Towards a Standardization of Terminology of the Climbing Habit in Plants

Abstract

In science, standardization of terminology is crucial to make information accessible and allow proper comparison of studies’ results. Climbing plants and the climbing habit have been described in numerous ways, frequently with imprecise and dubious terms. We propose a standardization of terms regarding the climbing habit, with special attention to climbing mechanisms. We abide by previous suggestions that the terms “primary” and “secondary” hemiepiphyte be substituted by “hemiepiphyte” and “nomadic climber” respectively, thus emphasizing the relationship of the latter to the climbing habit. We also suggest that “climbing plant” or “climber” be used to describe plants displaying the climbing habit, and “liana” and “vine” be left for describing woody and herbaceous climbers respectively. As for climbing mechanisms, we propose an eight-category classification comprised of two major categories: passive climbing, containing scrambling, hooks or grapnels, and adhesive roots; and active climbing, containing twining, tendrils, prehensile branches, twining petioles, and twining inflorescences.

Portuguese

Na ciência, a padronização de terminologia é crucial para tornar informações acessíveis e possibilitar a comparação adequada dos resultados de estudos. Trepadeiras e o hábito trepador vêm sendo descritos de diversas maneiras, frequentemente com termos imprecisos e dúbios. Nós propomos uma padronização da terminologia relativa ao hábito trepador, com atenção especial aos mecanismos de escalada. Nós acatamos sugestões anteriores de que os termos “hemiepífita primária” e “secundária” sejam substituídos por “hemiepífita” e “trepadeira nômade” respectivamente, enfatizando assim a relação desta última com o hábito trepador. Nós também sugerimos que “trepadeira” seja utilizado para descrever plantas apresentando o hábito trepador, e “liana” e “trepadeira herbácea” sejam utilizados somente para descrever trepadeiras lenhosas e herbáceas respectivamente. Quanto aos mecanismos de escalada, nós propomos uma classificação com oito categorias compreendidas em duas grandes categorias: trepadeiras passivas, contendo os mecanismos apoiante, ganchos e raízes grampiformes; e trepadeiras ativas, contendo os mecanismos volúvel, gavinhas, ramos preensores, pecíolos volúveis e inflorescências volúveis.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    During the writing of this work, this option was changed in Flora do Brasil’s English website version to “Liana/Scandent/Vine”, but the Portuguese and Spanish versions still remain as “Liana/volúvel/trepadeira” and “Liana/voluble/bejuco” respectively, which are equivalent to “Liana/twiner/climber”.

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Acknowledgements

This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001. P. Sperotto thanks Dr. Maria Alves for helpful insights in the writing of the manuscript, the Smithsonian Institution for the Smith Award 2019 and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for the Msc. scholarship grant (133,623/2018–1). N. Roque also thanks CNPq for the research grant (NR-3051139/2016–9).

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Correspondence to Patrícia Sperotto.

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Sperotto, P., Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Vasconcelos, T.N.C. et al. Towards a Standardization of Terminology of the Climbing Habit in Plants. Bot. Rev. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12229-020-09218-y

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Keywords

  • climbing plants
  • lianas
  • vines
  • climbing mechanisms
  • standardization
  • terminology

Palavras-chave

  • trepadeiras
  • lianas
  • mecanismos de escalada
  • padronização
  • terminologia