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Plant tropism

TROPISM (Greek tropē, “a turning”)
-fixed, automatic, inherited movements in response to particular stimuli

Types of Tropism

POSITIVE TROPISM- Movement toward the source of stimulation

NEGATIVE TROPISM- Movement away from the source of stimulation


In 1880, Charles Darwin pioneered in plant tropism work by showing that
growing tips of plants bend towards a light source which is called phototropism.
He also observed that some shade plants turned away from a bright light
source which is a negative form of phototropism. The turning is due to the action
of the plant hormone auxin, which causes elongation.

PHOTOTROPISM- the tendency of an organism to grow toward or away from a
source of light
This is caused by an imbalance in the distribution of auxin. Because more
auxin is present, the cells on the darker side are able to elongate more than the
cells on the lighted side, causing the plant to bend toward the light.

HELIOTROPISM- phototropism stimulated by sunlight

GEOTROPISM- plant growth or movement in response to gravity.

When the plant is horizontal, the force of gravity causes the auxin to move
to the underside of the stem. Because of the increased amount of auxin, the cells
on the underside of the stem elongate more than the cells on the upper part,
causing the stem to turn upward.

Upward growth of plant parts, against gravity, is called negative geotropism,

and downward growth of roots is called positive geotropism.
THIGMOTROPISM (GREEK thigma, touch)- a directional growth movement
tropism of a plant part, especially a tendril, in response to physical contact with a

HYDROTROPISM- movement by a plant part such as a root toward or away from
a source of water

SKOTOTROPISM- the orientation of growth tips on some vines toward the
darkest place on the horizon

Cell elongation is stimulated on
Positive Growing shoot bends
light the shaded side of a stem but
phototropism towards the light.
inhibited on the lighted side.
Cell elongation is inhibited on the Growing root bends
gravity lower portion of the root but downwards towards the
stimulated on the upper portion. centre of the gravity.
Cell elongation is inhibited on the Growing shoot coils
Positive touch or stem side touching an object but around the object. For
thigmotropism pressure stimulated on the non-touching example, in some
side climbing vines.
Cell elongation is stimulated on
Negative touch or the stem side touching an object Shoot grows away from
thigmotropism pressure but inhibited on the non-touching an obstacle.
Root tips closest to a source of
water and soluble minerals
Positive water Growth of the root
simply grow faster than those
hydrotropism availability towards a water source.
further away. (Hormones not
involved here.)