A description of the systematic errors associated with the measurement of the vorticity number from poryhroclasts in natural systems is presented and discussed. We show that strong biases and systematic errors could derive both from some erroneous physical (i.e. no slip across clast/matrix boundary, homogeneity within the matrix) as well as geometrical assumptions (i.e. the radius ratio and angular measurements carried out in two dimensions on outcrop surfaces and thin section). By comparing natural datasets of porphyroclast shape preferred orientation (SPO) with different theoretical curves plots, we suggest that at least one of the Jeffery physical assumptions can be tested when applying vorticity techniques. The comparison of different possible sources of systematic errors indicates that, for medium-to-low vorticity numbers (Wm<0.8), vorticity data are strongly biased and that a minimum systematic error of 0.2 should be taken into account. Finally, we use data from natural shear zones from the Southern Variscan Belt in Sardinia to test and discuss the starting assumptions of the Jeffery model.