How a cucumber creates its curling tendril has puzzled scientists for centuries. Even Charles Darwin and Asa Gray were stumped. Now, with the help of time-lapse photography and prosthetic tendril fabricated in the lab, physicist Sharon Gerbode, biologist Joshua Puzey, and colleagues have figured out why tendrils twist, according to a new study in Science.
Flora Lichtman is host of the podcast Every Little Thing. She’s a former Science Friday multimedia producer.