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La Théorie des Plantss Carnivores et Irritables.

Nature volume 14, page 68 | Download Citation



IN this pamphlet, a report of an address given at the annual public meeting of the scientific section of the Royal Academy of Belgium, on Dec. 16, 1875, Prof. Morren gives an admirable résumé of the present state of our knowledge on these two branches of vegetable physiology. As regards the now well-known phenomena of carnivorous plants, he gives the most essential points of the observations of Darwin, Hooker, Lawson Tait, Reess and Will, the author himself, and others: and, in contrast to his relative, M. Charles Morren, he gives his full adhesion to the view that nitrogenous substances are actually digested by the leaves of Drosera, Pinguicula, and Nepenthes. He points out, indeed, that the theory is not a new one, having been promulgated by Burnett in 1829, as respects Sarracenia; and by Curtis in 1834, and Canby in 1868, as to Dionæa; and also, he might have added, by Dr. Lindley, in his “Ladies' Botany,” published in 1834. In his introductory remarks Prof. Morren insists on the identity of the process of nutrition in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. The second portion of the discourse is devoted to the elucidation of the phenomena of “Motility” as exhibited in the irritability of the leaves of Mimosa, the stamens of Berberis, and other organs which exhibit similar peculiarities; the aggregation of protoplasm as seen in the “tentacles” of Drosera; the apparently spontaneous movements of zoospores, climbing plants, &c. Anyone desiring to obtain a general idea of what is at present known on these interesting subjects could not do better than consult Prof. Morren's lecture. It is pleasant to find a tribute to “la science Anglaise” in connection with vegetable physiology.

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