Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/329

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masses of the entire plant with the intevlnciiig roots of trees nmongst which it nestles, from an examination of which I hoped to have ascer- tained whether or not the ))iant was eiliier wholly or partially parasitic. Though closely resembling in habit and general appearance Lathrmi squauiaria, Mondtropn is not, I believe, parasitic in the same way nor to the same extent that that plant is. In Lathrcea I have succeeded in tracing the actual connection between its roots and those of Corylus Acdlana, the plant on which it is generally parasitic here; and I am able to confirm in many respects the statements made by Mr. Bowman in his paper on LatJircen srjncnnarla in the ' Transactions of the Linnean Society,' vol. xvi. part 3. But as regards Monotropa, I have utterly failed to discover any immediate or direct communication between it and the roots amongst which it lies imbedded, except that the fibrous processes which envelope the roots or rootstock of Monotropa are closely applied, and to some extent adherent, to the roots of the trees. Both Beech and Pir grow around the plants at Westover; and I identified, by the strong resinous smell, some of the roots to which the Monotropa rootlets were clinging as some kind of Fir. In the station at Carisbrooke Castle only Beech-trees occur. The only discussion of late years upon the subject of the parasitism of Monotropa, appears, as far as I can find from the resources at my command, to be that in the first volume of the ' Phy- tologist,' to which Messrs. Luxfbrd, Edwin Lees, W. Wilson, E. Newman, T. G. Rylands, and others, contributed their observations. Their opinions very widely differed, one of the most striking peculiarities of the plant, the fibrous clothing of the roots or underground stem being variously considered " the woolly matted extremities of the grasses which grew with the Monotropa " "minute spougioles — sent forth in all directions;" " spougioles or suckers;" " fibrous extremities " or " root;" and lastly, " a byssoid fungus." Mr. Kylancis, whose paper shows that he took considerable trouble in the matter, was so satisfied that this fibre was a fungoid growth, that he discovered and named four distinct species, which very pleasingly brouglit together the names of the several investigators — Epipliagos Lnxfordii (Ryl. mss.), Zi/f/odemiiis Bcrkeleyi (lUl. mss.), Si'pedoniuin TFilsoni (Ryl. mss.), Cladosporium Leesii (Ryl. mss.). Now although "byssoid fungi" may occur naturally enough on the decay- ing and dead leaves and other vegetable matter beneath Beech or Fir trees, it is extremely difficult to believe that the substance so regularly and constantly enveloping the root or rhizome of Monotropa is of a fungoid character. The resemblance which was at once suu'gested to my mintl by the appearance of this fibre was to the radicular fibres by which common Ivy clings to trees or walls, and this still seems to me to be a comparison well warranted by the observations I have been able to make. The investigations of the well-known botanists whose names are al)Ove- mcntioned were conducted just thirty years ago. It would be very satis- factory if English microscopists would, with their greatly advanced know- ledge and improved apparatus, turn their attention to the question of the parasitism of this and some other plants. I must confess niysclfciuite unai)le to decide whether or not Monotropa is parasitic at all. No actual connec- tion has ever i)een ob-erved; this seems to be the strongest point, because, although extremely difficult to discover and demonstrate, actual connec- tion, beyond mere contact, has been proved to exist in the case of Lulhrfra and other parasitic plants; and, until this connection has been traced and

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