Insectivorous Plants eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 527 pages of information about Insectivorous Plants.

I have now given a brief recapitulation of the chief points observed by me, with respect to the structure, movements, constitution, and habits of Drosera rotundifolia; and we see how little has been made out in comparison with what remains unexplained and unknown. [page 278]



Drosera anglica—­Drosera intermedia—­Drosera capensis—­Drosera spathulata—­Drosera filiformis—­Drosera binata—­Concluding remarks.

I examined six other species of Drosera, some of them inhabitants of distant countries, chiefly for the sake of ascertaining whether they caught insects.  This seemed the more necessary as the leaves of some of the species differ to an extraordinary degree in shape from the rounded ones of Drosera rotundifolia.  In functional powers, however, they differ very little.

[Drosera anglica (Hudson).*—­The leaves of this species, which was sent to me from Ireland, are much elongated, and gradually widen from the footstalk to the bluntly pointed apex.  They stand almost erect, and their blades sometimes exceed 1 inch in length, whilst their breadth is only the 1/5 of an inch.  The glands of all the tentacles have the same structure, so that the extreme marginal ones do not differ from the others, as in the case of Drosera rotundifolia.  When they are irritated by being roughly touched, or by the pressure of minute inorganic particles, or by contact with animal matter, or by the absorption of carbonate of ammonia, the tentacles become inflected; the basal portion being the chief seat of movement.  Cutting or pricking the blade of the leaf did not excite any movement.  They frequently capture insects, and the glands of the inflected tentacles pour forth much acid secretion.  Bits of roast meat were placed on some glands, and the tentacles began to move in 1 m. or

* Mrs. Treat has given an excellent account in ’The American Naturalist,’ December 1873, p. 705, of Drosera longifolia (which is a synonym in part of Drosera anglica), of Drosera rotundifolia and filiformis. [page 279]

1 m. 30 s.; and in 1 hr. 10 m. reached the centre.  Two bits of boiled cork, one of boiled thread, and two of coal-cinders taken from the fire, were placed, by the aid of an instrument which had been immersed in boiling water, on five glands; these superfluous precautions having been taken on account of M. Ziegler’s statements.  One of the particles of cinder caused some inflection in 8 hrs. 45 m., as did after 23 hrs. the other particle of cinder, the bit of thread, and both bits of cork.  Three glands were touched half a dozen times with a needle; one of the tentacles became well inflected in 17 m., and re-expanded after 24 hrs.; the two others never moved.  The homogeneous fluid within the cells of the tentacles undergoes aggregation after these have become inflected; especially if given a solution of carbonate of ammonia; and I observed the usual movements in the masses of protoplasm.  In one case, aggregation ensued in 1 hr. 10 m. after a tentacle had carried a bit of meat to the centre.  From these facts it is clear that the tentacles of Drosera anglica behave like those of Drosera rotundifolia.

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Insectivorous Plants from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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