Size and Form in Plants


INAUGURAL ADDRESS DELIVERED AT BRISTOL ON SEPT. 3. TWO years have passed since the British Association last met in Britain. Events have happened in that interval which mark the close of the Darwinian epoch. Down House, in which Darwin lived and worked, has been bought, restored, and endowed by Mr. Buckston Browne and presented by him to the Association, which holds it in custody for the nation. The house is now open asa shrine to those who treasure Darwin's memory. They may enter the study where the “Origin of Species” was penned, or wander out to the Sand Walk, and draw such inspiration as those spots may yet afford to those who are face to face with problems cognate to his own. These years have also severed personal links with Darwin himself. Sir William Thiselton-Dyer, who died in December 1928, had been his frequent correspondent. It was he who, more than any other, carried the evolutionary stimulus forward into the botanical schools of Britain. Sir Edwin RayLankester, whose portrait by Orpen was a poignant feature of last year's Academy, died in August 1929. Not only was he the leading zoologist of his time, but he has left a deep impress on general morphology; for he was the first to analyse from the evolutionary aspect the degrees of ‘sameness’ of parts, whether in animals or in plants. These two octogenarians were among the latest links between Darwin himself and living men of science; so this last meeting of the Association before its centenary next year falls at a nodal point in the personal history of evolution.

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BOWER, F. Size and Form in Plants. Nature 126, 355–361 (1930).

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