So much has been said and written on this subject, that there seems to be room left for very little more. I have long felt with your illustrious predecessor, that the prevailing notions about the sexes of strawberries have become, with some, a hobby, which, "like most hobbies, has galloped considerably beyond the boundaries of sober truth." - (Fruits of America, p. 523.) I would like to offer a few words on the subject A short time ago the Alice Maud strawberry was under discussion in the Farm Journal. Some fancied their's incorrectly named. They were advised to wait and examine its sexual character, before judging of its authenticity. I had been for a long time experimenting on the sexes of strawberries, and had come to the conclusion that there is no constitutional difference between a pistillate and hermaphrodite strawberry plant* A pistillate flower has rudimentary stamens. Unfavorable circumstances prevented their development; had these been favorable, the flower would have been perfect These circumstances often act on the original plant of any given variety, even while the germ lies in the ovary of its parent, and thus give it a tendency to vary with the circumstances of cultivation or accident.

This difference between a constitutional and an accidental tendency will be better understood by looking into a double flower. Take the Chinese Primrose: we may put a plant of a single variety into the richest soil, and do our best to excite luxhriance, but that plant will never produce a double flower; that is contrary to its constitutional character. But the double variety requires only to be neglected - suffered to become starved and stunted, and the accident which at its origin gave the stamens a tendency to become petals, is successfully opposed, and the flowers return to their perfect normal state. This illustration helps us considerably in getting to the bottom of the strawberry question; because we know that as poor treatment induced the petaloid stamens to return to their natural condition, luxurious circumstances must have been the accident that originated the tendency to depart from it. For, though we have not yet learned what precise cause first induced the strawberry to depart from its hermaphrodite state, we have the analogy of other plants for supposing it to be accidental. This supposition is more than strengthened by the fact that in England among seedling strawberries hermaphrodites are the rule, pistillates the exception; while in this country the rule is reversed.

Does this not seem to indicate that the difference is caused by climatic influences, whether or not the above reflections are sufficient to form the hypothesis that the cause is accidental, not constitutional, and consequently that circumstances which may oppose these accidents may "render the distinction between pistillates and staminates worthless, cultivation producing either one or the other ?"

* To avoid misconception it would be well to observe that only two distinctions are recognised in this district When the term staminate is used it Is understood as hermaphrodite. +In England no pistillate seedling would be saved. - Ed.

By using this expression in my paper read before the Horticultural Society Of Pennsylvania, I have shocked the preconceived notions of many. I cannot help it - I repeat it; for not only is it consistent with physiological laws, as I have just shown, but also borne out by experience and observation. In the paper alluded to I have shown that runners taken from a pistillate plant, differed from their parent seven to five; and also that in runners taken from the same bed produced one hundred plants which under one state of circumstances became all pistillates, and another hundred, under different circumstances, became nearly all perfect! I exhibited plants of Hovey's Seedling having hermaphrodite and pistillate flowers, and both on the same plant. But this does not seem to be enough to convince that, as a distinction, the classes are worthless. Well, sir, I have here a level terrace formed on the fall of a slope. One end of this terrace rising from the level of the ground; the other being about ten feet above. On this terrace there is a strawberry bed of what I consider to be Burr's Pine, although planted two years ago for Hovels Seedling. But the name is of no consequence for the fact I wish to mention.

They are grown in rows; six or eight of the rows, on the elevated end, were composed of pistillate plants when they first came into flower - the remainder were perfect. Before they ceased flowering, the whole, with the exception of one solitary plant, became perfect A gentleman who looked over this bed when they first opened, and a firm believer in the constitutional distinctness of sexual characters, came to the conclusion that the pistillate flowering plants "must be some other kind" - supposing them at that time to be Hovey's. This has been the only argument that I have met with on any occasion, where I have pointed out hermaphrodite flowering plants among pistillate ones - or the contrary, that " some other kind must have got in by accident." I was at a loss, for a while, how to convince others who had thus decided - till, one day, pointing out to a gentleman perfect flowering plants among the so-called pistillate McAvoy's Extra Bed, and being met with the same objection, "that an erroneous kind had got among them," I was led to a close examination of each individual plant; coming direct from Mr. Longworth I could not doubt their correctness. The result was, that the hermaphrodite flowering trusses were found to proceed from the same individual roots as the pistillate ones.

I sent you a root for verification, which I presume you received.*

I have been elaborate in explaining what I do believe in, because I do not wish to be confounded with what I don't. I do not teach that it is worthless to inquire whether you have pistillate or staminate plants. I have known to my vexation what it is to have a whole set of strawberries become pistillate, and should have undergone another trial but for a fortunate present of a staminate Cuthill's Black Prince from Mr. Buist, in flower, from which I fertilized the whole. What I wish is, to excite inquiry as to why the sexes vary; so that by knowing the cause we may be able to control the effects. If the sexual character be constitutional, then I admit my endeavors to show that a plant may change from a pistillate form to a hermaphrodite, and so on, are, as Mr. Prince says in the Farm Journal, "calculated only to excite ridicule," and we must be content in our forcing-houses to be always in doubt whether we are to have a crop or not until we see the berries; and in our gardens treasure up and encumber the ground with varieties we do not want, for no other purpose than to give a certainty to those we do.

But if I can show that the cause is accidental, and consequently perfectly under our control, I think I shall be doing a service to horticulture of which I shall be proud.

* We did not - Ed.

[Our readers well remember how threadbare this question was worn a few years ago. The doctrine and practice of Mr. Longworth and the Cincinnati growers came off triumphant, and the almost uniform course among planters from that to the present time has been to mix the two sexes in order to secure a good crop. This works well in practice, at any rate. Mr. Meehan holds that a deficiency of stamens, such as we find in Honey's Seedling, Burr's New Pine, etc., is not constitutional, but accidental, and "perfectly under our control." We are compelled to disagree with him on this point; for, as long as we have grown these varieties, we have never seen a plant with perfectly developed stamens; and of several pistillate seedlings of our own raising the same thing may be said. It seems just as constitutional for them to be defective in stamens, as it is for the Early Scarlet, Iowa, and such as these to have them fully developed. It is true, we see upon close inspection slight differences in the degree of development of the rudimentary organs on pistillate plants, but we never see them with perfect stamens.

We do not believe it impossible for pistillate plants to produce fruit without the aid of staminates, for we have seen abundant evidence to the contrary; but the crop is generally very inconsiderable and the fruit imperfect. The past season, however, we had a very fair crop of McAvoy's Superior in a situation where we supposed it beyond the reach of staminate flowers. Schneike's Hermaphrodite (as we supposed) was planted near it; but this proved a pistillate plant, sent us by mistake.

We think it very possible that climate has something to do in forming the character of seedling strawberries, as well as other plants. But why are these peculiarities produced by climate not constitutional ? The British Queen does not become pistillate here, nor do we think that Hovey's Seedling will become staminate in England. The Weeping Ash is an accidental variety, but the habit is fixed and therefore constitutional as much as anything can be. Our experience in forcing or flowering strawberry plants with artificial heat under glass has not resulted like Mr. Meehan's. Out of forty different varieties that were flowered in pots last spring, and carefully examined, wholly with a view to detect possible varieties from the usual sexual charc-ters, we found not one. But Mr. Meehan's experiments speak for themselves].