With other leaves heated to 140o (60o Cent.), the spheres were extremely small, yet well defined, but many of the cells contained, in addition, some brownish pulpy matter. In two cases of leaves heated to 145o (62o.7 Cent.), a few tentacles could be found with some of their cells containing a few minute spheres; whilst the other cells and other whole tentacles included only the brownish, disintegrated or pulpy matter.

The fluid within the cells of the tentacles must be in an oxygenated condition, in order that the force or [page 59] influence which induces aggregation should be transmitted at the proper rate from cell to cell. A plant, with its roots in water, was left for 45 m. in a vessel containing 122 oz. of carbonic acid. A leaf from this plant, and, for comparison, one from a fresh plant, were both immersed for 1 hr. in a rather strong solution of carbonate of ammonia. They were then compared, and certainly there was much less aggregation in the leaf which had been subjected to the carbonic acid than in the other. Another plant was exposed in the same vessel for 2 hrs. to carbonic acid, and one of its leaves was then placed in a solution of one part of the carbonate to 437 of water; the glands were instantly blackened, showing that they had absorbed, and that their contents were aggregated; but in the cells close beneath the glands there was no aggregation even after an interval of 3 hrs. After 4 hrs. 15 m. a few minute spheres of protoplasm were formed in these cells, but even after 5 hrs. 30 m. the aggregation did not extend down the pedicels for a length equal to that of the glands. After numberless trials with fresh leaves immersed in a solution of this strength, I have never seen the aggregating action transmitted at nearly so slow a rate. Another plant was left for 2 hrs. in carbonic acid, but was then exposed for 20 m. to the open air, during which time the leaves, being of a red colour, would have absorbed some oxygen. One of them, as well as a fresh leaf for comparison, were now immersed in the same solution as before. The former were looked at repeatedly, and after an interval of 65 m. a few spheres of protoplasm were first observed in the cells close beneath the glands, but only in two or three of the longer tentacles. After 3 hrs. the aggregation had travelled down the pedicels of a few of the tentacles [page 60] for a length equal to that of the glands. On the other hand, in the fresh leaf similarly treated, aggregation was plain in many of the tentacles after 15 m.; after 65 m. it had extended down the pedicels for four, five, or more times the lengths of the glands; and after 3 hrs. the cells of all the tentacles were affected for one-third or one-half of their entire lengths. Hence there can be no doubt that the exposure of leaves to carbonic acid either stops for a time the process of aggregation, or checks the transmission of the proper influence when the glands are subsequently excited by carbonate of ammonia; and this substance acts more promptly and energetically than any other. It is known that the protoplasm of plants exhibits its spontaneous movements only as long as it is in an oxygenated condition; and so it is with the white corpuscles of the blood, only as long as they receive oxygen from the red corpuscles;* but the cases above given are somewhat different, as they relate to the delay in the generation or aggregation of the masses of protoplasm by the exclusion of oxygen.

Summary and Concluding Remarks.--The process of aggregation is independent of the inflection of the tentacles and of increased secretion from the glands. It commences within the glands, whether these have been directly excited, or indirectly by a stimulus received from other glands. In both cases the process is transmitted from cell to cell down the whole length of the tentacles, being arrested for a short time at each transverse partition. With pale-coloured leaves the first change which is perceptible, but only

* With respect to plants, Sachs, 'Trait de Bot.' 3rd edit., 1874, p. 864.

Insectivorous Plants Page 31

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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