The Power of Movement in Plants eBook

Francis Darwin
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 570 pages of information about The Power of Movement in Plants.



Circumnutation modified through innate causes or through the action of external conditions—­Innate causes—­Climbing plants; similarity of their movements with those of ordinary plants; increased amplitude; occasional points of difference—­Epinastic growth of young leaves—­Hyponastic growth of the hypocotyls and epicotyls of seedlings—­Hooked tips of climbing and other plants due to modified circumnutation—­Ampelopsis tricuspidata—­ Smithia Pfundii—­Straightening of the tip due to hyponasty—­Epinastic growth and circumnutation of the flower-peduncles of Trifolium repens and Oxalis carnosa.

The radicles, hypocotyls and epicotyls of seedling plants, even before they emerge from the ground, and afterwards the cotyledons, are all continually circumnutating.  So it is with the stems, stolons, flower-peduncles, and leaves of older plants.  We may, therefore, infer with a considerable degree of safety that all the growing parts of all plants circumnutate.  Although this movement, in its ordinary or unmodified state, appears in some cases to be of service to plants, either directly or indirectly—­for instance, the circumnutation of the radicle in penetrating the ground, or that of the arched hypocotyl and epicotyl in breaking through the surface—­yet circumnutation is so general, or rather so universal a phenomenon, that we cannot suppose it to have been gained for any special purpose.  We must believe that it follows in some unknown way from the manner in which vegetable tissues grow. [page 264]

We shall now consider the many cases in which circumnutation has been modified for various special purposes; that is, a movement already in progress is temporarily increased in some one direction, and temporarily diminished or quite arrested in other directions.  These cases may be divided in two sub-classes; in one of which the modification depends on innate or constitutional causes, and is independent of external conditions, excepting in so far that the proper ones for growth must be present.  In the second sub-class the modification depends to a large extent on external agencies, such as the daily alternations of light and darkness, or light alone, temperature, or the attraction of gravity.  The first small sub-class will be considered in the present chapter, and the second sub-class in the remainder of this volume.

The circumnutation of climbing plants.

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The Power of Movement in Plants from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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