Mimicry refers to adaptive similarity between a mimic organism and a model. Mimicry in animals is rather common, whereas documented cases in plants are rare, and the associated benefits are seldom elucidated [1, 2]. We show the occurrence of leaf mimicry in a climbing plant endemic to a temperate rainforest. The woody vine Boquila trifoliolata mimics the leaves of its supporting trees in terms of size, shape, color, orientation, petiole length, and/or tip spininess. Moreover, sequential leaf mimicry occurs when a single individual vine is associated with different tree species. Leaves of unsupported vines differed from leaves of climbing plants closely associated with tree foliage but did not differ from those of vines climbing onto leafless trunks. Consistent with an herbivory-avoidance hypothesis, leaf herbivory on unsupported vines was greater than that on vines climbing on trees but was greatest on vines climbing onto leafless trunks. Thus, B. trifoliolata gains protection against herbivory not merely by climbing and thus avoiding ground herbivores  but also by climbing onto trees whose leaves are mimicked. Unlike earlier cases of plant mimicry or crypsis, in which the plant roughly resembles a background or color pattern [4-7] or mimics a single host [8, 9], B. trifoliolata is able to mimic several hosts.
Climbing plants require an external support to grow vertically and enhance light acquisition. Vines that find a suitable support have greater performance and fitness than those that remain prostrate. Therefore, the location of a suitable support is a key process in the life history of climbing plants. Numerous studies on climbing plant behaviour have elucidated mechanistic details of support searching and attachment. Much fewer studies have addressed the ecological significance of support finding behaviour and the factors that affect it. Without this knowledge, little progress can be made in the understanding of the evolution of support finding behaviour in climbers. I review studies addressing ecological causes and consequences of support finding and use by climbing plants. I also propose the use of behavioural ecology theoretical frameworks to study climbing plant behaviour. I show how host tree attributes may determine the probability of successful colonization for the different types of climbers, and examine the evidence of environmental and genetic control of circumnutation behaviour and phenotypic responses to support availability. Cases of oriented vine growth towards supports are highlighted. I discuss functional responses of vines to the interplay between herbivory and support availability under different abiotic environments, illustrating with one study case how results comply with a theoretical framework of behavioural ecology originally conceived for animals. I conclude stressing that climbing plants are suitable study subjects for the application of behavioural-ecological theory. Further research under this framework should aim at characterizing the different stages of the support finding process in terms of their fit with the different climbing modes and environmental settings. In particular, cost-benefit analysis of climbing plant behaviour should be helpful to infer the selective pressures that have operated to shape current climber ecological communities.
Kudzu (Pueraria thunbergiana) root has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, the vine of the kudzu plant has been considered waste material. This study aimed to investigate the hepatoprotective properties of the kudzu vine.
The main objective of this study was to determine growth, yield and fruit quality of grapevines under organic and biodynamic management in relation to integrated viticultural practices. Furthermore, the mechanisms for the observed changes in growth, yield and fruit quality were investigated by determining nutrient status, physiological performance of the plants and disease incidence on bunches in three consecutive growing seasons. A field trial (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Riesling) was set up at Hochschule Geisenheim University, Germany. The integrated treatment was managed according to the code of good practice. Organic and biodynamic plots were managed according to Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 and according to ECOVIN- and Demeter-Standards, respectively. The growth and yield of the grapevines differed strongly among the different management systems, whereas fruit quality was not affected by the management system. The organic and the biodynamic treatments showed significantly lower growth and yield in comparison to the integrated treatment. The physiological performance was significantly lower in the organic and the biodynamic systems, which may account for differences in growth and cluster weight and might therefore induce lower yields of the respective treatments. Soil management and fertilization strategy could be responsible factors for these changes. Yields of the organic and the biodynamic treatments partially decreased due to higher disease incidence of downy mildew. The organic and the biodynamic plant protection strategies that exclude the use of synthetic fungicides are likely to induce higher disease incidence and might partially account for differences in the nutrient status of vines under organic and biodynamic management. Use of the biodynamic preparations had little influence on vine growth and yield. Due to the investigation of important parameters that induce changes especially in growth and yield of grapevines under organic and biodynamic management the study can potentially provide guidance for defining more effective farming systems.
