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The Restless Plant
by Dov Koller
edited by Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh
Harvard University Press, 2011
Cloth: 978-0-674-04863-8 | eISBN: 978-0-674-05943-6
Library of Congress Classification QK771.K58 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 575.97


Plants, so predictable, stay where they are. And yet, like all living things, they also move: they grow, adapt, shed leaves and bark, spread roots and branches, snare pollinators, and reward cultivators. This book, the first to thoroughly explore the subject since Darwin’s 1881 treatise on movements in plants, is a comprehensive, up-to-date account of the mechanisms and the adaptive values that move plants.

Drawing on examples across the spectrum of plant families—including mosses, ferns, conifers, and flowering plants—the author opens a window on how plants move: within cells, as individual cells, and via organs. Opening with an explanation of how cellular motors work and how cells manage to move organs, Dov Koller considers the movement of roots, tubers, rhizomes, and other plant parts underground, as well as the more familiar stems, leaves, and flowers.

Throughout, Koller presents information at the subcellular and cellular levels, including the roles of receptors, signaling pathways, hormones, and physiological responses in motor function. He also discusses the adaptive significance of movements. His book exposes the workings of a world little understood and often overlooked, the world of restless plants and the movements by which they accomplish the necessary functions of their lives.

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