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A vine (Latin vīnea "grapevine", "vineyard", from vīnum "wine") is any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent (that is, climbing) stems, lianas or runners. The word vine can also refer to such stems or runners themselves, for instance, when used in wicker work.[1][2]

In parts of the world, including the British Isles, the term "vine" usually applies exclusively to grapevines (Vitis),[3] while the term "climber" is used for all climbing plants.[4]

Growth forms

Convolvulus vine twining around a steel fixed ladder
Grapevine covering a chimney

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.[5]

A vine displays a growth form based on long stems. This has two purposes. A vine may use rock exposures, other plants, or other supports for growth rather than investing energy in a lot of supportive tissue, enabling the plant to reach sunlight with a minimum investment of energy. This has been a highly successful growth form for plants such as kudzu and Japanese honeysuckle, both of which are invasive exotics in parts of North America. There are some tropical vines that develop skototropism, and grow away from the light, a type of negative phototropism. Growth away from light allows the vine to reach a tree trunk, which it can then climb to brighter regions.[6]

The vine growth form may also enable plants to colonize large areas quickly, even without climbing high. This is the case with periwinkle and ground ivy. It is also an adaptation to life in areas where small patches of fertile soil are adjacent to exposed areas with more sunlight but little or no soil. A vine can root in the soil but have most of its leaves in the brighter, exposed area, getting the best of both environments.

The evolution of a climbing habit has been implicated as a key innovation associated with the evolutionary success and diversification of a number of taxonomic groups of plants.Latin vīnea "grapevine", "vineyard", from vīnum "wine") is any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent (that is, climbing) stems, lianas or runners. The word vine can also refer to such stems or runners themselves, for instance, when used in wicker work.[1][2]

In parts of the world, including the British Isles, the term "vine" usually applies exclusively to grapevines (Vitis),[3] while the term "climber" is used for all climbing plants.[4]