become more experienced.*
* In due time you can learn some special names which have been
given to some spurious and collective fruits, (cf. Appendix C.)
IT will be on some
of the dry days
of autumn that
you will best be
able to explore
amongst the seeds
of our common
But very many of
them are small; so
small that you
cannot really see
them well without
a microscope, and
I want you to
more about seeds
Fig. 134. The Date Palm. before the autumn
comes. So let us try and get a grain or two of wheat,
a few peas or beans, one or two prunes, dates, and
walnuts, an apple, a Brazil nut, a common hazel nut
1 5 2 FLOWER-LAND.
or filbert, a pear, an orange, and a ^nutmeg ; and we
will grind the nutmeg partly away upon a grater.
Then we will talk about them in the evening, or
when it is a wet day, and you cannot go out.
Now as we place our little store before us, we will
cut open the apple (Fig. 25, p. 28), and the orange,
and the pear, and get out their seeds or pips as we
call them. And what about the seeds of the walnut,
prune, and date ? Yes ! the hard stony thing inside
the date fruit is its seed : but in the prune or dried
plum you have to crack the stone (the endocarp)
and then you can get out the seed, that is the kernel.
So also with the shell or pericarp of the nut and
the endocarp of the walnut (p. 148). And we will get
a little water and put a pea and bean in it that they
may soak a little.
Now let us take this walnut seed or kernel, and
peel off the thin skin which covers it. This skin, or
coat of the seed is called the testa* (Fig. 135 s\ and
varies much in different seeds. You can see by
looking at the seeds before us how different it is in
colour. In the apple it is a rich dark brown, a
lighter shade of brown in the prune, in the orange
seed it is white, in the pear black, in the common
mustard it is yellow. When you have an opportunity
of looking at some of our common wild flower
seeds under the microscope, you will find some of
* From the Latin " testa" a jar, a cask (the shell or covering
of the seed).
them with very pretty patterns ; and sometimes the
pattern is in colours, as in the seed of the common
So also you will find a won-
derful variety as to the smooth-
ness or roughness of the seed
coats. Sometimes, like those
of the bean or apple, they are
smooth to touch ; but in many
seeds they are rough with
knobs, or furrowed, or winged,
or tufted, or rough with
And as to substance, see
how thin and membranous is
this testa or skin of the
walnut seed. Try that of the
bean. It has softened I dare
say in the water, and as you
peel off its coat you find that -,.
Fl g- I35 A t hal f f bean
it is thicker and more seed, kn plumule of embryo,
w its radicle, c one of the coty-
leathery than that of the ledons, s the testa.
walnut. These differences evidently depend upon the
character of the pericarp in which the seeds are
enclosed. When the seed remains safely in the
pericarp until it begins to grow, then the testa is
likely to be thin and tender ; but if the pericarp is
soft so that the seed might be easily damaged, or if
it dehisces and the seeds are sent out to fare as best
they may, then the testa becomes hard, or tough, or
hairy, &c., that it may protect the little plant inside it.
So now split some of these seeds in half. Perhaps
you cannot see anything very distinctly, only a whitish
mass ; but you know that this substance of the seed
is a store of food for the embryo, or little plant, which
is embedded in it (p. 134). If you do not quite
remember about the embryo, we will turn back and
read again about its radicle and plumule (p. 65, 71),
and its seed leaves, either one or two (p. 33). These
seed leaves are called cotyledons* Sometimes they
are large and fleshy, take up all the store of food into
themselves, and fill up the testa, as in the bean
(Fig. 135,) or almond (Fig. 136, C.) But in Fig.
Fig. 136. Sections of ripe seeds. A, nux vomica ; B, piper;
C> almond ; s t testa ; e, embryo ; w, its radicle ; c, cotyle-
dons. For E and /*, see note.f
136, A and B> you see pictures of seeds cut in
half, in which the cotyledons remain small, and the
whole embryo is surrounded by its food, which fills
up the rest of the testa, t
*From the Greek, " kotyledon," a hollow like a cup ; from " kotyle,"
f Cf. Appendix. Endosperm, perisperm.
