The longevity of plants - Die Lebensdauer der Pflanze
Molisch, H.; Fulling, E.H.
Duration of life in plants Die Lebensdauer der Pflanze 168 p
The subject of longevity of living organisms presents an exceedingly important biological problem. In a variety of ways it touches upon so many phenomena of life and of biology in general that it provokes common scientific interest even beyond the realm of physiology itself. Strange to say, no comprehensive study upon the subject has heretofore been made. Jessen's worthy contribution "Über die Lebensdauer der Gewächse," which appeared 65 years ago, did not consider the subject in its entirety but dealt with only one though very significant aspect. It was concerned primarily with the question as to whether asexually propagated seed-plants possess an unlimited tenure of life, terminated only by accident or other unfavorable circumstances, or whether their longevity is inherently limited. Other problems associated with longevity were disregarded. A careful study of the subject among both lower and higher plants was neglected and no consideration was accorded such matters, among others, as senescence, developmental changes, the death of cells and tissues in the tree, nor the possibility of curtailing or prolonging life. Only recently has interest been focussed upon the problem, particularly by Weismann's ideas with respect to perpetual life among unicellular organisms. Many zoologists have worked upon this problem and in 1924 Korschelt2 gave us an excellent summary of the understanding which prevailed at that time of longevity, senescence and death among animals. In this work longevity among plants is only incidentally considered. For the most part, Korschelt's meritorious work is concerned almost exclusively with animals and in view of this there is need of a detailed and comprehensive consideration of the subject from the botanical standpoint.