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

Ordinary plants of the higher classes procure the requisite inorganic elements from the soil by means of their roots, and absorb carbonic acid from the atmosphere by means of their leaves and stems.  But we have seen in a previous part of this work that there is a class of plants which digest and afterwards absorb animal matter, namely, all the Droseraceae, Pinguicula, and, as discovered by Dr. Hooker, Nepenthes, and to this class other species will almost certainly soon be added.  These plants can dissolve matter out of certain vegetable substances, such as pollen, seeds, and bits of leaves.  No doubt their glands likewise absorb the salts of ammonia brought to them by the rain.  It has also been shown that some other plants can absorb ammonia by [page 453] their glandular hairs; and these will profit by that brought to them by the rain.  There is a second class of plants which, as we have just seen, cannot digest, but absorb the products of the decay of the animals which they capture, namely, Utricularia and its close allies; and from the excellent observations of Dr. Mellichamp and Dr. Canby, there can scarcely be a doubt that Sarracenia and Darlingtonia may be added to this class, though the fact can hardly be considered as yet fully proved.  There is a third class of plants which feed, as is now generally admitted, on the products of the decay of vegetable matter, such as the bird’s-nest orchis (Neottia), &c.  Lastly, there is the well-known fourth class of parasites (such as the mistletoe), which are nourished by the juices of living plants.  Most, however, of the plants belonging to these four classes obtain part of their carbon, like ordinary species, from the atmosphere.  Such are the diversified means, as far as at present known, by which higher plants gain their subsistence.

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Index.

Absorption—­ammonia.

A.

Absorption by Dionaea, 295 —­ by Drosera, 17 —­ by Drosophyllum, 337 —­ by Pinguicula, 381 —­ by glandular hairs, 344 —­ by glands of Utricularia, 416, 421 —­ by quadrifids of Utricularia, 413, 421 —­ by Utricularia montana, 437

Acid, nature of, in digestive secretion of Drosera, 88 —­ present in digestive fluid of various species of Drosera, Dionaea, Drosophyllum, and Pinguicula, 278, 301, 339, 381

Acids, various, action of, on Drosera, 188 —­ of the acetic series replacing hydrochloric in digestion, 89 —­, arsenious and chromic, action on Drosera, 185 —­, diluted, inducing negative osmose, 197

Adder’s poison, action on Drosera, 206

Aggregation of protoplasm in Drosera, 38 —­ in Drosera induced by salts of ammonia, 43 —­ —­ caused by small doses of carbonate of ammonia, 145 —­ of protoplasm in Drosera, a reflex action, 242 —­ —­ in various species of Drosera, 278 —­ —­ in Dionaea, 290, 300

Aggregation of protoplasm in Drosophyllum, 337, 339 —­ —­ in Pinguicula, 370, 389 —­ —­ in Utricularia, 411, 415, 429, 430, 436

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