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The Botanical Society of Edinburgh

    Naturevolume 140page20 (1937) | Download Citation



    THE Transactions and Proceedings of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, 32, Part 1, 1936, is a particularly interesting number, including as it does the record of the centenary meeting of this Society, The main contribution is in effect a local flora—a list of the flowering plants and ferns from Fife and Kinross by William Young. The address delivered by Prof. F. O. Bower at the centenary meeting is included. No more appropriate speaker could have been found for that interesting occasion, and his appreciation of botanical progress during the period of activity of the Society could only have been delivered by a veteran whose reminiscences still feed his botanical enthusiasm. Prof. Bower points out how plant physiology has gained since 1836 by the precision that can now be assigned to the medium in which vital functions are proceeding, through the advances in cytology and anatomy. With arresting phrase and breadth of vision, in a few pages the main movements of botanical thought during the century are brought before the reader. The last half century, it is pointed out, because it is an age of specialization, has increased the need for the services of such general societies as the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. Prof. Bower indicates how the 'herd sense' among his fellow botanists is probably responsible for the temporary ascendancy of one field of investigation, thus leading to "multiplying instances of what has been already demonstrated". He then shows himself fully aware where the 'herd' is gathering now when he ends an eloquent plea for a modern morphology, based upon developmental studies of the meristem, with the speculation that hormones may then prove the key to unlock those phenomena of symmetry that are expressed in appendages. The Botanical Society of Edinburgh began principally as a means to the formation of a herbarium for its members, and has taken a prominent part in the creation of the magnificent herbarium that is now housed at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

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