But by 3 P.M. they had again risen a little, and continued to rise during the rest of the afternoon and night; on the following morning they stood at the same level as on the previous day. Darkness, therefore, during a day and a half does not interfere with the periodicity of their movements. On a warm but stormy evening, the plant whilst being brought into the house, had its leaves violently shaken, and at night not one went to sleep. On the next morning the plant was taken back to the hot-house, and again at night the leaves did not sleep; but on the ensuing night they rose in the usual manner between 70o and 80o. This fact is analogous with what we have observed with climbing plants, namely, that much agitation checks for a time their power of circumnutation; but the effect in this instance was much more strongly marked and prolonged.
Colocasia antiquorum (Caladium esculentum, Hort.) (Aroideae).--The leaves of this plant sleep by their blades sinking in the evening, so as to stand highly inclined, or even quite vertically with their tips pointing to the ground. They are not provided with a pulvinus. The blade of one stood at noon 1 degree beneath the horizon; at 4.20 P.M., 20o; at 6 P.M. 43o; at 7.20 P.M., 69o; and at 8.30 P.M., 68o; so it had now begun to rise; at 10.15 P.M. it stood at 65o, and on the following early morning at 11o beneath the horizon. The circumnutation of another young leaf (with its petiole only 3 1/4 inches, and the blade 4 inches in length), was traced on a vertical glass during 48 h.; it was dimly illuminated through a skylight, and this seemed to disturb the proper periodicity of its movements. Nevertheless, the leaf fell greatly during both afternoons, till either 7.10 P.M. or 9 P.M., when it rose a little and moved laterally. By an early hour on both mornings, it had assumed its diurnal position. The well-marked lateral movement for a short time in the early part of the night, was the only interesting fact which it presented, as this caused the ascending and descending lines not to coincide, in accordance with the general rule with circumnutating organs. The movements of the leaves of this plant are thus of the most simple kind; and the tracing is not worth giving. We have seen that in another genus of the Aroideae, namely, Pistia, the leaves [page 391] rise so much at night that they may almost be said to sleep.
Strephium floribundum* (Gramineae).--The oval leaves are provided with a pulvinus, and are extended horizontally or declined a little beneath the horizon during the day. Those on the upright culms simply rise up vertically at night, so that their tips are directed towards the zenith. (Fig. 164.)
Fig. 164. Strephium floribundum: culms with leaves during the day, and when asleep at night. Figures reduced.
Horizontally extended leaves arising from much inclined or almost horizontal culms, move at night so that their tips point towards the apex of the culm, with one lateral margin directed towards the zenith; and in order to assume this position the leaves have to twist on their own axes through an angle of nearly 90o. Thus the surface of the blade always stands vertically, whatever may be the position of the midrib or of the leaf as a whole.
The circumnutation of a young leaf (2.3 inches in length) was traced during 48 h. (Fig. 165). The movement was remarkably simple; the leaf descended from before 6.40 A.M. until 2 or 2.50 P.M., and then rose so as to stand vertically at about 6 P.M., descending again late in the night or in the very early morning.
* A. Brongniart first observed that the leaves of this plant and of Marsilea sleep: see 'Bull. de la Soc. Bot. de France,' tom. vii. 1860, p. 470. [page 392]
On the second day the descending line zigzagged slightly. As usual, the ascending and descending lines did not coincide. On another occasion, when the temperature was a little higher, viz., 24o - 26 1/2o C., a leaf was observed 17 times between 8.50 A.M. and 12.16 P.M.; it changed its course by as much as a rectangle six times in this interval of 3 h.