Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Adenia heterophylla subsp. australis (R.Br. ex DC.) Wilde

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Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Wilde, W.J. de (1961) Belmontia 94 : 220.

Common name

Lacewing Vine


Vine stem diameters to 6 cm recorded. Blaze odour may be obnoxious.


Leaf blades about 4-11 x 4-10 cm, petioles about 1-4.5 cm long. Base of the leaf blade slightly peltate or extended into two small glandular lobes just prior to its junction with the petiole. Two glands usually visible near the base on the underside of the leaf blade. Stipules small, less than 1 mm long. Tendrils branched.


Inflorescence with tendrils. Flowers about 5 mm diam., not opening widely, opening only by a small orifice at the apex. Calyx tube (hypanthium) about 15 mm long, lobes about 1-2 mm long. Petals about 2.3-5 x 1 mm. Male flowers: Stamens each with a white gland at the base of the filament. Anthers about 3-4 mm long, filaments about 2.1 mm long. Pollen orange. Female flowers: Ovary surrounded by five white glands and five staminodes, each staminode placed between a gland and the ovary. Ovary about 10 mm long on a stalk about 3 mm long. Ovary green, stigmas yellow.


Fruits obovoid, about 4.5 x 3 cm on a stalk (gynophore) about 0.5 cm long. Seeds numerous, each seed about 6-7 x 5-6 mm. Testa surface pitted or corrugated. Aril translucent, enveloping most of the seed. Embryo about 3.8 mm long. Cotyledons orbicular, about 2.5-3 mm diam. Radicle about 1 mm long, shorter and narrower than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons +/- ovate, about 25-30 x 20-24 mm, midrib forking below the apex and not extending to the apex. 'Oil dots' pale, elongated, cigar-shaped. First leaf blades cordate, apex acute to acuminate, base cordate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade cordate, apex acuminate, base cordate. Midrib raised on the upper surface. Stipules broad-based, triangular, about 0.5 mm long. Stem and taproot thickened. Seed germination time 22 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT and CYP. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 300 m. Grows in monsoon forest, beach forest and vine thicket. Also occurs in Malesia (Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands).

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the Orange Lacewing Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Adenia australis (DC.) Engl., Botanische Jahrbucher 14 : 376(1891). Modecca australis DC., Prodromus 3: 337(1828), Type: Australia, Gulf of Carpentaria, R. Brown s.n.; iso: K. Fide D. R. Satterthwait (1982) Fl. Austral. 8: 148. Modecca populifolia Blume, Rumphia 1 : 168(1835), Type: W Timor, Zippelius s.n.; iso: L. Fide D. R. Satterthwait (1982) Fl. Austral. 8: 148.
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