WHAT A CABBAGE IS
If we cut vertically through the middle of the head, we shall find it made up of successive layers of leaves, which grow smaller and smaller, almost ad infinitum. Now, if we take a fruit bud from an apple-tree and make a similar section of it, we shall find the same structure. If we observe the development of the two, as spring advances, we shall find another similarity (the looser the head the closer will be the resemblance),—the outer leaves of each will unwrap and unfold, and a flower stem will push out from each. Here we see that a cabbage is a bud, a seed bud (as all fruit buds may be termed, the production of seed being the primary object in nature, the fruit enclosing it playing but a secondary part), the office of the leaves being to cover, protect, and afterwards nourish the young seed shoot. The outer leaves which surround the head appear to have the same office as the leaves which surround the growing fruit bud, and that office closes with the first year, as does that of the leaves surrounding fruit buds, when each die and drop off. In my locality the public must have perceived more or less clearly the analogy between the heads of cabbage and the buds of trees, for when they speak of small heads they frequently call them "buds." That the close wrapped leaves which make the cabbage head and surround the seed germ, situated just in the middle of the head at the termination of the stump, are necessary for its protection and nutrition when young, is proved, I think, by the fact that those cabbages, the heads of which are much decayed, when set out for seed, no matter how sound the seed germ may be at the end of the stump, never make so large or healthy a seed shoot as those do the heads of which are sound; as a rule, after pushing a feeble growth, they die.