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MAY 1910

Copyright 1910 by H. W. PERCIVAL


Is it possible to develop a new species of vegetable, fruit or plant, totally different and distinct from any other known species? If so, how is it done?

It is possible. One who has achieved in that line a most remarkable and widely known success is Luther Burbank of Santa Rosa, in California. Mr. Burbank has not yet, as far as we know, developed a wholly different and new species, but there is nothing to prevent him from so doing if he continues with his work. Up to the present time, so far as we are aware, his efforts have been directed to the crossing of certain varieties of fruits and plants, producing not a totally different species, but one having the characteristics of both or of one of the two or more varieties used in developing the new growth. Many accounts have been published of Mr. Burbank’s work, though it is quite likely that he has not told all he knows and all he does, to achieve the success which is his. He has rendered inestimable service to man: he has taken some hitherto useless and objectionable growths and developed them into useful shrubs, wholesome foods or beautiful flowers.

It is possible to develop any vegetable, plant, fruit, or flower, of which the mind can conceive. The first thing necessary to develop a new species is: to conceive it. If a mind cannot conceive a new species, that mind cannot develop one, though he may by observation and application produce new varieties of old species. One who desires to invent a new species must ponder well on the genus of the species which he would have and then must brood intently and confidently over it. If he has confidence and will use his mind industriously and will not let his thought wander on other types nor indulge in idle fancies, but will think and brood on the species which he would have, then, in the course of time, he will conceive the thought which will show him the type he has so desired. This is the first proof of his success, but it is not enough. He must continue to brood over the thought which he has conceived and think patiently of that particular thought without wandering to others. As he continues to think, the thought will become clearer and the means by which the new species may be brought into the world will be made plain. In the meantime, he should set himself to work with those species which are nearest the one which he has in mind; to feel in them; to know the different movements and to be in sympathy with and impress the sap of the plant running through its arteries and veins, to feel its likes and to supply them, to cross the plants which he has selected and then to think his species into the crossing, to feel it develop from the two varieties he has chosen, and to give it physical form. He should not, and he will not, if he has gone thus far, be discouraged if he does not see at once his new species as the product. He should try and try again and as he continues to try he will in time rejoice to see the new species coming into being, as it will surely do if he does his part.

One who would bring a new species into being need know little of botany when he first begins, but he should acquaint himself with all he can learn of this work. All growing things have feeling and man must feel with them and love them, if he would know their ways. If he would have the best there is in them, he must give the best that he has to them. This rule holds good through all kingdoms.

A Friend [H. W. Percival]