Then its endless variations of form, its astonishing oddities, its wide range of hues, its easy culture, its readiness to hybridize and to ripen seed, the certainty, by comparison, of rearing the proceeds, each of these merits appeals to one or other of orchid-growers. Many of the species which come from torrid lands, indeed, are troublesome, but with such we are not concerned.

Thus the temptation to hybridize with the object of exchanging colours is peculiarly strong. It becomes yet stronger by reason of the delightful uncertainty which attends one's efforts. So far as I have heard or read, no one has yet been able to offer a suggestion of any law which decides the result of combination.

For thousands of years back to the very dawn of history when men had bred horses and asses to produce mules men had been mixing species to produce useful hybrids. Yet a Betan who could hybridize plants or animals with complete equanimity shrank with horror from the thought of applying the same technique to himself. What was there about a human being that was so sacrosanct?

It is more distinct than some others of the family, for the willow is a great mixer. The abundant vigor and vitality and freedom of the family, and the fact that it is of what is known as the dioecious habit that is, the flowers are not complete, fertile and infertile flowers being borne on separate trees make it most ready to hybridize.

The latter has been offered in this country as the "hardy" gladiolus, but it will not endure severe freezing. These species hybridize together when opportunity presents, but do not readily interbreed with the African kinds and have rarely developed garden forms superior to the respective wild types. The blooming time is early spring.

In North America it follows the water-courses to the limit of the temperate zone, enters the tropics, crosses the equator, and appears in the mountains of Peru and Chili.... The books record one hundred and sixty species in the world, and these sport and hybridize to their own content and to the despair of botanists.

But among Cypripediums, the easiest and safest of all orchids to hybridize, East Indian and American species are unfruitful. Messrs. Veitch obtained such a cross, as they had every reason to believe, in one instance. For sixteen years the plants grew and grew until it was thought they would prove the rule by declining to flower. I wrote to Messrs. Veitch to obtain the latest news.