immersion. For convenience sake I chiefly tried small seeds without the capsules or fruit; and as all of these sank in a few days, they could not have been floated across wide spaces of the sea, whether or not they were injured by salt water. Afterwards I tried some larger fruits, capsules, &c., and some of these floated for a long time. It is well known what a difference there is in the buoyancy of green and seasoned timber; and it occurred to me that floods would often wash into the sea dried plants or branches with seed-capsules or fruit attached to them. Hence I was led to dry the stems and branches of ninety-four plants with ripe fruit, and to place them on sea-water. The majority sank quickly, but some which, whilst green, floated for a very short time, when dried floated much longer; for instance, ripe hazel-nuts sank immediately, but when dried they floated for ninety days, and afterwards when planted germinated; an asparagus plant with ripe berries floated for twenty-three days, when dried it floated for eighty-five days, and the seeds afterwards germinated: the ripe seeds of Helosciadium sank in two days, when dried they floated for above ninety days, and afterwards germinated. Altogether, out of the ninety-four dried plants, eighteen floated for above twenty-eight days; and some of the eighteen floated for a very much longer period. So that as kinds of seeds germinated after an immersion of twenty-eight days; and as distinct species with ripe fruit (but not all the same species as in the foregoing experiment) floated, after being dried, for above 28 days, we may conclude, as far as anything can be inferred from these scanty facts, that the seeds of kinds of plants of any country might be floated by sea-currents during 28 days, and would retain their power of germination. In Johnston's Physical Atlas, the average rate of the several Atlantic currents is thirty-three miles per diem (some currents running at the rate of sixty miles per diem); on this average, the seeds of plants belonging to one country might be floated across 924 miles of sea to another country; and when stranded, if blown by an inland gale to a favourable spot, would germinate.
Subsequently to my experiments, M. Martens tried similar ones, but in a much better manner, for he placed the seeds in a box in the actual sea, so that they were alternately wet and exposed to the air like really floating plants. He tried 98 seeds, mostly different from mine, but he chose many large fruits, and likewise seeds, from plants which live near the sea; and this would have favoured both the average length of their flotation and their resistance to the injurious action of the salt-water. On the other hand, he did not previously dry the plants or branches with the fruit; and this, as we have seen, would have caused some of them to have floated