Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/324

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in by accidental mixture. In either case they can presumably be got rid of. I may even go further and express a doubt whether that degeneration which is vaguely, supposed to be attendant on all seed crops is a physiological reality. Degeneration may perhaps affect plants like the potato which are continually multiplied asexually, though the fact has never been proved satisfactorily. Moreover it is not in question that races of plants taken into unsuitable climates do degenerate rapidly from uncertain causes, but that is quite another matter.

The first question is to determine whether a given rogue has in it any factor which is dominant to the corresponding character in the typical plants of the crop. If it has, then we may feel considerable confidence that these rogues have been introduced by accidental mixture. The only alternative, indeed, is cross-fertilization with some distinct variety possessing the dominant, or crossing within the limits of the typical plants themselves occurring in such a way that complementary factors have been brought together. This last is a comparatively infrequent phenomenon, and need not be considered till more probable hypotheses have been disposed of. If the rogues are first crosses the fact can be immediately proved by sowing their seeds, for segregation will then be evident. For example, a truly round seed is occasionally, though very rarely, found on varieties of pea which have wrinkled seeds. I have three times seen such seeds on my own plants. A few more were kindly given me by Mr. Arthur Sutton, and I have also received a few from M. Philippe de Vilmorin—to both of whom I am indebted for most helpful assistance and advice. Of these abnormal or unexpected seeds some died without germinating, but all which did germinate in due course produced the normal mixture of round and wrinkled, proving that a cross had occurred. Cross-fertilization in culinary peas is excessively rare, but it is certainly sometimes effected, doubtless by the leaf-cutter bee (Megachile) or a humble-bee visiting flowers in which for some reason the pollen has been inoperative. But in peas crossing is assuredly not the source of the ordinary rogues. These plants have a very peculiar conformation, being tall and straggling, with long internodes, small leaves and small flowers, which together give them a curious wild look. When one compares them with the typical cultivated plants which have a more luxuriant habit, it seems difficult to suppose that the rogue can really be recessive in such a type. True, we can not say definitely a priori that any one character is dominant to another, but old preconceptions are so strong that without actual evidence we always incline to think of the wilder and more primitive characteristics as dominants. Nevertheless, from such observations as I have been able to make I can not find any valid reason for doubting that the rogues are really recessives to the type. One feature in particular is quite inconsistent with the belief that these rogues are in any