11 NOVEMBER 1932, Page 12


On November 16th, at the Royal Society of Arts, some account is to be given of a beneficent plant possessing an

unusual history. It is a variety of the Spartina grass that is becoming a potent agent in reclamation. A generation ago a country lawyer—in Huntingdon—Mr. Walter Hunnybun, completed the work of drawing every known British plant ; and his drawings were later published in a luxurious edition by the Cambridge University Press. He told me about that date how a chance American grass had accidentally crossed with a British grass ; and that their progeny were spreading atom; the edge of Poole Harbour. He managed to procure a specimen through a Hampshire correspondent. This hybrid has since proved itself to possess qualities belonging to neither parent, both of which are of the Sparrzna species. It is lustier, spreads more readily and makes better fodder. Sheep do well on ; and chemical analysis' confirms practical experience.-- What Marram grass is to sand thus SparUna is to marsh. The most notable example of its beneficence on this coast is a stretch of once Marsh land just south of the Suffolk-Essex boundary. It has converted such marsh as filled the poet Crabbe with gloom into useful pasture and is permanently raising the level. If we were as ardent fl s the Dutch (who are reclaiming the Zuyder Zee) in the work of reclamation we should see a wide extension of this heaven-sent herb. This hybrid does not seem to have the weakness common to similar hybrids known in America—where the tribe else flourishes—of relapsing to the original and les.;