In one of these leaves there was only a slight degree of aggregation in the tentacles; in the second rather more, the purple contents of the cells being a little separated from the walls; in the third and fourth, which were pale leaves, the aggregation in the upper parts of the pedicels was well marked. In these leaves the little masses of protoplasm, many of which were oval, slowly changed their forms and positions; so that a submergence for 47 hrs. had not killed the protoplasm. In a previous trial with a submerged plant, the tentacles were not in the least inflected. [page 53]

Heat induces aggregation. A leaf, with the cells of the tentacles containing only homogeneous fluid, was waved about for 1 m. in water at 130o Fahr. (54o.4 Cent.) and was then examined under the microscope as quickly as possible, that is in 2 m. or 3 m.; and by this time the contents of the cells had undergone some degree of aggregation. A second leaf was waved for 2 m. in water at 125o (51o.6 Cent.) and quickly examined as before; the tentacles were well inflected; the purple fluid in all the cells had shrunk a little from the walls, and contained many oval and elongated masses of protoplasm, with a few minute spheres. A third leaf was left in water at 125o, until it cooled, and when examined after 1 hr. 45 m., the inflected tentacles showed some aggregation, which became after 3 hrs. more strongly marked, but did not subsequently increase. Lastly, a leaf was waved for 1 m. in water at 120o (48o.8 Cent.) and then left for 1 hr. 26 m. in cold water; the tentacles were but little inflected, and there was only here and there a trace of aggregation. In all these and other trials with warm water the protoplasm showed much less tendency to aggregate into spherical masses than when excited by carbonate of ammonia.

Redissolution of the Aggregated Masses of Protoplasm.--As soon as tentacles which have clasped an insect or any inorganic object, or have been in any way excited, have fully re-expanded, the aggregated masses of protoplasm are redissolved and disappear; the cells being now refilled with homogeneous purple fluid as they were before the tentacles were inflected. The process of redissolution in all cases commences at the bases of the tentacles, and proceeds up them towards the glands. In old leaves, however, especially in those which have been several times in action, the protoplasm in the uppermost cells of the pedicels remains in a permanently more or less aggregated condition. In order to observe the process of redissolution, the following observations were made: a leaf was left for 24 hrs. in a little solution of one part of carbonate of ammonia to 218 of water, and the protoplasm was as usual aggregated into numberless purple spheres, which were incessantly changing their forms. The leaf was then washed and placed in distilled water, and after 3 hrs. 15 m. some few of the spheres began to show by their less clearly defined edges signs of redissolution. After 9 hrs. many of them had become elongated, and the surrounding fluid in the cells was slightly more coloured, showing plainly that redissolution had commenced. After 24 hrs., though many cells still contained spheres, here and there one [page 54] could be seen filled with purple fluid, without a vestige of aggregated protoplasm; the whole having been redissolved. A leaf with aggregated masses, caused by its having been waved for 2 m. in water at the temperature of 125o Fahr., was left in cold water, and after 11 hrs. the protoplasm showed traces of incipient redissolution. When again examined three days after its immersion in the warm water, there was a conspicuous difference, though the protoplasm was still somewhat aggregated. Another leaf, with the contents of all the cells strongly aggregated from the action of a weak solution of phosphate of ammonia, was left for between three and four days in a mixture (known to be innocuous) of one drachm of alcohol to eight drachms of water, and when re-examined every trace of aggregation had disappeared, the cells being now filled with homogeneous fluid.

Insectivorous Plants Page 28

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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