By Charles Darwin

This ebook, released in 1881, was once the results of decades of experimentation and commentary through Darwin within the open-air laboratory of his backyard at Down residence in Kent. As he wrote in his creation, the topic of soil disturbance via worms 'may seem a trifling one, yet we will see that it possesses a few interest'. He is going directly to exhibit the immensity - in measurement and over the years - of the gathered tiny hobbies of soil via earthworms, and their important position in aerating the soil and breaking down vegetable fabric to maintain the topsoil, the starting to be medium for all vegetation and therefore very important to human life, fertile and fit. At a time while there's large curiosity in growing to be nutrition organically and with no utilizing man made fertilisers, Darwin's insights are as vital, and his descriptions of his experiments as interesting, as they have been within the overdue 19th century.

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CHAP. I. multitude of the larger, free, nucleated cells, and these latter cells were not acted on by acetic acid, while the former were dissolved. From this and other such cases I am led to suspect that the calciferous cells are developed from the larger nucleated ones; but how this is effected was not ascertained. When an anterior gland contains severaL minute concretions, some of these are generally angular or crystalline in outline, while the greater number are rounded with an irregular mulberry-like surface.

CHAI-. I. CALCIFEEOUS GLANDS. 43 kind is found in the intestines of worms. As the leaves which are dragged into the burrows are often dry and shrivelled, it is indispensable for their disintegration by the unarmed mouths of worms that they should first be moistened and softened ; and fresh leaves, however soft and tender they may be, are similarly treated, probably from habit. The result is that they are partially digested before they are taken into the alimentary canal. I am not aware of any other case of extra-stomachal digestion having been recorded.

Cabbage-leaves are much liked by worms; and it appears that they can distinguish between different varieties ; but this may perhaps be owing to differences in their texture. On eleven occasions pieces of the fresh leaves of a common green variety and of the red variety used for pickling were given them, and they preferred the green, the red being either wholly neglected or much less gnawed. On two other occasions, however, they seemed to prefer the red. Halfdecayed leaves of the red variety and fresh leaves of the green were attacked about equally.

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