My attention was first drawn to the present subject by observing that the flowers on all the plants of the seventh self-fertilised generation were of a uniform, remarkably rich, dark purple tint. The many plants which were raised during the three succeeding generations, up to the last or tenth, all produced flowers coloured in the same manner. They were absolutely uniform in tint, like those of a constant species living in a state of nature; and the self-fertilised plants might have been distinguished with certainty, as my gardener remarked, without the aid of labels, from the intercrossed plants of the later generations. These, however, had more uniformly coloured flowers than those which were first raised from the purchased seeds. This dark purple variety did not appear, as far as my gardener and myself could recollect, before the fifth or sixth self-fertilised generation. However this may have been, it became, through continued self-fertilisation and the cultivation of the plants under uniform conditions, perfectly constant, to the exclusion of every other variety.
The self-fertilised plants of the third generation all bore flowers of exactly the same pale rose-colour; and in this respect they differed quite remarkably from the plants growing in a large bed close by and raised from seeds purchased from the same nursery garden. In this case it is not improbable that some of the parent-plants which were first self-fertilised may have borne flowers thus coloured; but as several plants were self-fertilised in the first generation, it is extremely improbable that all bore flowers of exactly the same tint as those of the self-fertilised plants of the third generation. The intercrossed plants of the third generation likewise produced flowers almost, though not quite so uniform in tint as those of the self-fertilised plants.
In this case I happened to record in my notes that the flowers on the parent-plant which was first self-fertilised were of a “dingy purple colour.” In the fifth self-fertilised generation, every one of the twenty-one self-fertilised plants growing in pots, and all the many plants in a long row out of doors, produced flowers of absolutely the same tint, namely, of a dull, rather peculiar and ugly flesh colour; therefore, considerably unlike those on the parent-plant. I believe that this change of colour supervened quite gradually; but I kept no record, as the point did