1. Menispermaceae Juss.

    1. This family is accepted.

[FTEA]

Menispermaceae, G. Troupin. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1956

Habit
Twining or rarely erect shrubs or small trees, dioecious, with the wood in cross-section showing broad medullary rays
Leaves
Leaves petiolate, sometimes peltate, without stipules, usually simple, entire or lobed
Inflorescences
Inflorescences various, many-flowered, rarely the flowers solitary or geminate, axillary or borne on the leafless wood
Flowers
Flowers ?: sepals 3–12 or more, rarely 1, free or slightly connate, imbricate or valvate; petals 1–6 or absent, free or connate, usually imbricate; stamens 3–6 or indefinite, rarely 2, free or variously united Flowers small, unisexual, regular, rarely slightly irregular Flowers ?: sepals and petals generally as in ? flowers, sometimes not so numerous; staminodes absent or present; carpels 3–6 or more, rarely 1, free; ovules 2, soon reduced to 1 by abortion, attached to the ventral suture
Fruits
Fruiting carpels drupaceous, with the scar of the style subterminal or near the base by excentric growth; exocarp membranaceous or subcoriaceous, mesocarp more or less pulpy, endocarp often chartaceous or bony, rugose, tuberculate or ribbed
Seeds
Seed often curved and horseshoe-shaped, with uniform or ruminate endosperm, or without endosperm
[FZ]

Menispermaceae, G. Troupin. Flora Zambesiaca 1:1. 1960

Habit
Twining or rarely erect shrubs or small trees, dioecious
Wood
Wood in cross-section showing broad medullary rays
Leaves
Leaves alternate, petiolate, exstipulate, sometimes peltate, without stipules, usually simple, entire or lobed
Inflorescences
Inflorescence various, many-flowered, the flowers rarely solitary or geminate, axillary or borne on the leafless wood
Flowers
Flowers small, actinomorphic, rarely slightly irregular Female flowers: sepals and petals generally as in male flowers, sometimes not so numerous; staminodes present or absent; carpels 3–6 or more, rarely 1, free; ovules 2, soon reduced to 1 by abortion, attached to the ventral suture Male flowers: sepals 3–12 or more, rarely 1, free or slightly connate, imbricate or valvate; petals 1–6 or absent, free or connate, usually imbricate; stamens 3–6 or indefinite, rarely 2, free or variously united
Male
Male flowers: sepals 3–12 or more, rarely 1, free or slightly connate, imbricate or valvate; petals 1–6 or absent, free or connate, usually imbricate; stamens 3–6 or indefinite, rarely 2, free or variously united
Female
Female flowers: sepals and petals generally as in male flowers, sometimes not so numerous; staminodes present or absent; carpels 3–6 or more, rarely 1, free; ovules 2, soon reduced to 1 by abortion, attached to the ventral suture
Fruits
Fruiting carpels drupaceous, with the scar of the style subterminal or near the base by excentric growth; exocarp membranous or subcoriaceous, mesocarp more or less pulpy, endocarp often chartaceous or bony, rugose, tuberculate or ribbed and with the septum of the condyle,2 if any, perforated or not
Seeds
Seeds often curved and horseshoe-shaped, with uniform or ruminate endosperm, or without endosperm
[NTK]

Milliken, W. (2009). Neotropical Menispermaceae.

Morphology
Description

Woody (sometimes herbaceous ) vines, occasionally herbs, shrubs or trees.  Leaves alternate , simple (very rarely compound ), usually palmately veined (sometimes pinnately), occasionally palmately lobed , margins usually entire , very rarely denticulate (Synandropus), occasionally peltate , sometimes with indumentum of simple hairs; petioles with basal or apical pulvinae, usually flexuous Flowers mostly inconspicuous, often greenish or dull red, unisexual ( dioecious ), borne on axillary or cauliflorous spikes, racemes or panicles, usually actinomorphic (except Cissampelos); perianth usually in multiples of 3, sepals 6-12 and petals 0-6-(12) (though 1 of each in female flowers of Cissampelos and 4 in male); stamens (1)-3-12-(40), filaments sometimes fused into a column, reduced to staminodes or absent in female flowers; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal or (apparently) oblique or horizontal slits; ovary superior , gynoecium apocarpous with (1)-3-6-(30) carpels and 2 ovules per carpel (1 abortive). Fruits fleshy or non- fleshy drupe-like monocarps, sometimes aggregated, often with a bony or woody endocarp , single-seeded; seeds usually curved; endosperm ruminate , not ruminate or absent.

