Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. IX.: Of Vegetables, or Plants. - The Works, vol. 2 An Essay concerning Human Understanding Part 2 and Other Writings
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CHAP. IX.: Of Vegetables, or Plants. - John Locke, The Works, vol. 2 An Essay concerning Human Understanding Part 2 and Other Writings 
The Works of John Locke in Nine Volumes, (London: Rivington, 1824 12th ed.). Vol. 2.
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Of Vegetables, or Plants.
Next to the earth itself, we may consider those that are maintained on its surface; which, though they are fastened to it, yet are very distinct from it; and those are the whole tribe of vegetables or plants. These may be divided into three sorts, herbs, shrubs, and trees.
Herbs are those plants whose stalks are soft, and have nothing woody in them, as grass, sowthistle, and hemlock. Shrubs and trees have all wood in them; but with this difference, that shrubs grow not to the height of trees, and usually spread into branches near the surface of the earth, whereas trees generally shoot up in one great stem or body, and then, at a good distance from the earth, spread into branches; thus gooseberries, and currants, are shrubs; oaks, and cherries, are trees.
In plants, the most considerable parts are these, the root, the stalk, the leaves, the flower, and the seed. There are very few of them that have not all these parts, though some there are that have no stalk; others that have no leaves; and others that have no flowers. But without seed or root I think there are none.
In vegetables, there are two things chiefly to be considered, their nourishment and propagation.
Their nourishment is thus: the small and tender fibres of the roots, being spread under ground, imbibe, from the moist earth, juice fit for their nourishment; this is conveyed by the stalk up into the branches, and leaves, through little, and, in some plants, imperceptible tubes, and from thence, by the bark, returns again to the root; so that there is in vegetables, as well as animals, a circulation of the vital liquor. By what impulse it is moved, is somewhat hard to discover. It seems to be from the difference of day and night, and other changes in the heat of the air; for the heat dilating, and the cold contracting those little tubes, supposing there be valves in them, it is easy to be conceived how the circulation is performed in plants, where it is not required to be so rapid and quick as in animals.
Nature has provided for the propagation of the species of plants several ways. The first and general is by seed. Besides this, some plants are raised from any part of the root set in the ground; others by new roots that are propagated from the old one, as in tulips; others by offsets; and in others, the branches set in the ground will take root and grow; and last of all, grafting and inoculation, in certain sorts, are known ways of propagation. All these ways of increasing plants make one good part of the skill of gardening; and from the books of gardeners may be best learnt.