This study evaluated how the proportional area of natural habitat surrounding a vineyard (i.e. landscape diversity) worked in conjunction with crop vigor, cultivar and rootstock selection to influence biological control of the western grape leafhopper (Erythroneura elegantula Osborn). The key natural enemies of E. elegantula are Anagrus erythroneurae S. Trjapitzin & Chiappini and A. daanei Triapitsyn, both of which are likely impacted by changes in landscape diversity due to their reliance on non-crop habitat to successfully overwinter. Additionally, E. elegantula is sensitive to changes in host plant quality which may influence densities on specific cultivars, rootstocks and/or vines with increased vigor. From 2010-2013, data were collected on natural enemy and leafhopper densities, pest parasitism rates and vine vigor from multiple vineyards that represented a continuum of landscape diversity. Early in the season, vineyards in more diverse landscapes had higher Anagrus spp. densities and lower E. elegantula densities, which led to increased parasitism of E. elegantula. Although late season densities of E. elegantula tended to be lower in vineyards with higher early season parasitism rates and lower total petiole nitrogen content, they were also affected by rootstock and cultivar. While diverse landscapes can support higher natural enemy populations, which can lead to increased biological control, leafhopper densities also appear to be mediated by cultivar, rootstock and vine vigor.
Extensive clonal (vegetative) reproduction in lianas is a common and important life history strategy for regeneration and colonization success. However, few studies have evaluated the contribution of clonal reproduction to stand-level distribution of lianas in their natural habitat using genetic tools. The objectives of the present study were to investigate (1) the contribution of clonal reproduction to the distribution of Wisteria floribunda, (2) the size of clonal patches and (3) how the distribution patterns of W. floribunda clones are affected by micro-topography.
Grape withering is a process used to produce reinforced wines and raisins. Dehydration is usually carried out post-harvest by keeping ripe grapes in special warehouses in controlled conditions of temperature, relative humidity (RH) and air-flow. Alternatively, grape clusters can be left on the vines after the canes have been pruned. In general, dehydration increases stilbenes in grape, but there are few studies on the effects of on-vine withering. The stilbene profiles of Raboso Piave grape during post-harvest and on-vine dehydration were studied here.
The present study compares the physiological and cropping response of the new fungi-resistant grapevine Accession 72-096 (‘Sangiovese’ x ‘Bianca’ hybrid) against a susceptible ‘Sangiovese’ clone which was either fully (FS-SG) or partially sprayed (PS-SG). Data logged on Accession 72-096 indicate that while two early season sprays were enough to avoid major downy mildew (DM) and powdery mildew (PM) outbreaks, Accession 72-096 also showed concurrent desirable features such as moderate cropping, loose clusters, fast sugar accumulation coupled with sufficient acidity even at peak total soluble solids (TSS) concentration (around 24 °Brix), good color and higher flavonols prompting co-pigmentation. Conversely, FS-SG showed final lower acidity despite the notably lower sugar concentration (≅18 °Brix), as well as larger clusters and berries that resulted in more compact bunches. From a methodological viewpoint, end of season single-leaf readings appeared to overestimate the limitation of leaf function due to PM and DM infections in SG-PS vines which, when assessed via a whole-canopy approach, did not show significant differences vs. Accession 72-096, a result likely due to counteracting effects linked to a compensation mechanism by healthy tissues. Our data also suggest that a PM infection can lead to a decoupling in sugar-color accumulation patterns.
Greywater is being increasingly used as an alternative water source to reduce potable water demand and to alleviate pressure on sewerage systems. This paper presents the development of a low energy and low maintenance greywater treatment technology: a living wall system, employing ornamental plants (including vines) grown in a sand filter on a side of a building to treat shower, bath, and washing basin wastewaters. The system can, at the same time, provide critical amenity and micro-climate benefits to our cities. A large scale column study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia, to investigate the following design and operational factors of the proposed system: plant species, saturated zone design, rest period, hydraulic loading rate and pollutant inflow concentration. The results indicate that the use of ornamental species (e.g. Canna lilies, Lonicera japonica, ornamental grape vine) can contribute to pollutant removal. Vegetation selection was found to be particularly important for nutrient removal. While a wider range of tested plant species was effective for nitrogen removal (>80%), phosphorus removal was more variable (-13% to 99%) over the study period, with only a few tested plants being effective - Carex appressa and Canna lilies were the best performers. It was also found that phosphorus removal can be compromised over the longer term as a result of leaching. Excellent suspended solids and organics removal efficiencies can be generally achieved in these systems (>80% for TSS and >90% for BOD) with plants having a relatively small impact. Columns had an acceptable infiltration capacity after one year of operation. When planted with effective species (e.g. Carex appressa and Canna lilies), it is expected that performance will not be significantly affected by longer rest periods and higher pollutant concentrations in the early years of system operation. The results of this study, thus, demonstrate that innovative and aesthetically pleasing living walls can be designed for treatment of greywater at the household scale.