Insectivorous Plants eBook

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

(6) A row of small fragments of glass was laid along one margin of a leaf; no effect was produced in 2 hrs. 10 m., but after 3 hrs. 25 m. there seemed to be a trace of inflection, and this was distinct, though not strongly marked, after 6 hrs.  The glands in contact with the fragments now secreted more freely than before; so that they appear to be more easily excited by the pressure of inorganic objects than are the glands of Pinguicula vulgaris.  The above slight inflection of the margin had not increased after 24 hrs., and the glands were now beginning to dry.  The surface of a leaf, near the midrib and towards the base, was rubbed and scratched for some time, but no movement ensued.  The long hairs which are situated here were treated in the same manner, with no effect.  This latter trial was made because I thought that the hairs might perhaps be sensitive to a touch, like the filaments of Dionaea. [page 394]

(7) The flower-peduncles, sepals and petals, bear glands in general appearance like those on the leaves.  A piece of a flower-peduncle was therefore left for 1 hr. in a solution of one part of carbonate of ammonia to 437 of water, and this caused the glands to change from bright pink to a dull purple colour; but their contents exhibited no distinct aggregation.  After 8 hrs. 30 m. they became colourless.  Two minute cubes of albumen were placed on the glands of a flower-peduncle, and another cube on the glands of a sepal; but they were not excited to increased secretion, and the albumen after two days was not in the least softened.  Hence these glands apparently differ greatly in function from those on the leaves.]

From the foregoing observations on Pinguicula lusitanica we see that the naturally much incurved margins of the leaves are excited to curve still farther inwards by contact with organic and inorganic bodies; that albumen, cabbage seeds, bits of spinach leaves, and fragments of glass, cause the glands to secrete more freely;—­that albumen is dissolved by the secretion, and cabbage seeds killed by it;—­and lastly that matter is absorbed by the glands from the insects which are caught in large numbers by the viscid secretion.  The glands on the flower-peduncles seem to have no such power.  This species differs from Pinguicula vulgarisand grandiflora in the margins of the leaves, when excited by organic bodies, being inflected to a greater degree, and in the inflection lasting for a longer time.  The glands, also, seem to be more easily excited to increased secretion by bodies not yielding soluble nitrogenous matter.  In other respects, as far as my observations serve, all three species agree in their functional powers. [page 395]

CHAPTER XVII.

UTRICULARIA.

Utricularia neglecta—­Structure of the bladder—­The uses of the several parts—­Number of imprisoned animals—­Manner of capture—­The bladders cannot digest animal matter, but absorb the products of its decay—­Experiments on the absorption of certain fluids by the quadrifid processes—­Absorption by the glands—­Summary of the observation on absorption—­ Development of the bladders—­Utricularia vulgaris—­Utricularia minor—­Utricularia clandestina.

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Insectivorous Plants from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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