Insectivorous Plants eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 462 pages of information about Insectivorous Plants.

leaves thus treated re-expanded,—­one to a partial extent in 24 hrs.,—­a second to the same extent in 48 hrs., and the third, which had been previously injured, not until the sixth day.  These leaves after their re-expansion closed quickly when the filaments on the other lobe were irritated.  These were then cut off one of the leaves, so that none were left.  This mutilated leaf, notwithstanding the loss of all its filaments, re-expanded in two days in the usual manner.  When the filaments have been excited by immersion in a solution of sugar, the lobes do not expand so soon as when the filaments have been merely touched; and this, I presume, is due to their having been strongly affected through exosmose, so that they continue for some time to transmit a motor impulse to the upper surface of the leaf.

The following facts make me believe that the several layers of cells forming the lower surface of the leaf are always in a state of tension; and that it is owing to this mechanical state, aided probably by fresh fluid being attracted into the cells, that the lobes begin to separate or expand as soon as the contraction of the upper surface diminishes.  A leaf was cut off and suddenly plunged perpendicularly into boiling water:  I expected that the lobes would have closed, but instead of doing so, they diverged a little.  I then took another fine leaf, with the lobes standing at an angle of nearly 80o to each other; and on immersing it as before, the angle suddenly increased to 90o.  A third leaf was torpid from having recently re-expanded after having caught a fly, so that repeated touches of the filaments caused not the least movement; nevertheless, when similarly immersed, the lobes separated a little.  As these leaves were inserted perpendicularly into the boiling water, both surfaces and the filaments [page 320] must have been equally affected; and I can understand the divergence of the lobes only by supposing that the cells on the lower side, owing to their state of tension, acted mechanically and thus suddenly drew the lobes a little apart, as soon as the cells on the upper surface were killed and lost their contractile power.  We have seen that boiling water in like manner causes the tentacles of Drosera to curve backwards; and this is an analogous movement to the divergence of the lobes of Dionaea.

In some concluding remarks in the fifteenth chapter on the Droseraceae, the different kinds of irritability possessed by the several genera, and the different manner in which they capture insects, will be compared. [page 321]

CHAPTER XIV.

ALDROVANDA VESICULOSA.

Captures crustaceans—­Structure of the leaves in comparison with those of Dionaea—­ Absorption by the glands, by the quadrifid processes, and points on the infolded margins—­ Aldrovanda vesiculosa, var. australis—­Captures prey—­Absorption of animal matter—­ Aldrovanda vesiculosa, var. verticillata—­Concluding remarks.

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Insectivorous Plants from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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