Do woody vines use gelatinous fibers to climb?

Joyce G. Chery, Rosemary A.E. Glos, Charles T. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Many plant movements are facilitated by contractile cells called gelatinous fibers (G-fibers), but how G-fibers function in the climbing movements of woody vines remains underexplored. In this Insight, we compare the presence and distribution of G-fibers in the stems of stem-twiners, which wrap around supports, with non-stem-twiners, which attach to supports via tendrils or adventitious roots. An examination of 164 species spanning the vascular plant phylogeny reveals that G-fibers are common in stem-twiners but scarce in non-stem-twiners, suggesting that G-fibers are preferentially formed in the organ responsible for movement. When present, G-fibers are in the xylem, phloem, pericycle, and/or cortex. We discuss the hypothesis that G-fibers are foundational to plant movement and highlight research opportunities concerning G-fiber development and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNew Phytologist
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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