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   Distinction between heliotropism and the effects of light on the   periodicity of the movements of leaves—Heliotropic movements of Beta,
  Solanum, Zea, and Avena—Heliotropic movements towards an obscure light in
  Apios, Brassica, Phalaris, Tropaeolum, and Cassia—Apheliotropic movements
  of tendrils of Bignonia—Of flower-peduncles of Cyclamen—Burying of the
  pods—Heliotropism and apheliotropism modified forms of circumnutation—
  Steps by which one movement is converted into the other—
  Transversal-heliotropismus or diaheliotropism influenced by epinasty, the
  weight of the part and apogeotropism—Apogeotropism overcome during the
  middle of the day by diaheliotropism—Effects of the weight of the blades
  of cotyledons—So called diurnal sleep—Chlorophyll injured by intense
  light—Movements to avoid intense light
SACHS first clearly pointed out the important difference between the action of light in modifying the periodic movements of leaves, and in causing them to bend towards its source.* The latter, or heliotropic movements are determined by the direction of the light, whilst periodic movements are affected by changes in its intensity and not by its direction. The periodicity of the circumnutating movement often continues for some time in darkness, as we have seen in the last chapter; whilst heliotropic bending ceases very quickly when the light fails. Nevertheless, plants which have ceased through long-continued darkness to move periodically, if re-exposed to the light are still, according to Sachs, heliotropic.
Apheliotropism, or, as usually designated, negative
* 'Physiologie Veg.' (French Translation), 1868, pp. 42, 517, etc. [page 419]
heliotropism, implies that a plant, when unequally illuminated on the two sides, bends from the light, instead of, as in the last sub-class of cases, towards it; but apheliotropism is comparatively rare, at least in a well-marked degree. There is a third and large sub-class of cases, namely, those of "transversal-Heliotropismus" of Frank, which we will here call diaheliotropism. Parts of plants, under this influence, place themselves more or less transversely to the direction whence the light proceeds, and are thus fully illuminated. There is a fourth sub-class, as far as the final cause of the movement is concerned; for the leaves of some plants when exposed to an intense and injurious amount of light direct themselves, by rising or sinking or twisting, so as to be less intensely illuminated. Such movements have sometimes been called diurnal sleep. If thought advisable, they might be called paraheliotropic, and this term would correspond with our other terms.
It will be shown in the present chapter that all the movements included in these four sub-classes, consist of modified circumnutation. We do not pretend to say that if a part of a plant, whilst still growing, did not circumnutate—though such a supposition is most improbable—it could not bend towards the light; but, as a matter of fact, heliotropism seems always to consist of modified circumnutation. Any kind of movement in relation to light will obviously be much facilitated by each part circumnutating or bending successively in all directions, so that an already existing movement has only to be increased in some one direction, and to be lessened or stopped in the other directions, in order that it should become heliotropic, apheliotropic, etc., as the case may be. In the next chapter some observations on the sensitiveness of plants to light, their [page 420] rate of bending towards it, and the accuracy with which they point towards its source, etc., will be given. Afterwards it will be shown—and this seems to us a point of much interest—that sensitiveness to light is sometimes confined to a small part of the plant; and that this part when stimulated by light, transmits an influence to distant parts, exciting them to bend.
Heliotropism.—When a plant which is strongly heliotropic (and species differ much in this respect) is exposed to a bright lateral light, it bends quickly towards it, and the course pursued by the stem is quite or nearly straight. But if the light is much dimmed, or occasionally interrupted, or admitted in only a slightly oblique direction, the course pursued is more or less zigzag; and as we have seen and shall again see, such zigzag movement results from the elongation or drawing out of the ellipses, loops, etc., which the plant would have described, if it had been illuminated from above. On several occasions we were much struck with this fact, whilst observing the circumnutation of highly sensitive seedlings, which were unintentionally illuminated rather obliquely, or only at successive intervals of time.
Fig. 168. Beta vulgaris: circumnutation of hypocotyl, deflected by the light being slightly lateral, traced on a horizontal glass from 8.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M. Direction of the lighted taper by which it was illuminated shown by a line joining the first and penultimate dots. Figure reduced to one-third of the original scale.
