The bits of thread had been carried some time previously to the central disc, and this had caused all the other tentacles to become somewhat inflected; and their cells had likewise undergone aggregation, which however, it should be observed, had not as yet extended down to their bases, but was confined to the cells close beneath the glands.
Not only do repeated touches on the glands* and the contact of minute particles cause aggregation, but if glands, without being themselves injured, are cut off from the summits of the pedicels, this induces a moderate amount of aggregation in the headless tentacles, after they have become inflected. On the other hand, if glands are suddenly crushed between pincers, as was tried in six cases, the tentacles seem paralysed by so great a shock, for they neither become inflected nor exhibit any signs of aggregation.
Carbonate of Ammonia.--Of all the causes inducing aggregation, that which, as far as I have seen, acts the quickest, and is the most powerful, is a solution of carbonate of ammonia. Whatever its strength may be, the glands are always affected first, and soon become quite opaque, so as to appear black. For instance, I placed a leaf in a few drops of a strong solution, namely, of one part to 146 of water (or 3 grs. to 1 oz.), and observed it under a high power. All the glands began to
* Judging from an account of M. Heckel's observations, which I have only just seen quoted in the 'Gardeners' Chronicle' (Oct. 10, 1874), he appears to have observed a similar phenomenon in the stamens of Berberis, after they have been excited by a touch and have moved; for he says, "the contents of each individual cell are collected together in the centre of the cavity." [page 44]
darken in 10 s. (seconds); and in 13 s. were conspicuously darker. In 1 m. extremely small spherical masses of protoplasm could be seen arising in the cells of the pedicels close beneath the glands, as well as in the cushions on which the long-headed marginal glands rest. In several cases the process travelled down the pedicels for a length twice or thrice as great as that of the glands, in about 10 m. It was interesting to observe the process momentarily arrested at each transverse partition between two cells, and then to see the transparent contents of the cell next below almost flashing into a cloudy mass. In the lower part of the pedicels, the action proceeded slower, so that it took about 20 m. before the cells halfway down the long marginal and submarginal tentacles became aggregated.
We may infer that the carbonate of ammonia is absorbed by the glands, not only from its action being so rapid, but from its effect being somewhat different from that of other salts. As the glands, when excited, secrete an acid belonging to the acetic series, the carbonate is probably at once converted into a salt of this series; and we shall presently see that the acetate of ammonia causes aggregation almost or quite as energetically as does the carbonate. If a few drops of a solution of one part of the carbonate to 437 of water (or 1 gr. to 1 oz.) be added to the purple fluid which exudes from crushed tentacles, or to paper stained by being rubbed with them, the fluid and the paper are changed into a pale dirty green. Nevertheless, some purple colour could still be detected after 1 hr. 30 m. within the glands of a leaf left in a solution of twice the above strength (viz. 2 grs. to 1 oz.); and after 24 hrs. the cells of the pedicels close beneath the glands still contained spheres of protoplasm of a fine purple tint. These facts show that the ammonia had not entered as a carbonate, for otherwise the colour would have been discharged. I have, however, sometimes observed, especially with the long-headed tentacles on the margins of very pale leaves immersed in a solution, that the glands as well as the upper cells of the pedicels were discoloured; and in these cases I presume that the unchanged carbonate had been absorbed. The appearance above described, of the aggregating process being arrested for a short time at each transverse partition, impresses the mind with the idea of matter passing downwards from cell to cell.