Title

Moving with climbing plants from Charles Darwin's time into the 21st Century

Authors

S Isnard
W Silk

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Volume Number

96

Source Publication

American Journal of Botany

Abstract

We provide an overview of research on climbing plants from Charles Darwin to the present day. Following Darwin ’ s interests, this review will focus on functional perspectives including attachment mechanisms and stem structure and function. We draw at- tention to a number of unsolved problems inviting future research. These include the mechanism for establishment of the twining habit, a quantitative description following the development of a tissue element through space and time, the chemistry of sticky exu- dates, the microstructure of xylem and the capacity for water storage, the vulnerability to embolism, and the mechanism for em- bolism repair. In conclusion we cite evidence that, in response to increasing CO 2 concentration, anthropic perturbation and/ or increasing forest fragmentation, lianas are increasing relative to tree species. In the 21st century, we are returning to the multiscale, multidisciplinary approach taken by Darwin to understand natural history.

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