Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Lianas and Climbing Plants of the Neotropics


Mendoncia cordata Leonard
Photo by P. Acevedo

Climbing plants, with about 10,000 species in the Neotropics, contribute about 10% of the tracheophyte flora in this region.  In spite of their  great contribution to biodiversity and to ecological processes of the world, climbing plants  have not been adequately studied and often are seen as pests that diminish the  value of timber species.

  Although there has been some progress in the study of climbing plants during the last decades, most of these publications deal with their ecology, structure, or physiology. Still very few publications facilitate the identification of this fascinating group of plants.

The present website is con-current with the Project: Guide to the genera of lianas and climbing plants of the Neotropics, aimed to facilitate the identification of climbers in this vast region.  Familiar treatments contributed by our group of plant specialist are here made available prior to their publication in a book form.  In this guide we emphasize the use of vegetative characters for the identification of Family and genera.

  The geographical scope of this project follows the classical definition of Neotropical in considering only the genera found in the region between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (23.5 ° N & S of the equator) 

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