Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/338

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ing interest to the student of floral structures, is perhaps more monotonous than amusing from the point of view of this paper, which deals more particularly with the unexplainable and eccentric than with strange shapes that are the natural result of an underlying law. Thus the garden petunia "doubles" easily, and in so doing loses its stamens, or some of them, and much of its former beauty. In a study of this process some threePSM V42 D338 Malformed vegetable.jpgFig. 8.years ago, in which hundreds of specimens were examined, a peculiarity of still greater interest than the simple changing of stamens into petals was brought to light. The unusual size of the petals in some of the doubled flowers led to a dissection of them, when it was found that the contents consisted of stamens partly changed into petals and often highly colored, while in the center of all was a small pistil about one third the normal size. Not infrequently the ovarian stamens had their anthers tipped with a small stigmatic surface, thus indicating the close association of the sexual elements in the floral structures. Fig. 3 shows a normal pistil, the one at Fig. 4 is from a doubled blossom, and Fig. 5 shows the secondary pistil at the center.

Last year, while examining some peppers for a fungous disease, a peculiar formation was met with that comes in the same category with the petunia above mentioned. In making a longitudinal section of the fruit, the seed-bearing column was found crowned by a small pepper which in itself was a fruit in miniature. This freak is shown in Fig. 6.

It is an easy step from flower to fruit, for the latter is a part of and a natural result of the former. The prolification seen in the rose and in many other flowers has its counterpart in fruits of various kinds. Thus, strawberries have been known to bear a branch at the free end, and pears sometimes exhibit the same freak. Fig. 7 shows such a fruit with a branch and a number of leaves extending beyond the blossom end.