Biomechanics and functional morphology of a climbing monocot

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Transverse section of the peripheral region of a young stem segment of Flagellaria indica (stained with safranin/astra blue). Fusion of the bundle sheaths has not yet occurred while lignification and tissue density is being increased. (Photo credit: Hesse et al.)
Transverse section of the peripheral region of a young stem segment of Flagellaria indica (stained with safranin/astra blue). Fusion of the bundle sheaths has not yet occurred while lignification and tissue density is being increased. (Photo credit: Hesse et al.)

Climbing monocots can develop into large bodied plants despite being confined by primary growth. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Hesse et al. measured surprisingly high stem biomechanical properties (in bending and torsion) in Flagellaria indica and showed that the lack of secondary growth is overcome by a combination of tissue maturation processes and attachment mode. This leads to higher densities of mechanically relevant tissues in the periphery of the stem and to the transition from self-supporting to climbing growth. The development of specialised attachment structures has probably underpinned the evolution of numerous other large bodied climbing monocot taxa.

Reference

Hesse, L., Wagner, S. T., & Neinhuis, C. (2016). Biomechanics and functional morphology of a climbing monocot. AoB Plants, 8, plw005. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plw005


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