In the peloric form of Antirrhinum majus, appropriately called the "Wonder," the tubular
and elongated flowers differ wonderfully from those of the common snapdragon;
the calyx and the mouth of the corolla consist of six equal lobes, and include
six equal instead of four unequal stamens. One of the two additional stamens is
manifestly formed by the development of a microscopically minute papilla, which
may be found at the base of the upper lip of the flower of the common
snapdragons in the nineteen plants examined by me. That this papilla is a
rudiment of a stamen was well shown by its various degrees of development in
crossed plants between the common and the peloric Antirrhinum.
24. 'Nouvelles Archives du Museum' tome 1. page 137.
Now I crossed the peloric snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), described in the last chapter,* with pollen of the common form; and the latter, reciprocally, with peloric pollen. I thus raised two great beds of seedlings, and not one was peloric. Naudin24 obtained the same result from crossing a peloric Linaria with the common form. I carefully examined the flowers of ninety plants of the crossed Antirrhinum in the two beds, and their structure had not been in the least affected by the cross, except that in a few instances the minute rudiment of the fifth stamen, which is always present, was more fully or even completely developed. It must not be supposed that this entire obliteration of the peloric structure in the crossed plants can be accounted for by any incapacity of transmission; for I raised a large bed of plants from the peloric Antirrhinum, artificially fertilised by its own pollen, and sixteen plants, which alone survived the winter, were all as perfectly peloric as the parent-plant. Here we have a good instance of the wide difference between the inheritance of a character and the power of transmitting it to crossed offspring. The crossed plants, which perfectly resembled the common snapdragon, were allowed to sow themselves, and out of a hundred and twenty-seven seedlings, eighty-eight proved to be common snapdragons, two were in an intermediate condition between the peloric and normal state, and thirty-seven were perfectly peloric, having reverted to the structure of their one grand-parent. This case seems at first sight to offer an exception to the rule just given, namely, that a character which is present in one form and latent in the other is generally transmitted with prepotent force when the two forms are crossed. For in all the Scrophulariaceae, and especially in the genera Antirrhinum and Linaria, there is, as was shown in the last chapter, a strong latent tendency to become peloric; but there is also, as we have seen, a still stronger tendency in all peloric plants to reacquire their normal irregular structure.