The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening Science - Soils, Manure and the Environment
Chapter: Chapter 3: Heat, Light and Electricity

Electrical effects on vegetation

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1346. Electrical changes are constantly taking place in nature, on the surface of the earth, and in the atmosphere; but, as yet, the effects of this power on vegetation have not been correctly estimated. It has been shown by experiments made by means of the voltaic battery, that compound bodies in general are capable of being decomposed by electrical powers; and it is probable that the various electrical phenomena occurring in our system must influence both the germination of seeds and the growth of plants. It has been found that seeds have sprouted much more rapidly in water positively electrified by the voltaic instrument, than in water negatively electrified; and experiments made upon the atmosphere show that clouds are usually negative; and, as, when a cloud is in one state of electricity, the surface of the earth beneath is brought into the opposite state, it is probable that in common cases the surface of the earth is positive. A similar experiment is related by Dr. Darwin. (Phytologia, sect. xiii. 2, 3.)