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Darwin and seeds

  • Michael Black (a1)

Abstract

In 2009, the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth on 12 February 1809 is being celebrated. For seed scientists, celebrations of the contributions of the great biologist should also mark his involvement with seeds. Darwin was interested in seeds, particularly in their role in dispersal and distribution of plant species over long distances. His studies of seeds, laid down in several books and articles, contributed to the development of his ideas on evolution and the distribution of living organisms on the planet. In this review, the place of seeds in Darwin's work is surveyed and it is shown how he referred to them to support and illustrate some of his most important ideas.

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*Correspondence E-mail: michael.black@kcl.ac.uk

References

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Darwin, C.R. (1839) Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe. Journal and remarks. 1832–1836. London, Henry Colburn.
Darwin, C.R. (1855a) Does sea-water kill seeds? Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 15 (14 April), 242.
Darwin, C.R. (1855b) Does sea-water kill seeds? Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 21 (26 May), 356–357.
Darwin, C.R. (1857) On the action of sea-water on the germination of seeds. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (Botany) 1, 130140.
Darwin, C.R. (1859) On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (1st edition). London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1860) On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (2nd edition, 2nd issue). London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1862) On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1866) On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (4th edition). London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1868 a) The variation of animals and plants under domestication. Vol. 1, (1st edition, 1st issue). London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1868 b) The variation of animals and plants under domestication. Vol. 2, (1st edition, 1st issue). London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1875) Insectivorous plants. London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1876) The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1880) The power of movement in plants. London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. (1881) The formation of vegetable mould, through the action of worms, with observations on their habits. London, John Murray.
Darwin, C.R. and Wallace, A.R. (1858) On the tendency of species to form varieties; and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural means of selection. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (Zoology) 3, 4650.
Darwin, F. (Ed.) (1887 a) The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Vol. 1. London, John Murray.
Darwin, F. (Ed.) (1887 b) The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Vol. 2. London, John Murray.
van Wyhe, J. (Ed.) (2009) The complete work of Charles Darwin online, available athttp://darwin-online.org.uk/ (accessed 1 October 2009) Darwin's letters are available online at:http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/darwinletters/calendar/.

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Darwin and seeds

  • Michael Black (a1)

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