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Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 459 pages of information about Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom.
cross I resolved to save the seeds, which, after germinating on sand, were planted on the opposite sides of three pots.  In one pot the quasi-crossed plant was very soon and ever afterwards taller and finer than the self-fertilised.  In the two other pots the seedlings on both sides were for a time exactly equal; but when the self-fertilised plants were about 10 inches in height, they surpassed their antagonists by a little, and ever afterwards showed a more decided and increasing advantage; so that the self-fertilised plants, taken altogether, were somewhat superior to the quasi-crossed plants.  In this case, as in that of the Origanum, if individuals which have been asexually propagated from the same stock, and which have been long subjected to the same conditions, are crossed, no advantage whatever is gained.

Several flowers on another plant of the same variety were fertilised with pollen from the younger flowers on the same plant, so as to avoid using the old and long-shed pollen from the same flower, as I thought that this latter might be less efficient than fresh pollen.  Other flowers on the same plant were crossed with fresh pollen from a plant which, although closely similar, was known to have arisen as a distinct seedling.  The self-fertilised seeds germinated rather before the others; but as soon as I got equal pairs they were planted on the opposite sides of four pots.

Table 5/49.  Pelargonium zonale.

Heights of plants measured in inches.

Column 1:  Number (Name) of Pot.

Column 2:  Crossed Plants.

Column 3:  Self-fertilised Plants.

Pot 1 :  22 3/8 :  25 5/8. 
Pot 1 :  19 6/8 :  12 4/8.

Pot 2 :  15 :  19 6/8. 
Pot 2 :  12 2/8 :  22 3/8.

Pot 3 :  30 5/8 :  19 4/8. 
Pot 3 :  18 4/8 :  7 4/8.

Pot 4 :  38 :  9 1/8.

Total :  156.50 :  116.38.

When the two lots of seedlings were between 4 and 5 inches in height they were equal, excepting in Pot 4, in which the crossed plant was much the tallest.  When between 11 and 14 inches in height, they were measured to the tips of their uppermost leaves; the crossed averaged 13.46, and the self-fertilised 11.07 inches in height, or as 100 to 82.  Five months later they were again measured in the same manner, and the results are given in Table 5/49.

The seven crossed plants now averaged 22.35, and the seven self-fertilised 16.62 inches in height, or as 100 to 74.  But from the great inequality of the several plants, the result is less trustworthy than in most other cases.  In Pot 2 the two self-fertilised plants always had an advantage, except whilst quite young over the two crossed plants.

As I wished to ascertain how these plants would behave during a second growth, they were cut down close to the ground whilst growing freely.  The crossed plants now showed their superiority in another way, for only one out of the seven was killed by the operation, whilst three of the self-fertilised plants never recovered.  There was, therefore, no use in keeping any of the plants excepting those in Pots 1 and 3; and in the following year the crossed plants in these two pots showed during their second growth nearly the same relative superiority over the self-fertilised plants as before.

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