tendril

tendrillar, tendrilous, adj.tendrilly, adj.
/ten"dril/, n. Bot.
a threadlike, leafless organ of climbing plants, often growing in spiral form, which attaches itself to or twines round some other body, so as to support the plant.
[1530-40; earlier tendrel, var. (perh. by dissimilation) of ME tendren, tendron < MF tendron shoot, sprout, cartilage]

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Plant organ specialized to anchor and support vining stems.

A tendril is a slender, whiplike or threadlike strand, produced usually from the node of a stem and composed of either stem or leafstalk tissue, by which a vine or other plant may climb. Sensitive to contact, the tendril turns toward any object it brushes against, wraps about it, and clings to it for as long as the stimulation persists. Later, strong mechanical tissue develops in the tendrils, making them strong enough to support the weight of the plant. Some tendrils have enlargements at the ends that flatten and produce an adhesive that firmly cements them to their support. Common examples of tendril plants are grape, English ivy, sweet pea, gourds, and passionflowers.

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▪ plant anatomy
 in botany, plant organ specialized to anchor and support vining stems. Tendrils may be modified leaves, leaflets, leaf tips, or leaf stipules; they may, however, be derived as modified stem branches (e.g., grapes). Other special plant structures fulfill a similar function, but the tendril is distinctive in being a specialized lateral organ strongly possessing a twining tendency causing it to encircle any object encountered.

      A tendril is a slender whiplike or threadlike strand, produced usually from the node of a stem, by which a vine or other plant may climb. Its anatomy may be of stem tissue or of leafstalk tissue. Common examples of tendril-producing plants are the grape, members of the squash or melon family (Cucurbitaceae), the sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus), and the passionflowers (Passiflora (passion-flower) species).

      Tendrils are prehensile and sensitive to contact. When stroked lightly on its lower side, the tendril will, in a minute or two, curve toward that side. As it brushes against an object, it turns toward it and—the shape of the object permitting—wraps about it, clinging for as long as the stimulation persists. Later, strong mechanical tissue ( sclerenchyma) develops in the tendrils, thus rendering them strong enough to support the weight of the plant. In addition to their twining character, some tendrils produce terminal enlargements that, on contact with a firm surface, flatten and secrete an adhesive, firmly cementing the tendril to the substrate.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Tendril — Ten dril, n. [Shortened fr. OF. tendrillon, fr. F. tendre tender; hence, properly, the tender branch or spring of a plant: cf. F. tendrille. See {Tender}, a., and cf. {Tendron}.] (Bot.) A slender, leafless portion of a plant by which it becomes… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tendril — Ten dril, a. Clasping; climbing as a tendril. [R.] Dyer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tendril — 1530s, from M.Fr. tendrillon bud, shoot, cartilage, perhaps a dim. of tendron cartilage, from O.Fr. tendre soft (see TENDER (Cf. tender) (adj.)), or else from L. tendere to stretch, extend (see TENDER (Cf. tender) (v.)) …   Etymology dictionary

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  • tendril — UK [ˈtendrəl] / US [ˈtendrɪl] noun [countable] Word forms tendril : singular tendril plural tendrils 1) a long thin part of some plants that joins onto things and helps to support the plant 2) a thin curly piece of hair …   English dictionary

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