Another article, in the April number, by Chauncey Wright, contains a new view of the law of Phyllotaxis, approaching it from an a priori stand-point, and showing that the natural arrangement of leaves about the stems of plants is precisely that which will keep the leaves most perfectly distributed for the reception of light and air.
The law of phyllotaxis, like that of the elastic curve, is carried out in time as well as in space.
Although we are not quite sure how Dr Falconer in tends to apply the law of phyllotaxis to illustrate his idea, we fancy that a pertinent illustration may be drawn from it in this way. Here is a change from one fixed law to another, as unaccountable, if not as great, as from one specific form to another.
The law of phyllotaxis, which governs the evolution of leaves around the axis of a plant, is as nearly constant in its manifestation as any of the physical laws connected with the material world. Each instance, however different from another, can be shown to be a term of some series of continued fractions.
It is true that these simple laws are not as yet all discovered; but the one great discovery of Phyllotaxis, which shows that all plants follow one law in the arrangement of their leaves upon the stem, thereby intimates in unmistakable language the simplicity and unity of all organic vegetable laws; and a similar assurance is given by the morphological reduction of all parts to a metamorphosed leaf.