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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 85



The Cell and its growth. Cell Contents. Multiplication of Cells. Cellular Tissue.—Germination. Cotyledons and their functions.—Functions of the Leaves.—Functions of the Flowers.—Morphological review. Exogens, Endogens, and Acrogens. Diagnosis. Principles of Classification.

These syllabic indications, mainly taken from the Botanical Lecture of the "Science made Easy" Course, apply to the first or initiatory Period. It is more particularly in the second Period when a growing acquaintance with the phraseology of Diagnosis, facilitates a review of Economic Botany, that it will be seen how vastly more important, and more diversified than those of Mineralogy, are the educational claims of Botanical Science. Looking at it from an economic point of view, we notice among its teachings, the growth of Endogens and Exogens, Woods of every description for Building purposes and Furniture, Textile Fibres, and Dyeing Materials for coloring them, and above all an endless variety of "Food-stuifs." As for the histological and physiological directions, or the diagnostic, page 52 herborizing and cultural lines in which the students may be taught to pursue Botany on its own account, they will much depend on the resources available for the purpose.

It will at all events be well to take advantage of any facilities afforded by the season purposely selected for Botanical studies, and by the locality of the School, for inspiring the boys with a lively interest in spying with an admiring eye into the secrets of vegetable life, but as for any prospect of future devotion to this Science, it will be prudent to explain to them how much the enjoyment of Botanical pursuits will depend on the opportunities of their respective careers.

Diagnosis is of course best studied with the aid of fresh plants; the dried specimens of an Herbarium soon get injured by being repeatedly handled for close inspection; and good leones with critical details clearly given, and if necessary enlarged, are preferable for class instruction. Such are Henslow's Illustrations of the Natural Orders, and the costlier ones executed with artistic skill by Miss Elizabeth Twining.*

If there is any branch of knowledge that can console a boy for an early infliction of Latin, it is Botany. It is true that its glossology has been vernacularized with excellent results as far as indigenous diagnosis is concerned; but the substitution of English for Latin names, particularly as regards the generic ones is fraught with incongruities. It is an acknowledged rule that generic names ought not to be descriptive, and the popular English ones mostly present a misleading generalization of the properties of certain species. A standard international Latin nomenclature is the best means of reducing the confusion of synonymy to a minimum, and it would be a pity not to keep up the practice of Latin diagnosis in important works.

* A Pamphlet entitled "The Botanic Stand" (T. T. 1883) describes a miniature Botanic Garden for the study of the Natural Orders of Plants.