Micrographia - or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses with observations and inquiries thereupon/Chapter 23

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Observ. XXIII.Of the curious texture of Sea-weeds.

FOr curiosity and beauty, I have not among all the Plants or Vegetables I have yet observ’d, seen any one comparable to this Sea-weed I have here describ’d, of which I am able to say very little more then what is represented by the second Figure of the ninth Scheme: Namely, that it is a Plant which grows upon the Rocks under the water, and increases and spreads it self into a great tuft, which is not onely handsomely branch’d into several leaves, but the whole surface of the Plant is cover’d over with a most curious kind of carv’d work, which consists of a texture much resembling a Honey-comb; for the whole surface on both sides is cover’d over with a multitude of very small holes, being no bigger than so many holes made with the point of a small Pinn, and rang’d in the neatest and most delicate order imaginable, they being plac’d in the manner of a Quincunx, or very much like the rows of the eyes of a Fly, the rows or orders being very regular, which way soever they are observ’d: what the texture was, as it appear’d through a pretty bigg Magnifying Microscope, I have here adjoin’d in the first Figure of the 14. Scheme. which round Area A B C D represents a part of the surface about one eighth part of an Inch in Diameter: Those little holes, which to the eye look’d round, like so many little spots, here appear’d very regularly shap'd holes, representing almost the shape of the sole of a round toed shoe, the hinder part of which, is, as it were, trod on or cover’d by the toe of that next below it; these holes seem’d wall’d about with a very thin and transparent substance, looking of a pale straw-colour; from the edge of which, against the middle of each hole, were sprouted out four small transparent straw-colour’d Thorns, which seem’d to protect and cover those cavities, from either side two; neer the root of this Plant, were sprouted out several small branches of a kind of bastard Coralline, curiously branch’d, though small.

And to confirm this, having lately the opportunity of viewing the large Plant (if I may so call it) of a Sponge petrify'd, of which I made mention in the last Observation, I found, that each of the Branches or Figures of it, did, by the range of its pores, exhibit just such a texture,

Schem. XIV.

the rows of pores crossing one another, much after the manner as the rows of eyes do which are describ’d in the 26.Scheme: Coralline also, and several sorts of white Coral, I have with a Microscope observ’d very curiously shap’d. And I doubt not, but that he that shall observe these several kinds of Plants that grow upon Rocks, which the Sea sometimes overflows, and those heaps of others which are vomited out of it upon the shore, may find multitudes of little Plants, and other bodies, which like this will afford very beautifull objects for the Microscope; and this Specimen here is adjoin’d onely to excite their curiosities who have opportunity of observing to examine and collect what they find worthy their notice; for the Sea, among terrestrial bodies, is also a prolifick mother, and affords as many Instances of spontaneous generations as either the Air or Earth.