Shape-Shifting Vine

blessmycottonsocks

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Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
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Always chuffed to hear of a new fortean plant!

From the article above

"As my blog-buddy Ed Yong described it in 2014, when he wrote about this same plant, it has all kinds of moves: “Its versatile leaves can change their size, shape, color, orientation, even the vein patterns to match the surrounding foliage.” !

which is pretty comprehensive and rather rules out the juvenile/mature or sun/shade variations. :D
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Wouldn't this example of dynamic cryptic mimicry represent a golden opportunity to throw the Sheldrake / morphic resonance card?
Fascinating bloke, who's been amalgamating botanical science and transcendental meditation for decades!

As for the mysterious Boquila, I had no idea that such a weird plant existed until I came across the Nat Geo article by complete accident. I was actually searching for info on the "just a minute" vine which, allegedly, can wrap sticky and / or spiky tendrils around the limbs of unwary humans or animals who stray into its territory. There were some weird but vague reports about this from US soldiers serving in Vietnam.
 

Mikefule

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I saw the thread title and wondered what "the Punslinger" had been up to now!

The article linked to the original post is fascinating. Truly a Fortean phenomenon. If there is no transfer of genetic information, then it surely means that the vine has "senses" beyond our present understanding of plants.


I have so far found no online references for the "just a minute vine" or for any legends of US soldiers being trapped by fast growing vines.

A quick search led me to the kudzu vine which grows at a foot (30cm) a day, and can engulf any parked car, shed, dead body etc. left in its path for more than a few days. The kudzu vine is an invasive species to the USA and has been called, dramatically, "the vine that ate the south".

I found this quote:
  • ''It'll climb on you if you stand there all day,'' says Jim Montgomery, executive vice-president of the Southern Forest Institute.

Some plant nurseries advertise the fastest growing vine as the silver lace vine, Fallopia baldschuanica, which is known by several common names including "the mile a minute vine" — which is a gross exaggeration as it only grows around 12 feet (< 4metres) a year, or a foot (30 cm) a month. Pah! My lawn does that. Show me a centipede that grows a foot a month and I'll be interested.

For comparison, bamboo can grow 1 mm every 90 seconds, or something just under a metre in 24 hours.


The idea of a vine growing so fast that it could engulf a soldier who stood still for a few minutes (maybe a sentry, or someone bivouacing in the forest) sounds fanciful. It creates a B movie image of a helpless soldier struggling desperately as he is subsumed into the plant.

Common sense says that any vine that grew that fast would cover and choke the entire jungle very quickly. I'm no biologist or physicist, but a common sense consideration of the plant's energy budge and rate of growth would suggest that it would be impossible.

I'd provisionally put the "just a minute vine" on the pile marked myth.

Perhaps the myth was promoted by the horrendously terrifying conditions that young conscripts faced in that dreadful war. It may have been contributed to by the morbid humour of older more experienced soldiers, or by young sentries panicking on long dark nights, or perhaps by finding the bodies of fallen comrades already partly covered by vines. It is even conceivable that Vietcong fighters may have deliberately created fear by leaving the corpses of captured and killed US soldiers entangled in the vines. Who knows?

Kudzu vine images:
55c8dc39efb57.image_.jpg
195224-049-71D7B03D.jpg
1gQMyk.So.79.jpeg
Kudzu.jpg
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I saw the thread title and wondered what "the Punslinger" had been up to now!

The article linked to the original post is fascinating. Truly a Fortean phenomenon. If there is no transfer of genetic information, then it surely means that the vine has "senses" beyond our present understanding of plants.


I have so far found no online references for the "just a minute vine" or for any legends of US soldiers being trapped by fast growing vines.

A quick search led me to the kudzu vine which grows at a foot (30cm) a day, and can engulf any parked car, shed, dead body etc. left in its path for more than a few days. The kudzu vine is an invasive species to the USA and has been called, dramatically, "the vine that ate the south".

I found this quote:
  • ''It'll climb on you if you stand there all day,'' says Jim Montgomery, executive vice-president of the Southern Forest Institute.

Some plant nurseries advertise the fastest growing vine as the silver lace vine, Fallopia baldschuanica, which is known by several common names including "the mile a minute vine" — which is a gross exaggeration as it only grows around 12 feet (< 4metres) a year, or a foot (30 cm) a month. Pah! My lawn does that. Show me a centipede that grows a foot a month and I'll be interested.

For comparison, bamboo can grow 1 mm every 90 seconds, or something just under a metre in 24 hours.


