Updates on extratropical region climbing plant flora: news regarding a still-neglected diversity
ABSTRACT Most studies concerning climbing plants have focused on lianas, forest ecosystems, and tropical regions. Thus, the majority of existing information is not relevant to all climbing plants (lianas and vines) or all ecoregions of the world (forested and non-forested). We provide an update on floristic and distributional data available for climbing plants in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, which is located within subtropical and temperate zones and includes a variety of forest and non-forest vegetation types. A total of 448 climbing plant species were confirmed and documented by voucher specimens, revealing a diversity similar to that registered for trees in the state (533). The significant contribution of climbing species to the regional flora, the differences in floristic composition and species richness among the state’s eight vegetation types, and the high number of endangered species found in this extratropical region reveal the requirement to expand studies of climbing plants to include environments beyond tropical forests. Furthermore, the importance of herbaceous climbing species in subtropical and temperate floras demonstrates that they should be included in ecological studies of climbing plants, and that future analyses could detect unique or divergent patterns between herbaceous and woody climbers.