Distribution and diversity of climbing plants in temperate East Asia
The composition and geographic distribution of climbing plants are important aspects of ecological study but research on temperate climbing plants is relatively limited. We compared the family and genera- level composition floristic element type growth forms diversity and geographical distribution of climbing plants in nine districts of temperate East Asia including Northeast China Japan Mongolia and the Korean Peninsula. A total of 304 climbing plant species were documented belonging to 38 families and 96 genera including 127 lianas 138 perennial vines and 39 annual vines. Distributions of climbing plants appear to be restricted mainly by cold and drought stresses. Their diversity and proportion to total flora are higher in coastal than inland areas and higher in low latitudes than in high latitudes. As expected the proportion of tropical elements declined and the proportion of temperate elements increased in temperate East Asia relative to subtropical East Asia. Twist climbing is the most common climbing pattern (61.5% of all species) followed by tendrillar (23.7%) adhesive (11.2%) and sprawling (3.6%) climbing. We speculate that twisting climbers are more cold-tolerant than other climbing plants.