On the Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants by Charles Darwin

By Charles Darwin

Firstly released via the Linnean Society, this 1865 essay used to be Darwin's first foray into the research of mountaineering crops. He used to be encouraged to supply this paintings via a paper at the tendrilled Cucurbitacean plant via American botanist Asa grey, with whom he had a company highbrow friendship. Darwin examines intimately these crops which climb utilizing a twisting stem, resembling the hop; leaf-climbers, comparable to the clematis; tendrilled crops equivalent to the fervour flower; and hook and root climbers resembling ivy. The conclusions reached by way of his examine are provided by way of the variations of assorted species to their environments, a continuation of the theories that Darwin had propounded in his at the beginning of the Species six years previous. His ardour for the layout of the vegetation and fascination with the range in their powers of move are transparent during this available instance of the method of evolution.

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From the general character of the genus, the loss of power seems the more probable alternative. In this species and in T. elegans, and probably in others, the flower-peduncles, as soon as the seed-capsule begins to swell, spontaneously bend abruptly downwards and become somewhat convoluted: when a stick lies in the path, it is to a certain extent clasped; but, as far as I have been able to observe, the movement of the peduncle is quite independent of the stimulus from contact. —In this tribe (Lindley) of the Scrophulariacese, at least four of the seven included genera have leaf-climbing species.

41). Asclepias vincetoxicum does not regularly twine, but only occasionally (Palm, S. 12 ; Mohl, S. 112) when growing under certain conditions. So it is with two species of Ceropegia, as I hear from Prof. Harvey, for these plants in their native dry South African home generally grow erect, from 6 inches to 2 feet in height, a very few taller specimens showing some inclination to curve; but when cultivated near Dublin, they regularly twined up sticks 5 or 6 feet in height. Most Convolvulacese are excellent twiners; but Ipomeea argyrceoides in South Africa almost always grows erect and compact, from about 12 to 18 inches in height, one specimen alone in Prof.

Nevertheless (and this is the remarkable fact) these flowerpeduncles, whilst young, exhibit feeble revolving powers, and are slightly sensitive to a touch. I selected some stems which had firmly clasped a stick by their petioles, and, placing a bell-glass over them, traced the movements of the young flower-peduncles. Some days these moved over a short and extremely irregular line, making little loops in their course. One day a young peduncle 1 | inch in extreme length was carefully observed, and it made four and a half narrow, vertical, irregular, and very short ellipses—each at an average rate of about 2h.

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