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by the mouth. Bearing such facts in mind, I can see no reason to doubt that an accidental deviation in the size and form of the body, or in the curvature and length of the proboscis, etc., far too slight to be appreciated by us, might profit a bee or other insect, so that an individual so characterised would be able to obtain its food more quickly, and so have a better chance of living and leaving descendants. Its descendants would probably inherit a tendency to a similar slight deviation of structure. The tubes of the corollas of the common red and incarnate clovers (Trifolium pratense and incarnatum) do not on a hasty glance appear to differ in length; yet the hive-bee can easily suck the nectar out of the incarnate clover, but not out of the common red clover, which is visited by humble-bees alone; so that whole fields of the red clover offer in vain an abundant supply of precious nectar to the hive-bee. Thus it might be a great advantage to the hive-bee to have a slightly longer or differently constructed proboscis. On the other hand, I have found by experiment that the fertility of clover depends on bees visiting and moving parts of the corolla, so as to push the pollen on to the stigmatic surface. Hence, again, if humble-bees were to become rare in any country, it might be a great advantage to the red clover to have a shorter or more deeply divided tube to its corolla, so that the hive-bee could visit its flowers. Thus I can understand how a flower and a bee might slowly become, either simultaneously or one after the other, modified and adapted in the most perfect manner to each other, by the continued preservation of individuals presenting mutual and slightly favourable deviations of structure.
I am well aware that this doctrine of natural selection, exemplified in the above imaginary instances, is open to the same objections which were at first urged against Sir Charles Lyell's noble views on the modern changes of the earth, as illustrative of geology'; but we now seldom hear the action, for instance, of the coast-waves, called a trifling and insignificant cause, when applied to the excavation of gigantic valleys or to the formation of the longest lines of inland Cliffs. Natural selection can act only by the preservation and accumulation of infinitesimally small inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being; and as modern geology has almost banished such views as the excavation of a great valley by a single diluvial wave, so will natural selection, if it be a true principle, banish the belief of the continued creation of new organic beings, or of any great and sudden modification in their structure.
on the Intercrossing of Individuals. -I must here introduce a short digression. In the case of animals and plants with separated sexes, it is of course obvious that two individuals must always (with the exception of the curious and not well-understood cases of thenogenesis) unite for each birth; but in the case 1 hermaphrodites this is far from obvious. Nevertheless I am strongly inclined to believe that with all hermaphrodites two individuals, either occasionally or habituaily, concur for the reproduction of their kind. This view was first suggested by Andrew Knight. We shall presently see its importance; but I must here treat the subject with extreme brevity, though I have the materials prepared for an ample discussion. All vertebrate animals, all insects, and some other large groups of animals, pair for each birth. Modern research has much diminished the number of supposed hermaphrodites, and of real hermaphrodites a large number pair; that is, two individuals regularly unite for reproduction, which is all that concerns us. But still there are many hermaphrodite animals which certainly do not habitually pair, and a vast majority of plants are hermaphrodites. What reason, it may be asked, is there for supposing in these cases that two individuals ever concur in reproduction? As it is impossible here to enter on details, I must trust to some general considerations alone.
in the first place, I have collected so large a body of
, facts, showing, in accordance with the almost universal belief of breeders, that with animals and plants a cross between different varieties, or between individuals of the same variety but of another strain, gives vigour and fertility to the offspring ; and on the other hand, that close interbreeding diminishes vigour and fertility; I that these facts alone incline me to believe that it is a general law of nature (utterly ignorant though we be of the meaning of the law) that no organic being selffertilises itself for an eternity of generations ; but that a cross with another individual is occasionally-perhaps at very long intervals-indispensable.
