Gardeners' Chronicle, 1913 16(6): 493


The announcement comes from Paris that M. Lucien Daniel, a French botanist, has succeeded in grafting a watercress to a cabbage. This, remarks The Literary Digest, is the first successful attempt, apparently, to extend to herbaceous plants an operation that has long been familiar as applied to woody vegetation. Its practical use does not appear plainly, but its scientific interest is undoubted.

Writing of this remarkable feat in grafting, a contributor to Le Correspondent, a Paris publication, says:

"Mr. Daniel has grafted watercress on cabbage stems. Of twenty trials, three were successful. His object was to see what would come of the forced union between an essentially water-living plant like the cress and a plant resistant to drought like the cabbage. At the outset, he reports, the grafted cresses all grew feebly; the stems and flowers were of a reddish brown like those of cress suffering from drought; the leaves were small and the internodes very short, showing thus that the harmony was far from being perfect between the subject and the graft. Consequently the stem did not branch; it became quickly surmounted with flowers, giving a small, crowded and abundant inflorescence, slightly developed, and poor fruits and malformed seeds.

"The fructification ended, the grafts withered progressively from top to bottom, keeping green for about three to six inches next the point of union. In September, on this green part and at different heights, appeared numerous elongated shoots, which curved over, in the fashion of a 'weeping' plant, on the subject and the vertical stem of the graft, producing a somewhat singular appearance. As for the subjects, they also suffered from the unexpected guest whose presence had been imposed upon them; they grew hardly at all.

"It is natural to ask what is the practical use of these extraordinary and delicate operations. At first sight this use is not apparent. According to Mr. Daniel, 'the success of the graft of a cress on a cabbage shows that by reducing the existing differences between the functional capacities of two plants of different habits, by progressive functional adaptation, we may finally succeed in obtaining grafts that will flourish by ordinary methods'; and he thinks that 'the field of success may be extended by this method beyond the limits fixed by the processes utilized hitherto.' "

Daniel bibliography