Curls of Green



In the summer of 1864, 5 years after the publication of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin was the most celebrated scientist in the world. Any lesser man would rest on his laurels, but Darwin had retreated to continue with basic research, the kind of unglamorous but indispensable science that is rarely funded by research councils. Among all the wonders of Nature, he had chosen to focus on the behavior of climbing plants. Bryonies and bellflowers, beans and bindweeds, bushwillows and birthworts, hops, hoyas, honeysuckles, ceropegias, cucumbers and climbing ferns, guinea flowers, glorybowers, morning glories, wisterias, leadworts, jasmines, almost every twining vine or liana known to Victorian England filled all corners and snaked up every wall of his house. The results were published in one of Darwin’s many less well-known books, On the Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants (Darwin 1875).


Birthwort Bindweed Bryony Willow Bushes Codonopsis 
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  1. Darwin, C. (1875). On the movements and habits of climbing plants. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  2. Gerbode, S. J., Puzey, J. R., McCormick, A. G., & Mahadevan, L. (2012). How the cucumber tendril grows and overwinds. Science, 337, 1087–1091.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural History MuseumUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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