Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cassytha capillaris Meisn.

Slender Vine
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Fruit. CC-BY: ATH

Candolle, A.L.P.P. (1864) Prodromus 15: 252. Type: Borneo, Bungarmassing, 1857-58 (Herb. Hooker), J. Motley 539; holo: K.

Common name

Devil's Twine


A slender, multistemmed, parasitic vine not exceeding a stem diameter of 2 cm.


Leaves small and inconspicuous, scale-like, triangular, about 1 x 0.5 mm. Stems clothed in pale brown hairs.


Outer tepals much smaller than the inner tepals. Outer tepals about 0.8 mm long, margins fimbriate. Inner tepals glabrous, about 2-2.5 mm long. Stamens 9, the anthers of six stamens open inwards (towards the centre of the flower) and the anthers of the remaining three stamens open outwards. Ovary about 1 mm long. Style + stigma about 1 mm long.


Fruits ovoid, about 4-6 x 3-4 mm. Fide Weber (1981).


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 600 m. Grows in open forest, vine thicket and monsoon forest. Also occurs in Sri Lanka and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

Stems produce numerous haustoria which extract nutrients from the host plant.

Cassytha tenuis Allen, Journ. Arn. Arb. 23: 155(1942), Type: Papua, Mabaduan, Apr. 1936, Brass 6514; holo: A; iso: BRI. Cassytha glabella R.Br., Prod. : 404(1810), Type: Western Australia, King Georges Sound, Dec. 1801; lecto: BM. Cassytha strigosa Fitzg., Journ. R. Soc. W. Aust. 3: 143(1918), Type: Western Australia, Base of Mt Broome, May 1905, W. V. Fitzgerald 817; holo: NSW.
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