Diversity and Distribution of Climbing Plants in Eurasia and North Africa

  • Liang HuEmail author
  • Mingguang Li
Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB, volume 5)


A total of 12,382 climbers from 143 families and 1,415 genera are recorded in the Old World, including 57 families with climbers only in the Old World (e.g. Actinidiaceae). As for Eurasia and North Africa, 6,659 climbers were documented to be native, belonging to 101 families and 809 genera. About 30.8 % of them are herbaceous and 69.2 % are somewhat woody. Only one family, but 285 genera (35.2 %) and 5,283 species (79.3 %) are climber-endemic to Eurasia and North Africa. Leguminosae and Apocynaceae are the two largest families with climbers, followed by Convolvulaceae, Vitaceae, Cucurbitaceae and Rubiaceae. The most climber-abundant families in Eurasia and North Africa are similar to Sub-Saharan Africa, except Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae and Arecaceae. The Bignoniaceae, Araceae and Compositae are less prevalent in Eurasia and North Africa compared with the Americas, while Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae, Arecaceae and Annonaceae stand out. The study area was divided into 19 regions and 211 districts. Diversity and geographical distribution of climbing plants in these regions and districts are discussed. South-east Asia, South China, South Asia and the Himalayas are the top four climber-abundant regions and each have more than 1,000 climbers and significantly higher than the rest regions. The proportion of climbing plants in the spermatophyte flora declined from 20 % in Malay Peninsula to less than 2 % in Sahara, Asian plateaus and the northern Eurasia.


Climbers Lianas Vines Europe Asia Africa West Malay Archipelago 



We thank Yuan Huang for assistance in database organization. We thank our students M.J. SHU, L. LIN, J.Y. LIU, H.R. WANG, H.Y. DENG, Y. ZHANG, C.Y. GUO, Q. DAI, Y.Y. GUAN for assistance with data collection. We thank J. Mugnier for data on Senegal flora, C.S. Chang for assistance on Korea climbers, D. Podlech for assistance on Afghanistan climbers. This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project 41101057).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and PlanningSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of BiocontrolSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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