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Micrographia - or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses with observations and inquiries thereupon/Chapter 31


Observ. XXXI.Of Purslane-seed.

THe Seeds of Purslane seem of very notable shapes, appearing through the Microscope shap’d somewhat like a nautilus or Porcelane shell, as may be seen in the XX. Scheme, it being a small body, coyl’d round in the manner of a Spiral; at the greater end whereof, which represents the mouth or orifice of the Shell, there is left a little white transparent substance, like a skin, represented by B B B B, which seems to have been the place whereunto the stem was join'd. The whole surface of this Coclea or Shell, is cover’d over with abundance of little prominencies or buttons very orderly rang’d into Spiral rows, the shape of each of which seem'd much to resemble a Wart upon a mans hand. The order, variety, and curiosity in the shape of this little seed, makes it a very pleasant object for the Microscope, one of them being cut asunder with a very sharp Pen-knife, discover’d this carved Casket to be of a brownish red, and somewhat transparent substance, and manifested the inside to be fill’d with a whitish green substance or pulp, the Bed wherein the seminal principle lies invelop’d.

There are multitudes of other seeds which in shape represent or imitate the forms of divers other sorts of Shells: as the seed of Scurvy-grass, very much resembles the make of a Concha Venerea, a kind of Purcelane Shell; others represent several sorts of larger fruits, sweat Marjerome and Pot-marjerome represent Olives. Carret feeds are like a cleft of a Coco-Nut Husk; others are like Artificial things, as Succory seeds are like a Quiver full of Arrows, the seeds of Amaranthus are of an exceeding lovely shape, somewhat like an Eye: The skin of the black and shrivled seeds of Onyons and Leeks, are all over knobbed like a Seals skin. Sorrel has a pretty black shining three-square seed, which is picked at both ends with three ridges, that are bent the whole length of it. It were almoft endless to reckon up the several shapes, they are so many and so various; Leaving them therefore to the curious observer, I shall proceed to the Observations on the parts of Animals.