[For instance two young seedlings of Beta vulgaris were placed in the middle of a room with north-east windows, and were kept covered up, except during each observation which lasted for only a minute or two; but the result was that their hypocotyls bowed themselves to the side, whence some light occasionally entered, in lines which were [page 421] only slightly zigzag. Although not a single ellipse was even approximately formed, we inferred from the zigzag lines - and, as it proved, correctly— that their hypocotyls were circumnutating, for on the following day these same seedlings were placed in a completely darkened room, and were observed each time by the aid of a small wax taper held almost directly above them, and their movements were traced on a horizontal glass above; and now their hypocotyls clearly circumnutated (Fig. 168, and Fig. 39, formerly given, p. 52); yet they moved a short distance towards the side where the taper was held up. If we look at these diagrams, and suppose that the taper had been held more on one side, and that the hypocotyls, still circumnutating, had bent themselves within the same time much more towards the light, long zigzag lines would obviously have been the result.
Fig. 169. Avena sativa: heliotropic movement and circumnutation of sheath-like cotyledon (1 ? inch in height) traced on horizontal glass from 8 A.M. to 10.25 P.M. Oct. 16th.
Again, two seedlings of Solanum lycopersicum were illuminated from above, but accidentally a little more light entered on one than on any other side, and their hypocotyls became slightly bowed towards the brighter side; they moved in a zigzag line and described in their course two little triangles, as seen in Fig. 37 (p. 50), and in another tracing not given. The sheath-like cotyledons of Zea mays behaved, under nearly similar circumstances, in a nearly similar manner as described in our first chapter (p. 64), for they bowed themselves during the whole day towards one side, making, however, in their course some conspicuous flexures. Before we knew how greatly ordinary circumnutation was modified by a lateral light, some seedling oats, with rather old and therefore not highly sensitive cotyledons, were placed in front of a north-east window, towards which they bent all day in a strongly zigzag course. On the following day they continued to bend in the same direction (Fig. 169), but zigzagged much less. The sky, however, became between 12.40 and 2.35 P.M. [page 422] overcast with extraordinarily dark thunder-clouds, and it was interesting to note how plainly the cotyledons circumnutated during this interval.
The foregoing observations are of some value, from having been made when we were not attending to heliotropism; and they led us to experiment on several kinds of seedlings, by exposing them to a dim lateral light, so as to observe the gradations between ordinary circumnutation and heliotropism. Seedlings in pots were placed in front of, and about a yard from, a north-east window; on each side and over the pots black boards were placed; in the rear the pots were open to the diffused light of the room, which had a second north-east and a north-west window. By hanging up one or more blinds before the window where the seedlings stood, it was easy to dim the light, so that very little more entered on this side than on the opposite one, which received the diffused light of the room. Late in the evening the blinds were successively removed, and as the plants had been subjected during the day to a very obscure light, they continued to bend towards the window later in the evening than would otherwise have occurred. Most of the seedlings were selected because they were known to be highly sensitive to light, and some because they were but little sensitive, or had become so from having grown old. The movements were traced in the usual manner on a horizontal glass cover; a fine glass filament with little triangles of paper having been cemented in an upright position to the hypocotyls. Whenever the stem or hypocotyl became much bowed towards the light, the latter part of its course had to be traced on a vertical glass, parallel to the window, and at right angles to the horizontal glass cover. Fig. 170. Apios graveolens: heliotropic movement of hypocotyl (.45 of inch in height) towards a moderately bright lateral light, traced on a horizontal glass from 8.30 A.M. to 11.30 A.M. Sept. 18th. Figure reduced to one-third of original scale.
Apios graveolens.—The hypocotyl bends in a few hours rectan- [page 423] gularly towards a bright lateral light. In order to ascertain how straight a course it would pursue when fairly well illuminated on one side, seedlings were first placed before a south-west window on a cloudy and rainy morning; and the movement of two hypocotyls were traced for 3 h., during which time they became greatly bowed towards the light. One of these tracings is given on p. 422 (Fig. 170), and the course may be seen to be almost straight. But the amount of light on this occasion was superfluous, for two seedlings were placed before a north-east window, protected by an ordinary linen and two muslin blinds, yet their hypocotyls moved towards this rather dim light in only slightly zigzag lines; but after 4 P.M., as the light waned, the lines became distinctly zigzag. One of these seedlings, moreover, described in the afternoon an ellipse of considerable size, with its longer axis directed towards the window.
