Micrographia, by Robert Hooke

Observ. xxviii. Of the Seeds of Venus looking-glass, or CornViolet.

From the Leaves, and Downs, and Beards of Plants, we come at last to the Seeds; and here indeed seems to be the Cabinet of Nature, wherein are laid up its Jewels. The providence of Nature about Vegetables, is in no part manifested more, then in the various contrivances about the seed, nor indeed is there in any part of the Vegetable so curious carvings, and beautifull adornments, as about the seed; this in the larger sorts of seeds is most evident to the eye; nor is it lest manifest through the Microscope, in those seeds whose shape and structure, by reason of their smalness, the eye is hardly able to distinguish.

Of these there are multitudes, many of which I have observ'd through a Microscope, and find, that they do, for the most part, every one afford exceeding pleasant and beautifull objects. For besides those that have various kinds of carv'd surfaces, there are other that have smooth and perfectly polish'd surfaces, others a downy hairy surface; some are cover'd onely with a skin, others with a kind of shell, others with both, as is observable also in greater seeds.

Of these seeds I have onely described four sorts which may serve as a specimen of what the inquisitive observers are likely to find Schem. 17. among the rest. The first of these seeds which are described in the 17. Scheme, are those of Corn-Violets, the seed is very small, black, and shining, and, to the naked eye, looks almost like a very small Flea; But through the Microscope, it appears a large body, cover'd with a tough thick and bright reflecting skin very irregularly shrunk and pitted, insomuch that it is almost an impossibility to find two of them wrinkled alike, so great a variety may there be even in this little seed.

This, though it appear'd one of the most promising seeds for beauty to the naked eye, yet through the Microscope it appear'd but a rude mishapen seed, which I therefore drew, that I might thereby manifest how unable we are by the naked eye to judge of beauteous or less curious microscopical Objects; cutting some of them in sunder, I observ'd them to be fill'd with a greenish yellow pulp, and to have a very thick husk, in proportion to the pulp.

scheme17

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Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 16:42