A vine (Latin vīnea "grapevine", "vineyard", from vīnum "wine") is any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent (that is, climbing) stems, lianas or runners. The word vine can also refer to such stems or runners themselves, for instance, when used in wicker work.
In parts of the world (including the British Isles), the term "vine" usually applies exclusively to grapevines (Vitis), while the term "climber" is used for all climbing plants.
Certain plants always grow as vines, while a few grow as vines only part of the time.
A vine displays a growth form based on long stems. This has two purposes. A vine may use rock exposures, other plants, or other supports for growth rather than investing energy in a lot of supportive tissue, enabling the plant to reach sunlight with a minimum investment of energy. This has been a highly successful growth form for plants such as kudzu and Japanese honeysuckle, both of which are invasive exotics in parts of North America. There are some tropical vines that develop skototropism, and grow away from the light, a type of negative phototropism. Growth away from light allows the vine to reach a tree trunk, which it can then climb to brighter regions.
The vine growth form may also enable plants to colonize large areas quickly, even without climbing high.
The evolution of a climbing habit has been implicated as a key innovation associated with the evolutionary success and diversification of a number of taxonomic groups of plants. It has evolved independently in several plant families, using many different climbing methods, such as:
- twining the stem around a support (e.g., morning glories, Ipomoea
- by way of adventitious, clinging roots (e.g., ivy, Hedera
- with twining petioles (e.g., Clematis
- using tendrils, which can be specialized shoots (Vitaceae), leaves (Bignoniaceae), or even inflorescences (Passiflora
- using tendrils which also produce adhesive pads at the end that attach themselves quite strongly to the support (Parthenocissus
- using thorns (e.g. climbing rose) or other hooked structures, such as hooked branches (e.g. Artabotrys hexapetalus
The climbing fetterbush (Pieris phillyreifolia) is a woody shrub-vine which climbs without clinging roots, tendrils, or thorns. It directs its stem into a crevice in the bark of fibrous barked trees (such as bald cypress) where the stem adopts a flattened profile and grows up the tree underneath the host tree's outer bark. The fetterbush then sends out branches that emerge near the top of the tree.
Most vines are flowering plants.
One odd group of vining plants is the fern genus Lygodium, called climbing ferns. The stem does not climb, but rather the fronds (leaves) do. The fronds unroll from the tip, and theoretically never stop growing; they can form thickets as they unroll over other plants, rockfaces, and fences.
A twining vine, also known as a bine, is one that climbs by its shoots growing in a helix, in contrast to vines that climb using tendrils or suckers. Many bines have rough stems or downward-pointing bristles to aid their grip. Hops (used in flavoring beer) are a commercially important example of a bine.
The direction of rotation of the shoot tip during climbing is autonomous and does not (as sometimes imagined) derive from the shoot's following the sun around the sky – the direction of twist does not therefore depend upon which side of the equator the plant is growing on. This is shown by the fact that some bines always twine clockwise, including runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) and bindweed (Convolvulus species), while others twine anticlockwise, including French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and climbing honeysuckles (Lonicera species). The contrasting rotations of bindweed and honeysuckle was the theme of the satirical song "Misalliance", written and sung by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann.
Horticultural climbing plants
The term "vine" also applies to cucurbitaceae like cucumbers where botanists refer to creeping vines; in commercial agriculture the natural tendency of coiling tendrils to attach themselves to pre-existing structures or espaliers is optimized by the installation of trellis netting.
Gardeners can use the tendency of climbing plants to grow quickly. If a plant display is wanted quickly, a climber can achieve this. Climbers can be trained over walls, pergolas, fences, etc. Climbers can be grown over other plants to provide additional attraction. Artificial support can also be provided. Some climbers climb by themselves; others need work, such as tying them in and training them.
Vines widely differ in size, form and evolutionary origin.
Vines are unique in that they have multiple evolutionary origins and a wide range of phenotypic plasticity.
Temperate twining vines, which twist tightly around supports, are typically poorly adapted for climbing beneath closed canopies due to their smaller support diameter and shade intolerance.
Climbing vines possess many unique characteristics in response to changes in their environments.
In tendrilled vines, the tendrils are highly sensitive to touch and the coiling action is mediated by the hormones octadecanoids, jasmonates and indole-3-acetic acid.
Example vine taxa
- Actinidia arguta
- Aconitum Bulbuliferum
- Actinidia polygama
- Adlumia fungosa
- Aeschynanthus radicans
- Ampelocissus acetosa
- Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata
- Anredera cordifolia
- Antigonon leptopus
- Aptenia cordifolia
- Berchemia scandens
- Campsis, the trumpet vine Campsis grandiflora
- Cardiospermum halicacabum
- Ceropegia linearis
- Cissus antarctica
- Cissus hypoglauca
- Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus]]]]]], the watermelon
- Cucumis sativus
- Cyphostemma juttae
- Epipremnum aureum
- Fallopia baldschuanica
- Ficus pumila
- Hedera helix
- Kennedia coccinea
- Lagenaria siceraria
- Lathyrus odoratus
- Lonicera japonica
- Momordica charantia
- Mikania scandens
- Muehlenbeckia adpressa
- Pandorea pandorana
- Parthenocissus quinquefolia
- Passiflora edulis
- Periploca graeca
- Podranea ricasoliana*, the pink trumpet vine
- Pueraria lobata
- Scindapsus pictus
- Sechium edule
- Solanum laxum
- Strongylodon macrobotrys
- Syngonium, the goosefoot vine Syngonium podophyllum
- Thunbergia grandiflora
- Thunbergia erecta
- Toxicodendron radicans
- Vine (disambiguation)
- Liana, any of various long-stemmed, woody vines
- Nutation (botany), bending and growth patterns of plants, which dictate the growth of vines.
- On the Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants, by Charles Darwin
- List of world's longest vines
- Vine training systems Pergola Trellis (architecture)