Life Movements in Plants, Volume II, 1919

Life Movements in Plants, Volume II, 1919

Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose

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  • EAN: 9780599303782
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I have in the present volume dealt with the intricate phenomena of different tropisms. The movements in plants under the stimuli of the environment—the twining of tendrils, the effect of temperature, the action of light inducing movements sometimes towards and at other times away from the stimulus, the diametrically opposite responses of the shoot and the root to the same stimulus of gravity, the day and night positions of organs of plants—these, and many others present such diversities that it must have appeared a hopeless endeavour to discover any fundamental reaction applicable in all cases. It has therefore been customary to assume different sensibilities especially evolved for the advantage of the plant. But teleological argument and the use of descriptive phrases, like positive and negative tropism, offer no real explanation of the phenomena. Thus to quote Pfeffer "When we say that an organ curves towards a source of illumination, because of its heliotropic irritability we are simply expressing an ascertained fact in a conveniently abbreviated form, without explaining why such curvature is possible or how it is produced.... Many observers have unfortunately devoted their attention to artificially classifying the phenomenon observed, and have entirely neglected the explanation of causes underlying them." He also adds that in regard to the phenomenon of growth and its variations, an empirical [ii] treatment is all that is possible in the present state of our knowledge; but deduction from results of experimental investigation "still remains the ideal of physiology, and only when this ideal has been attained, shall we be able to obtain a comprehensive view of the interacting factors at work in the living organism."
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