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The Variation of Animals and Plants

Chapter X: Plants – continued
FRUITS. GRAPES: VARY IN ODD AND TRIFLING PARTICULARS — MULBERRY: THE
ORANGE GROUP — SINGULAR RESULTS FROM CROSSING — PEACH AND NECTARINE:
BUD VARIATION — ANALOGOUS VARIATION — RELATION TO THE ALMOND — APRICOT
— PLUMS: VARIATION IN THEIR STONES — CHERRIES: SINGULAR VARIETIES OF —
APPLE — PEAR — STRAWBERRY: INTERBLENDING OF THE ORIGINAL FORMS —
GOOSEBERRY: STEADY INCREASE IN SIZE OF THE FRUIT — VARIETIES OF — WALNUT —
NUT — CUCURBITACEOUS PLANTS: WONDERFUL VARIATION OF.
ORNAMENTAL TREES. THEIR VARIATION IN DEGREE AND KIND — ASH-TREE —
SCOTCH-FIR — HAWTHORN.
FLOWERS. MULTIPLE ORIGIN OF MANY KINDS — VARIATION IN CONSTITUTIONAL
PECULIARITIES — KIND OF VARIATION — ROSES: SEVERAL SPECIES CULTIVATED —
PANSY — DAHLIA — HYACINTH: HISTORY AND VARIATION OF.
The Vine (Vitis vinifera).—The best authorities consider all our grapes as the descendants of one species
which now grows wild in western Asia, which grew wild during the Bronze age in Italy, and which has
recently been found fossil in a tufaceous deposit in the south of France. Some authors, however, entertain
much doubt about the single parentage of our cultivated varieties, owing to the number of semi-wild forms
found in Southern Europe, especially as described by Clemente in a forest in Spain; but as the grape sows
itself freely in Southern Europe, and as several of the chief kinds transmit their characters by seed , whilst
others are extremely variable, the existence of many different escaped forms could hardly fail to occur in
countries where this plant has been cultivated from the remotest antiquity. That the vine varies much when
propagated by seed, we may infer from the largely increased number of varieties since the earlier historical
records. New hot-house varieties are produced almost every year; for instance, a golden-coloured variety
has been recently raised in England from a black grape without the aid of a cross. Van Mons reared a
multitude of varieties from the seed of one vine, which was completely separated from all others, so that
there could not, at least in this generation, have been any crossing, and the seedlings presented "les
analogues de toutes les sortes," and differed in almost every possible character both in the fruits and
foliage.
The cultivated varieties are extremely numerous; Count Odart says that he will not deny that there may
exist throughout the world 700 or 800, perhaps even 1000 varieties, but not a third of these have any value.
In the catalogue of fruit cultivated in the Horticultural Gardens of London, published in 1842, 99 varieties
are enumerated. Wherever the grape is grown many varieties occur: Pallas describes 24 in the Crimea, and
Burnes mentions 10 in Cabool. The classification of the varieties has much perplexed writers, and Count
Odart is reduced to a geographical system; but I will not enter on this subject, nor on the many and great
differences between the varieties. I will merely specify a few curious and trifling peculiarities, all taken
from Odart's highly esteemed work for the sake of showing the diversified variability of this plant. Simon
has classed grapes into two main divisions, those with downy leaves, and those with smooth leaves, but he
admits that in one variety, namely the Rebazo, the leaves are either smooth, or downy; and Odart (p. 70)
states that some varieties have the nerves alone, and other varieties their young leaves, downy, whilst the
old ones are smooth. The Pedro-Ximenes grape (Odart, p. 397) presents a peculiarity by which it can be at
once recognised amongst a host of other varieties, namely, that when the fruit is nearly ripe the nerves of
the leaves or even the whole surface becomes yellow. The Barbera d'Asti is well marked by several
characters (p. 426), amongst others, "by some of the leaves, and it is always the lowest on the branches,
suddenly becoming of a dark red colour." Several authors in classifying grapes have founded their main
divisions on the berries being either round or oblong; and Odart admits the value of this character; yet there
is one variety, the Maccabeo (p. 71), which often produces small round, and large oblong, berries in the
same bunch. Certain grapes called Nebbiolo (p. 429) present a constant character, sufficient for their
 
 
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