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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/212

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The variations in external form described above are due to the intensity of the illumination. At the same time the structure and arrangement of the cells depend on the direction from which the light rays come. Thus, an organ receiving light from one side only will exhibit a structure different from an organ of the same kind receiving direct rays from two or more sides. Light, then, is a cause of dorsiventrality—that is, of the fact that the upper and lower sides of organs are not alike in structure. The leaf affords a splendid example of dorsiventrality as a result of the exposure of one side only to direct light. The upper side of a horizontal leaf, such as the oak, beech, or maple, contains one or two layers of cylindrical cells with their long axes perpendicular to the surface. In vertical leaves, such as the iris, these palisade cells, as they are termed, are not so well defined, and in all leaves grown in darkness this tissue is very much reduced. If a young leaf not yet unfolded from the bud is fastened in such a position that the under side is uppermost, palisade cells will be formed on the side exposed to the direct rays of the sun.

The influence of light upon the sporophylls, or reproductive organs of the seed-forming plants, is quite as well defined as upon the vegetative organs.

In general it is to be said that stamens and pistils may reach functional maturity in darkness or diffuse light, and if pollination is provided for, seed and fruit formation may ensue.

The diminution of light has the effect of transforming inflorescences into leafy shoots in some instances, however. The more common reaction consists of alterations in the size, form, and color of the perianth, and greater changes are induced in the petals than in the sepals. The corolla shows greater decrease in size in Melandryum and Silene, in diffuse light, though the relative form is maintained. The writer has obtained most striking results from growing flowers of Salvia (sage) in a dark chamber, inclosing the inflorescence only. In the normal flower the irregular scarlet corolla attains three times the length of the calyx, and two stamens extrude from under the upper lip. When grown in darkness, the corolla with the adherent stamens measure about three millimetres in length, or one twelfth the normal, and are scarcely more than half the size of the calyx, which is but two thirds the size of similar organs grown in the light. The color is entirely lacking from the corolla, and is found only along the veins of the calyx.

In other instances in which the corolla is composed of separate members, an unequal reaction is exhibited. The corolla of nasturtium (Tropæolum majus) consists of five approximately equal petals. Flowers of this species grown in darkness show one of nearly normal