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CHAPTER XV.

DROSOPHYLLUM-RORIDULA-BYBLIS - GLANDULAR HAIRS OF OTHER PLANTS-CONCLUDING REMARKS ON THE DROSERACEÆ.

Drosophyllum-Structure of leaves-Nature of the secretion-Manner of catching insects - Power of absorption-Digestion of animal substances - Summary on Drosophyllum - Roridula - Byblis Glandular hairs of other plants, their power of absorption - Saxifraga - Primula - Pelargonium Erica Mirabilis - Nicotiana Summary on glandular hairs - Concluding remarks on the Dro

seraceæ.

DROSOPHYLLUM LUSITANICUM.-This rare plant has been found only in Portugal, and, as I hear from Dr. Hooker, in Morocco. I obtained living specimens through the great kindness of Mr. W. C. Tait, and afterwards from Mr. G. Maw and Dr. Moore. Mr. Tait informs me that it grows plentifully on the sides of dry hills near Oporto, and that vast numbers of flies adhere to the leaves. This latter fact is well known to the villagers, who call the plant the "fly-catcher," and hang it up in their cottages for this purpose. A plant in my hot-house caught so many insects during the early part of April, although the weather was cold and insects scarce, that it must have been in some manner strongly attractive to them. On four leaves of a young and small plant, 8, 10, 14, and 16 minute insects, chiefly Diptera, were found in the autumn adhering to them. I neglected to examine the roots, but I hear from Dr. Hooker that they are very small, as in the case of the previously mentioned members of the same family of the Droseraceæ.

The leaves arise from an almost woody axis; thev

are linear, much attenuated towards their tips, and several inches in length. The upper surface is concave, the lower convex, with a narrow channel down the middle. Both surfaces, with the exception of the channel, are covered with glands, supported on pedicels and arranged in irregular longitudinal rows. These organs I shall call tentacles, from their close resemblance to those of Drosera, though they have no power of movement. Those on the same leaf differ much in length. The glands also differ in size, and are of a bright pink or of a purple colour; their upper surfaces are convex, and the lower flat or even concave, so that they resemble miniature mushrooms in appearance. They are formed of two (as I believe) layers of delicate angular cells, enclosing eight or ten larger cells with thicker, zigzag walls. Within these larger cells there are others marked by spiral lines, and apparently connected with the spiral

vessels which run up the green multicellular pedicels. The glands secrete large drops of viscid secretion. Other glands, having the same general appearance, are found on the flowerpeduncles and calyx.

FIG. 14. (Drosophyllum lusitanicum.)

Besides the glands which are borne on longer or shorter pedicels, there are numerous ones, both on the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves, so small as to be scarcely visible to the naked eye. They are colourless and almost sessile, either circular or oval in outline; the latter occurring chiefly on the backs of the leaves (fig. 14). Internally they have exactly the same structure as the larger glands which are supported on pedicels ;

Part of leaf, enlarged seven times, showing lower surface.

and indeed the two sets almost graduate into one another. But the sessile glands differ in one important respect, for they never secrete spontaneously, as far as I have seen, though I have examined them under a high power on a hot day, whilst the glands on pedicels were secreting copiously. Nevertheless, if little bits of damp albumen or fibrin are placed on these sessile glands, they begin after a time to secrete, in the same manner as do the glands of Dionaea when similarly treated. When they were merely rubbed with a bit of raw meat, I believe that they likewise secreted. Both the sessile glands and the taller ones on pedicels have the power of rapidly absorbing nitrogenous matter.

The secretion from the taller glands differs in a remarkable manner from that of Drosera, in being acid before the glands have been in any way excited; and judging from the changed colour of litmus paper, more strongly acid than that of Drosera. This fact was observed repeatedly; on one occasion I chose a young leaf, which was not secreting freely, and had never caught an insect, yet the secretion on all the glands. coloured litmus paper of a bright red. From the quickness with which the glands are able to obtain animal matter from such substances as well-washed fibrin and cartilage, I suspect that a small quantity of the proper ferment must be present in the secretion before the glands are excited, so that a little animal matter is quickly dissolved.

Owing to the nature of the secretion or to the shape of the glands, the drops are removed from them with singular facility. It is even somewhat difficult, by the aid of a finely pointed polished needle, slightly damped with water, to place a minute particle of any kind on one of the drops; for on withdrawing the

needle, the drop is generally withdrawn; whereas with Drosera there is no such difficulty, though the drops are occasionally withdrawn. From this peculiarity, when a small insect alights on a leaf of Drosophyllum, the drops adhere to its wings, feet, or body, and are drawn from the gland; the insect then crawls onward and other drops adhere to it; so that at last, bathed by the viscid secretion, it sinks down and dies, resting on the small sessile glands with which the surface of the leaf is thickly covered. In the case of Drosera, an insect sticking to one or more of the exterior glands is carried by their movement to the centre of the leaf; with Drosophyllum, this is effected by the crawling of the insect, as from its wings being clogged by the secretion it cannot fly away.

There is another difference in function between the glands of these two plants: we know that the glands of Drosera secrete more copiously when properly excited. But when minute particles of carbonate of ammonia, drops of a solution of this salt or of the nitrate of ammonia, saliva, small insects, bits of raw or roast meat, albumen, fibrin or cartilage, as well as inorganic particles, were placed on the glands of Drosophyllum, the amount of secretion never appeared to be in the least increased. As insects do not commonly adhere to the taller glands, but withdraw the secretion, we can see that there would be little use in their having acquired the habit of secreting copiously when stimulated; whereas with Drosera this is of use, and the habit has been acquired. Nevertheless, the glands of Drosophyllum, without being stimulated, continually secrete, so as to replace the loss by evaporation. Thus when a plant was placed under a small bellglass with its inner surface and support thoroughly wetted, there was no loss by evaporation, and so much

secretion was accumulated in the course of a day that it ran down the tentacles and covered large spaces of the leaves.

The glands to which the above named nitrogenous substances and liquids were given did not, as just stated, secrete more copiously; on the contrary, they absorbed their own drops of secretion with surprising quickness. Bits of damp fibrin were placed on five glands, and when they were looked at after an interval of 1 hr. 12 m., the fibrin was almost dry, the secretion having been all absorbed. So it was with three cubes of albumen after 1 hr. 19 m., and with four other cubes, though these latter were not looked at until 2 hrs. 15 m. had elapsed. The same result followed in between 1 hr. 15 m. and 1 hr. 30 m. when particles both of cartilage and meat were placed on several glands. Lastly, a minute drop (about of a minim) of a solution of one part of nitrate of ammonia to 146 of water was distributed between the secretion surrounding three glands, so that the amount of fluid surrounding each was slightly increased; yet when looked at after 2 hrs., all three were dry. On the other hand, seven particles of glass and three of coalcinders, of nearly the same size as those of the above named organic substances, were placed on ten glands; some of them being observed for 18 hrs., and others for two or three days; but there was not the least sign of the secretion being absorbed. Hence, in the former cases, the absorption of the secretion must have been due to the presence of some nitrogenous matter, which was either already soluble or was rendered so by the secretion. As the fibrin was pure, and had been well washed in distilled water after being kept in glycerine, and as the cartilage had been soaked in water, I suspect that these substances must

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