Distribution
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Widely distributed throughout the Neotropics, particularly in the humid lowlands, although some genera (e.g. Cissampelos) also occur in arid areas.
Diagnostic
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Simplealternate leaves, though one species - Disciphania cujibensis (R. Knuth) Sandwith - palmately compound.
  • Monocarpous one-seeded fruits.
  • Unisexual flowers.
Other important characters
  • Usually vines or lianas with a few exceptions: Abuta grandifolia (Mart.) Sandwith is a tree, and a few species such as Cissampelos ovalifolia DC. are herbaceous.
  • Petiole often pulvinate at apex (and/or at base) and generally visibly flexed.
  • Leaves commonly more or less sub-peltate (sometimes conspicuously so), sometimes drying blackish.
  • Curved seed ('moonseed') often with ruminateendosperm and surrounded by bony, ornamented endocarp.
  • Leaf venation usually palmate (though occasionally pinnate).
  • Petals and sepals commonly in multiples of three (not Cissampelos).
  • Cross-section of woody stems generally made up of concentric (often asymmetrical) rings of vessels with medullary rays.
  • Wood often bitter to the taste, sometimes yellow or yellowish.
Key differences from similar families
  • In a sterile condition certain Menispermaceae may be confused with Cucurbitaceae (from which they differ in the lack of tendrils) or Dioscoreaceae (which never have apically flexed pulvinae and whose branchlets often have swollen nodes).
  • They may also be confused with Aristolochiaceae (which also lack the apically flexed pulvinae and sometimes have leafy stipules), and possibly Sparattanthelium (Hernandiaceae), which differs in its ranalean odour and simplestem structure.
  • The leaves of some lianas (e.g. Abuta spp.) may perhaps be confused with those of Loganiaceae (Strychnos), from which they differ in their alternate (rather than opposite) arrangement.
Useful tips for generic identification

[adapted from Gentry (1993)]

 

Habit:

  • Herbaceous vines with solitary fruits - Cissampelos (though one species is a woody herb).

 

Fruits:

  • Black or purple fleshy drupes - Odontocarya or Disciphania.
  • Hard, red/orange/black monocarps - Abuta , Anomospermum and relatives.
  • Hard, grey or tan-pubescent monocarps - Chondrodendron , Curarea and relatives [if 6 or more of these per flower - Chondrodendron or Sciadotenia ].

 

Petioles:

  •  Pulvinately flexuous at base [sometimes also pulvinate at apex] - Odontocarya , Disciphania , Borismene .

 

Seeds:

  • Endosperm not ruminate - Odontocarya , Disciphania , Borismene.
  • Endosperm absent - Chondrodendron , Curarea , Cionomene , Sciadotenia , Hyperbaena.
  • Endospermruminate - Telitoxicum , Abuta and Caryomene (seed U-shaped); Anomospermum , Orthomene (seed straight or J-shaped).
  • Leaf margins: Dentate - Synandropus .
General Description
General notes
  • Most species of this family contain powerful alkaloids with biochemical activity.
  • Many are used in medicines (e.g. for stomach disorders, malaria). Several are also used in the preparation of arrow and dart poisons, including Curarea, Chondrodendron, Abuta, Telitoxicum
  • Chondrodendron tomentosum Ruiz & Pav. is the original natural source of the alkaloid tubocurarine, used as a muscle relaxant in surgical procedures.
  • Some Menispermaceae (e.g. Abuta grandifolia (Mart.) Sandwith) have edible fruits.
Number of genera

Seventeen genera recorded in the Neotropics, including:

  • Abuta Aubl.
  • Anomospermum Miers
  • Borismene Barneby
  • Caryomene Barneby & Krukoff
  • Chondrodendron Ruíz & Pavón
  • Cionomene Krukoff
  • Cissampelos L.
  • Curarea Barneby & Krukoff
  • Disciphania Eichler
  • Elephantomene Barneby & Krukoff
  • Hyperbaena Miers ex. Benth.
  • Odontocarya Miers.
  • Orthomene Barneby & Krukoff
  • Sciadotenia Miers.
  • Synandropus A.C. Sm.
  • Telitoxicum Mold.
  • Tinospora Miers. [introduced]
  • Ungulipetalum
Notes on delimitation
  • A clearly defined family situated within the Ranunculales, characterized by the presence of drupelets, a chondyle and large embryos (Ortiz et al., 2007). Placed by phylogenetic analyses close to the Berberidaceae, Ranunculaceae and Papaveraceae (Barneby & White, 2004).
Status
  • Native to the Neotropics.
Literature
Important literature

Barneby, R.C. 1970. Revision of neotropical Menispermaceae tribe Tinosporeae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 20: 81-158.

Barneby, R.C. and Krukoff B.A. 1971. Supplementary notes on American Menispermaceae. VIII. A generic survey of the American Triclisieae and Anomospermeae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 22: 1-89.

