[Q] Do plants turn towards the Sun or away?

Ian Mackay mac at lionseed.demon.co.uk
Wed Jul 22 17:41:00 EST 1998

In article <d7eLXEA5Glt1EwUt at lionseed.demon.co.uk>, Ian Mackay
<mac at lionseed.demon.co.uk> writes
>>Climbers seem to have a particular handedness that is species related, but
>>can alter within a genus.
>>eg Wistaria floribunda DC from Japan twines in a clockwise fashion,
>>whereas W.sinensis SWEET (chinensis) drom China twines anti-clockwise.
>>I have never seen a satisfactory explanation of this phenomenon.
>I think Flanders and Swann discussed this. I can't find the reference
>though :-)
>I think it's "Misalliance", in "At the Drop of a Hat".


The fragrant Honeysuckle spirals clockwise to the sun,
And many other Creepers do the same.
But some climb anticlockwise; the Bindweed does for one,
Or Convolvulus to give her proper name.

Rooted on either side the door, one of each species grew,
And raced toward the window ledge above.
Each corkscrewed to the lintel in the only way it knew,
Where they stopped, touched tendrils, smiled and fell in love.

Said the right handed Honeysuckle to the left handed Bindweed,
'Oh let us get married if our parents don't mind,'
'We'd be loving and inseparable, inextricably entwined,'
'We'd live happily ever after', said the Honeysuckle to the Bindweed.

To the Honeysuckle's parents it came as a shock,
'The Bindweeds', they cried, 'are inferior stock,'
'They're uncultivated, of breeding bereft:'
'We twine to the right and they twine to the left.'

Said the anticlockwise Bindweed to the clockwise Honeysuckle,
'We'd better start saving: many a mickle maks a muckle.'
'Then run away for a honeymoon and hope that our luck'll,'
'Take a turn for the better.' Said the Bindweed to the Honeysuckle.

A bee who was passing remarked to them then,
'I've said it before and I'll say it again,'
'Consider you offshoots, if offshoots there be,'
'They'll never receive any blezzing from me.'

'Poor little sucker, how will it learn,'
'When it is climbing which way to turn,'
'Right, left, what a disgrace,'
'Or it may go straight up and fall flat on its face.'

Said the right hand thread Honeysuckle to the left hand thread Bindweed,
'It seems that against us all fate has combined,'
'Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Columbine,'
'Thou art lost and gone for ever we shall never intertwine.'

Together they found them the very next day,
They had pulled up their roots and just shrivelled away,
Deprived of that freedom for which we must fight,
To veer to the left or to veer to the right.

Ian Mackay

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