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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 23 | Araceae | Pothos

2. Pothos chinensis (Rafinesque) Merrill, J. Arnold Arbor. 29: 210. 1948.

石柑子 shi gan zi

Tapanava chinensis Rafinesque, Fl. Tellur. 4: 14. 1838; Pothos balansae Engler; P. cathcartii Schott; P. chinensis var. lotienensis C. Y. Wu & H. Li; P. seemannii Schott; P. warburgii Engler; P. yunnanensis Engler.

Lianas, small to very large, to 10 m, root-climbing. Stem weakly 4-angled or terete in cross section, to 12 mm in diam. Leaves paler abaxially, bright to mid-green adaxially; petiole obovate-oblong to linear-oblong or narrowly triangular, 50-140 × 4-20 mm, broadly winged, base decurrent to clawed, apex truncate, rounded, or auriculate; each side with 2 or 3 secondary veins and numerous veinlets; leaf blade ovate to elliptic or lanceolate, 3-20.5 × 1.5-20.5 cm, apex attenuate-mucronate to acute or attenuate, minutely tubulate; each side with 2-4 intramarginal veins arising from base and either immediately diverging or remaining very close and parallel to midrib and then diverging further along leaf blade, submarginal collecting vein prominent. Flowering shoot much abbreviated, arising from most of mid- to distal leaf axils of fertile shoots. Inflorescences solitary or in pairs; peduncle erect to variously curved, green to brown tinged, 3-25 × 1.5-2.5 mm, rather stout. Spathe greenish white or green, occasionally faintly purple tinged, ovate, concave, 4-12 × 4-10 mm, base cordate, clasping and slightly decurrent on peduncle, margins inrolled, apex arched to recurved, acute to subacute with a rather stout mucro. Spadix stipitate; stipe erect, straight, green, terete, 5-10 × 1-1.25 mm; fertile zone pale green or white, globose to ovoid, 3.5-13 × 3-10 mm. Flowers 1-2 mm in diam. Fruit mid-green, ripening to scarlet, obclavate to ovoid or ellipsoid, 10-17.5 × 10-14 mm. Fl. and fr. throughout year.

Dense forests, moist mountain valleys, climbing on trees or creeping over rocks; below 2400 m. Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Taiwan, SE Xizang (Mêdog), Yunnan [Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam].

Pothos balansae, P. cathcartii, P. chinensis, and P. warburgii are without doubt synonymous. They might be separable when only a few specimens of each entity are studied, but when a wide range of material is used the four merge together as one species, for which the earliest name is P. chinensis. See Boyce (Blumea 45: 147-204. 2000).

The whole plant is used medicinally to treat rheumatic arthralgia, traumatic injuries, fractures, coughs, and infantile malnutrition caused by intestinal parasites.


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