Telegraph Plant

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Related to Desmodium gyrans: Codariocalyx motorius, semaphore plant

Telegraph Plant

 

(Desmodium gyrans), also telegraph tick-clover, a shrub of the family Leguminosae. The leaves are ternate. The somewhat elongate terminal leaflet is many times larger than the oblanceolate lateral leaflets. The flowers are papilionaceous and gathered in racemose inflorescences. The fruit is a moniliform pod. The telegraph plant grows in tropical Asia. During the day the lateral leaflets execute rotatory, sometimes jerky, movements, describing a complete ellipse with their apices in 30 seconds. The mechanism of the movement is a change in the turgor of cells of the thickened articulations of leaflet petioles with the leaf axis. The telegraph plant is cultivated in botanical gardens and greenhouses. It is used for classroom demonstrations.