At 6.40 A.M. it stood horizontally; it then fell till 8.35, and then rose. Altogether in the course of 12 h. it rose thrice and fell thrice, as may be seen in Fig. 15. The great nocturnal rise of the cotyledons usually commences about 4 or 5 P.M., and on the following morning they are expanded or stand horizontally at about 6.30 A.M. In the present instance, however, the great nocturnal rise did not commence till 7 P.M.; but this was due to the hypocotyl having from some unknown cause temporarily bent to the left side, as is shown in the tracing. To ascertain positively that the hypocotyl circumnutated, a mark was placed at 8.15 P.M. behind the two now closed and vertical cotyledons; and the movement of a glass filament fixed upright to the top of the hypocotyl was traced until 10.40 P.M. During this time it moved from side to side, as well as backwards and forwards, plainly showing circumnutation; but the movement was small in extent. Therefore Fig. 15 represents fairly well the movements of the cotyledons alone, with the exception of the one great afternoon curvature to the left.

Oxalis corniculata (var. cuprea).--The cotyledons rise at night to a variable degree above the horizon, generally about 45o: those on some seedlings between 2 and 5 days old were found to be in continued movement all day long; but the movements were more simple than in the last two species. This may have partly resulted from their not being sufficiently illuminated whilst being observed, as was shown by their not beginning to rise until very late in the evening.

Oxalis (Biophytum) sensitiva.--The cotyledons are highly remarkable from the amplitude and rapidity of their movements during the day. The angles at which they stood above or beneath the horizon were measured at short intervals of time; and we regret that their course was not traced during the whole day. We will give only a few of the measurements, which were made whilst the seedlings were exposed to a temperature of 22 1/2o to 24 decrees C. One cotyledon rose 70o in 11 m.; another, on a distinct seedling, fell 80o in 12 m. Immediately before this latter fall the same cotyledon had risen from a vertically downward to a vertically upward position in 1 h. 48 m., and had therefore passed through 180o in under 2 h. We have met with no other instance of a circumnutating movement of such great amplitude as 180o; nor of such rapidity of movement as the passage through 80o in 12 m. The cotyledons of this plant sleep at night by rising [page 27] vertically and coming into close contact. This upward movement differs from one of the great diurnal oscillations above described only by the position being permanent during the night and by its periodicity, as it always commences late in the evening.

Tropaeolum minus (?) (var. Tom Thumb) (Tropaeoleae).--The cotyledons are hypogean, or never rise above the ground. By removing the soil a buried epicotyl or plumule was found, with its summit arched abruptly downwards, like the arched hypocotyl of the cabbage previously described. A glass filament with a bead at its end was affixed to the basal half or leg, just above the hypogean cotyledons, which were again almost surrounded by loose earth. The tracing (Fig. 16) shows the course of the bead during 11 h. After the last dot given in the figure, the bead moved to a great distance, and finally off the glass, in the direction indicated by the broken line. This great movement, due to increased growth along the concave surface of the arch, was caused by the basal leg bending backwards from the upper part, that is in a direction opposite to the dependent tip, in the same manner as occurred with the hypocotyl of the cabbage. Another buried and arched epicotyl was observed in the same manner, excepting that the two legs of the arch were tied together with fine silk for the sake of preventing the great movement just mentioned. It moved, however, in the evening in the same direction as before, but the line followed was not so straight. During the morning the tied arch moved in an irregularly circular, strongly zigzag course, and to a greater distance than in the previous case, as was shown in a tracing, magnified 18 times.

The Power of Movement in Plants Page 15

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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