On the Irritability of Plants

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SOME years ago I published my observations on the strange and till then undescribed effect produced by various bodies on the sporangiferous hyphæ of Phycomyces nitens, well known to every plant-physiologist. To be brief, the phenomenon consisted in the fact that certain bodies attract Phycomyces, i.e. these bodies cause the hyphæ growing in their vicinity, at a distance of from one to two centimetres, to make curves in their growth, the concavity of which is directed towards the said body. This was particularly the case with iron; zinc and aluminium exhibited the same phenomenon, though in a smaller degree (aluminium only so slightly, that I now feel inclined to count this body among the inactive ones), while other metals showed no effect. In many other bodies the same effect was observed. The sporangiferous hyphæ, on the other hand, have a repellent effect on each other. I formerly designated this phenomenon as dependent on “physiological action at a distance.”

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    "Ofversigt af Finsk. Vet. Soc. Förhand." Häft xxxvi. 1894

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