The young internodes of the Lophospermum as well as the petioles are sensitive to a touch, and by their combined movement seize an object. The flower-peduncles of the Maurandia semperflorens revolve spontaneously and are sensitive to a touch, yet are not used for climbing. The leaves of at least two, and probably of most, of the species of Clematis, of Fumaria and Adlumia, spontaneously curve from side to side, like the internodes, and are thus better adapted to seize distant objects. The petioles of the perfect leaves of Tropaeolum tricolorum, as well as the tendril-like filaments of the plants whilst young, ultimately move towards the stem or the supporting stick, which they then clasp. These petioles and filaments also show some tendency to contract spirally. The tips of the uncaught leaves of the Gloriosa, as they grow old, contract into a flat spire or helix. These several facts are interesting in relation to true tendrils.

With leaf climbers, as with twining plants, the first internodes which rise from the ground do not, at least in the cases observed by me, spontaneously revolve; nor are the petioles or tips of the first- formed leaves sensitive. In certain species of Clematis, the large size of the leaves, together with their habit of revolving, and the extreme sensitiveness of their petioles, appear to render the revolving movement of the internodes superfluous; and this latter power has consequently become much enfeebled. In certain species of Tropaeolum, both the spontaneous movements of the internodes and the sensitiveness of the petioles have become much enfeebled, and in one species have been completely lost.

The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants Page 30

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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