We have now to notice how the substance or body
of the seed varies both in hardness and in shape. So
compare the peculiarly crumpled or folded seed of
the walnut with the other variously shaped but
smooth and even seeds which are before you. And
look at your nutmeg. Do you see how its substance
is mottled ? That is caused by a layer of the testa,
which grows in and out between the folded substance
or body of the seed. And its substance is very hard
also. In the pip of the apple or kernel of the nut,
on the other hand, it is softer. In the date seed,
however, whilst its testa is very fragile, its body or
substance is harder than in the nutmeg : so hard that
you may use knife or hammer upon it, and not easily
make much impression. Yet the little date plant
which it surrounds feeds and thrives upon it when the
date seeds are planted and begin to grow.
Will you crack the Brazil nut ? How oily this
seed is. You can not only taste this, but, if you
squeeze a bit of it hard, you will see that it is so. And
if you can get one whole out of its shell, and cut it to a
point at one end, and light it, it will burn freely. It
is a complete little lamp wick and oil and lamp
Whilst it is burning, eat the wheat seed slowly.
Does it not remind you of flour and bread ?
Very different again is the nutmeg. Scrape or
grate it a little, and notice how fragrant it is ; and
you know that some people are fond of it as a spice
1 5 ^ FLO WE R- LAND.
So you have oil and flour and spice, all close at
hand. I think you will find the different ways in
which seeds are useful to us a very interesting part
But how wonderful is the production of seed.
Wonderful if we think of a flower that produces but
a single seed, as the common nut. Wonderful if we
think of such a flower as the poppy, a fruit of which
has been found to contain up to 40,000 seeds ; 40,000
cases containing little poppy germs, each capable of
growing into root, and stem, and leaves, and flower,
and fruit, and 40,000 seeds again !
DISTRIBUTION OF SEEDS.
DISTRIBUTION OF SEEDS.
Fig- 137. Fool's Parsley (^Ethusa cynapium),
with reflexed bracts.
I WONDER if
you can tell me
what all the life
of a plant is
working for ?
Why plants and
their parts are
found in all
you have been
learning about ?
Yes, the root,
the stem, the
leaves, and all
plants may live.
They are the "organs of nourishment." Then the
1 5 8 FLO WER-LAND.
energy of the living plants spends itself in forming
flowers and fruits with all their wonderful variety
the "organs of reproduction." So that the great
business of plants is to produce their seed by which
their kind may be kept alive upon the earth after
those of any particular generation are dead and gone.
I should like you to remember this. So notice again
how wonderfully the seeds are covered and protected
by pericarp or testa, or by both (p. 152). And then
on fine summer days let us search to find out some of
the wonderful ways in which plants take pains that
their seeds may ripen safely, and, when ripe, may be
" scattered," or " sown."
Notice, for instance, the common dandelion in full
bloom, how conspicuous it is, its stalk erect, and its
bright yellow florets all wide open.
But presently the involucre will close up around
its withering florets, and the flower stalk (scape,
p. 107) will bend downwards with the precious
head of fertilised ovules, so that they may become
seeds (p. 134) ripe and ready to be sown. Then up
rises its stalk again, and its involucre opens wide,
and the head of fruits, each with a feathery tail at-
tached to it,* is raised high, so that the fruits with
their precious seed may be scattered by the wind.
Have you never seen children blowing at these
feathery heads or " clocks " as they are called, to see
*This is called a "pappus," see Fig. 138, a, b, e.
DISTRIBUTION OF SEEDS.
in how many puffs they can blow off all the feathery
fruits? (Fig. 138 #.) Try one now. First notice the
little fruits or inferior achenes (cypselas) with their
feathery tails (Fig. 138 b, e), and then start them on
their journey through the air, and watch how admirably
Fig. 138. Dandelion (Leontodon} ; a, head of seeds ; b, head with all
seeds removed but one, showing reflexed involucre, pitted receptacle
and one fruit with pappus ; , one fruit with pappus magnified ;
c, receptacle with one floret left upon it ; d, floret magnified, showing
ovary'at base, the hairy calyx which becomes the pappus, the tubular
corolla with expanded limb (ligulate), the anthers of the stamens
being close around the style of the pistil, of which the stigma at
the top is notched.
the plant has produced that which will bring about
what is desired, that its ripe seeds should be scattered
that the dandelion plants may spread and grow from
year to year.
You will find many other fruits and seeds which
have appendages that they may be wafted by the
wind. Either feathery hairs as in the
willow-herb, cotton grass, thistles and
other composite plants, clematis and
bulrush ; or a thin membrane, or wing,
as in the maple or sycamore (cf. Figs.
28 b t p. 33 J 139).
