Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vine Growth

Next time you draw a vine wrapping around a branch, here are a couple things to keep in mind.
Each type of vine follows different genetic rules. A bittersweet vine always winds counterclockwise as it ascends.

This large bittersweet vine was once a small spiraling tendril wrapping around a young sapling. Later the vine vaulted to a bigger tree, and kept getting thicker until it was far thicker than its original host. Finally the small host sapling died and rotted away, leaving the vine looking like a telephone cord.

This real telephone cord wraps in the opposite direction, clockwise as it ascends.

As with the telephone cord, the wisteria vine wraps clockwise as it goes up, unlike the bittersweet vine we saw earlier, which wrapped counterclockwise.



In this YouTube video of a morning glory vine, you can see the leading tendril trying to find a host as it spins counterclockwise.

18 comments:

Steve said...

Great pencil sketches and YouTube clip! And, apparently there's more to the story. A vine climbing clockwise in the northern hemisphere climbs counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere (and vice versa). Here's a quotation form a botanical source: Charles Darwin studied this aspect of plant growth and one of the plants that he chose to study was the West Australian Sollya heterophylla. He found that on a cool day Sollya took about eight hours to make one complete revolution around a stake. On a warm day the time was reduced to four and a half hours. It is also interesting to note that he observed, in the Southern Hemisphere, climbers twine counter-clockwise. In the Northern Hemisphere the direction of twining is reversed.

jeff jordan said...

Just like water going down a drain, more opposite spin according to whichever hemisphere a person is in.

Kiolia said...

I'll second the sentiment that the video was quite interesting.

Since you mentioned wisteria, I had to run out and check the vine I'm growing out front (I live in Northern Michigan at the moment). It seems to be growing counterclockwise - perhaps this has to do with the specific variety, which the plastic card says is Aunt Dee. However, I was interested to note that *all* of its tendrils do grow with the same CCW twist.

Perhaps consistency is more important than the specific direction, at least for wisteria. I should have checked out the grape vines I ripped out of the trees last week...

James Gurney said...

Kiolia, thanks for checking your wisteria. I guess we need a botanist to give us some expert guidance here. I'm assuming that each family of vines has a preset direction, but maybe I'm wrong in that assumption.

Susan Adsett said...

Great. After watching that video, I am going to have NIGHTMARES about the vines in my neglected garden reaching out for me...

If they do, I will try to take note of their climbing direction.

Jean Spitzer said...

I'm going to check Leonardo On Painting and see if he covers this; I know he wrote about tree growth.

wv:sight

Jon Hrubesch said...

The thing about water going down a drain in different directions depending on which hemisphere it drains in is a myth, which makes me question the validity of the vines growing in opposite directions depending on the hemisphere. FYI. I'm not trying to start a battle it’s just what I've heard on a science program once.

Oscar Baechler said...

I'll take winding vines over the intricacies of girl's braids any day.

Tom said...

Nice post knowing there is a intelligent growth pattern behind things gives ones drawings a true ring of life and gets the artist away from just copying.

Douglas Ferreira said...

This blog is very nice indeed!I could spend a entire day reading and admiring the artwork!Thank you for sharing all of this here!

James Gurney said...

Thanks and welcome, Douglas! I'm glad you're enjoying the blog.

Steve said...

Hmm, since Douglas is in Brazil, maybe he could clear up this opposite hemisphere, opposite direction question...

Katherine Kean said...

How wonderful to get to see how this works. I'm going to have to have a much closer look at the grapevines, wisterias, and morning glories around here.

Jean Spitzer said...

I went out and checked my grapevine--it's winding counter-clockwise. (Turns out, Leonardo da Vinci is silent on the subject of vines--at least in the translation/compilation I have.)
Thanks for making me look at vines in a different way.

Alina Chau said...

beautiful drawing!

Douglas Ferreira said...

hi everybody!
As Steve said I am here in the south hemisphere,and I wish I knew anything about vine growth.In my country we have vines growing in the south of the country,which is 1200 km away from my town,if I travel there I may have a chance to observe then and clear this out!

Molly said...

This is so cool! On a walk today I noticed the CCW direction of some bittersweet vines and asked myself the question if they always grow in that direction. Then I came home and looked it up on the computer and found this page! I'm very curious about the coriolis effect/northern-southern hemisphere question. I LOVE the video of the morning glory vines! thanks for posting it.

Laurie Thompson said...

I am researching this because of how a Heavenly Blue morning glory I have is!! What a thoroughly fascinating thing to behold; I am just in awe as this seems to be the biggest one I have ever grown, and it seems totally obvious that some type of communication is going on as I have about 6 plants in one very large container. From it's point of view, it is twining counter-clockwise from the ground, and I am in Alberta, Canada! That video just blows my mind! Lol, now I have to check my clematis, too!! The pics on here are just breathtaking, too!! Thanks!! Found new site I adore!