Plants

Experiments concerning the motion of the Sap in Trees, made this Spring

3. Branches cut quite off when they are full of sap, and held perpendicularly, will bleed, as we experimented in Willow, Birch and Sycamore: and if you cut off their tops, and invert them, they will bleed also at the little ends. Hence one may conjecture that the narrowness of the pores is not the sole cause of the ascent of sap; for water that hath ascended into little glass pipes will not fall out again by its own gravity, if the pipes be taken out of water.

4. Roots of Birch and Sycamore cut asunder will bleed both ways, that is, from the part remaining to the tree, and from the part separated; but a great deal faster from the part remaining to the tree. But in a cold snowy day the root of one Sycamore we had pared, bled faster from the part separated; and ten times faster than it did in warm weather before.

7. The sap doth not only ascend between the bark and the tree, and [the rings] but also in the very body of the wood. For, several young birches being nimbly cut off at one blow with a sharp axe, and white paper immediately held hard upon the top of the remaining trunk, we stuck down pins in all points of the paper as they became wet; and at last.. taking it away, but leaving the pins sticking, we found them without any order, some in the circles and some in the wood between. And to confirm this further we caused a tree to be cut off aslope, and then cut the opposite side aslope likewise, till we brought the top to a narrow edge; ordering the matter so, that the whole edge consisted of part of a coat of wood, and had nothing of a pricked circle in it, which notwithstanding the sap ascended to the very top of this edge and wetted the paper upon it.
12 June 1699

I hope, God willing, next Spring to perfect my design of distinguishing plants by the content of the seed. ”
Further Correspondence p.

68 Nov 30 1674 ”
Further Correspondence p.

70 A Discourse on the Seeds of Plants

Nature observes not proportion of magnitude between seeds and plants that come of them; ... for the seeds of several trees are much less than the seeds of many herbs: as for example the seeds of elm, poplar, willow, birch, alder, than the seeds of ..lupines and all kinds of pulse, pumpions, melons...and infinite others.

plants which bring little seed to maturity do abudantly spread or multiply themselves some other ways; else nature might seem to be wanting in means for the conservation of such species [conservation was theme for Ray but he saw it in terms of propagation, and God’s design]

the annual have greater seeds than the perennial

..all those seeds that are used by mankind for food, are seeds of annual plants, viz wheat, rye, spelt, maize, rice, barley, oats, millet, panic, sorgum; and of pulse, beans, pease, lupines, kidney beans, vetches, lentils:

75 a great while since I published as a general observation, that the seed in most plants did contain, besides the young plant, a convenient portion of nourishment for it while yet tender. But now I find that in the most plants.. seeds contain nothing of nourishment for the young plant, more than the pulp of the lobes.."

planting by the slip, rather than grafting onto stocks, to be tried for all sorts of apple trees "this way of planting by the slip, I cannot think but that it would be worth the while to mpractise it in all sorts of apple trees this being, if it will succeed, the most easy and speedy way of propagation In this opinion I was much confirmed by Mr Josselyn’s description of new Engalnd viz that the inhabitants there do practice , with good success, this manner of propagating all sorts of fruit trees.

A discourse on the specific differences of plants

..most herbarists mistaking many accidents for notes of specific distinction, which indeed are not, have unnecessarily multiplied beings, contrary to that well known philosophic precept [Occam’s Razor] I think it may be useful, in order to the determining of the number of species more ceratinly and agreably to nature, to enumerate such accidents, and then give my reasons why I judge them not sufficient to infer a specific difference.

First then , such accidents are either of the whole plant, or of the root, or ofg the stalk,, or of the leaf, or of the flower, or of the fruit, or of the seed.


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