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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/289

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275
SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE.

before any attempt is made at plant-breeding." "Even when the desired variety is obtained, it must be kept up to the standard by constant attention to selection." The last chapter consists of directions for the pollination of flowers to secure crossing, with illustrations. There are also extended extracts from Verlot on varieties of ornamental plants, Carrière on bud-varieties, and Focke on characteristics of crosses. A glossary is appended.

The Rural Science Series, edited by Prof. Bailey, opens with a volume on spraying.[1] From the author's chapter on the early history of liquid applications, it appears that plants have been sprinkled with noxious or irritating substances in order to destroy insects for a century, and very likely much longer. The operation known as spraying, however, has not been practiced for more than ten or fifteen years. The early gardeners seemed to think that anything disagreeable to man would be destructive to insects, and Mr. Lodeman gives a number of their recipes evidently based on this idea. Continuing his history, he narrates the introduction of the Bordeaux mixture, the kerosene emulsion, Paris green, London purple, and the other principal insecticides and fungicides now used, and gives the various methods of spraying employed in different countries and in different parts of the United States. Another historical chapter records the progress in appliances, from the liquid in a bucket and a whisk broom to sprinkle it with, up to the small towers on carts on the top of which men armed with hose pipes go gunning for codlin moths, curculios, cankerworms, and such like game. In another chapter he gives formulas for a large number of preparations used in spraying, and, in still another, specific directions for treating the chief cultivated plants, from almond to willow. He discusses also the action of insecticides and fungicides not only upon the pests that they are directed against, but also upon the host-plant, the crop yielded by it, and the soil in which it grows. There are eighty-six cuts and a portrait of M. Millardet, who introduced the Bordeaux mixture. Both volumes are adequately indexed.

 

We have here not the gossip and superficial impressions of a sight-seer, nor yet a volume of laborious measurements and close reasoning. Greenland Icefields is a description of natural features and inhabitants by one who is not too much engrossed in his science when he visits a strange region to notice and write down matters of interest to less scientific mortals.[2] With this descriptive matter is joined a new discussion of the causes of the ice age, embodied in several chapters contributed by Prof. Upham. Prof. Wright tells us first about the ice of the Labrador Current, which was brought forcibly to his attention by the steamer on which he went to Greenland running squarely against an iceberg. This mishap necessitated a stop on the coast of Labrador, and enabled him to gather may interesting observations on the settlements and the Eskimos of this coast. He records also some observations on the Spitzbergen ice that comes down through Davis Strait. Greenland was finally reached at Sukkertoppen, on the western coast, in latitude 65° 30'. Prof. Wright gives us not only the incidents of his journeys in this far northern land, but also the chief features


  1. The Spraying of Plants. By E. G. Lodeman. Pp. 399, 12mo. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Price, $1.
  2. Greenland Icefields and Life in the North Atlantic. By G. Frederick Wright and Warren Upham. Pp. 407, 12mo. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Price, $3.