Definition of liana in US English:


(also liane)


  • 1A woody climbing plant that hangs from trees, especially in tropical rainforests.

    • ‘The leaves of the understory shrubs, lianas, and sapling trees bear the unmistakable signs of damage by hungry insects.’
    • ‘Only 5% of the woods were identified as lianas, whereas 43% of the fruits and seeds have been.’
    • ‘Some of the leaves documented in this selection were from lianas grown in this way.’
    • ‘The results show no evidence of a bimodal distribution of vessel lengths as observed for lianas and several other species.’
    • ‘They are generally considered to be small, scrambling lianas or possibly shrubs.’
    • ‘However, the sapwood of these Actinidia species, as with other lianas, is highly porous with large diameter vessels.’
    • ‘Most representatives are lianas, while climbing shrubs and small trees can also be found.’
    • ‘In reviewing the features of the leaves of the lianes it is seen that there are many characters common to them all.’
    • ‘Throughout the homeland of the Penan, sago and rattan, palms, lianas, and fruit trees lie crushed on the forest floor.’
    • ‘A liana climbs its host tree, called a trellis, by laying down a network of tendrils, spikes, and hooks.’
    • ‘Once exposed to full sunlight at the top of the canopy, lianas often flower and fruit prolifically.’
    • ‘It is interesting to note that some tropical lianes also grow and flower as shrubs in similar circumstances.’
    • ‘When they reach the top of the canopy they often spread to other trees or wrap themselves around other lianas.’
    • ‘These features, and very different life forms ranging from trees and lianas to annuals, occur within closely related groups.’
    • ‘Finally, this work represents part of a long-term research effort in which mechanical architectures are being investigated in terms of the evolution of architectures of trees, shrubs, lianas and procumbent growth forms.’
    • ‘Some of the larger woody lianas may exceed 3,000 feet in length.’
    • ‘Underneath a big tree are various other plants, shrubs, liane, and so on, forming an interacting ecological structure.’
    1. 1.1 The free-hanging stem of a liana.
      • ‘Tropical forest foragers fashion their own nets from lianas, and make belt pouches, baskets, and mats from grasses.’
      • ‘The window was blocked completely by a curtain of lianas, and Theo swore he could see a small monkey peering out at him.’
      • ‘There they climb into a series of wooden constructions three metres high, made with tree trunks lashed together with lianas like tree houses perched above the flood.’
      • ‘We spent the next day at another part of the concession, where the path was overgrown and the machete rang like a bell against the lianas.’
      • ‘Bunched optical fibers and acrylic light ducts draped like lianas from the ceiling, pulsing with digital information.’
      • ‘The going was tough with tangled lianas and stubborn brambles clutching at my clothes.’


Late 18th century: from French liane ‘clematis, liana’, of unknown origin.