The idea of a vine growing so fast that it could engulf a soldier who stood still for a few minutes (maybe a sentry, or someone bivouacing in the forest) sounds fanciful. It creates a B movie image of a helpless soldier struggling desperately as he is subsumed into the plant.

Common sense says that any vine that grew that fast would cover and choke the entire jungle very quickly. I'm no biologist or physicist, but a common sense consideration of the plant's energy budge and rate of growth would suggest that it would be impossible.

I'd provisionally put the "just a minute vine" on the pile marked myth.

Perhaps the myth was promoted by the horrendously terrifying conditions that young conscripts faced in that dreadful war. It may have been contributed to by the morbid humour of older more experienced soldiers, or by young sentries panicking on long dark nights, or perhaps by finding the bodies of fallen comrades already partly covered by vines. It is even conceivable that Vietcong fighters may have deliberately created fear by leaving the corpses of captured and killed US soldiers entangled in the vines. Who knows?

Kudzu vine images:
View attachment 14843View attachment 14844View attachment 14845View attachment 14846
It was a Quora Digest article from around Monday this week, describing the dangers over and above the Viet Kong that US soldiers had to face. Venomous snakes, insects and spiders featured heavily, but there was also a paragraph describing the "just a minute" vine. So-called because a soldier, struggling to disentangle himself from its barbed-wire like coils would typically call on his comrades to wait a minute for him to catch up. The suggestion was that the plant employed some sort of springy reflex action to ensnare its prey - typically rodents, birds or bats, and the creature's frantic struggles would entangle it up even more. The deep cuts and scratches inflicted by the vine on its human victims would apparently sometimes turn septic.
Wish I'd kept the article now, as I can no longer see it on Quora.
 
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PLants can move rapidly - mimosa and venus fly trap. Perhaps not so much /growing/, more like offering a finger to a questing sweet pea tendril and having it visibly start to embrace you over the course of a cup of coffee? Which was a childhood game.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I saw the thread title and wondered what "the Punslinger" had been up to now!

The article linked to the original post is fascinating. Truly a Fortean phenomenon. If there is no transfer of genetic information, then it surely means that the vine has "senses" beyond our present understanding of plants.


I have so far found no online references for the "just a minute vine" or for any legends of US soldiers being trapped by fast growing vines.

A quick search led me to the kudzu vine which grows at a foot (30cm) a day, and can engulf any parked car, shed, dead body etc. left in its path for more than a few days. The kudzu vine is an invasive species to the USA and has been called, dramatically, "the vine that ate the south".

I found this quote:
  • ''It'll climb on you if you stand there all day,'' says Jim Montgomery, executive vice-president of the Southern Forest Institute.

Some plant nurseries advertise the fastest growing vine as the silver lace vine, Fallopia baldschuanica, which is known by several common names including "the mile a minute vine" — which is a gross exaggeration as it only grows around 12 feet (< 4metres) a year, or a foot (30 cm) a month. Pah! My lawn does that. Show me a centipede that grows a foot a month and I'll be interested.

For comparison, bamboo can grow 1 mm every 90 seconds, or something just under a metre in 24 hours.


The idea of a vine growing so fast that it could engulf a soldier who stood still for a few minutes (maybe a sentry, or someone bivouacing in the forest) sounds fanciful. It creates a B movie image of a helpless soldier struggling desperately as he is subsumed into the plant.

Common sense says that any vine that grew that fast would cover and choke the entire jungle very quickly. I'm no biologist or physicist, but a common sense consideration of the plant's energy budge and rate of growth would suggest that it would be impossible.

I'd provisionally put the "just a minute vine" on the pile marked myth.

Perhaps the myth was promoted by the horrendously terrifying conditions that young conscripts faced in that dreadful war. It may have been contributed to by the morbid humour of older more experienced soldiers, or by young sentries panicking on long dark nights, or perhaps by finding the bodies of fallen comrades already partly covered by vines. It is even conceivable that Vietcong fighters may have deliberately created fear by leaving the corpses of captured and killed US soldiers entangled in the vines. Who knows?

Kudzu vine images:
View attachment 14843View attachment 14844View attachment 14845View attachment 14846
Would love to see if the Boquila Trifoliolata started turning yellow if it enveloped a school bus!
 

amarok2005

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A friend of mine originally from Mississippi many long (30+) years ago told me about the "Kudzu People," little dwarvish creatures that lived beneath the mounds of kudzu in the south. Those photos make it look like a whole kingdom could hide under there!
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The technical term for its remarkable ability to change its appearance is mimetic polymorphism.
A very few other plants have this ability to a certain degree (Mistletoe for example), but the Boquila Trifoliolata takes this uncanny trait orders of magnitude further.
 
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