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Monkey Ladder Vine

Entada gigas


One of my favorite lianas, the monkey ladder vine snakes up into the canopy in loops and curls like a huge ribbon. I've seen "old growth" monkey ladder vines growing in a huge twining clump along the forest floor twining up into the trees. The oddly-shaped lumps spaced along the liana look as though they may indeed serve as footholds for the howler and spider monkeys that live among them. The deer-hoof-like leaves may sprout out from the stem unexpectedly (#4). Young monkey ladder vines resemble flexible, whitish papery twine, twisted just like string. The adult vine is springy and tough, and to my eyes strangely beautiful.


This particular vine was in an open forest on a ridge above the Pacific Ocean. I also have them around my house in Belize. You can see a termite nest attached to the vine in photo #3.


I've swung from one of these, just to try out my Tarzan (Jane?) licks. It's fun.

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Flemming 3 years ago

The name "Monkey Ladder" - which surely is the one seen on the pictures - seems rather than, to be assigned to Entada gigas, as the name for species of the related genus Bauhinia.
Entada gigas are named from its big, heartshaped seed, as "Sea Heart"

Source: A Field Guide to Plants of Costa Rica. Gargiullo et al.Zona Tropical. 2008.

Michael Strydom
Michael Strydom 6 years ago

Congrats!!! cool curvy vine!!

armadeus.4 6 years ago

Congratulations Irene!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Indredible thingy... congratulations on SOTD.

LaurenZarate 6 years ago

Congratulations Irene! Lovely vine and well captured!

LisaPowers 6 years ago

Congrats Irene Brady! Your monkey vine has been selected as our Spot of the Day!

Irene Brady
Spotted by
Irene Brady

Provincia Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Spotted on Dec 1, 2010
Submitted on Mar 1, 2016

Spotted for Mission

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