noun \ˈten-drəl\

: the thin stem of a climbing plant that attaches to walls, fences, etc.

: something that is thin and curly

Full Definition of TENDRIL

:  a leaf, stipule, or stem modified into a slender spirally coiling sensitive organ serving to attach a climbing plant to its support
:  something suggestive of a tendril <creeping tendrils of fog>
ten·driled or ten·drilled \-drəld\ adjective
ten·dril·ous \-drə-ləs\ adjective

Examples of TENDRIL

  1. A few tendrils of hair framed her face.

Illustration of TENDRIL

Origin of TENDRIL

probably modification of Middle French tendron bud, cartilage, alteration of Old French tenrum, from Vulgar Latin *tenerumen, from Latin tener tender — more at tender
First Known Use: 1538

Other Botany Terms

annual, burgeon, chloroplast, nomenclature, succulent, sylvan, xylem


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Plant organ specialized to anchor and support vining stems. A tendril is a slender, whiplike or threadlike strand, produced usually from the node of a stem and composed of either stem or leafstalk tissue, by which a vine or other plant may climb. Sensitive to contact, the tendril turns toward any object it brushes against, wraps about it, and clings to it for as long as the stimulation persists. Later, strong mechanical tissue develops in the tendrils, making them strong enough to support the weight of the plant. Some tendrils have enlargements at the ends that flatten and produce an adhesive that firmly cements them to their support. Common examples of tendril plants are grape, English ivy, sweet pea, gourds, and passionflowers.


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