Jour of Agriculture 1(6): 697-698 (1845)
Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland

Supplementary Note on the Tussac Grass.
By the Rev. James Duncan.

In the notice of this grass given in a previous part of this number, it is stated that a report appeared in the newspapers to the effect that plants had been reared in this country by Dr Murray of Hull, he having succeeded in making the seeds germinate by steeping them in a chemical solution. Since the account on a former page was printed, I have been favoured with a communication from Dr Murray, by which it appears that this statement is correct. He has succeeded, by the means alluded to, in rearing a few plants, and has transmitted to me a small packet of seed from the only portion that has germinated in this country, all other attempts, although these have been numerous, having entirely failed.

During last summer Dr Murray has made numerous experiments, with a view of ascertaining the effect of different chemical solutions on the germination and growth of grains and seeds, and many of the results have proved highly curious and interesting. The solutions which he has found to produce the most remarkable luxuriance in the plants, are silicate of potassa, oxalate of ammonia, nitrate of ammonia, super-phosphate of lime, sulphate of ammonia, muriate of ammonia, and phosphate of ammonia. The solutions were used in a diluted state, and the average period of steeping the seeds was about thirty hours. The three firstmentioned substances seem most efficacious in stimulating germination. Those which operate most powerfully in inducing a strong and luxuriant growth are silicate of potassa, which is the most remarkable, sulphate of ammonia, and phosphate of ammonia. It ought to be observed, however, in reference to the last, that it was found, at least in one remarkable instance, fatal to the germination of mummy wheat; with barley (the blue Moscow barley) it was successful. In one instance, Dr Murray counted 101 stems from one grain of Moscow blue barley, an increase not much short of five thousand fold. All the chemical solutions tried, save that of silicate of potassa, proved fatal to the germination of turnip seed; and this was likewise the case with the seeds of leguminous plants, such as vetches, kidney-beans, &c.