As one species, Lemna arrhiza, produces no roots, the latter alternative is perhaps the most probable. After about 2 1/2 hrs. some of the little green spheres in the roots were broken up into small granules which exhibited Brownian movements. Some duck-weed was also left for 1 hr. 30 m. in a solution of one part of [page 65] carbonate of potash to 218 of water, and no decided change could be perceived in the cells of the roots; but when these same roots were placed for 25 m. in a solution of carbonate of ammonia of the same strength, little green spheres were formed.

A green marine alga was left for some time in this same solution, but was very doubtfully affected. On the other hand, a red marine alga, with finely pinnated fronds, was strongly affected. The contents of the cells aggregated themselves into broken rings, still of a red colour, which very slowly and slightly changed their shapes, and the central spaces within these rings became cloudy with red granular matter. The facts here given (whether they are new, I know not) indicate that interesting results would perhaps be gained by observing the action of various saline solutions and other fluids on the roots of plants. [page 66]



Nature of the experiments--Effects of boiling water--Warm water causes rapid inflection-- Water at a higher temperature does not cause immediate inflection, but does not kill the leaves, as shown by their subsequent re-expansion and by the aggregation of the protoplasm-- A still higher temperature kills the leaves and coagulates the albuminous contents of the glands.

IN my observations on Drosera rotundifolia, the leaves seemed to be more quickly inflected over animal substances, and to remain inflected for a longer period during very warm than during cold weather. I wished, therefore, to ascertain whether heat alone would induce inflection, and what temperature was the most efficient. Another interesting point presented itself, namely, at what degree life was extinguished; for Drosera offers unusual facilities in this respect, not in the loss of the power of inflection, but in that of subsequent re-expansion, and more especially in the failure of the protoplasm to become aggregated, when the leaves after being heated are immersed in a solution of carbonate of ammonia.*

* When my experiments on the effects of heat were made, I was not aware that the subject had been carefully investigated by several observers. For instance, Sachs is convinced ('Trait de Botanique,' 1874, pp. 772, 854) that the most different kinds of plants all perish if kept for 10 m. in water at 45o to 46o Cent., or 113o to 115o Fahr.; and he concludes that the protoplasm within their cells always coagulates, if in a damp condition, at a temperature of between 50oand 60o Cent., or 122o to 140o Fahr. Max Schultze and Khne (as quoted by Dr. Bastian in 'Contemp. Review,' 1874, p. 528) "found that the protoplasm of plant-cells, with which they experimented, was always killed and [[page 67]] altered by a very brief exposure to a temperature of 118 1/2o Fahr. as a maximum." As my results are deduced from special phenomena, namely, the subsequent aggregation of the protoplasm and the re-expansion of the tentacles, they seem to me worth giving. We shall find that Drosera resists heat somewhat better than most other plants. That there should be considerable differences in this respect is not surprising, considering that some low vegetable organisms grow in hot springs--cases of which have been collected by Prof. Wyman ('American Journal of Science,' vol. xliv. 1867). Thus, Dr. Hooker found Confervae in water at 168o Fahr.; Humboldt, at 185o Fahr.; and Descloizeaux, at 208o Fahr.) [page 67]

[My experiments were tried in the following manner. Leaves were cut off, and this does not in the least interfere with their powers; for instance, three cut off leaves, with bits of meat placed on them, were kept in a damp atmosphere, and after 23 hrs.

Charles Darwin

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