We now determined that the light should be made dim enough, so we began by exposing several seedlings before a north-east window, protected by one linen blind, three muslin blinds, and a towel. But so little light entered that a pencil cast no perceptible shadow on a white card, and the hypocotyls did not bend at all towards the window. During this time, from 8.15 to 10.50 A.M., the hypocotyls zigzagged or circumnutated near the same spot, as may be seen at A, in Fig. 171. The towel, therefore, was removed at 10.50 A.M., and replaced by two muslin blinds, and now the light passed through one ordinary linen and four muslin blinds. When a pencil was held upright on a card close to the seedlings, it cast a shadow (pointing from the window) which could only just be distinguished. Yet this very slight excess of light on one side sufficed to cause the hypocotyls of all the seedlings immediately to begin bending in zigzag lines towards the window. The course of one is shown at A (Fig. 171): after moving towards the window from 10.50 A.M. to 12.48 P.M. it bent from the window, and then returned in a nearly parallel line; that is, it almost completed between 12.48 and 2 P.M. a narrow ellipse. Late in the evening, as the light waned, the hypocotyl ceased to bend towards the window, and circumnutated on a small scale round the same spot; during the night it moved considerably backwards, that is, became more upright, through the action of apogeotropism. At B, we have a tracing of the movements of another seedling from the hour (10.50 A.M.) when the towel was removed; and it is in all essential respects [page 424] similar to the previous one. In these two cases there could be no doubt that the ordinary circumnutating movement of the hypocotyl was modified and rendered heliotropic.
Fig. 171. Apios graveolens: heliotropic movement and circumnutation of the hypocotyls of two seedlings towards a dim lateral light, traced on a horizontal glass during the day. The broken lines show their return nocturnal courses. Height of hypocotyl of A .5, and of B .55 inch. Figure reduced to one-half of original scale.
Brassica oleracea.—The hypocotyl of the cabbage, when not disturbed by a lateral light, circumnutates in a complicated [page 425] manner over nearly the same space, and a figure formerly given is here reproduced (Fig. 172). If the hypocotyl is exposed to a moderately strong lateral light it moves quickly towards this side, travelling in a straight, or nearly straight, line. But when the lateral light is very dim its course is extremely tortuous, and evidently consists of modified circumnutation. Seedlings were placed before a north-east window, protected by a linen and muslin blind and by a towel. The sky was cloudy, and whenever the clouds grew a little lighter an additional muslin blind was temporarily suspended. The light from the window was
Fig. 172. Brassica oleracea: ordinary circumnutating movement of the hypocotyl of a seedling plant.
thus so much obscured that, judging by the unassisted eye, the seedlings appeared to receive more light from the interior of the room than from the window; but this was not really the case, as was shown by a very faint shadow cast by a pencil on a card. Nevertheless, this extremely small excess of light on one side caused the hypocotyls, which in the morning had stood upright, to bend at right angles towards the window, so that in the evening (after 4.23 P.M.) their course had to be traced on a vertical glass parallel to the window. It should be stated that at 3.30 P.M., by which time the sky had become darker, the towel was removed and replaced by an additional muslin blind, which itself was removed at 4 P.M., the other two [page 426] blinds being left suspended. In Fig. 173 the course pursued, between 8.9 A.M. and 7.10 P.M., by one of the hypocotyls thus
Fig. 173. Brassica oleracea: heliotropic movement and circumnutation of a hypocotyl towards a very dim lateral light, traced during 11 hours, on a horizontal glass in the morning, and on a vertical glass in the evening. Figure reduced to one-third of the original scale.
exposed is shown. It may be observed that during the first 16 m. the hypocotyl moved obliquely from the light, and this, [page 427] no doubt, was due to its then circumnutating in this direction. Similar cases were repeatedly observed, and a dim light rarely or never produced any effect until from a quarter to three-quarters of an hour had elapsed. After 5.15 P.M., by which time the light had become obscure, the hypocotyl began to circumnutate about the same spot. The contrast between the two figures (172 and 173) would have been more striking, if they had been originally drawn on the same scale, and had been equally reduced. But the movements shown in Fig. 172 were at first more magnified, and have been reduced to only one-half of the original scale; whereas those in Fig. 173 were at first less magnified, and have been reduced to a one-third scale. A tracing made at the same time with the last of the movements of a second hypocotyl, presented a closely analogous appearance; but it did not bend quite so much towards the light, and it circumnutated rather more plainly.
Fig. 174. Phalaris Canariensis: heliotropic movement and circumnutation of a rather old cotyledon, towards a dull lateral light, traced on a horizontal glass from 8.15 A.M. Sept. 16th to 7.45 A.M. 17th. Figure reduced to one-third of original scale.
