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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/226

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tion to physiology and morphology. The taxonomy of some of the more important families of seed plants is discussed in a special section. The author pays tribute to the present leaning toward ecology by chapters on seed distribution, the struggle for the occupancy of land, zonal distribution, soil formation in rocky regions and moors, plant communities, and adaptations of plants to climate.

 

In 'Nature and Work of Plants' (Macmillan) Dr. MacDougal approaches the subject of botany by a study of the functions of the plant, of the things which it must do to live and adapt itself to its surroundings. Such an introduction to the subject from the physiological point of view is a radical innovation in the matter of elementary texts. A second departure from the practice of current texts is the omission of illustrations, in order that the attention of the student may not be distracted from the plant at work by a picture of something it has done. The technique is simple and the book seems well-fitted to awaken enthusiastic interest and lead the student further into the subject. Chapters are devoted to such subjects as: composition and purposes of plants, the manner in which the different kinds of work are divided among the members of the body, the way in which new plants arise, and the relations of plants to each other.

 

Miss Alice Lounsberry's 'Guide to the Trees' (Stokes & Co.) is an example of a type of popular books in botany indispensable to the amateur, and of great value to the working botanist. Nearly two hundred species, including shrubs, have been described. "Among them are all those most prominent in northeastern America, and a few distinctive or rare species from the South and West. Several also that are not indigenous but which have become identified with the tree life of this country are presented." The author has grouped forms of similar habit together in such manner that sections are devoted to: Trees preferring to grow in moist soil, lowlands and meadows; trees preferring to grow near water, in swamps, and running streams; trees preferring to grow in rich soil, in forests and thickets, and trees preferring to grow in light, dry soil and upland places. The general notes of information appended to the technical descriptions add much to the reading value of the book, which is beautifully illustrated by sixty-four colored plates, after paintings by Mrs. Rowan, and a hundred sketches in black and white.

 

The amount of interest centered in the preservation of the forests of the national domain, and the establishment of forestry in the courses of several educational institutions, makes Mr. Bruncken's 'North American Forests and Forestry' (Putnam & Sons) most timely. The author discusses the sociological aspects of forestry, and the distribution of forests in North America. It is of interest to note that the forest is treated as a living plant formation subject to many vicissitudes in the struggle for existence with neighboring societies of plants, particularly with the bog and prairie. The fate of the forest in front of the advancing pioneer is well delineated, and forest finance management and protection are most sensibly considered. Perhaps no other work offers the citizen such a rational presentation of all aspects of the numerous questions involved in forestry as the one under discussion.

 

Sachs's 'Physiology of Plants' has long been a classic among botanists because of the immense amount of new results which were brought out in its pages, marking the dawn of a new epoch in the history of botanical investigation. A large share of its conclusions have become invalidated by the general advance of the subject, however, and the next most notable work, Pfeffer's 'Plant Physiology,' is one which is bound to exert even a more lasting influence in