The Evolution of Plants

9780217348751: The Evolution of Plants

This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1911. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION -- THE DARWINIAN THEORY -- NATURE OF THE EVIDENCE -- THE FOSSID RECORD The doctrine of Evolution is an attempt to answer the question, "What was the origin of all the multitude of forms of living animals and plants which now people the earth?" Thia question, so natural to ask, was long regarded by the majority of competent naturalists as insoluble. Though we cannot, in the nature of things, have any direct knowledge of the origin of natural species (i. e. the different kinds of wild plants and animals), yet there are a great many familiar and often very distinct forms of living things, of which we do know the history, in whole or in part. These are our cultivated plants and domestic animals. We know, for example (to confine ourselves to the plants), that our Roses and Tulips, Potatoes and Pars7 nips, Wheat and Oats, with their numerous varieties and races, all came originally from wild species, often extremely different from the garden or field plants which man has created out of them. We will not go into the question how the cultivated forms came from the wild types -- that is a long and involved story, always difficult and often impossible to unravel in detail. For example, the origin of Wheat, the most important to us of all cultivated plants, has long been a mystery, and is not yet fully cleared up. The Wheats have now been traced, as Dr. Stapf informs us, to four primitive types. The most important of the wild species (the original of the Hard Wheats and other forms) has only been recognised within the last few years as a weed growing on the slopes of Mount Hermon in Palestine; the wild form of the Soft Wheats is still unknown. But, whatever the difficulties, we at any rate know that all cultivated plants have come from pre-existing w...

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