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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/520

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

for girls, but now it ceases to cause a smile when full-grown men take to it seriously, though some of our antiquated coworkers in other university lines still wonder how it is possible to teach the subject except when the spring sunshine favors the growth of the early flowers!

Space forbids us more than the mere mention of some of the varied divisions of the subject that under the hands of modern masters have grown to be broad special sciences of themselves, though still branches of botany. We need only mention the growth of paleobotany from the days of Newberry to its modern phases, as carried on by Jeffrey and Hollick; of cytology, under Harper and Davis; of embryology, under Coulter, Johnson and Campbell; of ecology, under Cowles and Clements; of plant breeding, under Bailey and Webber; of mycology under Arthur, Thaxter and Burt; of economic botany, under Fernow and Rusby; and there are still other fields into which our science has broadened.

It is interesting to note how the study of the American flora has gone hand in hand with the political development of the country. When Torrey and Gray published their first great flora of North America in 1838-1843, the territory of the United States, which was all it attempted to cover, was very largely east of the Mississippi. Buffaloes and Indians held the great west from Arkansas to the Saskatchewan. Texas was just struggling for freedom from Mexico, as Mexico herself had recently struggled to secure her own liberation from Spain. Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and all California were quiet Mexican provinces undisturbed by the searcher either for ore or for plants, as peaceful as when the first missionaries of the cross opened up their missions among them, two centuries before. Soon politics entered and commerce, its ally, followed in its wake. The annexation of Texas in 1845 was followed by the Mexican war, through which the region from Texas to Oregon came over as the first great expansion of American territory since the Louisiana purchase. Then on the heels of annexation came the discovery of gold in California, and the wild rush towards that Eldorádo changed that territory in a twelvemonths from a quiet colony to a great bustling state clamoring for its full rights, and seeking to be joined to her sister states, not only by the bonds of fraternity, but by the practical iron bands of the Pacific railroad that made commerce possible with them. In the wake of all this war, annexation, settlement, exploration for railroads, came the botanical explorer, and the floral wealth of the great West was poured into Eastern collections with Torrey at New York, and Gray at Cambridge, and to a much less degree with Engelmann at St. Louis.

A word of mention is due to some of the early and later botanical explorers to whom we owe so much in those days when it was less