The leaf was now placed in cold water, and in 7 hrs. 30 m. it had partly, and in 10 hrs. fully, re-expanded. On the following morning it was immersed in a weak solution of carbonate of [page 69] ammonia, and the glands quickly became black, with strongly marked aggregation in the tentacles, showing that the protoplasm was alive, and that the glands had not lost their power of absorption. Another leaf was placed in water at 110o (43o.3 Cent.) which was raised to 120o (48o.8 Cent.); and every tentacle, excepting one, was quickly and closely inflected. This leaf was now immersed in a few drops of a strong solution of carbonate of ammonia (one part to 109 of water); in 10 m. all the glands became intensely black, and in 2 hrs. the protoplasm in the cells of the pedicels was well aggregated. Another leaf was suddenly plunged, and as usual waved about, in water at 120o, and the tentacles became inflected in from 2 m. to 3 m., but only so as to stand at right angles to the disc. The leaf was now placed in the same solution (viz. one part of carbonate of ammonia to 109 of water, or 4 grs. to 1 oz., which I will for the future designate as the strong solution), and when I looked at it again after the interval of an hour, the glands were blackened, and there was well-marked aggregation. After an additional interval of 4 hrs. the tentacles had become much more inflected. It deserves notice that a solution as strong as this never causes inflection in ordinary cases. Lastly a leaf was suddenly placed in water at 125o (51o.6 Cent.), and was left in it until the water cooled; the tentacles were rendered of a bright red and soon became inflected. The contents of the cells underwent some degree of aggregation, which in the course of three hours increased; but the masses of protoplasm did not become spherical, as almost always occurs with leaves immersed in a solution of carbonate of ammonia.]

We learn from these cases that a temperature of from 120o to 125o (48o.8 to 51o.6 Cent.) excites the tentacles into quick movement, but does not kill the leaves, as shown either by their subsequent re-expansion or by the aggregation of the protoplasm. We shall now see that a temperature of 130o (54o.4 Cent.) is too high to cause immediate inflection, yet does not kill the leaves.

[Experiment 1.--A leaf was plunged, and as in all cases waved about for a few minutes, in water at 130o (54o.4 Cent.), but there was no trace of inflection; it was then placed in cold water, and after an interval of 15 m. very slow movement was [page 70] distinctly seen in a small mass of protoplasm in one of the cells of a tentacle.* After a few hours all the tentacles and the blade became inflected.

Experiment 2.--Another leaf was plunged into water at 130o to 131o, and as before there was no inflection. After being kept in cold water for an hour, it was placed in the strong solution of ammonia, and in the course of 55 m. the tentacles were considerably inflected. The glands, which before had been rendered of a brighter red, were now blackened. The protoplasm in the cells of the tentacles was distinctly aggregated; but the spheres were much smaller than those generated in unheated leaves when subjected to carbonate of ammonia. After an additional 2 hrs. all the tentacles, excepting six or seven, were closely inflected.

Experiment 3.--A similar experiment to the last, with exactly the same results.

Experiment 4.--A fine leaf was placed in water at 100o (37o.7 Cent.), which was then raised to 145o (62o.7 Cent.). Soon after immersion, there was, as might have been expected, strong inflection. The leaf was now removed and left in cold water; but from having been exposed to so high a temperature, it never re-expanded.

Experiment 5.--Leaf immersed at 130o (54o.4 Cent.), and the water raised to 145o (62o.7 Cent.), there was no immediate inflection; it was then placed in cold water, and after 1 hr. 20 m. some of the tentacles on one side became inflected. This leaf was now placed in the strong solution, and in 40 m.

Insectivorous Plants Page 36

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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