An Eco-sustainable World
Ecological Glossary



The term wrapping means a teratological phenomenon (anomaly of physiological development) which often occurs in plants whereby a branch or another cylindrical or prismatic axis is flattened and enlarged in the manner of a band.
The phenomenon of wrapping can occur on branches, roots, fruits or flowers of the plant.
Swaddling is however a condition, which occurs rarely in vascular plants, for which the apical meristem, which normally develops around a single point generating approximately cylindrical tissue, instead becomes elongated perpendicular to the direction of growth producing flattened, similar tissues ribbons or elaborate and twisted shapes.
Although mechanical causes and environmental factors have been identified that contribute to the genesis of the bandages, such as attacks of fungi or insects or exposure to chemicals or extreme temperatures, the prevailing opinion of scholars is that these events are only a cause rather than a cause triggering the phenomenon.

The most plausible hypothesis is that the bandaging is generated by hormonal imbalances at the level of the meristematic cells of the plant, or by a random genetic mutation or, again, by bacterial and viral infections.
Although the phytopathogenic bacterium Rhodococcus fascians has been identified as a cause of swaddling in Lathyrus odoratus plants, studies on plants that exhibited the phenomenon did not detect the presence of bacteria, so it was concluded that bacterial infection cannot be a cause exclusive of the phenomenon. Although the wrapping is not in itself contagious, the bacteria that sometimes cause it can spread from infected plants by contact or through water.
Swaddling can also be generated by mechanical causes; among these compression has led many times to the natural or artificial production of wrapped branches. Even a pressure exerted from above or an injury to the apex of the branch can transform the vegetative cone into a vegetation surface and produce the bandage. Some authors have been able to obtain the anomaly with the blinding of the apical gem.
The possibility of having branches or ribbon-like individuals cannot be excluded in any higher plant, although the phenomenon occurs more frequently in certain species than in others, even if the cultivated plants are always the ones that present it most commonly.
From the true bandage we must distinguish the so-called crossed bandage of De Vries, that is the bundle suture of two or more branches grown nearby. It is not uncommon in asparagus, geranium, vines and forest trees: in the latter it is frequent in shoots that develop numerous from the strains of cut plants.

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