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.
The experiments on apples, by the editor of the Gardener's Monthly, show that new varieties can be obtained by grafting; and observations, previously recorded by other persons in various departments of culture, prove that the very old idea is not without some foundation. During the visit of the Emperor of Brazil to the sugar plantations, he communicated to some gentlemen there that new varieties of sugar-cane had been originated by grafting, and promised to send the documents in relation thereto. These have been recently received and translations made, by which it appears that a variety known as St. Julian was obtained in that way. It was raised by Commander Julian Ribeiro de Castro by splice-grafting; the Cayenne being the stock and the Molle being the scion. The eyes and loaves of the product were of the Molle, but the stem and the size of the Cayenne. In this ease, the two eyes were selected and split in halves, as taken by the editor of the Gardener's Monthly with his apple grafts, and the alternate halves united before grafting. Trials were made to set these united halves as cuttings, hut no hybrid results came.
Only when grafted on a growing stock did hybrids result from the halved pieces.
In order to test the matter, the Imperial Agricultural Institute undertook to investigate it. Accordingly, in 1867, Dr. Glasl, of the Botanical Garden, grafted a number between October and January, at different times. Many various plans of grafting were employed. Dr. Glasl concluded that the results favored the idea of hybridizing by bud-grafting, whereupon there was a committee of learned men appointed, who reported that, after long examination of the -specimens themselves, they concluded that the theory was untenable, because inconsistent with the views of Mirbel and I)u Petit Thours on Vegetable Physiology. They found there was no absolute union of parts, and consequently no grafting. The variation, therefore, they regarded as a mere sport, just as likely to occur in a piece with another sort fastened to it, as in many plants there is change without grafting. The committee, therefore, concluded to report against the graft-hybrid idea, and Dr. Glasl signed the paper with the rest.
For our part, and for the reasons given in the first part of this notice, we regard the conclusion as unsound. We see no reason why hybrids may not be had from bud-grafting the sugarcane, and, therefore, have made this condensation of the facts so as to draw attention to the subject. We have no doubt of the soundness of the teachings of Du Petit Thours and Mirbel. We should not want to discuss that question; but we do want to see a few experiments tried by different people, which would take no more time to make, than to read through a volume by these celebrated naturalists.