How do climbing and creeping plants differ


How do ivy and other plants climb the walls?


Almost everyone has seen our native ivy before, because countless walls, pergolas and house walls are greened with it. In the bare season it delights us with its evergreen foliage, a legacy of its tropical origins millions of years ago. In the Göttingen Forest it grows as a ground-covering creeper and only here and there does it climb up tree trunks. If it does this and, after many years of growth, gets enough light, its leaves change from lobed to rhombic shapes and such branches can then also bear flowers. One speaks of the "old leaves" of ivy, which only appear on the flowering axes in the tip area of ​​the plants.

But how does the ivy get into the treetops and on the house ridges? He forms adhesive roots! The shoots of the ivy are able to develop fine roots wherever they come into contact with hard substrates or damp earth, which nestle in the smallest depressions and the finest furrows and hold onto them. One speaks of sprout roots. The contact of the outer shoot layers with a suitable surface triggers a growth impulse in the renewal tissue and the cells begin to divide. Like an arrow, a new root tip pushes out of the ivy sprout and breaks through the surface of the bark. As soon as the young roots become visible, an internal differentiation takes place with tubes that conduct water and nutrients.

In spite of this, the ivy does not normally absorb water from a house wall or wall via its adhesive roots, but only uses them to attach it to its climbing surface. Only if the wall or the house wall is permanently wet will the climbing root penetrate further and damage the structure. Large trees can usually withstand ivy vegetation and can therefore be green even in winter after many years. Problems arise at most with fruit trees and weak roots, which can collapse under the weight of hundreds of pounds of an old ivy plant (often over 200 years old).

Like the ivy, the climbing trumpets also climb, but they can only form adherent roots at their scion nodes. They grow much faster than ivy and can develop meter-long shoots in one summer, which have the exotic-looking, red trumpet blossoms in clusters at their ends. Other climbing plants such as wisteria, beans, honeysuckle and hops, on the other hand, wrap themselves around branches and sticks. If you look closely, you can distinguish right and left turns. Tendril climbers like the blue bell use root, shoot or leaf tendrils that can cling to all sorts of places in order to climb. The well-known wild wine with its scarlet autumn color develops adhesive discs at the end of such tendrils, which nestle like glue in the finest cracks and hollows on wall surfaces and provide the plant with permanent hold. The "real" grapevine, on the other hand, has winding tendrils without adhesive discs. Such tendrils often defy a storm by giving way to elasticity, because their climbing aids are shaped like spiral springs and give elasticity to strong tearing movements.

Finally, there are “spread climbers” such as climbing roses and blackberries, which swing themselves into the treetops with enormous growth in length and are supported simply by prickly rungs or barbed bark. They have to be tied to a Velcro scaffold at the house because, unlike other climbers, their natural attachment options are not sufficient for permanent greening.