In several regions of the world, the species richness of lianas (woody vines) has been shown to decrease as elevation increases. Little is known about the relationship between elevation and lianas in temperate forests of eastern North America. We documented the elevational distribution of 4 high-climbing, native lianas in Pisgah National Forest (western North Carolina) by recording the elevations of 427 vine occurrences along 53 km of trails. All 4 taxa occurred at the lowest elevations. Mean elevations of Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy; 873 ± 71 m) Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper; 895 ± 103 m) and Vitis spp. (wild grape; 962 ±103 m) were similar. Isotrema macrophyllum (Pipevine) had a mean elevation of 1193 ± 194 m and was the only liana occurring >1300 m. Further study is needed in the forest interior and to determine how factors such as soil moisture, forest structure, stem anatomy, spatial relationships with pollinators and seed dispersers, or other factors may influence the elevational distribution of lianas in the mountains.
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Vol. 16 • No. 3