Diurnal oscillatory movements of growing leaves of tobacco

Research paper by M. Spurný

Indexed on: 21 Jun '08Published on: 21 Jun '08Published in: Biologia Plantarum


The analysis of diurnal oscillatory movements of tobacco leaves was used in the diagnosis of viral infection of plants. The oscillatory helices circumscribed by a growing leaf of a healthy plant were regular, but some deviations, particularly in the transition points, were recorded.In order to make clear the cause of these irregularities of trajectory, the course of elongation of leaf petiole and blade in relation to localization and shift of zones of elongation during ontogenesis was analysed. The present analysis is similar to that described by the author's earlier experiments with pea roots. Oscillatory curves circumscribed by petiole, projected on a horizontal plane, were compared with curves circumscribed by the blade tip. The analysis of the leaves of different ages enabled us to study this process in dependence on growth rate. It was confirmed that oscillations are a result of elongation; the extent of oscillations is quantitatively dependent on the growth rate. An analysis of the zones of growth showed that in petiole the active meristems are localized near to its base while in the leaf lamina they move gradually during the ontogenesis from the apical to the basal part of the leaf blade. Active meristems of young rapidly growing leaves are localized approximately in the middle of the blade while those of old leaves were found in close proximity to the base of the lamina. The growth rate of petiole can be expressed in hundreds of mm per hour (4.8×10−2 mm h−1); half of this value was recorded for its apical part. The growth rate of leaf blade was found approximately ten times higher (3.2×10−1 mm h−1).The oscillatory movements of growing leaf consists of two integrate components: of oscillations originating in the base of the petiole and of oscillations of leaf blade the centrum of which is localized in the basal third of the blade.The arrangement of the experiments did not enable us to determine to what extent the phototropic response of leaf blade participates in leaf movements. The movements of leaves of an intact plant are evidently affected by rhythmic stem oscillations. Stem is an integral part of a system which participates in the transfer of information in plants.