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A SKETCH OF THE PROGRESS OF BOTANY IN THE
UNITED STATES IN 1880.
BY PROFESSOR C. E. BESSEY.
A. Anatomy and Physiology. – A valuable paper appeared in the Botanical Gazette for November, on “The Stem of the Pumpkin for illustrating Plant Histology," by J. C. Arthur. The disposition of the various tissues, with notes upon some of their peculiarities, and suggestions as to the best methods of preparing them for observation, make up the bulk of the paper. Finally a classified list of the tissues is given, as follows: Epidermal System :
Fibro-vascular System :
Wood parenchyma. “ To these should doubtless be added Laticiferous tissue, sometimes detected in the phloëm."
W. K. Higley, in two papers published in the NATURALIST for Oct. and Nov., added somewhat to our knowledge of the “Microscopic Crystals contained in Plants.” Many crystal-containing plants are noted, and a useful list is given of all the natural orders of plants in which these structures have been observed.
Dr. Engelmann's paper on “The Acorns and their Germination," published in the Transactions of the St. Louis Academy of Sciences, Vol. iv, records the results of his careful study of the germination of the acorns of many species. In addition to a definite statement of the structure of the embryo in the species examined, the author describes the tuber-like enlargement of the radicle in the live-oak, caused by the transfer to the latter of the food from the cotyledons.
In a paper on “The Supposed Dimorphism of Lithospermum longiflorum," by C. E. Bessey, published in the June number of the NATURALIST, the writer showed by means of many measurements that this species is not dimorphic (heterostylous), but that its large flowers are exceedingly variable as to length of corolla and style.
Thomas Meehan's “ Dimorphic Flowers in Houstonia" and “Cleistogamy in Oxalis acetosella,” and I. C. Martindale's “Sexual Variation in Castanea Americana," published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, should be noted here as interesting contributions to this department of botany. The “Notes on the Flowering of Saxifraga sarmentosa," by Professor J. E. Todd, in the August NATURALIST, are somewhat more extended than the preceding, and accompanied by several wood-cuts.
“ Nectar and its Uses," published by Wm. Trelease in the Report upon Cotton Insects, issued by the Department of Agriculture, is a carefully prepared essay, bringing together what is known as to the production and uses of the nectar of plants. A plate and an excellent list of the books and papers treating of nectar, add to the usefulness of the essay.
Professor W. J. Beal published in the March number of the NATURALIST, some notes on the “Agency of Insects in Fertilization." These notes were made by students under the guidance of the professor, and many of them are admirable.
Wm. Barbeck, in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, published a paper on “The Development of Lemna," in which he concludes that in Lemna "we have an interesting instance of parthenogenesis, there being seeds (produced in autumn by a sexual process) from which, during the course of the summer, generation after generation is propagated without any further fertilization."
Here should be mentioned Dr. Gray's note on the “Automatic Movement of the Frond of Asplenium trichomanes," published in the Botanical Gazette for March, and W. K. Higley's notes on “ Carnivorous Plants" (Drosera rotundifolia) in the December number of the same journal.
B. Systematic Botany.--a, Fungi. In the March number of the Botanical Gazette, C. H. Peck described nineteen new species of fungi, mostly from the Eastern United States. These are an interesting Stemonitis (S. Morgani) which is closely related to S. fusca; Coniothyriuin minutulum, Leptothyrium chromospermum, Proma albistrata, Phoma colorata, Septoria consocia, Septoria irregulare, Discella variabilis, Sporidesmium minutissimum, Lecythea macrosora, Æcidium Jamesianum, Sorosporium atrum on a Carex, from Pennsylvania and Colorado, Cheiromyces tinctus, Peziza spongiosa, Phacidium sparsum, Stictis fulva, Diatrype angulare, Sphæria alti peta, Sphæria lichenolis.
