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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 7

1. Menispermaceae

防己科 fang ji ke

Authors: Qiming Hu, Xianrui Luo, Tao Chen & Michael G. Gilbert

Stephania epigaea

Credit: Harvard University Herbaria

Climbing or twining vines, rarely erect shrubs or small trees; indumentum of simple hairs, often absent. Stems striate, without spines; wood often with radial pith rays. Leaves alternate, spiral; stipules absent; petiole swollen at base and apex; leaf blade simple, sometimes palmately lobed, rarely trifoliolate, venation often palmate, less often pinnate. Inflorescences axillary, sometimes from old wood, rarely superaxillary or terminal, often umbelliform cymes, rarely reduced to single flower or flowers in a head on a discoid receptacle, arranged in thyrses, compound umbels, or racemelike; bracts usually small, rarely leafy (female Cocculus). Flowers unisexual (plants dioecious), usually small, inconspicuous, mostly pedicellate. Sepals often in whorls of (2 or)3(or 4), rarely reduced to 1 (female Stephania), sometimes spirally arranged (Hypserpa, Menispermum), free or less often connate, imbricate or valvate. Petals usually 3 or 6 in 1 or 2 whorls, rarely 2 or 4, sometimes reduced to 1 or absent, usually free, rarely connate, imbricate or valvate. Stamens (2-)6-8(to many); filaments free or connate, sometimes stamens completely fused into synandrium; anthers 1- or 2-locular or apparently 4-locular, dehiscing longitudinally or transversely. Staminodes sometimes present in female flowers. Carpels 1-6[to many], free, often swollen on one side; style initially terminal; stigma lobed or divided, rarely entire. Ovules 2 reducing to 1 by abortion. Pistillodes very small or absent in male flower. Fruit a drupe, straight or often horseshoe-shaped; exocarp membranous or leathery; mesocarp usually fleshy; endocarp bony or sometimes woody, rarely leathery, surface usually variously ornamented, rarely smooth, sides usually with central smooth and sunken condyle, rarely inconspicuous or lacking (e.g., Tinomiscium). Seed usually curved; seed coat thin; endosperm present or absent; embryo mostly curved (straight in Tinomiscium); radicle small, opposite to style scar; cotyledons flat and foliaceous or thick and semiterete.

About 65 genera and 350 species: tropical, subtropical, and few temperate regions; 19 genera and 77 species (43 endemic) in China.

Plants of the family contain many different alkaloids and are famous for their medicinal usages. Some species, such as Pericampylus glaucus and Sinomenium acutum, are used for making rattan articles in Sichuan.

Lo Hsienshui. 1996. Menispermaceae. In: Law Yuwu, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 30(1): 1-81.

