Based on the author’s long life of study, observation, and experimentation, this book clears the way for the exploration of many problems in an area of botanical research about which little substantial biochemical information is yet available. Rudolf Dostál’s investigations largely concern the interrelations among the different organs of plants and the ways in which the various components of the plant correlate to form an integrated whole.
Mr. Dostál writes that he “early acquired the certitude that all regulations in plants take place with an absolute determinism, an iron necessity.” He describes many very simple experiments, such as removing all the leaves of a horse chestnut and all the new leaves that follow, until ultimately leaves of an entirely different form, pinnate like those of a legume, develop. Experiments on algae, in parallel with those on higher plants, add to the breadth of the coverage. Much of the work has not been published in scientific journals, and is here presented in simple terms comprehensible to the intelligent layman.
The author also discusses the vital part played by inhibiting substances in the development of the primordia of leaves and other organs, serving as regulators and conservators of reserves, so as to ensure unified organization instead of the chaos that would otherwise result. He finds, too, that his experiments support the idea, now becoming widely accepted, that food for plants may be regarded as a condition rather than a causal factor in their growth and development. As an extension of Mr. Dostál’s experimental observations, 40 original figures containing 161 partial illustrations are of exceptional value.