20o C.

The cotyledons of this seedling sank downwards during both evenings and the early part of the night, but rose during the latter part. As this is an unusual movement, the cotyledons of twelve other seedlings were observed; they stood almost or quite horizontally at mid-day, and at 10 P.M. were all declined at various angles. The most usual angle was between 30o and 35o; but three stood at about 50o and one at even 70o beneath the horizon. The blades of all these cotyledons had attained almost their full size, viz. from 1 to 1 inches in length, measured along their midribs. It is a remarkable fact that whilst young--that is, when less than half an inch in length, measured in the same manner--they do not sink [page 49] downwards in the evening. Therefore their weight, which is considerable when almost fully developed, probably came into play in originally determining the downward movement. The periodicity of this movement is much influenced by the degree of light to which the seedlings have been exposed during the day; for three kept in an obscure place began to sink about noon, instead of late in the evening; and those of another seedling were almost paralysed by having been similarly kept during two whole days. The cotyledons of several other species of Ipomoea likewise sink downwards late in the evening.

Cerinthe major (Boragineae).--The circumnutation of the hypocotyl of a young seedling with the cotyledons hardly

Fig. 36. Cerinthe major: circumnutation of hypocotyl, with filament fixed across its summit, illuminated from above, traced on horizontal glass, from 9.26 A.M. to 9.53 P.M. on Oct. 25th. Movement of the bead magnified 30 times, here reduced to one-third of original scale.

expanded, is shown in the annexed figure (Fig. 36), which apparently represents four or five irregular ellipses, described in the course of a little over 12 hours. Two older seedlings were similarly observed, excepting that one of them was kept in the dark; their hypocotyls also circumnutated, but in a more simple manner. The cotyledons on a seedling exposed to the light fell from the early morning until a little after noon, and then continued to rise until 10.30 P.M. or later. The cotyledons of this same seedling acted in the same general manner during the two following days. It had previously been tried in the dark, and after being thus kept for only 1 h. 40 m. the cotyledons began at 4.30 P.M. to sink, instead of continuing to rise till late at night. [page 50]

Nolana prostrata (Nolaneae).--The movements were not traced, but a pot with seedlings, which had been kept in the dark for an hour, was placed under the microscope, with the micrometer eye-piece so adjusted that each division equalled 1/500th of an inch. The apex of one of the cotyledons crossed rather obliquely four divisions in 13 minutes; it was also sinking, as shown by getting out of focus. The seedlings were again placed in darkness for another hour, and the apex now crossed two divisions in 6 m. 18 s.; that is, at very nearly the same rate as before. After another interval of an hour in darkness, it crossed two divisions in 4 m. 15 s., therefore at a quicker rate. In the afternoon, after a longer interval in the dark, the apex was motionless, but after a time it recommenced moving, though slowly; perhaps the room was too cold. Judging from previous cases, there can hardly be a doubt that this seedling was circumnutating.

Fig. 37. Solanum lycopersicum: circumnutation of hypocotyl, with filament fixed across its summit, traced on horizontal glass, from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Oct. 24th. Illuminated obliquely from above. Movement of bead magnified about 35 times, here reduced to one-third of original scale.

Solanum lycopersicum (Solaneae).--The movements of the hypocotyls of two seedling tomatoes were observed during seven hours, and there could be no doubt that both circumnutated. They were illuminated from above, but by an accident a little light entered on one side, and in the accompanying figure (Fig.

The Power of Movement in Plants Page 26

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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