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Cissus L.

Sp.Pl. 2:117 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Family Vitaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Lianas, or shrubs, or herbs, or herbaceous climbers; evergreen, or deciduous. Plants sometimes succulent, or non-succulent. Herbs perennial. Climbing, or self supporting (then scrambling); the climbers tendril climbers (tendrils leaf-opposed, simple or bifid). Stem growth conspicuously sympodial, or not conspicuously sympodial. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Heterophyllous, or not heterophyllous. Leaves alternate; distichous, or spiral; petiolate, or sessile (rarely); non-sheathing; gland-dotted; simple, or compound; when compound ternate, or pinnate, or palmate. Leaflets 3–7. Leaf blades when simple dissected, or entire; palmately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves with stipules. Stipules intrapetiolar; caducous. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes, or in panicles. Inflorescences compound. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences leaf-opposed (nearly always), or terminal, or axillary. Flowers pedicellate; bracteate; bracteolate; small; regular; 4(–5) merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Hypogynous disk present; intrastaminal; annular (adnate to the base of the ovary, ridged or lobed). Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 8 (usually), or 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx 4(–5); 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; very shallowly lobed, or entire; open in bud; cup-shaped; regular; persistent. Corolla 4(–5); 1 -whorled; polypetalous, or gamopetalous (then falling together); valvate; regular; deciduous. Petals somewhat hooded (at apex). Androecium 4. Androecial members free of the perianth (inserted at the base of the disk); all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 4; isomerous with the perianth; alternisepalous. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate, or bisporangiate. Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 2 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; subulate or subcapitate; dry type; non-papillate; Group II type. Placentation axile. Ovules 2 per locule; ascending; apotropous; collateral; non-arillate; anatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry; 1–4 seeded. Seeds oblong, ovoid or subspherical, often beaked; endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight. Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, biochemistry. Aluminium accumulation not found.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Native of Australia. Not endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland. Northern Botanical Province.

Economic uses, etc. Ornamental vines.

H.R. Coleman, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Koch, B. L.; Wilson, A. J. G.; Western Australian Herbarium 1992. Flora of the Kimberley region. Western Australian Herbarium.. Como, W.A..
  • Jackes, B. R. 1988. Revision of the Australian Vitaceae. 3, Cissus L..