading a writer in NATURE of January 6 (p. 280) refers to “the statement that the sweet-pea is invariably self-fertilised,” a statement which he thinks is “often based on an opinion of Charles Darwin's.” In refutation of this opinion your correspondent describes the visits of the hive-bee and of Megachile to the flower in question. These same species were seen by Mr. Darwin to visit sweet-pea flowers (“Cross and Self-fertilisation,” 1876, p. 156). He goes on to ask how it is that the varieties are not habitually mongrelised, and sums up his discussion in the following words:— “Whatever the cause may be, we may conclude that in England the varieties never or very rarely intercross. But it does not follow from this that they would not be crossed by the aid of other and larger insects in their native country, which in botanical works is said to be the south of Europe and the East Indies. Accordingly I wrote to Prof. Delpino, in Florence, and he informs me ‘that it is the fixed opinion of gardeners there that the varieties do intercross, and that they cannot be preserved pure unless they are sown separately.’”

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  1. January 10.

    • FRANCIS DARWIN

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https://doi.org/10.1038/082308b0

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