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Movements and habits of climbing plants


Although Hugo von Mohl and Ludwig Palm had written in 1827 a couple of ground-breaking papers on climbing plants in Germany, Darwin after years of meticulous observations compiled data on various ways that species across a wide range of families and orders could climb over other objects, including other plants, to compete for light with their neighbors. He singled out stem twiners, those that used the petioles of leaves or developed actual tendrils, and others – like ivy – that produced rootlets to support his contention that natural selection had favored those species with these adaptations to survive in sun-deprived habitats.

To see examples of plants that Darwin discussed in his climbing plants studies, visit  Power of Movement: Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants in this online exhibit.

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