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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/112

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

or a tallow dip, also contrasts strongly with that of the present gas jet and electric arc.

The wonder should be that he saw so well, and all who follow him can not but feel grateful for the path he blazed through the dense forests of ignorance and the bridges he made over the streams of doubt in specific distinctions. It was a noble work, but it is nearly past in the older parts of our country; and while some of that school should linger to readjust their genera, make new combinations of species, and attempt to satisfy the claims of priority, the rank and file will largely leave systematic botany and the herborizing it embraces, and betake themselves to the open fields of phytoecology. It may be along the line of structural adaptations when we will have morphological phytoecology, or the adjustment of function to the environment when there will be physiological phytoecology. These two branches when combined to elucidate problems of relationship between the plant and its surroundings as involved in accommodation in its comprehensive sense there will be phytoecology with climate, geology, geography, or fossils as the leading feature, as the case may be.

In the older botany the plant alone in itself was the subject of study. The newer botany takes the plant in its surroundings and all that its relationships to other plants may suggest as the subject for analysis. In the one case the plant was all and its place of growth accidental, a dried specimen from any unknown habitat was enough; but now the environment and the numerous lines of relationship that reach out from the living plant in situ are the major subjects for study. The former was field botany because the field contained the plant, the latter is field botany in that the plant embraces in its study all else in the field in which it. lives. The one had as its leading question, What is your name and where do you belong in my herbarium? while the other raises an endless list of queries, of which How came you here and when? Why these curious glands and this strange movement or mimicry? are but average samples. Every spot of color, bend of leaf, and shape of fruit raises a question.

The collector of fifty years ago pulled up or cut off a portion of his plant for a specimen, and rarely measured, weighed, and counted anything about it. The phytoecologist to-day watches his subject as it grows, and if removed it is for the purpose of testing its vital functions under varying circumstances of moisture, heat, or sunlight, and exact recording instruments are a part of the equipment for the investigation.

The underlying thought in the seashore school and the tropical laboratory in botany is this of getting nearer to the haunts of the