On the belief that this is a law of nature, we can, I think, understand several large classes of facts, such as the following, which on any other view are inexplicable. Every hybridizer knows how unfavourable exposure to wet is to the fertilisation of a flower, yet what a multitude of flowers have their anthers and stigmas fully exposed to the weather ! but if an occasional cross be indispensable, the fullest freedom for the entrance of pollen from another individual will explain this state of exposure, more especially as the plant's own anthers and pistil generally stand so close together that self-fertilisation seems almost inevitable. Many flowers, on the other hand, have their organs of fructification closely enclosed, as in the great papilionaceous or pea-family; but in several, perhaps in all, such flowers, there is a very curious adaptation between the structure of the flower and the manner in which bees suck the nectar ; for, in doing this, they either push the flower's own pollen on the stigma, or bring pollen from another flower. So necessary are the visits of bees to papilionaceous flowers, that I have found, by experiments published elsewhere, that their fertility is greatly diminished if these visits be prevented. Now, it is scarcely possible that bees should fly from flower to flower, and not carry pollen from one to the other, to the great good, as I believe, of the plant. Bees will act like a camel-hair pencil, and it is quite sufficient just to touch the anthers of one flower and then the stigma of another with the same brush to ensure fertilisation, but it must not be supposed that bees would thus produce a multitude of hybrids between distinct species ; for if you bring on the same brush a plant's own pollen and pollen from another species, the former will have such a prepotent effect, that it will invariably and completely destroy, as has been shown by Gärtner, any influence from the foreign pollen.
When the stamens of a flower suddenly spring towards the pistil, or slowly move one after the other towards it, the contrivance seems adapted solely to ensure self-fertilisation; and no doubt it is useful for this end : but, the agency of insects is often required to cause the stamens to spring forward, as Kölreuter has shown to be the case with the barberry; and in this very genus, which seems to have a special contrivance for self-fertilisation, it is well known that if closely-allied forms or varieties are planted near each other, it is hardly possible to raise pure seedlings, so largely do they naturally cross. In many other cases, far from there being any aids for self- fertilisation, there are special contrivances, as I could show from the writings of C. C. Sprengel and from my own observations, which effectually prevent the stigma receiving pollen from its own flower : for instance, in Lobelia fulgens, there is a really beautiful and elaborate contrivance by which every one of the infinitely numerous pollen-granules are swept out of the conjoined anthers of each flower, before the stigma of that individual flower is ready to receive them; and as this flower is never visited, at least in my garden, by insects, it never sets a seed, though by placing pollen from one flower on the stigma of another, I raised plenty of seedlings; and whilst another species of Lobelia growing close by, which is visited by bees, seeds freely. In very many other cases, though there be no special mechanical contrivance to prevent the stigma of a flower receiving its own pollen, yet, as C. C. Sprengel has shown, and as I can confirm, either
the anthers burst before the stigma is ready for fertilisation, or the stigma is ready before the pollen of that flower is ready, so that these plants have in fact separated sexes, and must habitually be crossed. How strange are these facts! How strange that the pollen and stigmatic surface of the same flower, though placed so close together, as if for the very purposo of selffertilisation, should in so many cases be mutually useless to each other! How simply are these facts explained on the view of an occasional cross with a distinct individual being advantageous or indispensable !
If several varieties of the cabbage, radish, onion, and of some other plants, be allowed to seed near each other, a large majority, as I have found, of the seedlings thus raised will turn out mongrels : for instance, I raised 233 seedling cabbages from some plants of different varieties growing near each other, and of those only 78 were true to their kind, and some even of these were not perfectly true. Yet the pistil of each cabbage-flower is surrounded not only by its own six stamens, but by those of the many other flowers on the samo plant. How, then, comes it that such a vast number of the seedlings are mongrelized ? I suspect that it must arise from the pollen of a distinct variety having a prepotent effect over a flower's own pollen; and that this is part of the general law of good being derived from the intercrossing of distinct individuals of the same species. When distinct species are crossed the case is directly the reverso, for a plant's owd pollen is always prepotent over foreign pollen; but to this subject we shall return in a future chapter.
In the case of a gigantic tree covered with innumerable flowers, it may be objected that pollen could seldom be carried from tree to tree, and at most only from flower to flower on the same tree, and that flowers on the same tree can be considered as distinct individuals only in a limited sense. I believe this objection to be valid, but that nature has largely provided against it by giving to trees a strong tendency