The beauty of circumnutation

4 Sept, Jagun

Vines ascend in several ways. Many in Jagun twine (circumnutation), coiling around whatever support they come across, clinging tightly. Other vines attach themselves to supports (like tree trunks) through aerial roots or use tendrils or thorns to scramble into and over other shrubs and trees.

Smilax aspera (common smilax, sarsaparilla) scrambles.

Climbing is an adaptation for plants can reach available sunlight and space with a minimum investment in support biomass. In this sub-tropical region, most climbers sacrifice the high life of radiance for an ability to grow in the dim understorey.

Hardenbergia, also found in our garden
A vine stretching high over the middle of Oyster Creek

Our garden has the following vines, all self seeded: Hibbertia scandens (snake vine, golden guinea); Parsonsia straminea (silkypod) one of the toughest in our garden; Hardenbergia (false sarsaparilla, purple coral pea); Kennedia coccinea (coral vine, we call it running postman, vigorous twining vine; Eustrephus latifolius (wombat berry); Pandorea jasminoides (Bower climber); and I am sure there are more.For massive specimens you need rainforest. The Gondwana rainforest west of here, at Dorrigo[i] high on the Great Dividing Range have masses of large vines climbing large trees, some up to 60m high and 600 years old. Trees like White Beech (Gmelina leichhardtii), Booyong (Argyrodendron species), Yellow Carabeen (Sloanea woollsii) and Rose Mahogany (Dysoxylum fraserianum) and a few Red Cedars (Toona ciliata), in the Mahogany family. Well worth a visit or twenty.


[i] Gondwana Rainforests comprise fifty reserves ranging 600 kilometres from north to south along the Eastern coast, and covering nearly 4,000 square kms.

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