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Results tagged “vitaceae”

Apr 24, 2012: Cissus verticillata

The display of the aerial roots of Cissus verticillata (syn. Cissus sicyoides) makes for an iconic photograph in Atlanta Botanical Garden's Fuqua Conservatory. Easily ranked as one of the most impressive conservatories I've visited, it helped our recent trip start on a very positive note.

Known by a number of common names, including princess vine, millionaire vine and (with an appropriate adjective) curtain ivy, Cissus verticillata is native to much of the tropical Americas. I've not been able to track down any proven reasons why the species would evolve such extensive aerial roots, though some speculation can be made. One suggestion is access to additional water resources; please see the article "A Curtain of Roots" on page 27 of Gardenwise (Vol. 36, PDF), the magazine of the Singapore Botanical Garden. Whatever the reason(s), the aerial roots are also intriguing in terms of their high growth rate, measured under seemingly ideal conditions at about 8mm/hr (about an inch every 3 hours or so).

Additional photos of this grape relative, including images of leaves and fruit, are available from the Plants of Hawaii site (where the plant is non-native): Cissus verticillata.

Nov 7, 2011: Parthenocissus thomsonii

UBC Botanical Garden's Curator of Collections, Douglas Justice, wrote the foundation of today's entry. I've made a few edits to adapt his text for Botany Photo of the Day:

Parthenocissus comes from parthenos meaning "virgin" and kissos ("ivy"). It refers to the English common name of the eastern American Virginia creeper or Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia was named for Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen"). Parthenocissus is a genus of about 10 species of climbing plants that climb by means of leaf tendrils that either twine or have adhesive pads (Daniel: for more on the adhesive pads, see the previous entry on Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Robusta').

The main attraction of Parthenocissus thomsonii is its five-fingered leaves, which are bronzy-purple in spring turning glossy green at maturity and deep red in the fall. The fruits are black. This Asian climber was collected in Assam (India) in 1900 by E. H. Wilson and later introduced by him from China. It is similar to the more common Parthenocissus henryana, but differs in its leaves, which lack central silver markings, and in having tendrils that only branch in pairs (Parthenocissus henryana along with most other Parthenocissus species have multi-branched tendrils). Flora of China places Parthenocissus thomsonii in a different genus (Yua) on account of this difference in tendril characteristics.

Daniel: These are photographs from the David C. Lam Asian Garden. You'll note in the second image that the Parthenocissus is smothering the western hemlock it is using for support, so the vine will likely be cut down to the ground this winter as part of the Garden's aggressive vine management policy.

Oct 28, 2011: Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Robusta'

Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Robusta'

This is a bit of a visual echo in response to the photomicrograph from Dr. Robin Young a few days ago. This is from a set of young 'Robusta' Japanese creeper (or Boston ivy, if you like) vines planted several years ago by one of the Garden's inventive horticulturists. I suspect photographs like these (and there are many similar compositions to be made) will only be possible for the next few years, until the entire wall where these are planted is eventually covered with the much larger mature leaves (like the outfield walls at Wrigley Field).

Parthenocissus tricuspidata is native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. An explanation of its name is available from the Freckmann Herbarium (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), while additional photographs and horticultural information can be read via the University of Connecticut Plant Database: Parthenocissus tricuspidata. Compared to the species, the cultivar 'Robusta' is supposed to have larger (mature) leaves and be a bit more of a vigorous grower.

Given a suitable surface, this deciduous vining species can attain heights of 30m or so. It does so through adhesion, whereby a modified tendril in the shape of a disc-shaped pad secretes a mucilage. In 1875, Darwin noted that "a 10-year-old branchlet with only one remaining adhesive disc attached to a wall could support a weight of 2 lb without the disc detaching". Further tests have revealed that "on average, the disc can support a combined weight of stem, leaf, branchlet, and tendril which is 260 times greater than its own weight during the growth, and can sustain a maximum pulling force which is 2 800 000 times higher than that produced by its own weight (from the abstract of a 2010 paper by the authors of the paper cited below). Despite having been studied for centuries, the precise adhesion mechanism remains unknown (though calcium ions are suspected to play a role). In He, T. et al. 2011. Biological adhesion of Parthenocissus tricuspidata. Arch. Biol. Sci.,63(2): 393-398 doi:10.2298/ABS1102393H , the authors conclude "Understanding the super-adhesion mechanism of Parthenocissus tricuspidata is a prerequisite for bio-inspired design of adhesive materials, and more experimental and theoretical works are imperative to fully open this new research field".

May 13, 2011: Leea indica

Leea indica

Today's entry was written by Alexis Kho. Thanks to the contributions of many BPotD readers, we've been fortunate yet again to be able to get a work-study student to help with Botany Photo of the Day. Alexis has just completed her third year in the Science and Management Major in the UBC Faculty of Forestry's Natural Resources Conservation program. Alexis writes:

Thank you to Jayesh Patil aka jayeshp912@Flickr for providing today's photograph. This photo shows the cream-white flowers and green sepals of Leea indica.

Leea indica is a member of the grape family, Vitaceae. Also known as bandicoot berry, it is an evergreen shrub naturally distributed throughout areas of India, China, Indo-China and Malesia and also found in Australia and the Pacific Islands. It is a commonly occurring species that grows as a spreading shrub or a tree up to 5m tall in the understory of disturbed and second-growth evergreen forests. The cream-coloured flowers of Leea indica grow in cymes and eventually produce small dark purple berries.

Extracts from Leea indica roots are traditionally used to treat colic, diarrhea, ulcers, skin disease and dysentery and to relieve thirst. Also a traditional use, the leaves are roasted and used on the head to relieve vertigo. Recent studies have found that extracts from the species--by inducing cell death--may have the potential to be developed as an anticancer drug (see Hsiung WY and Kadir HA. 2011. Leea indica Ethyl Acetate Fraction Induces Growth-Inhibitory Effect in Various Cancer Cell Lines and Apoptosis in Ca Ski Human Cervical Epidermoid Carcinoma Cells. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. vol. 2011, Article ID 293060, 13 pages. doi:10.1155/2011/293060).

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