Broom creeper Cocculus hirsutus, photographed by B. Wursten.

Belongs within: Ranunculales.

The Menispermaceae, the moonseeds, are a plant family primarily composed of vines and lianas though some species are trees or shrubs. A number of species contain alkaloids; a species of Chondrodendron is a significant source of the neurotoxin curare. The east Asian Fibraruea tinctoria has historically been used as a source of yellow dye.

Characters (from D. G. Rhodes): Vines and lianas (occasionally shrubs or trees), deciduous, woody at least at base, twining or clambering. Stems striate, without spines. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules absent; petioles present. Leaf blade palmately veined, often palmately lobed. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, fascicles, cymes, racemes, or panicles, flowers pedicillate. Flowers unisexual, staminate and pistillate on different plants, never showy; sepaloid bracteoles absent; perianth hypogynous, segments distinct or fused, not showy, greenish white to white or cream, imbricate or valvate. Staminate flowers: sepals usually 6, not spurred; petals usually 6, sometimes absent, distinct or connate, ± concave, frequently minute; nectaries absent; stamens either opposite petals and equal in number, or numerous; filaments distinct or united; anthers dehiscing longitudinally (rarely transversely); pistillodes sometimes present. Pistillate flowers: sepals (4-)6, sometimes reduced to 1; petals often 6 or reduced to 1, ± concave, usually minute; nectaries absent; staminodes frequently present; pistils 1-6; ovules 2, aborting to 1, amphitropous; style often recurved; stigma entire or lobed. Fruits drupes, straight or horseshoe-shaped; exocarp membranous; mesocarp ± pulpy; endocarp (stone) bony, often warty, ribbed. Seeds never stalked; endosperm present or absent; embryo usually curved.

    |--Triclisieae B87
    |    |--Triclisia YY22
    |    `--Curarea B87
    |--Anomospermeae B87
    |    |--Anomospermum YY22
    |    |--Caryomene B87
    |    |--Abuta B87
    |    `--Cionomene Krukoff 1978 B87
    |         `--C. javariensis B87
    `--Cocculeae B87
         |--Sciadotenia B87
         `--Cocculus PP07
              |--C. hirsutus PP07
              |--C. moorei M87
              |--C. pendulus PP07
              `--C. villosus KJ05

Menispermaceae incertae sedis:
  Coscinium fenestratum K03
  Fibraruea tinctoria K03
  Pycnarrhena tumetacta K03
  Legnephora moorei H90
  Albertisia YY22
  Parabaena YY22
  Adeliopsis YY22
  Anamirta cocculus UB06
  Antizoma YY22
  Arcangelisia YY22
  Aristega YY22
  Aspidocarya YY22
  Bania YY22
  Burasaia YY22
  Calycocarpum YY22
  Carronia multisepala H90
  Chasmanthera YY22
  Chelonecarya YY22
  Chlaenandra YY22
  Chondrodendron YY22
  Cyclea peltata UB06
  Dioscoreophyllum YY22
  Diploclisia YY22
  Disciphania YY22
  Elissarrhena YY22
  Epinetrum YY22
  Gamopoda YY22
  Glossopholis YY22
  Haematocarpus YY22
  Heptacyclum YY22
  Husemannia YY22
  Hyperbaena YY22
  Hypserpa decumbens H90
  Hypsiodes YY22
  Jateorhiza YY22
  Kolobopetalum YY22
  Limaciopsis YY22
  Macrococculus YY22
  Miersiophytum YY22
  Menispermum YY22
  Odontocarya YY22
  Orthogynium YY22
  Pachygone ovata LK14
  Penianthus YY22
  Peraphora YY22
  Pericampylus YY22
  Perichasma YY22
  Platytinospora YY22
  Pleogyne australis LK14
  Pselium YY22
  Pycnostyles YY22
  Rameya YY22
  Rhaptonema YY22
  Rhigiocarya YY22
  Rhopalandria YY22
  Sarcopetalum harveyanum H90
  Sinomenium YY22
  Somphoxylon YY22
  Sphenocentrum YY22
  Spirospermum YY22
  Strychnopsis YY22
  Sychnosepalum YY22
  Synclisia YY22
  Syntriandrum YY22
  Syrrheonema YY22
  Taubertia YY22
  Telotia YY22
  Tiliacora acuminata YY22, HU08
  Tinomiscium YY22
  Tripodandra YY22
  Welwitschiina YY22
  Stephania LK14
    |--S. aculeata H90
    |--S. corymbosa K03
    `--S. japonica LK14
         |--S. j. var. japonica H90
         `--S. j. var. discolor H90
  Cissampelos MM96
    |--C. pareira BB07
    `--C. tropaeolifolium MM96
  Tinospora LK14
    |--T. cordifolia BB07
    |--T. crispa K03
    |--T. sinensis SR07
    |--T. smilacina LK14
    `--T. tinosporoides [=Fawcettia tinosporoides] H90
  Menispermophyllum celakovskii Velenovsky 1900 CBH93

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BB07] Baishya, A. K., & P. J. Bora. 2007. Cross community ethno-medico botany of Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve, Assam. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 121–154.

[B87] Barneby, R. C. 1987. The fruit and tribal affinity of genus Cionomene Menispermaceae. Brittonia 39 (2): 258–259.

[CBH93] Collinson, M. E., M. C. Boulter & P. L. Holmes. 1993. Magnoliophyta (‘Angiospermae’). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 809–841. Chapman & Hall: London.

[H90] Harden, G. J. (ed.) 1990. Flora of New South Wales vol. 1. New South Wales University Press.

[HU08] Hore, U., & V. P. Uniyal. 2008. Diversity and composition of spider assemblages in five vegetation types of the Terai Conservation Area, India. Journal of Arachnology 36 (2): 251–258.

[KJ05] Katewa, S. S., A. Jain, B. L. Chaudhary & P. Galav. 2005. Some unreported medicinal uses of plants from the tribal area of Southern Rajasthan. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 47: 121–130.

[K03] Kulip, J. 2003. An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal and other useful plants of Muruts in Sabah, Malaysia. Telopea 10 (1): 81–98.

[LK14] Lyons, M. N., G. J. Keighery, L. A. Gibson & T. Handasyde. 2014. Flora and vegetation communities of selected islands off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 205–244.

[MM96] Mound, L. A., & R. Marullo. 1996. The thrips of Central and South America: an introduction (Insecta: Thysanoptera). Memoirs on Entomology, International 6: 1–487.

[M87] Mueller, F. von. 1887. Some hitherto undescribed plants of New South Wales. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (4): 1105–1110.

[PP07] Pandey, R. P., & P. M. Padhye. 2007. Studies on phytodiversity of Arid Machia Safari Park-Kailana in Jodhpur (Rajasthan). Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 15–78.

[SR07] Sankar, R. V., K. Ravikumar, N. M. Ganesh Babu & D. K. Ved. 2007. Botany of Anapady MPCA, Palghat district, Kerala with special emphasis on species of conservation concern. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 165–172.

[UB06] Udayan, P. S. & I. Balachandran. 2006. Cleistanthus sankunnianus Sivar. & Indu Balach.—a rare and little known endemic plant rediscovered from wild populations in Kollam district of Kerala state, India. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 48: 217–218.

[YY22] Yampolsky, C., & H. Yampolsky. 1922. Distribution of sex forms in the phanerogamic flora. Bibliotheca Genetica 3: 1–62.

Last updated: 7 June 2022.

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