Barneby, R. and White, P. 2004. Menispermaceae, pp 247-9. In: Smith, N.A., Mori, S.A., Henderson, A., Stevenson, D.W. and Heald, S.V. (eds.), Flowering plants of the Neotropics. New York Botanical Garden & Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Carlquist, S. 1996. Wood and stem anatomy of Menispermaceae. Aliso 14: 155-170.

Diels, L. 1910. Menispermaceae. In: Engler, A., Das Pflanzenreich IV, 94, 1-345.

Gentry, A.H. 1993. A Field Guide to the Families and Genera of Woody Plants of Northwest South America with Supplementary Notes on Herbaceous Taxa. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Hong, Y.-P. Chen, Z.-D. and Lu, A.-M. 2001. Phylogeny of the tribe Menispermeae (Menispermaceae) reconstructed by ITS sequence data. Acta Phytotax. Sinica 39: 97-104.

Kessler, P.J.A. 1993. Menispermaceae, pp. 402-418. In: Kubitzki, K., Rohwer, J.G. and Bittrich, V. (eds.), The families and genera of vascular plants, vol. 2. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Krukoff, B.A. and Barneby, R.C. 1970. Supplementary Notes on American Menispermaceae - VI. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 20: 1-70.

Krukoff, B.A. and Moldenke, H.N. 1938. Studies of American Menispermaceae, with special reference to species used in preparation of arrow-poisons. Brittonia 3: 1-74.

Mathias, M.E. & Theobald, W.L. 1981.  A revision of the genus Hyperbaena.  Brittonia 33(1): 81-104.

Ortiz, R. 2000. Systematic revision of Curarea Barneby & Krukoff (Menispermaceae). Master's thesis unpublished, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Ortiz, R. (undated). América Tropical - géneros comunes de Menispermaceae. Field Museum Plant Guides: http://fm2.fieldmuseum.org/plantguides/guideimages.asp?ID=283

Ortiz, R., Kellogg, A. and van der Werff, H. 2007. Molecular phylogeny of the moonseed family (Menispermaceae): implications for morphological diversification. Amer. J. Bot. 94:1425-1438.

[FWTA]

Menispermaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:1. 1954

Habit
Twining, or rarely erect shrubs or small trees, with the wood in cross-section showing broad medullary rays
Leaves
Leaves petiolate, sometimes peltate, alternate, exstipulate, usually simple, rarely trifoliolate, or palmately lobed and nerved
Inflorescences
Inflorescences cymose, paniculate, racemose, capitulate, fasciculate, or rarely the flowers solitary or geminate, axillary or borne on the leafless wood
Flowers
Flowers small, inconspicuously coloured, unisexual, dioecious, actinomorphic, rarely slightly zygomorphic Male flowers: sepals 3–12 or more, rarely 1, generally in series, or slightly connate, imbricate or rarely valvate, the outer smaller; petals 1–6, usually in series, minute or absent, free, or rarely connate, usually imbricate; stamens 3–6 or indefinite, rarely 2, when few opposite the sepals, free or variously united; anthers short Female flowers: sepals and petals as in male flowers; staminodes present or absent; carpels 3–6 or more, rarely 1, free, sessile or stipitate; styles terminal or subterminal, rarely recurved; stigma terminal, entire or lobed; ovules 2, soon reduced to 1 by abortion, attached to the ventral suture
Male
Male flowers: sepals 3–12 or more, rarely 1, generally in series, or slightly connate, imbricate or rarely valvate, the outer smaller; petals 1–6, usually in series, minute or absent, free, or rarely connate, usually imbricate; stamens 3–6 or indefinite, rarely 2, when few opposite the sepals, free or variously united; anthers short
Female
Female flowers: sepals and petals as in male flowers; staminodes present or absent; carpels 3–6 or more, rarely 1, free, sessile or stipitate; styles terminal or subterminal, rarely recurved; stigma terminal, entire or lobed; ovules 2, soon reduced to 1 by abortion, attached to the ventral suture
Fruits
Fruiting carpels drupaceous, with the scar of the style subterminal or near the base by excentric growth, sessile or stipitate; exocarp membranous or subcoriaceous, mesocarp more or less pulpy, endocarp often chartaceous or bony, rugose, tuberculate or ribbed; seed often curved in the form of a horseshoe, with uniform or ruminate endosperm or without endosperm; embryo often curved, with a small radicle and flat or semi–terete cotyledons

Images

Menispermaceae Juss. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Gen. Pl. [Jussieu] 284. 1789 [4 Aug 1789] (1789)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/boj.12385

Sources

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Neotropikey
Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0