Letter | Published:

A New Interpretation of the Mechanics of Pulvinar Movement

Naturevolume 175page1122 (1955) | Download Citation



KNOWLEDGE of the mechanics of pulvinar movement is based mainly on the work of Dutrochet1, Pfeffer2 and others conducted in the nineteenth century. They showed that if the upper half of the primary pulvinus was removed from the leaf of Mimosa pudica then leaf movement continued, although on a reduced scale. It was deduced from this that the lower half of the pulvinus is principally concerned with the movement, which was then accounted for in terms of loss of turgor followed by recovery. This early explanation of pulvinar mechanics is still widely accepted by workers in this field3, and has recently been used in drawing comparisons between the movement of guard cells and pulvini4. The results are briefly reported here of studies on leaf movement exhibited by Samanea saman Merrill and Mimosa pudica. In our view they cast doubt upon the validity of this explanation.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Dutrochet, M. H., “Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire anatomique et physiologique des végétaux et des animaux” (Bruxelles, 1837).

  2. 2

    Pfeffer, W., “Physiologische Untersuchungen: Mimosa pudica” (Leipzig, 1873).

  3. 3

    Weintraub, M., New Phytol., 50, 357 (1951).

  4. 4

    Williams, W. T., J. Exp. Bot., 5, 343 (1954).

  5. 5

    Bert, P., Mem. Soc. Sci. Phys. Nat. Bordeaux, 4, 11 (1867).

Download references

Author information


  1. Department of Botany, University College of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, B.W.I.

    • G. F. ASPREY
    •  & J. H. PALMER


  1. Search for G. F. ASPREY in:

  2. Search for J. H. PALMER in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.