Metamorphosis.It has already been pointed out that each kind of member of the body may present a variety of forms. For example, a stem may be a tree-trunk, or a twining stem, or a tendril, or a thorn, or a creeping rhizome, or a tuber; a leaf may be a green foliage-leaf, or a scale protecting a bud, or a tendril, or a pitcher, or a floral leaf, either sepal, petal, stamen or carpel (sporophyll); a root may be a fibrous root, or a swollen tap-root like that of the beet or the turnip. All these various forms are organs discharging some special function, and are examples of what Wolff called modification, and Goethe metamorphosis.
Flora), the primitive leaf was a reproductive leaf, a sporophyll, from which the foliage-leaf was derived by progressive sterilization.
In Sphenophyllum fertile both the ventral lobes of the sporophyll (corresponding to the sporangiophores in other species) and the dorsal lobes, which in other species are sterile, were developed as peltate sporangiophores.
The sporangia of the Psilotaceae are associated in synangia, which occupy the same position relatively to the sporophyll, as the single sporangium of Lycopodium or the group of sporangia in Spenophyllum majus.
H, Sporophyll bearing the single sporangium on its upper surface.
The recently discovered species, Sphenophyllum fertile, while resembling Bowmanites Romeri in its peltate, bisporangiate sporangiophores, is peculiar in the fact that both dorsal and ventral lobes of the sporophyll were fertile, dividing in a palmate manner into several branches, each of which constitutes a sporangiophore.
Lq The sporophyll, usually almost horizontal in position, has an upturned lamina beyond the sporangium, and a shorter dorsal lobe, so that the form of the whole is somewhat peltate.
The genus Spencerites (Lower Coal Measures) differs from Lepidostrobus mainly in the insertion of the sporangium, which, instead of being attached along the whole upper surface of the sporophyll, was connected with an outgrowth on its upper surface by a small neck of tissue towards the distal end.