1 Leaf blade venation pinnate, with main lateral veins inserted distinctly above base, never peltate; petiole scars conspicuously discoid or cuplike   (2)
+ Leaf blade venation palmate, with lowermost lateral veins inserted at base of blade or at petiole insertion if peltate, usually more prominent than other lateral veins; petiole scars not conspicuous   (4)
2 (1) Inner whorl of male sepals fused into tube, 5-7 mm; stamens 18-27, fused into conical synandrium; female infructescence usually 1-flowered; drupe with style scar close to base; lateral veins 3-5 pairs.   3 Albertisia
+ Male sepals all free, imbricate, 1.5-2.8 mm; stamens 4-18, free or with only filaments fused; female inflorescence with several flowers; drupe with style scar distant from base; lateral veins 5-10 pairs   (3)
3 (2) Stamens (2-)4-11(-18), filaments fused for most of length; drupe 1.1-2 cm, not stipitate.   1 Pycnarrhena
+ Stamens 6, filaments free; drupe 2.5-3 cm, with ca. 1.5 cm stipe.   2 Eleutharrhena
4 (1) Flowers and fruits in pedunculate umbel-like cymes or discoid heads, these often in compound umbels, sometimes forming a terminal thyrse by reduction of apical leaves, rarely a slender axillary thyrse of heads (Stephania tetrandra).   17 Stephania
+ Flowers and fruits in cymes, these flat-topped or in elongated thyrses, sometimes racemelike   (5)
5 (4) Adaxial leaf surface very finely and closely striate; inflorescence racemose, on leafless stems, usually ferruginous tomentose; male flower with 3 pistillodes; petals 2-2.5(-3.5) mm, deeply emarginate.   5 Tinomiscium
+ Adaxial leaf surface not striate; inflorescence cymose, sometimes racemelike but with flowers in small cymes or fascicles; male flower without pistillodes; petals 0.2-2 mm (rarely to 2.5 mm in Tinospora crispa)   (6)
6 (5) Plant male   (7)
+ Plant female (based mainly on fruits, female flowers of several taxa not seen)   (20)
7 (6) Stamens fused into ± peltate synandrium with anthers in a marginal ring   (8)
+ Stamens free or with filaments fused at base only, anthers free, not fused into ring   (11)
8 (7) Leaves not peltate   (9)
+ Leaves peltate   (10)
9 (8) Inflorescence longer than leaves, up to 30(-50) cm; sepals usually 12 in 4 whorls, outermost minute, inner whorls spatulate to obovate.   7 Aspidocarya
+ Inflorescence shorter than leaves, 3-10 cm; sepals 6 in 2 whorls, subequal.   9 Parabaena
10 (8) Petals connate into cup; sepals free; inflorescence a pedunculate flat-topped cyme.   18 Cissampelos
+ Petals connate or free, rarely absent; sepals usually connate, rarely free; inflorescence a slender axillary racemelike or paniclelike thyrse.   19 Cyclea
11 (7) Petals absent   (12)
+ Petals present   (13)
12 (11) Inflorescence 5-8 cm; stamens 9-12, in a sessile cluster; wood not yellow.   4 Arcangelisia
+ Inflorescence to 30 cm; stamens 3 or 6, free, filaments thick with a prominent collar below anther; wood yellow.   6 Fibraurea
13 (11) Stems herbaceous; stamens 12-18[-36].   16 Menispermum
+ Stems woody; stamens 5-10(-12)   (14)
14 (13) Sepals 7-12, spiral, not in distinct whorls.   10 Hypserpa
+ Sepals in 2 or 3 distinct whorls of 3 or 4   (15)
15 (14) Leaf blade never lobed, with main basal veins and their outer branches leading directly to margin   (16)
+ Leaf blade lobed or, if not lobed, with main basal veins dividing or fusing before reaching margin   (17)
16 (15) Sepals unmarked, outer whorl much smaller than inner whorl.   11 Pericampylus
+ Sepals with prominent dark reticulum when dried, outer whorl subequal to inner whorl.   12 Diploclisia
17 (15) Petal apex 2-lobed.   13 Cocculus
+ Petal apex not lobed   (18)
18 (17) Inflorescences not appearing with leaves, glabrous.   8 Tinospora
+ Inflorescences borne with leaves, pubescent to tomentose   (19)
19 (18) Flowers sessile or subsessile; stamens 6, anthers dehiscing transversely.   14 Pachygone
+ Flowers clearly pedicellate; stamens 9(or 12), anthers dehiscing longitudinally, nearly apically.   15 Sinomenium
20 (6) Material with fruits   (21)
+ Material with female flowers (female flowers are not known for Arcangelisia and Fibraurea in China)   (34)
21 (20) Seed and seed cavity straight, sometimes broad and concave   (22)
+ Seed and seed cavity strongly curved, crescent- or horseshoe-shaped to almost ringlike   (26)
