Tendril

Tendril

In botany, a tendril is a specialized stem, leaf or petiole with a threadlike shape that is used by climbing plants for support and attachment, generally by twining around whatever it touches.

History

The earliest and most comprehensive study of tendrils was Charles Darwin's monograph "On the Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants," which was originally published in 1865. This work also coined the term circumnutation to describe the motion of growing stems and tendrils seeking supports.

Biology of tendrils

In the garden pea, it is only the terminal leaflets that are modified to become tendrils. In other plants such as the yellow vetch ("Lathyrus aphaca") the whole leaf is modified to become tendrils while the stipules become enlarged and carry out photosynthesis. Still others use the rachis of a compound leaf as a tendril, such as members of the genus "Clematis".

The specialised pitcher traps of "Nepenthes" plants form on the end of tendrils. The tendrils of aerial pitchers are usually coiled in the middle. If the tendril comes into contact with an object for long enough it will usually curl around it, forming a strong anchor point for the pitcher. In this way, the tendrils help to support the growing stem of the plant. [Clarke, C.M. 1997. "Nepenthes of Borneo". Natural History Publications, Kota Kinabalu.]

"Tendril" can also be used to describe a wisp of hair or indeed anything that resembles the tendrils of plants.

Gallery


Nepenthes rafflesiana" upper pitcher with coiled tendril.
Virginia creeper adhesive Tendril.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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  • Tendril — est un super vilain créé par Marvel Comics. Il est apparu pour la première fois dans Spider Man: the final adventure #1, en 1995. Origine River Verys était le fils de hippies. Sa mère se suicida quand il eut deux ans, et il fut placé dans une… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tendril — Ten dril, n. [Shortened fr. OF. tendrillon, fr. F. tendre tender; hence, properly, the tender branch or spring of a plant: cf. F. tendrille. See {Tender}, a., and cf. {Tendron}.] (Bot.) A slender, leafless portion of a plant by which it becomes… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tendril — Ten dril, a. Clasping; climbing as a tendril. [R.] Dyer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tendril — 1530s, from M.Fr. tendrillon bud, shoot, cartilage, perhaps a dim. of tendron cartilage, from O.Fr. tendre soft (see TENDER (Cf. tender) (adj.)), or else from L. tendere to stretch, extend (see TENDER (Cf. tender) (v.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • tendril — ► NOUN 1) a slender thread like appendage of a climbing plant, which stretches out and twines round any suitable support. 2) a slender ringlet of hair. ORIGIN probably from Old French tendron young shoot , from Latin tener tender …   English terms dictionary

  • tendril — [ten′drəl] n. [earlier tendrell, prob. altered < ME tendron, young tender shoot < OFr tendrum, ult. < L tener,TENDER1] 1. a threadlike part of a climbing plant, often in a spiral form, supporting it by clinging to or coiling around an… …   English World dictionary

  • tendril — tendrillar, tendrilous, adj. tendrilly, adj. /ten dril/, n. Bot. a threadlike, leafless organ of climbing plants, often growing in spiral form, which attaches itself to or twines round some other body, so as to support the plant. [1530 40;… …   Universalium

  • tendril — Anything useless that is kept for no particular reason. A packrat saves tendril; something most people would throw away that is kept. Barnaby s apartment is full of tendril. Dave needs to throw away that stack of newspaper and all the other… …   Dictionary of american slang

  • tendril — Anything useless that is kept for no particular reason. A packrat saves tendril; something most people would throw away that is kept. Barnaby s apartment is full of tendril. Dave needs to throw away that stack of newspaper and all the other… …   Dictionary of american slang

  • tendril — ten|dril [ˈtendrıl] n [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: Perhaps from Old French tendron, from tendon tendon, tendril , from Medieval Latin tendo; TENDON] 1.) a thin leafless curling stem by which a climbing plant fastens itself to a support 2.) literary… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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