Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/83

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71
THE PHYSIOLOGY OF COLOR IN PLANTS.

which is discounted, in part at least, by the low figure selected to represent average wages.

It is apparent that a rearrangement of some kind would be necessary; is it not likely that this rearrangement would be found in a corresponding reduction of wages?

Sympathizing as I do with all legitimate efforts of workingmen to better their condition, it appears to me that the aim of their organizations should be to secure a reduction in the hours of those workers who are compelled to submit to clearly excessive consecutive hours of attention to duty  — conditions that are not only deleterious to the welfare and happiness of the laborer himself, but in some instances increasing the danger to life and limb of others whose interest and sympathy would be a powerful lever, if properly applied, to help to remove this incubus resting at present upon the boasted freedom of labor in this country.

If the views which I have here advanced shall have the effect of tending, on the one hand, to discourage unwise and impracticable schemes of some misguided wage-workers, and, on the other hand, to stimulate keener and more general interest on the part of employers of labor in the welfare of their operatives, and thus to foster a closer union between these two great interdependent elements of society, I shall feel that my efforts have been repaid. The nature of my occupation for the past fifteen years has perhaps afforded unusually favorable opportunities for viewing both sides of the sociological questions here discussed; it has certainly aroused keen personal interest in the subject and has stimulated study of these problems.


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THE PHYSIOLOGY OF COLOR IN PLANTS.

By D. T. MACDOUGAL,

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF BOTANY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA.

THAT the color exhibited by the roots, stems, leaves, and especially flowers and fruits of plants received serious attention at a very early date is well attested by ancient record. It was only in comparatively recent time, however, that the daring conjecture was hazarded that even such an abundant, widely distributed, and characteristic color as chlorophyll (leaf-green) subserved a purpose in the life-process of plants. Doubtless certain masses of marked color, or combination of pronounced tints, must have afforded a gratification to man's sense of beauty quite, early in his development. At the same time and earlier these colors were also used as a distinguishing mark in the selection of plants for food, and later they were taken to be indicative of the absence or presence of magical curative properties. The first-named feature is still valid, and forms the basis of the art of the gardener and florist to-day. The last-named aspect of plant colors received its greatest attention during the prevalence of the practices of the Grecian Rhizotomoi and Pharmakopoli, and later in the "doctrine of signatures." The doctrine of