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Remarkable Properties In Certain Plants








Plants, when forced from their natural position, are endowed with a
power to restore themselves. A hop-plant, twisting round a stick,
directs its course from south to west, as the sun does. Untwist it,
and tie it in the opposite direction, it dies. Leave it loose in the
wrong direction, it recovers its natural direction in a single night.
Twist a branch of a tree so as to invert its leaves, and fix it in
that position; if left in any degree loose, it untwists itself
gradually, till the leaves be restored to their natural position. What
better can an animal do for its welfare? A root of a tree meeting with
a ditch in its progress, is laid open to the air; what follows? It
alters its course like a rational being, dips into the ground,
surrounds the ditch, rises on the opposite side of its wonted distance
from the surface, and then proceeds in its original direction. Lay a
wet sponge near a root exposed to the air; the root will direct its
course to the sponge; change the place of the sponge, the root varies
its direction. Thrust a pole into the ground at a moderate distance
from a climbing plant; the plant directs its course to the pole, lays
hold of it, and rises on its natural height. A honeysuckle proceeds in
its course, till it be too long for supporting its weight, and then
strengthens itself by shooting into a spiral. If it meet with another
plant of the same kind, they coalesce for mutual support; the one
screwing to the right, the other to the left. If a honeysuckle twig
meet with a dead branch, it screws from the right to the left. The
claspers of briony shoot into the spiral, and lay hold of whatever
comes in their way, for support. If, after completing a spiral of
three rounds, they meet with nothing, they try again, by altering
their course.





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