Movement and growth habit of climbing plants have attracted attention since the time of Charles Darwin; however, there are no reports on whether plants can choose suitable hosts or avoid unsuitable ones based on chemoreception. Here, I show that the tendrils of Cayratia japonica (Vitaceae) appear to avoid conspecific leaves using contact chemoreception for oxalates, which are highly concentrated in C. japonica leaves. The coiling experiments show that C. japonica has a flexible plastic response to avoid coiling around conspecific leaves. The coiling response is negatively correlated with the oxalate content in the contacted leaves. Experiments using laboratory chemicals indicate that the tendrils avoid oxalate-coated plastic sticks. These results indicate that the tendrils of C. japonica avoid coiling around a conspecific leaf based on contact chemoreception for oxalate compounds. The tendrils of climbing plants may function as a chemoreceptor system to detect the chemical cues of a contacted plant.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3693226.
- Received November 30, 2016.
- Accepted February 8, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.