Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Strength in numbers

For many years now I have been an admirer of the mechanics of swallowwort growth. If two or more of the spindly stalks are sufficiently close together, they will (on contact) braid themselves into a more sturdy (rope-like) superstalk. The additional strength of this structure allows the plants to reach higher, before weight (eventually) arches them over. If under a tree, that extra push may be all that is needed to reach a lower branch. The vine (Cynanchum rossicum) is invasive in North America and there is plenty of it in the local (private) cemetery. A relative of American milkweed, the thickets created by the plant have given it the moniker dog-strangling vine.

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