RECORD: C. E. B. 1881. [Review of] Darwin's The Power of Movement in Plants. American Naturalist 15(9) (September) 729.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed (single key) by AEL Data, corrections by John van Wyhe 8.2009. RN1


[page] 729

DARWIN'S POWER OF MOVEMENT IN PLANTS.1—There are few botanists indeed who do not prize very highly Mr. Darwin's botanical works—"Climbing Plants," "Fertilization of Orchids," "Insectivorous Plants," "Fertilization in the Vegetable Kingdom," and the "Forms of Flowers." We have now another to add to the list, and it is not too much to say that it fully equals in interest and importance, any of its predecessors. Like them it is the record of a long series of the most patient and painstaking observations and direct experiments, and like them the results are told in the simple and straightforward manner which is the peculiar charm of Mr. Darwin's writings.

Beginning with a short introduction, the authors take up the circumnutating movements in seedling plants, devoting particular attention to the movements of the radicle, or young root, and the cotyledons, or earliest leaves of the plantlet. Curious and ingenious devices were resorted to, for showing the periodic movements of circumnutating parts, and numerous diagrams are given, showing the paths traversed during stated periods. Not only were the parts of the young plantlet found to have periodic movements, but, in many cases at least, they were found to be sensitive to contact or other external influences. The movements of the parts of mature plants are next taken up, and many curious facts are brought out here for the first time. The movements connected with the sleep and waking of plants occupy considerably more than one hundred pages of the book. Heliotropism and its modifications occupy seventy pages or more, and geotropism upwards of fifty more. At the close is a chapter containing a summary which includes some startling suggestions, and food enough for many years of diligent and hard thinking.

The public on this side of the Atlantic, have again to thank the Messrs. Appleton & Co., of New York, for the promptness with which they have brought out the American edition, and at a price which places it within easy reach of all.—C. E. B.

1 The Power of Movement in Plants. By CHARLES DARWIN. LL.D., F.R.S., assisted by FRANCIS DARWIN. New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1881.


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