Phalaris Canariensis.—The sheath-like cotyledons of this monocotyledonous plant were selected for trial, because they are very sensitive to light and circumnutate well, as formerly shown (see Fig. 49, p. 63). Although we felt no doubt about the result, some seedlings were first placed before a south-west window on a moderately bright morning, and the movements of one were traced. As is so common, it moved [page 428] for the first 45 m. in a zigzag line; it then felt the full influence of the light, and travelled towards it for the next 2 h. 30 m. in an almost straight line. The tracing has not been given, as it was almost identical with that of Apios under similar circumstances (Fig. 170). By noon it had bowed itself to its full extent; it then circumnutated about the same spot and described two ellipses; by 5 P.M. it had retreated considerably from the light, through the action of apogeotropism. After some preliminary trials for ascertaining the right degree of obscurity, some seedlings were placed (Sept. 16th) before a north-east window, and light was admitted through an ordinary linen and three muslin blinds. A pencil held close by the pot now cast a very faint shadow on a white card, pointing from the window. In the evening, at 4.30 and again at 6 P.M., some of the blinds were removed. In Fig. 174 we see the course pursued under these circumstances by a rather old and not very sensitive cotyledon, 1.9 inch in height, which became much bowed, but was never rectangularly bent towards the light. From 11 A.M., when the sky became rather duller, until 6.30 P.M., the zigzagging was conspicuous, and evidently consisted of drawn-out ellipses. After 6.30 P.M. and during the night, it retreated in a crooked line from the window. Another and younger seedling moved during the same time much more quickly and to a much greater distance, in an only slightly zigzag line towards the light; by 11 A.M. it was bent almost rectangularly in this direction, and now circumnutated about the same place.
Tropaeolum majus.—Some very young seedlings, bearing only two leaves, and therefore not as yet arrived at the climbing stage of growth, were first tried before a north-east window without any blind. The epicotyls bowed themselves towards the light so rapidly that in little more than 3 h. their tips pointed rectangularly towards it. The lines traced were either nearly straight or slightly zigzag; and in this latter case we see that a trace of circumnutation was retained even under the influence of a moderately bright light. Twice whilst these epicotyls were bending towards the window, dots were made every 5 or 6 minutes, in order to detect any trace of lateral movement, but there was hardly any; and the lines formed by their junction were nearly straight, or only very slightly zigzag, as in the other parts of the figures. After the epicotyls had bowed themselves to the full extent towards the light, ellipses of considerable size were described in the usual manner. [page 429]
After having seen how the epicotyls moved towards a moderately bright light, seedlings were placed at 7.48 A.M. (Sept. 7th) before a north-east window, covered by a towel, and shortly afterwards by an ordinary linen blind, but the epicotyls still moved towards the window. At 9.13 A.M. two additional muslin blinds were suspended, so that the seedlings received very little more light from the window than from the interior of the room. The sky varied in brightness, and the seedlings occasionally
Fig. 175. Tropaeolum majus: heliotropic movement and circumnutation of the epicotyl of a young seedling towards a dull lateral light, traced on a horizontal glass from 7.48 A.M. to 10.40 P.M. Figure reduced to one-half of the original scale.
received for a short time less light from the window than from the opposite side (as ascertained by the shadow cast), and then one of the blinds was temporarily removed. In the evening the blinds were taken away, one by one. the course pursued by an epicotyl under these circumstances is shown in Fig. 175. During the whole day, until 6.45 P.M., it plainly bowed itself towards the light; and the tip moved over a considerable space. After 6.45 P.M. it moved backwards, or from the window, till [page 430] 10.40 P.M., when the last dot was made. Here, then, we have a distinct heliotropic movement, effected by means of six elongated figures (which if dots had been made every few minutes would have been more or less elliptic) directed towards the light, with the apex of each successive ellipse nearer to the window than the previous one. Now, if the light had been only a little brighter, the epicotyl would have bowed itself more to the light, as we may safely conclude from the previous trials; there would also have been less lateral movement, and the ellipses or other figures would have been drawn out into a strongly marked zigzag line, with probably one or two small loops still formed. If the light had been much brighter, we should have had a slightly zigzag line, or one quite straight, for there would have been more movement in the direction of the light, and much less from side to side.
Fig. 176. Tropaeolum majus: heliotropic movement and circumnutation of an old internode towards a lateral light, traced on a horizontal glass from 8 A.M. Nov. 2nd to 10.20 A.M. Nov. 4th. Broken lines show the nocturnal course.
Sachs states that the older internodes of this Tropaeolum are apheliotropic; we therefore placed a plant, 11 3/4 inches high, in a box, blackened within, but open on one side in front of a north-east window without any blind. A filament was fixed to the third internode from the summit on one plant, and to the fourth internode of another. These internodes were either not old enough, or the light was not sufficiently bright, to induce apheliotropism, for both plants bent slowly towards, instead of from the window during four days. The course, during two days of the first-mentioned internode, is given in Fig. 176; and we see that it either circumnutated on a small scale, or travelled in a zigzag line towards the light. We have thought this case of feeble heliotropism in one of the older internodes of a plant, [page 431] which, whilst young, is so extremely sensitive to light, worth giving.
