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Burbank, Luther, 1849-1926 / Luther Burbank: his methods and discoveries and their practical application

[Getting the utmost variation out of a flower -- how the Chinese balloon-flower was trebled],   pp. [unnumbered]-38 PDF (224.2 KB)

Page 19

cisely alike. Among them you could discover
resemblances to all the other dahlias in your gar-
den and, indeed, to a large proportion of those
that you had seen pictured in the seed catalogues.
In a word, your dahlia seeds show that they
contain the racial strains of a great variety of an-
cestors, and they present a variation that is truly
disconcerting to the gardener whose sole desire
was to produce a lot of dahlias of uniform char-
In one case, recorded by Darwin, an experi-
menter listed no fewer than eighteen different
varieties of the dahlia grown in the first genera-
tion from the seed of a single plant, and of course
there were all manner of intermediate forms. In
the listed eighteen only six corresponded pretty
closely to certain named or catalogued varieties.
It would perhaps more truly present the record if
we were to say that there were not eighteen dif-
ferent varieties merely, but as many varieties as
there were individual plants.
But while such an experience as this is utterly
disconcerting to any amateur whose only thought
is to produce a bed of flowers of uniform color or
character, the same experience would offer pre-
cisely the opportunity that the would-be developer
of new varieties is seeking. Now it is not a case
of hunting here and there throughout a company

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