Letter | Published:

Movements of Leaves

Nature volume 23, page 195 | Download Citation



A YEAR ago we had in our conservatory a healthy young plant of Acacia mollissima. It bore no flowers, but consisted of a simple axis adorned with the soft feathery leaves of its genus, which closed up at night. Our gardener however thought it would improve in appearance if it could be made to bear a few branches; and with that view he cut it back. His end was achieved: a new stem shot up from the section, and graceful limbs were thrown out in turn by it. But along with this a strange result followed: the fresh leaves borne by the new stem and by the branches now closed at night, while the old leaves below the section ceased to do so. These lower leaves have long since fallen off, but the upper ones kept to their habit, and at the present time all fold up at dusk save a few of the very oldest, which only partially shut, or, in one case, do not shut at all. When our plant was cut back it stood three feet high; now it stands seven: which shows that the vigour of the plant as a whole in no wise diminished by the operation.

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  1. Chislehurst, December 23

    • M. L. ROUSE


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