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Southern Hemosphere Vines (Hemisphere)

Stuart Worboys sci-sjw2 at jcu.edu.au
Fri Jan 3 00:01:19 EST 1997

There may be more than Coriolis forces affecting the
direction of growth of twining vines.  

Vines in the Southern Hemisphere will have their sunlight coming from the
northern part of the sky (for most or all of the year, depending on
latitude).  As they follow the sun and twine up and around during the
daylight hours, they will naturally grow up anti-clockwise.  The opposite
will be true for the Northern Hemisphere.

It seems to me that at the level of the growing tip of the plant, genetics
and light environment will have more influence on growth than the spin of
the Earth.  However, I recognise that intuition should always be backed up
by hard data.  Not hard to do - just grow a bunch of vines in a constant
light environment, under identical conditions in the N and S Hemisphere.

I work in the rainforest at about 16 degrees S (Cairns, Queensland), and
all vines I've seen, including members of the Smilacaceae, Asclepiadaceae,
Apocynaceae, Vitaceae and Shizaeaceae (fern) climb anticlockwise.


Stuart W.

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