Handedness in Plant Tendrils

Pedro Emanuel Santos Silva, Fernao Vistulo De Abreu, Ana Isabel D. Correia, Maria Helena Godinho

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Filamentary tendrils existing in climbing plants, such as in Bryonia alba, Clematis vitalba, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vicia spp., and Lathyrus spp., present striking helical shapes. Spirals and helices with different handedness are observed depending on whether they are attached at one or both ends, respectively. If tendrils attach at both ends, segments that connect helices with opposite handedness, known as perversions, occur. Beyond the beauty of these shapes, the "smart" mechanical adaptation of the tendrils allows contending adverse environmental conditions. Therefore, mechanisms that lead plants to modify their shape are of great interest for the different fields of materials science. Of particular interest are non-woven responsive membranes for water and oil collection. Inspired by the shapes of tendrils, different methods were used to shape macro, micro, and nanofilaments. Instead of assuming that chiral molecular structures are at the geneses of the helices observed in tendrils, it is presented, mathematically and experimentally, that not only helices with different curvatures and handedness but also perversions precisely designed on demand can be obtained by playing with the symmetry and topology of the filaments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsymmetry in Plants: Biology of Handedness
EditorsBir Bahadur, K. V. Krishnamurthy, Monoranjan Ghose, S. John Adams
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780429492372
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019


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