Most studies on drivers of plant diversity and distribution have focused on trees and combine several plant families. Climbers which are part of the particular characteristics of tropical rainforests due to their richness and abundance have been rarely related to ecological factors. This study evaluates the importance of vegetation type and total annual rainfall on the distribution of the Celastraceae plant family which are mostly climbers in Côte d’Ivoire using a herbarium database. A total of 1520 samples, encompassing16 genera, 60 species and 12 varieties of Celastraceae from over 363 localities in Côte d’Ivoire, were extracted from a database on Ivorian flora. Species’ occurrences in localities were related to vegetation type and annual rainfall through a principal component analysis. A strong positive correlation (r = 0.81, P < 0.001) was found between the Celastraceae distribution and both the vegetation types and the rainfall. The Coastal evergreen and Western evergreen forests showed higher richness of Celastraceae climbers while the Sub-sudanian and Sudanian Savannas experienced lower richness than other vegetation types in Côte d’Ivoire.
Key words: Celastraceae, Tropical forest and savanna, climbing plants, species richness and spreading, rainfall.