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Charles Darwin: More than the origin
Date:12/9/2009

eated revolving arcs. He believed that these movements occur as a result of the plant's response to external stimuli, which are sensed in the root and shoot apices. Darwin advanced the notion that these influences are then transmitted to other parts of the plant. Although research has since shown that this explanation of plant movement is not complete, Darwin's idea of a transmittable influence in plants led to the eventual discovery of auxin, a hormone that plays an essential role in many growth processes in plants.

"Plant biologists often cite Darwin for pioneering the study of plant movements and discovering that a transmissible substance was involved in many plant movements, later found to be auxin," Hangarter said. "In researching the material for this paper, we were surprised to learn the extent to which Darwin's predecessors and contemporaries had contributed to the same areas of study with little recognition. However, what struck us the most was to learn that his plant movement studies were largely motivated by his desire to understand how complex animal behaviors could evolve through natural selection."

In the AJB's second article, "'The Orchids Have Been a Splendid Sport'An Alternative Look at Charles Darwin's Contributions to Orchid Biology," Dr. Tim Win Yan, Dr. Joseph Arditti, and Dr. Kenneth Cameron explore Darwin's observations on orchids (http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/96/12/2128). Jacob Breynius once stated, "If nature ever showed her playfulness in the formation of plants this is visible in the most striking way among the orchidsNature has formed orchids in such a way that, unless they make us laugh, they surely excite our greatest admiration."

Darwin's book The Various Contrivances by Which Orchids are Fertilized by Insects, was his first to be published following On the Origin of Species. In this book, Darwin discussed various peculiarities
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Contact: Richard Hund
rhund@botany.org
314-577-9557
American Journal of Botany
Source:Eurekalert  

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