Fig. 177. Cassia tora: heliotropic movement and circumnutation of a hypocotyl (1 ? inch in height) traced on a horizontal glass from 8 A.M. to 10.10 P.M. Oct. 7th. Also its circumnutation in darkness from 7 A.M. Oct. 8th to 7.45 A.M. Oct. 9th.
Cassia tora.—The cotyledons of this plant are extremely sensitive to light, whilst the hypocotyls are much less sensitive than those of most other seedlings, as we had often observed with surprise. It seemed therefore worth while to trace their movements. They were exposed to a lateral light before a north-east window, which was at first covered merely by a muslin blind, but as the sky grew brighter about 11 A.M., an additional linen blind was suspended. After 4 P.M. one blind and then the other was removed. The seedlings were protected on each side and above, but were open to the diffused light of the room in the rear. Upright filaments were fixed to the hypocotyls of two seedlings, which stood vertically in the morning. The accompanying figure (Fig. 177) shows the course pursued by one of them during two days; but it should be particularly noticed that during the second day the seedlings were kept in darkness, and they then circumnutated round nearly the same small space. On the first day (Oct. 7th) the hypocotyl moved from 8 A.M. to 12.23 P.M., toward the light in a zigzag line, then turned abruptly to the left and afterwards described a small ellipse. Another irregular [page 432] ellipse was completed between 3 P.M. and about 5.30 P.M., the hypocotyl still bending towards the light. The hypocotyl was straight and upright in the morning, but by 6 P.M. its upper half was bowed towards the light, so that the chord of the arc thus formed stood at an angle of 20o with the perpendicular. After 6 P.M. its course was reversed through the action of apogeotropism, and it continued to bend from the window during the night, as shown by the broken line. On the next day it was kept in the dark (excepting when each observation was made by the aid of a taper), and the course followed from 7 A.M. on the 8th to 7.45 A.M. on the 9th is here likewise shown. The difference between the two parts of the figure (177), namely that described during the daytime on the 7th, when exposed to a rather dim lateral light, and that on the 8th in darkness, is striking. The difference consists in the lines during the first day having been drawn out in the direction of the light. The movements of the other seedling, traced under the same circumstances, were closely similar.
Apheliotropism.—We succeeded in observing only two cases of apheliotropism, for these are somewhat rare; and the movements are generally so slow that they would have been very troublesome to trace.
Fig. 178. Bignonia capreolata: apheliotropic movement of a tendril, traced on a horizontal glass from 6.45 A.M. July 19th to 10 A.M. 20th. Movements as originally traced, little magnified, here reduced to two-thirds of the original scale.
Bignonia capreolata.—No organ of any plant, as far as we have seen, bends away so quickly from the light as do the tendrils of this Bignonia. They are also remarkable from circumnutating much less regularly than most other tendrils, often remaining stationary; they depend on apheliotropism for coming into [page 433] contact with the trunks of trees.* The stem of a young plant was tied to a stick at the base of a pair of fine tendrils, which projected almost vertically upwards; and it was placed in front of a north-east window, being protected on all other sides from the light. The first dot was made at 6.45 A.M., and by 7.35 A.M. both tendrils felt the full influence of the light, for they moved straight away from it until 9.20 A.M., when they circumnutated for a time, still moving, but only a little, from the light (see Fig. 178 of the left-hand tendril). After 3 P.M. they again moved rapidly away from the light in zigzag lines. By a late hour in the evening both had moved so far, that they pointed in a direct line from the light. During the night they returned a little in a nearly opposite direction. On the following morning they again moved from the light and converged, so that by the evening they had become interlocked, still pointing from the light. The right-hand tendril, whilst converging, zigzagged much more than the one figured. Both tracings showed that the apheliotropic movement was a modified form of circumnutation.
Cyclamen Persicum.—Whilst this plant is in flower the peduncles stand upright, but their uppermost part is hooked so that the flower itself hangs downwards. As soon as the pods begin to swell, the peduncles increase much in length and slowly curve downwards, but the short, upper, hooked part straightens itself. Ultimately the pods reach the ground, and if this is covered with moss or dead leaves, they bury themselves. We have often seen saucer-like depressions formed by the pods in damp sand or sawdust; and one pod (.3 of inch in diameter) buried itself in sawdust for three-quarters of its length.** We shall have occasion hereafter to consider the object gained by this burying pro............
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