RECORD: Anon. 1865. [Review of Climbing plants]. Illustrated London News (8 July): 22. 

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2022. RN1

[page] 22

The new number of the Journal of the Linnean Society is principally composed of Mr. Darwin's paper, or rather treatise (in 118 ages), on the movements and habits of climbing plants, which we noticed a few weeks ago, p. 287. He considers, in order, spirally-twining plants, leaf climbers, tendril bearers, and hook and root climbers. In conclusion, he says:—'It has often been vaguely asserted that plants are distinguished from animals from not having the power of movement. It should rather be said that plants acquire and display this power only when it is of some advantage them but this is of comparatively rare occurrence, as they are affixed to the ground, and food is brought to them by the wind and rain. We see how high in the scale of organism a plant may rise when we look at one of the more perfect tendril bearers. It first places its tendrils ready for action, as a polypus places its tentacula. If the tendril be displaced it is acted on by the force of gravity and rights itself. It is acted on by the light, and bends towards or from it, or disregards it, whichever may be most advantageous, During several days the

tendril or internodes, or both, spontaneously revolve with a steady motion; the tendril strikes some object, and quickly curls round and firmly grasps it; in the course of some hours it contracts into spire dragging up the stem, and forming an excellent spring. All movements now cease. By growth the tissues soon become wonderfully strong and durable. They tendril mas done its work, and done it ne an admirable manner."


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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 20 November, 2022