Page:Makers of British botany.djvu/55

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
35
RAY'S METHODUS, 1682

ceae) as independent of, but related to, the Umbelliferae. For this, as well as other features, Ray was indebted to Cesalpino (conf. p. 11), as he acknowledges in his Preface. Nor does Ray fail to acknowledge his obligations to Joachim Jung, and to Morison whose Preludia and Historia he cites.

But if Ray's Methodus Nova owed something to Morison's Historia (Pars secunda), at a later stage the Historia (Pars Tertia) was even more indebted to the Methodus Nova. It is striking to observe how many of the groups constituted in the Pars Tertia and in the Sciagraphia (see p. 23) agree with those of Ray. It is this close association, amounting almost to mutual dependence, of the systems of these two botanists, that makes comparative criticism of them an impossibility. Their relative position may, in fact, be summed up in the statement that both of them adopted the principles of Cesalpino, and that Ray eventually proved to be more successful than Morison in their application.

The Methodus Nova is something more than a system of classification. The systematic part of the work is preceded by five Sectiones which are morphological essays bearing the following titles : I. De Plantarum seminibus observationes quaedam generales: II. De Foliis Plantarum seminalibus dictis: III. De Plantula seminali reliquisque semine contentis: IV. De Floribus Plantarum, eorumque partibus et differentiis: V. De Divisione Plantarum generali in Arbores, Frutices, Suffrutices et Herbas. Beginning with the last, it is a discussion of the propriety of retaining the old Theophrastian sub-divisions: Ray agreed with Jung (see p. 15) that they are popular rather than accurate and philosophical, but he retained them on the ground of expediency. The fourth Sectio is an outline of the morphology of the flower based upon Jung's Isagoge which Ray had received in MS. from Dr John Worthington who had obtained it from Samuel Hartlib, as is explained in the Preface. The first three Sectiones are of peculiar interest: they give an account of Ray's observations upon seeds and seedlings, with quotations from Malpighi's recent work on the same subject (Anatomes Plantarum, Pars Prima, 1675; Pars altera, 1679), recognizing the fact that the seedlings of some plants have two seed-leaves or