22 (21) Drupe 2.2-5.5 cm with style scar on one side, borne on clavate carpophore to 4 cm; endocarp with fibrous covering and apparently hairy; leaf blade with abaxial domatia in axils of main veins.   4 Arcangelisia
+ Drupe with terminal style scar; endocarp smooth or sculptured, not fibrous; leaf blade usually without domatia, or only present in basal vein axils   (23)
23 (22) Endocarp clearly spiny.   9 Parabaena
+ Endocarp ± smooth or rugose to bluntly papillate   (24)
24 (23) Lowermost lateral veins of leaf blade arising several mm above base; endocarp subellipsoid, 2-2.5 cm, condyle forming narrow groove adaxially; inflorescence a lax panicle with branches to 12 cm; wood yellow.   6 Fibraurea
+ Lowermost lateral veins truly basal; endocarp flattened and without condyle or subglobose with condyle forming adaxial cavity with a central opening; inflorescence a narrow panicle with branches to 3 cm; wood not yellow   (25)
25 (24) Endocarp flattened and without conspicuous condyle.   7 Aspidocarya
+ Endocarp subglobose with condyle forming adaxial cavity with a central opening.   8 Tinospora
26 (21) Carpel 1   (27)
+ Carpels 2-6   (28)
27 (26) Bracts persistent and accrescent to 1.5 cm, often concealing much smaller fruits.   18 Cissampelos
+ Bracts minute, much smaller than fruits.   19 Cyclea
28 (26) Inflorescences on old woody stems or superaxillary on leafy shoots.   12 Diploclisia
+ Inflorescences axillary on leafy stems   (29)
29 (28) Endocarp almost smooth with a small central perforation; seed with large cotyledons, endosperm absent.   14 Pachygone
+ Endocarp usually clearly sculptured; seed with slender cotyledons, endosperm copious   (30)
30 (29) Leaves peltate; endocarp ca. 10 mm in diam., rather flattened.   16 Menispermum
+ Leaves never peltate; endocarp 4-8 mm in diam., not obviously flattened   (31)
31 (30) Endocarp laterally concave, condyle lamella-shaped or disciform, not perforate or with small eccentric perforation   (32)
+ Endocarp with thick hollow condyle, often perforate   (33)
32 (31) Leaf blade never lobed, main basal veins and their outer branches leading directly to margin; endocarp abaxially covered with short pointed processes.   11 Pericampylus
+ Leaf blade lobed or, if not lobed, main basal veins and their outer branches divided or fused before reaching margin; endocarp with abaxial and lateral ridged crests.   15 Sinomenium
33 (31) Carpels 2 or 3; drupes 6-8 mm.   10 Hypserpa
+ Carpels 3 or 6; drupes 4-5 mm.   13 Cocculus
34 (20) Petals absent   (35)
+ Petals present   (36)
35 (34) Leaf blade abaxially with hollow domatia in axils of main veins; wood not yellow.   4 Arcangelisia
+ Leaf blade abaxially without domatia; wood yellow.   6 Fibraurea
36 (34) Petals apically 2-lobed   (37)
+ Petals apically entire   (38)
37 (36) Sepals with black and striped marks, outer whorl subequal to inner whorl; leaf blade ca. as long as wide.   12 Diploclisia
+ Sepals without black marks, outer whorl much smaller than inner whorl; leaf blade often conspicuously longer than wide.   13 Cocculus
38 (36) Sepals and petals 1 or 2; carpels 1; leaves often peltate   (39)
+ Sepals and petals each 3 or more; carpels 3; leaves usually not peltate (peltate in Menispermum and Parabaena)   (40)
39 (38) Bracts leaflike, overlapping along rachis.   18 Cissampelos
+ Bracts inconspicuous, not overlapping.   19 Cyclea
40 (38) Sepals spiral   (41)
+ Sepals whorled   (42)
41 (40) Petals 4 or 5; staminodes absent; leaves not peltate.   10 Hypserpa
+ Petals 6-9; staminodes 6-12; leaves peltate.   16 Menispermum
42 (40) Leaves obviously peltate.   14 Pachygone
+ Leaves not or only very narrowly peltate   (43)
43 (42) Inner and outer sepals subequal.   9 Parabaena
+ Inner sepals much larger than outer   (44)
44 (43) Sepals 6 in 2 whorls   (45)
+ Sepals 8-12 in 3 or 4 whorls   (46)
45 (44) Staminodes 9; style curved outward, stigma expanded and lobed.   15 Sinomenium
+ Staminodes 6; style short, fat and thick, stigma reflexed with short pointed lobes.   8 Tinospora
46 (44) Inflorescence a cyme; staminodes filamentous.   11 Pericampylus
+ Inflorescence a panicle, usually very long; staminodes clavate.   7 Aspidocarya

  • List of lower taxa


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