Thomas' Plant-Related Blog

On plant science. Mostly.

Rattans meet the red queen

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Rattan vine

Twisted rattan vine. Image by avlxyz (flickr)

Rattans, a group of climbing palms, have to keep growing to hold themselves up.

Climbers need to be flexible, so that they don’t snap as the plants they’re on move around. Rattans achieve that by shedding the leaf sheaths which stiffen their stems. But, in doing so, they also lose the hooks on their leaves which let them hang onto plants. So, in order to stay up, they have to carry on growing, adding new leaves. The record, apparently, is 172 m long.

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Written by Thomas Kluyver

13 February, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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