London: John Murray, 1880. 8vo. x, 592, 32 pp., including the publisher's advertisements dated May, 1878. FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. With half-title and list of works by the author on verso; text illustrations. Original green cloth, booklabel removed from spine and slight wear on front cover, interior excellent; a fine copy with bookplates from the John Crear Library and of Charles Atwood Kofoia. Item #16491
First edition, first issue of Darwin’s remarkable work on circumnutation, in which he advances the theory that all plant movements are modifications of one basic phenomenon of growth. In a series of experiments, he demonstrated that the mechanism he discovered in his research on climbing plants held true for flowering plants in general. He showed that the tip of a shoot was responsive to light and suggested that the bending was caused by the growth of the stem on the side away from the light source and further down from the apex, due to “some matter in the upper part which is acted upon by light, and which transmits its effects to the lower part.” These findings were the foundation of the science of growth hormones in plants and are, in many respects, the most important results of his botanical research.