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Light

flash, observed and flowers

LIGHT from plants. In Sweden a very curious phenomena has been observed on certain flowers by M. Haggern, lecturer in natural history. One evening he per ceived a faint flash of light repeatedly dart from a marigold. Surprised at such an uncommon appearance, he resolved to examine it with attention ; and, to be assured it was no deception of the eye, he placed a man near him, with orders to make a signal at the moment when he observed the light. They both saw it constantly at the same moment. The light was most brilliant on marigolds of an orange or flame colour; but scarcely visible on pale ones. The flash was fre quently seen on the same flower two or three times in quick succession, but more commonly at intervals of several minutes: and when several flowers in the same place emitted their light together, it could be observed at a considerable dis tance. This phenomenon was remarked in the months of July and August at sun set, and for half an hour when the at mosphere was clear ; but after a rainy day, or when the air was loaded with va pours, nothing of it was seen. The follow ing flowers emitted flashes, more or less vivid, in this order : 1. The marigold, ca

lendula officinalis. 2. Monk's-hood, tro pxolum majus. 3. The orange lily, Hum bulbiferum. 4. The Indian pink, tagetes patula et erects.

To discover whether some little insects or phosphoric worms might not be the cause of it, the flowers were carefully ex amined, even with a microscope, without any such thing being found. From the rapidity of the flash, and other circum stances, it may be conjectured that there is something of electricity in this pheno menon. It is well known, that when the pistil of a flower is impregnated, len bursts away by its elasticity, with which electricity may be combined. But M. Haggern, after having observed the flash from the orange lily, the anthem of which are a considerable space distant from the petals, found that the light pro ceeded from the petals only ; whence he concludes, that this electric light is caused by the pollen, which, in flying off, is scattered oh the petals. Whatever be the cause, the effect is singular and highly curious.