* The Swallow. l. 322. There is a wonderful conformity between the vegetation of some plants, and the arrival of certain birds of passage. Linneus observes that the wood anemone blows in Sweden on the arrival of the swallow; and the marsh mary-gold, Caltha, when the cuckoo sings. Near the same coincidence was observed in England by Stillingfleet. The word Coccux in Greek signifies both a young fig and a cuckoo, which is supposed to have arisen from the coincidence of their appearance in Greece. Perhaps a similar coincidence of appearance in some parts of Asia gave occasion to the story of the loves of the rose and nightingale, so much celebrated by the eastern poets. See Dianthus. The times however of the appearance of vegetables in the spring seem occasionally to be influenced by their acquired habits, as well as by their sensibility to heat: for the roots of potatoes, onions, &c. will germinate with much less heat in the spring than in the autumn; as is easily observable where these roots are stored for use; and hence malt is best made in the spring. 2d. The grains and roots brought from more southern latitudes germinate here sooner than those which are brought from more northern ones, owing to their acquired habits. Fordyce on Agriculture. 3d. It was observed by one of the scholars of Linneus, that the apple-trees sent from hence to New England blossomed for a few years too early for that climate, and bore no fruit; but afterwards learnt to accommodate themselves to their new situation. (Kalm's Travels.) 4th. The parts of animals become more sensible to heat after having been previously exposed to cold, as our hands glow on coming into the house after having held snow in them; this seems to happen to vegetables; for vines in grape-houses, which have been exposed to the winter's cold, will become forwarder and more vigorous than those which have been kept during the winter in the house. (Kenedy on Gardening.) This accounts for the very rapid vegetation in the northern latitudes after the solution of the snows.

The increase of the irritability of plants in respect to heat, after having been previ∣ously exposed to cold, is further illustrated by an experiment of Dr. Walker's. He cut apertures into a birch-tree at different heights; and on the 26th of March some of these apertures bled, or oozed with the sap-juice, when the thermometer was at 39; which same apertures did not bleed on the 13th of March, when the thermometer was at 44. The reason of this I apprehend was, because on the night of the 25th the thermometer was as low as 34; whereas on the night of the 12th it was at 41; though the ingenious author ascribes it to another cause. Trans. of Royal Soc. of Edinburgh, V. I. P. 19.

 [ return to text ]