This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I have read the account of Mr. Peter Henderson's interesting experiments with Dionaea muscipula, published in the Monthly, and reproduced in many other horticultural and agricultural papers.
In a recent lecture delivered before our District of Columbia Horticultural Society, on the relations between insects and plants, I took occasion to refer to these experiments; but as the lecture was not published, permit me to publicly express my belief in your columns, that, notwithstanding the care with which the experiments were made, the period covered by them was too short to give much weight to the conclusions arrived at, seeing that these conclusions are opposed to those of many other careful and painstaking experimentors who have studied different insect-catching plants. As a practical gardener, Mr. Henderson will not deny that many plants with tender foliage may be nourished, and are, in fact, frequently nourished by the application of liquid manure to their leaves, and this fact being admitted, it is reasonable to suppose that a plant like Dionaea, which has a special contrivance for obtaining animal' matter, and special glands for digesting and assimilating it, should still more fully benefit thereby.
The conclusions of Curtis, Canby, Dr. Burdon-Sanderson, Hooker, the Darwins, Reiss, Kellerman, Yon Raumer, Mrs. Treat and others cannot be so easily upset when they confirm that which seems so plausible; and I would suggest to Mr. Henderson that if he should continue his experiments during a longer period, he would in time, discover a decided difference in favor of the insect-fed plants, or rather in the plants propagated from them. It is not probable that Dionaea will differ materially from Drosera, the species experimented with by the younger Darwin.