An overview of the anatomy development and evolution of the vascular system of lianas
Angyalossy V; Angeles G; Pace MR; Lima AC; Dias-Leme CL
Plant Ecology & Diversity
Background: Lianas present many interesting structural features that are linked to their climbing habit. Having lost substantial amounts of supporting tissue these plants depend on external structures for support. Meanwhile during their evolutionary history they have gained additional conductive and storage tissues. The wood of lianas generally includes wider vessels larger amounts of axial parenchyma larger rays and longer fibres than those of trees. Cambial variants represent another key anatomical feature of lianas.\nAims: In this paper we review various aspects of liana biology including those associated with their vascular system and water conduction secondary growth and seasonal responses to environmental variability as well as aspects related to the evolution of their cambial variants.\nMethods: Examples from the Bignoniaceae and Leguminosae the two most abundant liana taxa in the Neotropics are presented in a series of case studies bringing new data such as the activity of the cambium during the dry seasons; the radial conducting elements that are associated with the habit; the cambial variant of Bignonieae that has evolved in a recapitulatory fashion; and the increased specialisation for photosynthate conduction by the phloem.\nConclusions: Altogether lianas represent an excellent model for studies on the convergent evolution of plants.