Twenty-nine new species of fungi, collected in California by Dr. Harkness, were described by M. C. Cooke in the September number of Grevillea. The descriptions are mere Latin diagnoses, and are by no means satisfactory. The species described are Phoma hosackiæ, Chætoplomu atriella, Vermicularia subglabra, Septoria helianthicola, Discella olivacea, D. tenuispora, Diplodia inicroscopica, D. rhuina, Hendersonia galiorum, Dichomera phacelia, D.compositarum, Glæosporium leguminis, Turula glutinosa, Coleosporinm baccharidis, Macrosporum culmorum, Trichaëgum atrum Preuss., T. opacum, Fusarium gallinaceum, Leotia ochroleuca, Stictis decipiens Karst., S. radiata, var. pumila, S. annulata C. and Pbil., Ascomyces fulgens, Sphæria labiatarum, S. epipteridis, Sphærella brachytheca, S. aralie, S. dendromeconis, S. acacia. All, with three exceptions indicated above, are described as by Cooke and Harkness, who are therefore to be quoted as the joint authors of the specific names.
M. C. Cooke enumerated thirty-one species of “New York Fungi,” of which seven were new, in the March number of Grevillea. The new species which are described are the following: Coniothyrium rubellum, Diplodia celastri, D. compressa, Massaria Gerardi, Psilosphæria melasperma, Conispheria peniophora, Spharella ilicella.
Two new species of Septoria were described by Baron F. De Theumen in the October Botanical Gasette, one (S. Albaniensis) on Salix from New York, and the other (S. Querceti) on Quercus from South Carolina.
An interesting addition to the Phalloidei was made in an article on "A New Fungus,” by W. R. Gerard, in the January Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. The new species, Simb!um, rubescens, was discovered on Lɔng Island. A full and satisfactory description is given, and two good plates are added. Appended to the paper is a valuable "List of United States Phalloidei,” including all “which have been detected in the United States up to the present time.”
The “ Catalogue of Pacific Coast Fungi,” by Dr. Harkness and J. P. Moore, first read before the California Academy of Sciences, Feb. 2, 1880, and afterwards published in a pamphlet of fortysix pages, enumerates nearly 900 species. Localities and habitat are given for the greater number of the species. One new species, Agaricus tridens Moore, from a drift 400 feet below the surface, is described.
A valuable article on “ The White-grub Fungus," appeared in the June number of the American Entomologist. The writer (C. V. Riley) appended a list of papers containing references (mostly popular) to this fungus. Two wood-cuts accompany the article.
Professor Prentiss' paper in the August and September NATURALIST, on the “ Destruction of Obnoxious Insects by means of Fungoid Growths," recorded the results of a series of experiments with yeast as an insecticide. The results were plainly adverse.
Professor Burrill's paper on “Anthrax of Fruit-trees," read before the Boston meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, did not reach the public, through the tardy publication of the " Proceedings," until about a year later. Abstracts appeared in various journals, one of which, viz., that in the American Monthly Microscopical Journal, is selected for notice here. The disease called blight is held, by Professor Burrill, to be due to “a living organism which produces butyric ferinentation of the material stored in the cells, especially those in the liber. This organism is allied to, if not identical with the butyric vibrione of Pasteur, and the Baciilus amylobacter of Van Tieghem.” Experiments were made by inoculating healthy trees, and the results appeared to sustain the theory of the bacterial nature of the disease. The bacteria observed were described, and careful measurements given.
Century iv of Ellis' now well-known “North American Fungi," was issued during the year.
b. Alga. Francis Wolle's paper on “Fresh-water Algæ," in the April Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, contained a " list of upwards of one hundred plants, at least ninety of which are new to the United States, and of which eighteen were wholly unknown.” The new species described are the following: Spherowyga saccaia, Tolypothrix bombycina, Euastrum Donnelli, E. formosum, Micrasterias Kitchelli, Staurastrum pulchrum, St. Nova-Casarea, St. tricornutum, St. macrocerum, St. fasciculoides, St. subarcuatum, St. comptum, St. pusilluin, Arthrodesmus fragilis, Pleurocarpus tenuis, E logonium Donnelli. In the August num