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Trees and vines

Scott Meyer, Danny Wetli, Vanessa Fox, and Bruce Serlin
Independent Research, BIO 490, Biology Department, DePauw University
Summer 2011

Two different species of vines, grape and Virginia creeper, are abundant in the forests of the DePauw Nature Park.  We investigated the preference of vines for different tree species.  Do vines prefer to grow on some tree species more than others?  Do vines prefer to grow on larger trees? 

We measured and mapped trees and vines in two forested areas in the DePauw Nature Park.  We compared colonization of different tree species by the two species of vines. 

Virginia creeper grew on 25 percent of the trees; it preferred to grow on sassafras, walnut, and cherry, and avoided growing on sugar maple.  Over one-third of the trees were sugar maple, but only 11 percent of sugar maple trees were colonized by Virginia creeper.  Grape preferred to grow on cherry and walnut trees and avoided sassafras.  Virginia creeper preferred to grow on larger-diameter trees, but grape did not show this preference.