An unidentified twining liana from French Guiana. Lianas are often difficult to identify because the leaves and flowers may be high in the canopy. Lianas are an important component of the forest where they may represent 10 to 45% of woody stems in some tropical forests, and comprise as much as 40% of the diversity of woody species. Rooted in the soil, climbing plants have evolved a large diversity of strategies to ascend supports and reach light in the canopy. Some species may twine around supports (see videos in the online Supplemental Data) and form a strikingly uniform helix, which will squeeze the host and provide stability under gravitational loads; others use sensitive or sticky organs to cling onto the surrounding vegetation, or hooks to anchor to bark or small branches. For lianas, anything and everything in relation to host plants can be used for mechanical stability with little expenditure in structural support. This fascinating aspect of climbing plants has long attracted the attention of botanists since Darwin's seminal work
Botanical Society of America
copyright: BSA, S. Isnard
Items posted on the Botanical Society of America's website by the author/creator are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. We value sharing, growing and learning together. In the spirit of fairness, we believe in the attribution of materials and ensuring the appropriate voices are in place when considering further use.