Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cissus antarctica Vent.

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Flowers and buds. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Ventenat, E.P. (1803) Choix de Plantes : 21. Type: Arbrisseau sarmenteux, originaire de la Nouvelle Hollande, cult. P depuis plusieurs annees chez M. Cels. Il passe lhiver dans lorangerie, etc.

Common name

Kangaroo Vine; Water Vine; Vine, Water; Vine, Kangaroo


Vine stem diameters to 8 cm recorded. Vascular rays +/- uniform in thickness except for an occasional one which is twice as wide as the rest.


Stipules caducous, about 2-3 mm long, densely clothed in long brown hairs. Leaf blades about 5-13 x 3.5-8.5 cm, petioles about 1-2.5 cm long. Marginal teeth usually large. Twigs, petioles and the underside of the leaf blades densely clothed in rusty or reddish brown hairs. Leaf hairs two-branched or medifixed, one branch often much longer than the other. Domatia (foveoles) +/- globular, the opening small and difficult to discern. 'Oil dots' elongated, visible with a lens. Tendrils hairy, usually two-branched at the apex, leaf-opposed. Oak grain in the twigs.


Inflorescence clothed in appressed hairs. Flowers about 5-6 mm diam. Calyx about 0.5-1.5 mm long, lobes scarcely visible. Petals pale yellow, about 1.5-2 mm long. Staminal filaments about 1-1.25 mm long, anthers about 0.5-1 mm long. Pollen cream. Disk fleshy, surrounding the base of the ovary.


Fruit dark blue when ripe, astringent when placed in the mouth. Fruits globose, about 9 mm diam. Seeds usually 2 per fruit, each seed about 7 x 5 mm, surrounded by a green layer. Testa sculptured. Embryo white, about 1.5 mm long.


Cotyledons broadly ovate-cordate to almost orbicular, about 20-25 x 18-19 mm with 3-5 veins radiating from the base. Petioles about 3 mm long. First pair of true leaves with toothed margins, 4-6 teeth on each side. Stipules about 1 mm long. Stem and young leaves hairy. At the tenth leaf stage: all seedling parts hairy. Leaf blade cordate-ovate, apex acuminate, base cordate, about 11-12 x 7 cm, petiole about 4.5 cm long, margins toothed with 15-20 teeth on each side. Upper surface of the leaf blade clothed in brown medifixed hairs with arms of unequal length. Underside of the leaf blade clothed in brown simple hairs. Midrib raised on the upper surface. Stipules about 10 mm long, densely clothed in rusty brown hairs. Stipules enclosing the terminal bud. 'Oil dots' elongated. Seed germination time 91 to 150 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in NEQ from 700-1000 m. Grows in well developed upland rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Fruits eaten by many bird species.

Often grown as an indoor plant. Commonly cultivated over a trellis or fence in gardens and as a potted plant for indoors.

Vitis baudiniana (DC.) F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 4: 136(1864). Vitis antarctica (Vent.) Benth., Flora Australiensis 1: 447(1863). Cissus glandulosa Poir., Encyclopedie Methodique, Botanique Suppl. 1 : 105(1810), Type: Cette plante est originaire de la Nouvelle-Hollande. On la cultive au Jardin des Plantes de Paris. Cissus antarctica var. pubescens Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 920(1928), Type: Nordost-Queensland: Regenwalder bei Allumbah (=Yungaburra), 1910, Domin 63360; holo: PR. Cissus antarctica var. integerrima Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 920(1928), Type: Queensland: Regenwalder der Tambourine Mts, 1910, Domin 6359; holo: PR. Cissus baudiniana Brouss. ex DC., Prodr. 1: 629(1824).
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