4. Bryonia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1012. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 442 [as Bronia]. 1754.
Bryony [Greek bruein, to burgeon or sprout, alluding to rapid growth of herbaceous stems produced annually from large perennial roots] Bryony [Greek bruein, to burgeon or sprout, alluding to rapid growth of herbaceous stems produced annually from large perennial roots]
Plants perennial, usually dioecious, rarely monoecious, climbing or sprawling; stems <annual>, hispidulous to glabrate; roots tuberous; tendrils unbranched. Leaves: blade orbiculate to ovate or hastate, 3–5-angled, or palmately 3–5-lobed, lobes ovate to deltate or triangular, margins coarsely toothed, surfaces eglandular. Inflorescences: staminate flowers 4–16 in axillary racemes or fascicles; pistillate flowers [1–]2–6(–10) in axillary corymboid to racemoid panicles; bracts absent. Flowers: hypanthium campanulate to shallowly campanulate; sepals 5, lanceolate to deltate; petals 5, distinct, white to cream, greenish white, or yellowish green, or yellowish, usually green-throated and faintly green-lined, oblong-ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 3–7 mm, glabrate, corolla broadly funnelform-campanulate to nearly rotate. Staminate flowers: stamens 5, 2 connate in pairs, 1 distinct, appearing as 3 stamens; filaments inserted near hypanthium rim, distinct; thecae distinct, C-curved to S-curved, connective broadened and sheetlike; pistillodes absent. Pistillate flowers: ovary 1-locular, ovoid to broadly ellipsoid; ovules 3–10 per locule; style 1, slender-columnar; stigmas 3, 2-lobed; staminodes 3–5 or absent or vestigial. Fruits berrylike, red to orange or black, globose, smooth, <glabrous>, indehiscent. Seeds 2–8, ovoid or oblong, compressed, not arillate, margins thickened-corrugated or not differentiated, surface roughened.
Species ca. 12 (2 in the flora): introduced; Europe, Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands.
SELECTED REFERENCES Jeffrey, C. 1969. A review of the genus Bryonia L. (Cucurbitaceae). Kew Bull. 23: 441–461. Volz, S. M. and S. S. Renner. 2009. Phylogeography of the ancient Eurasian medicinal plant genus Bryonia (Cucurbitaceae) inferred from nuclear and chloroplast sequences. Taxon 58: 550–560.