18 OCTOBER 1946, Page 13

A Plant Compass While most native trees and most bushes

are delaying their gift of autumn coloration the vine that we used to call Ampelopsis Veitchii has been singularly punctual and splendid. It is a glorious creeper with a curious likeness in its suction pads to the foot of the house-fly. Its com- pass-like affection for the North is expressed yet more distinctly than usual on the walls of my house. A number of shoots that moved almost hori- zontally towards the north shot straight up as soon as they turned the corner of their easterly wall and found themselves on a northerly. Have our scientific botanists ever explained this curious and, in my experience, invariable habit? Does the tender tip of the grown shoot automatically turn away from the light? As to names, I see that one garden commentator scolds people for talking about Japonicas when they ought to say Cydonia. But this is a false antithesis. It is, of course, all wrong to use the adjecti..e Japonica as a substantive, but the essential truth is that what we used to call Pirus Japonica is more accurately called Cydonia Japonica. One of the charms of the bush (now procurable in many shades) is that, like the privet, it holds its leaves very late and is almost an ever-green, like the blackberry.