Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/337

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SOME VEGETABLE MALFORMATIONS.

even bring roses that have taken on such peculiar developments that one can scarcely refrain from a smile when the structure is examined. Fig. 2 shows a sample that came to me accompanied by some most difficult questions. Instead of the blossom terminating the branch, as is usually the case, there is a continuation of the cane beyond the flower, where it forms leaves and new buds. This prolification, as it is termed, is found at rare intervals and in a less conspicuous manner in perhaps

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Fig. 3. Fig. 4. Fig. 5. Fig. 6.—Abnormal Peppers. Fig. 7.—Pear with Branch.
 

a hundred different genera of plants. The plantains show this prolific manner of producing flowers in a marked degree, as also do the garden pinks.

In the doubling of flowers—that is, the change of stamens or pistils or both into petals—there are many strange combinations produced. All gradations between the perfect stamen with its pollen-bearing tip and the normal petal can be found. In such large flowers as the pæonia the malformations seem like a fruitless struggle between two contending forces, one to keep the flower single and sexual and the other to reduce all parts to a barren neutrality. In the lilies a similar confusion arises in the attempt of the blossoms to hold their essential organs while the surrounding conditions are such as to turn them into the more showy petals. All this multitude of instances, while of exceed-