Leaf-Sheaths and the Growth of Plants

Abstract

THE latest results of M. Bert's researches into the growth of plants (see Comptes Rendus, vol. 87, p. 695, November 4), have led me to publish an observation which I made on the inner sheaths of young leaves this last spring. The spring before last I was struck with the crimson-like colour of these silky sheaths on many trees, whereas the young leaves they cover are of a tender green, and it naturally occurred to me that their purpose was not only to form a wrapper to the leaf, but also a coloured screen, which would allow the red rays of the spectrum to pass, and to a certain extent quench the blue rays. But I could not understand why the latter rays should be cut off, since they are highly actinic, and the leaves themselves are green. Last spring I carefully noted the tints of the leaf-sheaths of different trees, with the following results:—

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