Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Scandens means climbing

with 6 comments

Click for greater detail.

Yes, the Latin word scandens means ‘climbing,’ and this Mikania scandens—the flowering vine that you saw a closeup of last time—is doing its climbing on a hapless young black willow tree, Salix nigra. Call this a contest between the two, and if the vine gets the upper hand, so to speak, it might overshadow the willow to the point that the loss of light to the tree’s leaves would stunt or kill it.

I took this picture on November 2 at the edge of Lake Walter E. Long in far east Austin. Around and even touching the vine-covered willow are some of the bulrushes that line the shore of this and many other lakes and ponds in our area.

For more information about Mikania scandens, including a state-clickable map showing the many places in eastern North America where this species grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 8, 2011 at 5:24 AM

6 Responses

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  1. I’ve read that vines will increase as a result of climate change, although I wasn’t able to discover what the connection would be. Vines do seem to be in ascendance, here (so to speak), for whatever reason. Are you seeing this in your area as well?


    November 8, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    • I like your play on words about vines being in ascendance. Whether there are more vines now than there used to be, I just don’t know. If there is an increase, I haven’t noticed it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 8, 2011 at 5:19 PM

  2. A contest for the sun, but very pretty!


    November 8, 2011 at 9:41 PM

  3. I love this image. The lush growth of the vine in all of its colors and blooms is terrific. Although the USDA link tells me this vine extends into Michigan, I don’t recall seeing anything like this. Of course, the growth would never be this dramatic in our colder climate. In our region, wild grape and bittersweet are probably the most aggressive. I see 40′ pines smothered in their vines in my local park.

    Douglas Peterson

    November 10, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    • Thanks, Douglas. Like you, I was pleased that the vine had plenty of flowers and also the fluff that the flowers turn into when they go to seed. Let’s hope you do manage to find one of these in Michigan (though if you click inside the outline of Michigan on the map you’ll get a state map showing that only one county has reported it—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t in other counties). Sounds like the cold in your part of the country has done nothing to suppress the wild grape and bittersweet.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 10, 2011 at 11:12 AM

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