There are hundreds of species of climbing plants around the world, with representatives in many unrelated families. These organisms use structures such as trees and rocks to support their twining growth.

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Climbing plants employ numerous methods to spread structurally.

Leaf Shape

Locating the leaves of a climbing plant can be a great first step to identification. Various kinds of wild grapes, common climbing plants of eastern North America, have either triangular leaves or deeply lobed palmate ones, for example.

Climbing Apparatus

Pay attention to how a particular climbing plant grows. Some, like the aforementioned wild grapes, use tendrils to pull themselves up other plants. Others employ adventitious roots to ascend tree trunks, while a number of species have hooks or spines along their stems.

Size

Certain kinds of climbing bamboo native to Australia may span more than 100 feet in length. It can be difficult to fully ascertain the dimensions of a climbing plant, as they may be confusingly entwined or connected by inconspicuous runners.

Range

Many parts of the globe support climbing plants, though they are especially diverse and prominent in tropical forests. Many climbing species are invasive, found well out their native range. English ivy, for example, is native to Eurasia but widely feral in North America.