To ascertain the nature of the movement of the sub-peduncle, whilst bending downwards, a filament was fixed across the summit of the calyx of a not fully expanded and almost upright flower, nearly in the centre of the head. The main peduncle was secured to a stick close beneath the head. In order to see the marks on the glass filament, a few flowers had to be cut away on the lower side of the head. The flower under observation at first diverged a little from its upright position, so as to occupy the open space caused by the removal of the adjoining flowers. This required two days, after which time a new tracing was begun (Fig. 124). In A we see the complex circumnutating course pursued from 11.30 A.M. Aug. 26th to 7 A.M. on the 30th. The pot was then moved a very little to the right, and the tracing (B) was continued without interruption from 7 A.M. Aug. 30th to after 6 P.M. Sept. 8th. It should be observed that on most of these days, only a single dot was made each morning at the same hour. Whenever the flower was observed carefully, as on Aug. 30th and Sept. 5th and 6th, it was found to be circumnutating over a small space. At last, on Sept. 7th, it began to bend downwards, and continued to do so until after 6 P.M. on the 8th, and indeed until the morning of the 9th, when its movements could no longer be traced on the vertical glass. It was carefully observed during the whole of the 8th, and by [page 279] 10.30 P.M. it had descended to a point lower down by two-thirds of the length of the figure as here given; but from want of space the tracing has been copied in B, only to a little after 6 P.M. On the morning of the 9th the flower was withered, and the sub-peduncle now stood at an angle of 57o beneath the horizon. If the flower had been fertilised it would have withered much sooner, and have moved much more quickly. We thus see that the sub-peduncle oscillated up and down, or circumnutated, during its whole downward epinastic course.
The sub-peduncles of the fertilised and withered flowers of Oxalis carnosa likewise bend downwards through epinasty, as will be shown in a future chapter; and their downward course is strongly zigzag, indicating circumnutation.]
The number of instances in which various organs move through epinasty or hyponasty, often in combination with other forces, for the most diversified purposes, seems to be inexhaustibly great; and from the several cases which have been here given, we may safely infer that such movements are due to modified circumnutation. [page 280]
MODIFIED CIRCUMNUTATION: SLEEP OR NYCTITROPIC MOVEMENTS, THEIR USE: SLEEP OF COTYLEDONS.