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Stephania epigaea

Description from Flora of China

Herbaceous deciduous vines, glabrous. Root tuberous, huge, usually oblate, dark and grayish brown. Young branches slightly fleshy, often purplish red, glaucous, striate when dry. Petiole usually 4-6(-11) cm; leaf blade peltate, insertion 1-2 cm from margin, oblate, rarely rotund, 3-5(-7) × 5-6.5(-9) cm, membranous when dry, abaxially slightly glaucous, base usually rounded, apex rounded or occasionally cuspidate, palmately 8- or 9-veined, slender. Inflorescences simple umbelliform cymes, axillary, slightly fleshy, often purplish red and glaucous; peduncle of male inflorescences (0.5-)1-4 cm; cymelets few to 10, fascicled, 2- or 3(-7)-flowered. Male flowers: sepals 6, often purple, ovate or elliptic-ovate, 1.3-1.6 mm; petals 3 or occasionally 5 or 6, slightly fleshy, purple or orange with purple dots, broadly cuneate or subdeltoid, 0.4-0.7 mm; synandrium 0.4-0.5 mm. Female inflorescences similar to male inflorescences but denser; peduncle 1-3 cm. Female flowers unknown. Fruiting pedicels short and fleshy. Drupes red; endocarp obovate, 6-7 × ca. 5 mm. Fl. spring, fr. summer.

Stephania epigaea is regarded as over-harvested for medicinal usage (Annex 2 of Identification and Conservation of Important Plant Areas for Medicinal Plants in the Himalaya, Plantlife).

● Shrublands, along fences, roadsides. S Guizhou, S Sichuan, Yunnan.


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