This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Dr. Sturtevant in the proceedings of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, has an exhaustive paper on this subject. Thirty-eight cases where there appears to be some influence, and twenty-six where the scion had an influence on the stock. Most of the latter however seem to refer chiefly to variegation. It is interesting to note that this fact seems to have been known. Dr. Sturtevant quotes from John Bartram, February 3d, 1741-2, viz.: " Take a bud from a variegated jessamine and insert it into a plain jessamine; not only the bud will continue its variegation, but will also infect and impregnate the circulating juices that the branches and leaves above and below the bud will appear variegated". - Darlington's Memorials, 148. And there are earlier cases on record in England. The other cases seem to us to need confirmation. The following case for instance is one, on which we have before commented as doing, we believe, injustice to Prof. Beal : "A potato scion set into a tomato plant induced the latter to set small tubers in the axils of its leaves, as we see sometimes on the tops of potatoes.
The grafting of an artichoke plant into a sunflower caused the latter to set tubers under ground". - Prof. Beal, Ag. of Mich., 1876, 204. In the way it is presented here, and has been in other papers, Prof. Beal is made to appear as-the authority for the fact, while if we remember correctly, Prof. Beal was only enumerating what had been reported to be done by some unknown person. To our mind such a fact as this reported,, should be repeated and placed beyond the shadow a doubt before it is an accepted truth. A few cases are recorded where there seems to have been some distinct character, a sort of hybridization or crossing effected, but in a general way there is little but what may be referred to nutrition. That is, the plants or the fruit were larger or smaller, highly colored or dull colored, sweeter or more acid, flowered earlier or flowered later, any of which might be produced by variations in soil or situation as well as by the influence of the stock. In other words various stocks have the same varying influence in affecting nutrition as varying soils would.
Our own opinion is, after carefully going over the ground, that there is reason to believe that distinct varieties (not merely temporary changes) may originate from grafting, but that the undoubted facts recorded are too few to render it wholly safe to believe that this ever occurs to any great extent.