Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Diplocyclos palmatus (L.) C.Jeffrey

Slender Vine
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Male flowers. © CSIRO
Male flower. © Barry Jago
Male and female flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Leaf. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Fruits. © W. T. Cooper
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Jeffrey, C. (1962) Kew Bulletin 15: 352.

Common name

Cucumber, Striped; Native Bryony; Striped Cucumber


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


Leaf blades deeply palmately lobed with 5 major lobes. Leaf blades about 6-13 x 6-12 cm, petioles about 2-4 cm long. Leaves emit an unpleasant odour when crushed. Upper surface of the leaf blade clothed in scattered scabrid hairs. Tendrils 2- branched, leaf-opposed.


Usually one female flower and three male flowers in each leaf axil. Male flowers about 20 mm diam. Hypanthium 3-4 mm long, calyx lobes about 2 mm long, bases inflated, lobes spreading. Petals 9-10 mm long, densely hairy on the inner surface. Anthers 3-4 mm long, filaments about 2 mm long, very hairy towards the base. Two anthers bilocular, one anther unilocular. Anther locules bent and twisted. Female flowers about 15 mm diam. Calyx lobes about 2 mm long, bases inflated, lobes spreading. Petals about 8 mm long, densely hairy on the inner surface. Staminodes 3, about 3 mm long, densely hairy. Style about 3 mm long and then branching into 3 arms or stigmas.


Fruits ovoid to ellipsoid, about 20-30 x 15-32 mm, surface ornamented with irregular longitudinal markings. Seeds about 6-10 per fruit, each seed about 6-8 mm long, irregularly shaped, vaguely like tear drops or bird skulls. Cotyledons about 4-5 mm long. Radicle straight, very short, about 0.8 mm long, much shorter and narrower than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons elliptic, about 20-26 x 10-15 mm, petioles about 2 mm long. Petioles and stem above the cotyledons clothed in small recurved trichomes or spines. First pair of true leaves deeply 3-lobed or trifoliolate, margins toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: crushed leaves have an unpleasant odour. Leaf blade deeply lobed with 3-5 main lobes each drawn out into a long acuminate tip at the apex. Stem 'hairs' recurved and resemble miniature spines. Upper surface of the leaf blade hispid, clothed in short hairs. Seed germination time 8 to 42 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 1000 m. Grows in vine thicket, monsoon forest, disturbed areas in lowland, upland and mountain rain forest. Also occurs in New Guinea and other parts of Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

The fruits of this species have been suspected of causing illness and death in children. Everist (1974).

This species has been used medicinally in India. Cribb (1981).

Diplocyclos palmatus (L.) C.Jeffrey subsp. palmatus, Kew Bulletin 45(2): 238(1990). Diplocyclos palmatus subsp. palmatus P.S.Green, Kew Bulletin 45(2): 238(1990). Bryonopsis laciniosa var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1188(1928). Bryonopsis laciniosa (L.) Naudin var. laciniosa, L'Illustration Horticole : t. 43(1865). Bryonopsis laciniosa (L.) Naudin, Annales des Sciences Naturelles, Botanique ser. 5, 6 : 30(1866). Bryonopsis erythrocarpa (F.Muell.) Naudin, Annales des Sciences Naturelles, Botanique ser. 4, 18 : 194(1862). Bryonopsis laciniosa var. erythrocarpa (F.Muell.) Naudin, L'Illustration Horticole : t. 43(1865). Bryonia laciniosa L., Species Plantarum 2: 1013(1753), Type: Habitat in Zeylona. Bryonia palmata L., Species Plantarum 2: 1012(1753), Type: Sri Lanka, Hermann; lecto: BM. Fide C. Jeffrey Kew Bull. 15: 352 (1962). Zehneria erythrocarpa F.Muell., Hooker's Journal of Botany & Kew Garden Miscellany 8: 51(1856), Type: Queensland, Brisbane River, F. Mueller; syn: MEL; Island in Moreton Bay, F. Mueller; syn: MEL. Trichosanthes muelleri Cogn., Bulletins de L'Academie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique ser. 3, 14 : 346(1887), Type: Habitat in Queensland Australia (coll. Palmer et comm. Cl. baron F. von Mueller).
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