Meehan's Monthly 8: 21 (Feb 1898)


The range of variation in flowers, though evidently limited, can strike many changes along its line. The Narcissus—the genus to which the daffodil belongs—affords interesting illustrations. The one we now figure, taken from the London Journal of Horticulture, represents one in which the usual crown has given place to six separate organs resembling oak leaves. The morphological nature of this crown has tong been a subject of doubt with botanists. The general belief has been that they represent six sterile stamens that have become consolidated into a single organ. That the crown is primordially of six separate organs, this variation definitely settles. But this explanation would render their original characters, to be of the nature of stamens, doubtful. There are already six perfect stamens, in two whorls of three each as a perfect flower of this tribe should have, but the staminal origin of the crown would indicate that there might be four whorls of three each, which few botanists would grant.

A few botanists have believed that, though we find no stipules in these plants, it may be only from retardation, and that the crown may be regarded as developed stipules in flowers where nature has generally suppressed them.

The study, as to how Nature makes flowers, is an especially charming one. The whole family of Narcissus, to which the daffodil belongs, furnishes material for the study. It is not done capriciously, as a child would make a play-thing. She follows a regular plan.