Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Freycinetia scandens Gaudich.

Slender Vine
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Floral bracts and inflorescences. © CSIRO
Leaves and multiple fruits. © B. Gray
Fruit. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Gaudichaud, C. (1824) Annales des Sciences Naturelles ser. 1, 3 : 510. Type: Crescit in insula Timor. Gaudichaud; holo: P.

Common name

Climbing Pandan; Pandan, Climbing


A slender vine not exceeding a stem diameter of 2 cm. Adventitious roots present on most parts of the vine stem. Leaf base scars quite obvious.


Leaves spirally arranged on the branches but lined up in 3 ranks when viewed from the apex of the stem. Leaf blades about 9-13 x 2-3 cm, sessile. Leaf base with a well developed auricle or lobe on each side. Leaf blade margins finely toothed for 1.5-2 cm above the auricles and near the apex of the leaf blade, mid section of the leaf blade margin smooth.


Male flowers: Usually three pedunculate male spikes produced at the apex of a leafy shoot and subtended by three large white or translucent leafy bracts. Spadices about 12 x 5 mm, peduncles about 15-20 mm long. Bracts about 30 x 10 mm. Female flowers: Inflorescence a 3-branched umbel of spikes. Flowers borne on a spike (spadix) about 1.2 cm long on a peduncle about 1-1.2 cm long. Perianth absent. Ovary about 2 mm long with a 2-lobed or 2-part stigmatic surface at the apex.


Infructescence cylindrical, about 5.5 x 2.5 cm, on a stalk about 1.3-2 cm long. Individual fruits about 7-12 x 3-7 mm. Seeds numerous in each individual fruit, each seed about 1.5 mm long with hyaline margins on each side. Embryo about 0.9 mm long.


One green cataphyll may be produced before the first true leaf. First leaves narrowly obovate to oblong, elliptic to oblanceolate, apex acute, base sheathing the stem, midrib visible with a lens, venation longitudinal and parallel, difficult to discern. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade linear, about 40-60 x 2-3 mm, apex acuminate, base expanded and sheathing the stem. Leaf blade margins finely toothed. Leaf blade base not narrowed into a petiole, +/- winged and sheathing the stem. Midrib on the underside of the leaf blade usually armed with a few small spines or teeth. Venation longitudinal and parallel, midrib and six other veins normally visible. Seed germination time 12 to 69 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards almost as far as south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 800 m. Usually grows along creeks and perennial watercourses. Also occurs in New Guinea and other parts of Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

Sometimes cultivated and trained to grow up trees in moist areas of the garden primarily for the dark green leaves. Flower bracts are white, ripe fruits red.

Freycinetia affinis Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 251(1928), Type: Nordost-Queensland: in den Regenwaldern bei Lake Eacham (DOMIN II. 1910). Freycinetia gaudichaudii Benn. & R.Br., Plantae Javanicae Rariores : 31(1844), Type: Java, Horsfield; holo: BM. Freycinetia gonocarpa S.Moore, The Journal of Botany 55 : 309(1917), Type: Kuranda, L.S.Gibbs 6348; holo: BM. Freycinetia propinqua Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 250(1928), Type: Nordost-Queensland: in den Regenwaldern bei Harveys Creek, besonders auf halboffenen Stellen (Bachufern) haufig und hoch emporkletternd (DOMIN). Freycinetia muelleri Martelli, Webbia 3 : 311(1910), Type: Nil. Based on F. gaudichaudii.
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