Page:Miscellaneousbot01brow.djvu/466

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448
OBSERVATIONS ON THE STRUCTURE

said to be generally the case by the most celebrated carpologists.

Another observation may be made, less obviously a consequence of the structure described, but equally at variance with many of the published accounts and figures of seeds, namely, that the radicle is never absolutely enclosed in the albumen; but, in the recent state, is either immediately in contact with the inner membrane of the seed, or this contact is established by means of a process generally very 549] short, but sometimes of great length, and which indeed in all cases may be regarded as an elongation of its own substance. From this rule I have found one apparent deviation, but in a case altogether so peculiar, that it can hardly be considered as setting it aside.

It is necessary to observe, that I am acquainted with exceptions to the structure of the ovulum as I have here described it. In Compositæ its coats seem to be imperforated, and hardly separable, either from each other or from the nucleus. In this family, therefore, the direction of the embryo can only be judged of from the vessels of the testa.[1] And in Lemna I have found an apparent inversion of the embryo with relation to the apex of the nucleus. In this genus, however, such other peculiarities of structure and economy exist, that, paradoxical as the assertion may seem, I consider the exception rather as confirming than lessening the importance of the character.

It may perhaps be unnecessary to remark, that the raphe, or vascular cord of the outer coat, almost universally belongs to that side of the ovulum which is next the placenta. But it is at least deserving of notice, that the very few apparent exceptions to this rule evidently tend to confirm it. The most remarkable of these exceptions occur in those species of Euonymus, which, contrary to the usual structure of the genus and family they belong to, have pendulous ovula; and, as I have long since noticed, in the perfect ovula only of Abelia.[2] In these, and in the other cases in which the raphe is on the outer side, or that most remote

  1. Linn. Soc. Transact. xii, p. 136.
  2. Abel's China, p. 377.