Story: Conifer–broadleaf forests
Supplejack or kareao (Ripogonum scandens) is the most common vine in lowland forests. Its dark brown stems often form impenetrable thickets. In its first years it resembles a small shrub, but in its fourth season, when it is about 50 centimetres tall, its stem tip starts to spiral anticlockwise. The stem twines around any support it finds. In summer supplejack tips grow 5 centimetres a day and soon climb up into the forest canopy. When the stems are exposed to full light, they produce non-twining leafy stems that bear flowers and fruit.
About this item
Department of Conservation
Photograph by J. L. Kendrick
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