This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V25", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I have taken the liberty to forward to your address, by to-day's parcel post, a bunch of Acroclin-iumroseum, and roseum flore pleno (J. C. Schmidt), the latter being a novelty which I succeeded in raising.
The single roseum (Acroclinium Hooker), a native of Texas, was imported to our country not so very long ago, and immediately gained the favor of nearly every one who saw it. Especially our florists found it to be a very good addition, and used the little pink-colored, charming flowers freely to fill baskets, arrange bouquets, and for general flower work. Already - six years ago - I discovered amongst the Acrocliniums which I cultivate on a space of ten to twelve acres, single plants, the flowers of which showed a small inclination to fill.
These few plants I picked out, and with the greatest care I selected again and again the proper plants to produce, by-and-bye, a double-filled flower.
Now I have succeeded in getting this novelty nearly constant - about twenty-five per cent. of seeds only, sown last harvest from good filled flowers turned out single flowers - and after a period of six years' unceasing care, I offer my new Acro-clinium roseum flore pleno (J. C. Schmidt) as a very valuable addition to the class of everlasting flowers.
The single Acro-clinium being a very-favored flower, without which the composition of flower-work can not be thought of, the new Acroclinium roseum flore pleno will doubtless obtain double the favor from consumers, similar to Helichrysum and Xeranthemum, of which flowers the filled varieties are always preferred to single ones.
The demand for material to work wreaths and bouquets of dried flowers is increasing from year to year, and every good novelty in this department is generally accepted with great joy.
[Mr. Schmidt is in error in regard to this pretty plant being a native of Texas. It is an Australian. In America those who prepare annuals for bedding out in May often make good use of the Acroclinium. It is very beautiful even in its natural condition. In its present shape it will be still more desirable.
Acroclinium roseum flore pleno (J. C. Schmidt). FRESH CUT FLOWERS.
In a botanical point of view the improvement will have a special interest. Even those with little botanical knowledge know that a composite flower, such as this, asters, dahlias, and so on, is not a single flower, but a mass of small flowers. To form a compound flower, we may imagine a long branch, with a flower in the axil of each leaf twined in a circular manner round the branch; but in the compound flower nature draws the elongated branch down, and coils it around, as we would make a coil of rope on the floor. We may assume that the flowers would not be as large as if they had been left to grow on an elongated branch, nor is the leaf in which the flower would be axillary expected to be so large. Indeed, in many composite flowers all trace of the leaf is lost, and in others it only exists as a mere scale beneath each floret. In the original Acroclinium we find the original leaf at the base of each floret; in this improved form this primary leaf, or scale, has devel-oped until it is very nearly as large as the first tier of metamorphosed leaves, usually known as the involucre. Usually in making "double" flowers nature operates on stamens or petals. In this case the flowers are unchanged, but the leaf scales have grown up among the florets.
It is the only case of the kind we remember in the vegetable kingdom. The original single flower is not shown in Mr. Schmidt's article. - Ed. G. M.]