|Ninety per cent of the world's vine species grow in tropical rainforests. Lianas are a type of climbing vine found throughout tropical rainforests. They have thick, woody stems and come in various lengths (up to 3,000 ft) and varying shapes. They begin life on the forest floor but depend on trees for support as they climb upwards towards the sunlight they need for survival. They do this by attaching themselves to trees with sucker roots or tendrils and growing with the young sapling, or they climb by winding themselves round the tree's trunk.|
When they reach the
top of the canopy they often spread to other trees or wrap themselves
around other lianas. This network of vines gives support against strong
winds to the shallow-rooted, top-heavy trees. However, when one tree
falls several others may be pulled down also.
Lianas include rattan palms, philodendron and Strychnos toxifera (from which the deadly poison strychnine is obtained). Rattans, the Asian lianas, have thorny stems and can reach heights of 650 feet (200 m). They are used to make a variety of things including baskets, ropes and wicker furniture.