This chapter is organized along increasing levels of plant morphological complexity. First, it addresses leaves, then moves to the supply-and-demand coordination between stem and leaf water transport, and, finally, the whole plant scale. The chapter addresses the physiological implications of the liana growth form with an emphasis on how being a liana leads to certain physiological outcomes. Comparisons are made with trees to encompass the competitive framework that structures the co-dominance of woody growth forms in tropical forest. The chapter attempts to pull together demonstrated physiological affinities of lianas and use this information to evaluate physiological mechanisms for liana abundance patterns in tropical forest. It focuses on woody species, which are the major lianoid forms of tropical forest. Overall, the available data comparing the physiological propensity of lianas relative to trees provide several illuminating patterns that could help explain curiosities in the abundance and distribution of lianas worldwide.
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- Liana growth form
- Plant morphological complexity
- Tropical forest