In like manner positive geotropism, or bending towards the centre of the earth, will be called by us geotropism; apogeotropism will mean bending in opposition to gravity or from the centre of the earth; and diageotropism, a position more or less transverse to the radius of the earth. The words heliotropism and geotropism properly mean the act of moving in relation to the light or the earth; but in the same manner as gravitation, though defined as "the act of tending to the centre," is often used to express the cause of a body falling, so it will be found convenient occasionally to employ heliotropism and geotropism, etc., as the cause of the movements in question.

The term epinasty is now often used in Germany, and implies that the upper surface of an organ grows more quickly than the

* The highly useful terms of Heliotropism and Geotropism were first used by Dr. A. B. Frank: see his remarkable 'Beiträge zur Pflanzenphysiologie,' 1868. [page 6] lower surface, and thus causes it to bend downwards. Hyponasty is the reverse, and implies increased growth along the lower surface, causing the part to bend upwards.*

Methods of Observation.--The movements, sometimes very small and sometimes considerable in extent, of the various organs observed by us, were traced in the manner which after many trials we found to be best, and which must be described. Plants growing in pots were protected wholly from the light, or had light admitted from above, or on one side as the case might require, and were covered above by a large horizontal sheet of glass, and with another vertical sheet on one side. A glass filament, not thicker than a horsehair, and from a quarter to three-quarters of an inch in length, was affixed to the part to be observed by means of shellac dissolved in alcohol. The solution was allowed to evaporate, until it became so thick that it set hard in two or three seconds, and it never injured the tissues, even the tips of tender radicles, to which it was applied. To the end of the glass filament an excessively minute bead of black sealing-wax was cemented, below or behind which a bit of card with a black dot was fixed to a stick driven into the ground. The weight of the filament was so slight that even small leaves were not perceptibly pressed down. another method of observation, when much magnification of the movement was not required, will presently be described. The bead and the dot on the card were viewed through the horizontal or vertical glass-plate (according to the position of the object), and when one exactly covered the other, a dot was made on the glass-plate with a sharply pointed stick dipped in thick Indian-ink. Other dots were made at short intervals of time and these were afterwards joined by straight lines. The figures thus traced were therefore angular; but if dots had been made every 1 or 2 minutes, the lines would have been more curvilinear, as occurred when radicles were allowed to trace their own courses on smoked glass-plates. To make the dots accurately was the sole difficulty, and required some practice. Nor could this be done quite accurately, when the movement was much magnified, such as 30 times and upwards; yet even in this case the general course may be trusted. To test the accuracy of the above method of observation, a filament was fixed to an

* These terms are used in the sense given them by De Vries, 'Würzburg Arbeiten,' Heft ii 1872, p. 252.

[page 7] inanimate object which was made to slide along a straight edge and dots were repeatedly made on a glass-plate; when these were joined, the result ought to have been a perfectly straight line, and the line was very nearly straight. It may be added that when the dot on the card was placed half-an-inch below or behind the bead of sealing-wax, and when the glass-plate (supposing it to have been properly curved) stood at a distance of 7 inches in front (a common distance), then the tracing represented the movement of the bead magnified 15 times.

Whenever a great increase of the movement was not required, another, and in some respects better, method of observation was followed.

The Power of Movement in Plants Page 06

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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