Sometimes the seeds are scattered
by what Sir John Lubbock describes
Fig. 139. Scale as " innocent artillery." That is, plants
of fruit of Scotch
out their seeds, sometimes
rir, snowing two
winged seeds. to a considerable distance, by the
contraction or expansion of the seed
case (cf. Fig. 140). There is a plant
which grows in moist places in the
north of England, called the yellow
balsam. If you touch its fruit when
it is ripe, the valves of the seed
vessel will spring off and scatter the
seeds to a considerable distance ; so Fig. ^140!* Fruit of
the plant is called " Impatiens-noli- Pa . ns y Violet ( Y iola
tricolor] ; B, ripe fruit ;
me-tangere" i.e., " I am impatient (of k, calyx ; c, fruit after
. 1X . dehiscence : p, placen-
being touched), do not touch me. tse ; j, seeds.
In the common Herb-Robert, each of the five fruitlets
has a long thin projection which reaches from the
DIS TRIB UTION OF SEEDS. I 6 1
ovary or seed case to the top
(apex) of the central axis
or flower stalk. These rods
become tightly stretched when
the seeds, are ripe, so tightly
that at length they burst
away, and as they do so jerk
to a considerable distance the
five little fruits or carpels
containing the seed (Fig. 141).
On warm autumn days you
may hear the pods of many
of the butterfly plants bursting
and scattering the seeds, as
tig. 141. Fruit of Geranium-
A, before dehiscence ; B, after also the siliquas (p. 144) of the
dehiscence ; s, pedicel ;/, loculi
of the ovary which is prolonged Cruciferae (cross bearers). In
coTu UiL" the stork's bill, another species
dehiscence ; ;/, the stigma. o f t } ie geranium order, the
seeds are scattered as in the Herb-Robert.
Some seeds have a twisted rod or awn something
like a corkscrew. If the weather is damp, the rod
untwists and lengthens ; if dry, it contracts again ; and
so, as some think, the seed is enabled to travel some
little distance. Others, however, think that this
movement is for the purpose of forcing the seed
into the ground.
If you walk through a wood you will probably
carry out the wishes of certain kinds of plants in
distributing their seeds. Have you never found
1 62 FLO WER-LA ND.
the little round balls of the harriff (hair rough)
clinging to your clothes ? They are its fruits, fur-
nished with little hooks (p. 23), so that they stick to
you, or to the rabbit or the dog that brushes past
them, and are carried off to found elsewhere a new
colony of harriff. Hence the common name which
has been given them of " cleavers." Perhaps you
have been troubled with the larger fruits and stronger
hooks of the seed vessels of the hound's tongue
(Cynoglossum), a plant with downy leaves and dull
red flowers. If you look at these fruits through the
microscope (with a low magnifying power), you will
see many of the hooks with five spreading teeth
curved downwards and inwards. Very formidable
they look, and one no longer wonders that they are
so difficult to get rid of from one's clothes.
In some foreign plants the hooks of the " fruits
are so large and strong that they are said even
to kill lions.. * As these hooked fruits roll about
over the dry plains, they sometimes become attached
to the lion's skin. "The wretched animal tries to
tear them out, and, sometimes getting them into his
mouth, perishes miserably." *
You can find other instances of those hooked fruits
in the enchanter's nightshade (circcea), and the hedge
Such are some, and only some, of the ways in
* Sir John Lubbock, in "Flowers, Fruits, and Leaves."
niSTKIBUTlON OF SEEDS.
which seeds are dispersed and sown. How marvellous
and full of interest it is to search and find out the
wonders of plants : the wonderful ways in which they
not only produce, but also provide for the distribution
of, their seeds.
CELLS, VESSELS, AND TISSUES.
Fig. 142. Head of Teasel (Dipsacus
sylvestris}) with involucral bracts.
WE are now going
to search just a very
little into a branch
of Botany which is
more difficult than
what you have been
learning hitherto. So
far we have been
talking chiefly about
the parts of Flower-
ing Plants as they
appear to us in their
outward forms the
But now break or
cut a buttercup stem
across, or the stem
of a stinging nettle,
if you can do so
without being stung,
CELLS, VESSELS, AND TISSUES. 165
or a branch of a shrub or tree. Look at a bit of board
which you know has been sawn out of the trunk of
some tree ; break the stalk of a dandelion ; cut an
apple or plum in half, or tear across one or two
different kinds of leaves. How different the substance
of these things ! Now I want to-day to tell you a
little about how these things, and all other parts of
plants, are made up.
