In the nine vigorous plants observed by me, it is certain that neither the slight spontaneous movements nor the slight sensitiveness of the flower-peduncles aided the plants in climbing. If any member of the Scrophulariaceae had possessed tendrils produced by the modification of flower-peduncles, I should have thought that this species of Maurandia had perhaps retained a useless or rudimentary vestige of a former habit; but this view cannot be maintained. We may suspect that, owing to the principle of correlation, the power of movement has been transferred to the flower-peduncles from the young internodes, and sensitiveness from the young petioles. But to whatever cause these capacities are due, the case is interesting; for, by a little increase in power through natural selection, they might easily have been rendered as useful to the plant in climbing, as are the flower-peduncles (hereafter to be described) of Vitis or Cardiospermum.

Rhodochiton volubile.--A long flexible shoot swept a large circle, following the sun, in 5 hrs. 30 m.; and, as the day became warmer, a second circle was completed in 4 hrs. 10 m. The shoots sometimes make a whole or a half spire round a vertical stick, they then run straight up for a space, and afterwards turn spirally in an opposite direction. The petioles of very young leaves about one-tenth of their full size, are highly sensitive, and bend towards the side which is touched; but they do not move quickly. One was perceptibly curved in 1 hr. 10 m., after being lightly rubbed, and became considerably curved in 5 hrs. 40 m.; some others were scarcely curved in 5 hrs. 30 m., but distinctly so in 6 hrs. 30 m. A curvature was perceptible in one petiole in between 4 hrs. 30 m. and 5 hrs., after the suspension of a little loop of string. A loop of fine cotton thread, weighing one sixteenth of a grain (4.05 mg.), not only caused a petiole slowly to bend, but was ultimately so firmly clasped that it could be withdrawn only by some little force. The petioles, when coming into contact with a stick, take either a complete or half a turn round it, and ultimately increase much in thickness. They do not possess the power of spontaneously revolving.

Lophospermum scandens, var. purpureum.--Some long, moderately thin internodes made four revolutions at an average rate of 3 hrs. 15 m. The course pursued was very irregular, namely, an extremely narrow ellipse, a large circle, an irregular spire or a zigzag line, and sometimes the apex stood still. The young petioles, when brought by the revolving movement into contact with sticks, clasped them, and soon increased considerably in thickness. But they are not quite so sensitive to a weight as those of the Rhodochiton, for loops of thread weighing one-eighth of a grain did not always cause them to bend.

This plant presents a case not observed by me in any other leaf- climber or twiner, {22} namely, that the young internodes of the stem are sensitive to a touch. When a petiole of this species clasps a stick, it draws the base of the internode against it; and then the internode itself bends towards the stick, which is caught between the stem and the petiole as by a pair of pincers. The internode afterwards straightens itself, excepting the part in actual contact with the stick. Young internodes alone are sensitive, and these are sensitive on all sides along their whole length. I made fifteen trials by twice or thrice lightly rubbing with a thin twig several internodes; and in about 2 hrs., but in one case in 3 hrs., all were bent: they became straight again in about 4 hrs. afterwards. An internode, which was rubbed as often as six or seven times, became just perceptibly curved in 1 hr. 15 m., and in 3 hrs. the curvature increased much; it became straight again in the course of the succeeding night. I rubbed some internodes one day on one side, and the next day either on the opposite side or at right angles to the first side; and the curvature was always towards the rubbed side.

According to Palm (p. 63), the petioles of Linaria cirrhosa and, to a limited degree, those of L. elatine have the power of clasping a support.

The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants Page 26

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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