A vine is a plant whose stem requires support and that climbs by tendrils or twining or creeps along the ground, or the stem of such a plant.
The word “vine” comes from the Old French word ‘vigne’ meaning ‘vine’ or ‘vineyard’. It first appeared in English in the 1300s, and by the late 14th century was used to describe any plant that had a long thin stem that trailed or wrapped around.
The word vine can also refer to such stems or runners themselves, for instance, when used in wicker work.
In parts of the world, including the British Isles, the term “vine” usually applies exclusively to grapevines (Vitis), while the term “climber” is used for all climbing plants.
Vines widely differ in size, form and evolutionary origin.
There are five classes of vines: twining vines, leaf climbers, tendril vines, root climbers and hook climbers.
A twining vine, also known as a bine, is one that climbs by its shoots growing in a helix, in contrast to vines that climb using tendrils or suckers. Many bines have rough stems or downward-pointing bristles to aid their grip. Hops (used in flavoring beer) are a commercially important example of a bine.
A leaf climber is a climbing plant that supports itself by means of its leaves which either have petioles (as in the clematis) that twist round the support or develop tendrils (as in the pea).
A tendrilled vines climb by means of tendrils — angelhair-like antennae that whip about until they find a support, then wind around it. Depending on the plant’s heredity, the tendrils of these
“clinging” vines can arise from either stems, leaves, or leafstalks.
Root climbers have the short adventitious roots that develop from the stems of certain climbing plants (e.g. ivy), and serve to attach the plant to its support.
Hooked climbers, like climbing roses, use thorns or other hooked structures, such as hooked branches to attach themselves to plants, trees or artificial supports.
Most vines are flowering plants. These may be divided into woody vines or lianas, such as wisteria, kiwifruit, and common ivy, and herbaceous (nonwoody) vines, such as morning glory.
Certain plants always grow as vines, while a few grow as vines only part of the time. For instance, poison ivy and bittersweet can grow as low shrubs when support is not available, but will become vines when support is available.
Vine species may represent more than 40% of species diversity in tropical forests.
Gardeners can use the tendency of climbing plants to grow quickly. If a plant display is wanted quickly, a climber can achieve this. Climbers can be trained over walls, pergolas, fences, etc.
Climbers can be grown over other plants to provide additional attraction.
Perhaps the most common type of vine is the grapevine – the long, twisting stems from which bunches of grapes hang as they ripen–but there are many other kinds.
Dalai Lama owns the smallest vineyard in the world, which is located in Switzerland. It consists of only three vines and has an area of 1.67 square meters (18 square feet).