You cannot make out very much as you look at
the soft, sappy substance of the buttercup stem, or
the hard wood, or the thin or fleshy leaves. To
search into them thoroughly requires a microscope ;
but with the use of your magnifying glass and a few
pictures, we shall be very well able to understand
something about the composition of plants and their
parts : the way in which they are made up the
Anatomy * of Plants.
We shall begin with an orange. Choose the ripest
you can find : partly cut, and then tear it in half.
Now, the pulp is made up of a lot of little juicy bags
or bladders. Separate a little bit of it carefully, and
you will easily get one or two of these little bladders
unbroken. They are called " cells," and cells are
the first or foundation substance of which plants are
made up. But these cells of the orange pulp are old
ones. Their life is over ; they are simply bags full
of juice a pulpy covering for the seeds and in due
course they would rot away. But in its young and
* From the Greek "ana" and " teinno" I cut in pieces, I separate.
growing state the cell contains a soft substance, alive ;
that is. with power of growth, which is called
"protoplasm" * In these plants which you are learn-
ing about, it has a special part called a nucleus ; its
skin or covering is the cell wall, and the watery fluid
which is found in cells is called the cell sap, about
which I will tell you a little more in due course.
Now, how do cells increase in number ? When
you learn about the flowerless plants, you will find
that sometimes old cells become young again, or two
Fig. 143. Various kinds of cellular tissue
or more join together to form a new cell : but now
remember that cells increase in number by division.
You will learn in due course about the different ways
* From the Greek "protos," first, and "plasma," anything moulded
CELLS, VESSELS, AND TISSUES.
in which they may divide ; but generally the nucleus
and protoplasm divide into parts, and a new cell wall
is formed between them, so that there are two cells
instead of one.* Thus the division goes on, and a
collection of cells is formed, which is called tissue ;
and so the whole plant is developed, or grows up,
from " cells."
The simplest form of tissue is made up of simple
cells. It is therefore called cellular tissue, and is of
two kinds according to the general shape of the cells
of which it is composed. If we were to get some of
the pith of the elder,! we should find that it was made
up of a lot of cells about as long as they are broad.
These are called " short cells," and such a tissue is
called "parenchyma "| (Fig. 143).
But if we carefully
separated the parts of
a stern, we should find
in it long and narrow
cells. These overlap
one another and so
form a stiff tissue, which,
though long and narrow,
is able to stand upright
and carry weight, as in
the stem of a butter-
cup. This kind of tissue,
Fig. 144. Cellular tissue
* cf. Cell in the Appendix.
f Try this with your magnifying glass ; also pith of dahlia.
t From the Greek "para" beside, and " encheo" to pour in.
made up of the long cells, is called " prosenchyma"*
In some parts of stems, however, you find another
kind of tissue. In a pile or column of cells, one
on the top of the other, the divisions between
them sometimes gradually disappear, or partly
so, so that there is a free passage from end to
end of the whole column or set of cells, and so is
formed a long tube or " vessel." The sides or walls of
these vessels differ a good deal according to the way
in which the original cell divisions or walls have been
removed or altered. I will only tell you that the
Fig. 145. Spiral vessels. Fig. 146. Pitted vessels.
most common ones are known as ringed (annular)^, or
spiral, or pitted, or scalariform \ according to these
differences in their walls (Figs. 145, 146, 147). You
* From the Greek "pros," to, and " encheo" to pour in.
f From the Latin " annuhis" a ring, a curled lock of hair.
J From the Latin " scalaris" (scala) of a ladder, and "forma," shape
CELLS, VESSELS, AND TISSUES.
may perhaps find some of them for yourself out of
a piece of rhubarb, when next you have any rhubarb
Fig. 147. Scalariform vessels (on the right hand).
tart for dinner. You must tear a very small piece
into shreds with a pin or needle, and then try what
you can see with your magnifying glass. Under the
microscope you would see
it as in the picture (Fig.
148). Now a tissue made
up of vessels is called vas-
cular tissue* So now you
know that it is of cellular
Fig ; i 4 8.-Annularvesseand tissue (parenchyma or pros-
spiral vessels from rhubarb, enchyma) and of vascular
tissue that these flowering plants and their parts
are made up.
