25 OCTOBER 1930, Page 15


One great botanist of our day believes that in the future the manufacturing centres of the world will be found in tropical or semi-tropical places where botanic growth is most lush and rapid ; food, clothing, paper, and even power (in the form of alcohol from annual ancll other crops) will all be supplied by plants. The potato wiU take the place of oil and coal, and fibre provide most of the things we wear, as well as material for building and even paving. However that may be—and most dreams arc more amusing than true— we continue to discover unimagined qualities in plants. Several queer discoveries of unexpected virtues in old and well-known plants have been made quite lately. The plant, popularly called the Golden Rod which is a weed in New- foundland and a valuable addition to our autumnal gardens in England, is found to contain, of all unlikely products, excellent rubber in fair quantity. Quite a number of people are growing that very lovely composite, pyrethrum, for the sake of its juices which have peculiar virtues in a wash and a Spray. A variety of the Soya bean, which is as full of the stuff of food as any seed that grows, is taking kindly—or so the first experiment indicates—to the peculiarities of the English climate. It was a lesson in imaginative optimism to see the many things, compounded of the fibre .extracted

from the Erbifex plants grown this sununer in Suffolk. The future, it seems, lies with the student of botany ; and is any hobby more engaging ? If one must dream dreams, perhaps in the far future no cabinet will be complete without its Rowland 'linen or Kingdon Ward !