Codariocalyx motorius (Desmodium gyrans): The Dancing plant

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Description

Codariocalyx motorius (Desmodium gyrans): the Dancing plant, telegraph or semaphore plant

This plant is famous for its movement of small lateral leaflets at speeds rapid enough to be perceivable with the naked eye. This is a strategy to maximise sunlight by tracking the sun. Each leaf is equipped with a hinge that permits it to be moved in order to receive more sunlight, but the weight of these leaves means the plant must expend a lot of energy in moving it. To optimise movement of large leaves, each large leaf has two small leaflets at its base. These move constantly along an elliptical path, sampling the intensity of sunlight, and directing the large leaf to the area of most intensity.

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