Notice how the shape of cells and the spaces
between them t vary according to the closeness with
* From the Latin " vascuhim" (vas}, a vessel.
t These are called ''intercellular spaces," from the Latin "inter"
between (the cells).
which they are joined together in the tissue
(Figs. 143, 149)-
And notice also how cells
change as they grow old and
die. There are not only
the soft and juicy cells of
the yellow orange pulp, or
the soft and dry ones of the
pith of trees, but sometimes
they harden as they dry up
so as to form hard tissue*
like that of bark, or wood, or the stone of a plum
or peach (Fig. 149).
Fig. 149. Left hand shows
bark cells from horse chestnut,
right hand hard cells from stone
of damson (sclerenchyma].
* cf. sclerenchyma, Appendix.
Fig. 150. Spike of Grass
a, a single flower.
As we are going to
talk about tissues,
I shall begin by-
asking you to tell
me what a tissue
is (p. 167).
(i) So now we will
take a tissue of
the simplest form-
some cells joined
only end to end.
You will find ex-
amples in many
hairs. If you look
again at Fig. 54,
p. 8 1, you will see
some hairs magni-
fied, which are made
up of cells joined
only end to end.
(2) Now suppose you have a lot of cells placed
together, like a single layer of eggs upon a table, and
which have grown together, so that they form a thin
sheet or skin of cells. There is just such a skin or
tissue of cells covering the surface of the parts of
plants, and enclosing the other tissues within it* It
is, therefore, called the epidermal > tissue, or simply
the epidermis t ; and it generally consists of a single
layer of cells, as I have described it. The outside
walls of the epidermal
cells are more or less
thickened and hardened,
and grow together so as
to form the surface skin
or outside wall, which is
called the cuticle. % You
can see a picture of the
epidermis and its cuticle
in Fig. 151. Try if you
can distinguish it in a
thickish leaf, or some
herbaceous stem ; or try
for it upon an onion
bulb. In the stems and
shoots of shrubs and trees, the green and tender
Fig. 151. Leaf stalk of a Begonia
cut across (transverse section).
t, epidermis ; r, cuticle (magni-
fied 550 times).
* Yet the stigma is not covered over, you remember (p. 128), as there
is a channel down it into the ovary ; and there are the little openings
or mouths which are found upon leaves (p. 25).
f From the Greek "<?/?'," upon, and "derma" skin.
From the Latin (cutis), " cuticula" the outermost skin.
epidermis soon breaks or bursts as the stem or shoot
grows larger, and is changed into, or its place is
taken by, the tougher, thicker, and at last hard and
brownish tissue, which we commonly call bark, but
about which I will tell you a little more in the next
(3) W^ come now to an important system or
arrangement of tissue, which is made up of both cells
and vessels. You have noticed it often in the veins
of leaves. These so-called veins are really bundles
of tissue, harder than the rest of the substance or
tissue of the leaf, and passing from the leaf into and
down the branches and main stem like bundles of
string or cord. When all the rest of the leaf has
perished, these bundles of tissue often remain, and
form the skeleton leaves which are so delicately
beautiful. If you break a stem of the common
plantain leaf, or pull the leaf in two, you will
probably see these bundles of tissue projecting very
plainly. But you have noticed them also in the
fibres of nettles (p. 51) ; and now I think I can tell
you what this combination of cellular and vascular
tissue is called. Because its cellular tissue is largely
prosenchyma (p. 168), and the cells particularly long,
thickened, and tough (fibrous), it is specified by the
word fibro, and so the combination tissue is known
* From the Latin *' fibra, " a thread ; to mark the thread or string-
like character of most of the cells of the cellular tissue. For " vascular,"
see p. 169.
If you look at the
picture of part of a
stalk which has been
cut across in Fig. 152,
you will see the fibro-
vascular bundles or
tissue very plainly.
(4) All other tissues
of which plants are
made up, besides the
epidermal and the
Fig. 152. Part of leafstalk of Hellebore
(transverse section). e t epidermis ; are Spoken of generally
/, fibro- vascular system ; g, funda- ,
mental tissue. as fundamental* tissue.
It consists largely of parenchyma (p. 167), and you can
find examples of it in the softer parts of leaves and
herbaceous stems, in the pith of elder, etc., in the
pulp of fruits, in the shell of the walnut, or the stone
of the plum or peach.
I hope you will not be disheartened at these
three systems or formations of tissue, with their long