A Synopsis of Biology by W. B. Crow (Auth.)

By W. B. Crow (Auth.)

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In plants parthenogenesis has been noted in the stonewort Chara crinata and algae of the genera Spirogyra, Zygnema, and Dictyota. I t also occurs in a few flowering plants, such as the purple meadow-rue (Thalictrum purpurascens), where the egg does not undergo the usual reduction division. All the above are instances of the regular occurrence of partheno­ genesis. Occasionally it occurs in species t h a t do not usually show it. This is widespread, and has even been noted in mammals. I t can be produced experimentally by a wide variety of methods.

In plants special reproductive organs or parts are developed which function sexually or asexually. The remaining parts of the plant, including in higher plants stems, leaves, and roots, not specialized for reproduction, are called vegetative. Nevertheless they can and do reproduce the organism by vegetative reproduction and this term is extended in animals to those cases where reproduction takes place without the help of special reproductive organs ; it must not be confused with asexual reproduction, which is dealt with in the next chapter.

Tissues other than muscular and nervous will regenerate, and even nerve-fibres, although not their cell bodies, VEGETATIVE REPRODUCTION 27 will re-form. Gaps, however, caused by wounds are mostly filled with fibrous connective tissue (scars). In dislocations false joints often form and function effectively. CUTTINGS Vegetative reproduction by mere breaking occurs amongst seaweeds in nature but in land plants chiefly by means of specialized underground branches. However, almost any shoot may artificially be made to grow into a new plant under suitable conditions of culture, a fact made use of widely in horticulture and essential to multiply rare varieties which, like the greening apple (a variety with fimits green when ripe) and the copper beech (with copper-coloured foliage), cannot be repro­ duced from seed.

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