RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [1878].06.26-28. Oxalis bupleurifolia. CUL-DAR209.14.77-78. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 7.2023. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin. The volume CUL-DAR209.14 contains material for Darwin's book Movement in plants (1880).


Oxalis bupleurifolia

circumnutation & sleep of leaflet & circumnutation of flattened petiole

Height of bush 9 inches.— Petiole secured to stick close to the 3 leaflets; terminal one with glass filament [sketch]

Movements traced on vertical glass under skylight, on June 26' & 27th. Temp. 23 1/2 to 24° 1/2 C. Apex of leaflet 4 1/2 inches from glass, so movements not much magnified.— Leaflets with petioles .55 of inch in length.— (On the 26' leaflet rose till 12° 30' & then fell till late in evening when it depended vertically down & greater part

During later part of night or very early morning began to fall, & w had risen to full height & was beginning to fall so early that by 6° 50' a.m it was falling on morning of 27th & 28th — On the 27th after falling somewhat circumnutated in plainest manner & the great great nocturnal fall did not begin till after 4° 35'. The observation on this second day the most trustworthy, as plant had recovered disturbance of being moved & placed in new position: on the first day it merely merely went up & down during the forenoon.—

(Perhaps give only the tracing of from 6° P.m on the 26th to 8°. 45' a.m on the 28th)


Oxalis bupleurifolia

circumnutation of Petiole of distinct leaf (at same period with foregoing leaflet.)

The movement of a flattened, horizontal petiole, like a phyllodium (the existence of which makes this species so remarkable) on a distinct leaf was observed at same time under skylight— a glass filament affixed [sketch] transversely, but rather obliquely across the petiole, not close to its extremity, & movements traced on vertical glass.— Distance of extremity from glass 6 3/4 inches)— Length of petiole 2 inches, breadth rather under .3 of inch. — Petiole dark green much larger than the pale green & much tenderer leaflets. (See Tracing; in constant movement— fell during early morning; but by 9° or 10° a.m began to rise & so continued till between 8° & 10° P.m. when on both night moved a little laterally & then descended during whole night till next morning between 9° or 10, a.m when the rise recommenced. — Thus strictly circumnutates, describing a large ellipse in each 24°. The effect of the petiole being raised late in evening is to necessitate that leaflets must pass through greater angle in order to hang down vertically.—

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 17 August, 2023