Transmission of Stimuli in Plants


AN article appears on the above subject in NATURE of October 25, in which reference is made to Mr. Snow's experiments (Proc. Roy. Soc., Series B, Vol. 96, No. 678) in support of Ricca's theory that conduction of stimulus in Mimosa is brought about by the transpiration-current in the wood carrying a hypothetical stimulating substance. Mr. Snow joins two cut pieces of stem of Mimosa pudica by a tube filled with water and applies a flame to the lower half of the stem with the result that the leaves of the upper half of the stem undergo a fall; hence it is concluded that stimulus is conducted across the water-gap. Mr. Snow also finds that the transpiration-current in Mimosa travels at about the same rate as1 the conducted excitation. I have carried out numerous experiments with this plant relating to the supposed transmission across a water column, taking the precaution that the heated air from the flame did not excite the upper leaves: other modes of stimulation were also used which were less open to sources of error. In no case did I find any evidence of the transmission of stimulus through the tube filled with water. This is confirmed by the results obtained by Prof. Koketsu last year, who found that when the petiole of Mimosa was cut into two halves, and rejoined by a water-tight tube filled with water, stimulus applied on the distal half was never conducted across the gap. (R. Koketsu, Journal of Department of Agriculture, Kyushu Imperial University, Vol. 1, p. 55, 1923.)

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BOSE, J. Transmission of Stimuli in Plants. Nature 115, 49 (1925).

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