This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A correspondent sends the following which he finds in a public document, from the pen of a high official, and asks us to comment on its absurdity:
"Another maxim which farmers generally accept as an axiom is, that by sowing Wheats of different qualities together, they will so hybridize as to produce a mixed breed; while even a little observation would teach them the error of this conclusion, and that each grain produces its own like, and that really no hybridization takes place at all, and that the mixture of seed produces the unmitigated evil of mixing Wheats which perhaps ripen at different periods, or perhaps require different treatment when they come to be reduced to flour. A little study of the nature of plants would seem to be necessary to a knowledge of their proper treatment during their growth. Of the flowers of plants some are male and some female. In some the staminate and pistillate flowers occupy different parts of the same plants, as in Indian corn. In the larger number of plants the male and female organs mature at the same time in the same flower: and of these some are subject to self-fertilization, and others to cross-fertilization. Such plants as Peas, Beans, Wheat, and Barley have the male and female organs within themselves, and are not subject to cross-fertilization, and therefore it is that Wheats do not mix their qualities at all by being planted together; and as it is objectionable for other reasons, it should never be done.
The leaf or flower which protrudes from the glume of Wheat is neither an anther, a pistil, nor a stamen, and neither emits nor receives the fertilizing pollen".
It is to be sure rather bunglingly written; especially so for a distinguished official, but as a question of fact and looking to what the writer evidently meant to say - which is the charitable way of looking at things - we do not see a great deal to object to.