From The New York Times:
IN 1860, while studying primroses in the garden of Down House, his home in Kent, England, Charles Darwin noticed something odd about their blooms.
While all the flowers had both male and female parts — anthers and pistils — in some the anthers were prominent and in others the pistils were longer. So he experimented in his home laboratory and greenhouses, cross-pollinating some plants with their anatomical opposites. The results were striking. “He determined that if they cross-pollinate, they produce more seed and more vigorous seedlings,” said Margaret Falk, a horticulturalist and associate vice president at the New York Botanical Garden. The variation is evolution’s way of increasing cross-pollination, she said.
Now the Botanical Garden is replicating this work, and more of Darwin’s Down House experiments, in a stunning, multipart exhibition called “Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure.”