Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Marsdenia rostrata R.Br.

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Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruits. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1810) On the Asclepiadeae : 20. Type: Queensland, Keppel Bay, 13 Aug. 1802, R. Brown; lecto: BM; iso: BRI, CANB, K. Fide P. I. Forster (1995) Austral. Syst. Bot. 8: 754.

Common name

Vine, Common Milk; Milk Vine; Milkvine; Vine, Milk; Common Milk Vine


Vine stem diameters to 6 cm recorded. Bark exudate not copious, a white exudate is also produced by the pith. Lenticels large and conspicuous. Orange coloured speckles usually visible in the blaze.


Twigs and petioles produce a milky exudate. Leaf blades soft in texture, about 3.5-13 x 2.5-6.5 cm, petioles about 1.2-4 cm long. Lateral veins about 7-9 on each side of the midrib. About 5-20 colleters (small finger-like glands) present on the upper surface of the midrib near its junction with the petiole.


Inflorescence umbelliform, much shorter than the leaves but slightly longer than the petioles. Pedicels about 4-6 mm long. Flowers about 8 mm diam. Sepals about 1-1.5 mm long. Corolla tube about 1.5-2 mm long, glabrous outside but hairy inside. Corolla lobes about 3-3.5 mm long, glabrous on the outer surface, hairy or papillose on the inner surface. Lobes slightly reflexed. Anthers about 1 mm long. Pollen aggregated in pollinia. Pollinia +/- horizontal. Staminal corona about 2.1 mm long, free for most of its length. Style head about 2 mm long, +/- globular at the base but extended to form a conical or attenuate tip. Carpels about 1 mm long.


Fruits about 5.5-8 x 3 x 1.5-1.8 cm, green at maturity. Seeds numerous, brown, each seed about 7-10 x 5 mm. Plumes white, about 10-30 mm long, attached to one end of the seed. Cotyledons about 6 x 3.5 mm, radicle about 2 mm long, much narrower than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons elliptic, about 19-22 x 10-12 mm. Midrib hairy, raised on the upper surface. First leaves narrow, ovate-elliptic, base obtuse, blades glabrous except for the midrib which is papillose both above and below.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP (from the McIlwraith Range) and NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as Victoria. Altitudinal range in NEQ from near sea level to 1200 m. Grows in well developed lowland, upland and mountain rain forest.

Marsdenia rostrata R.Br. var. rostrata, Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 31(4): 736(1907). Pergularia rostrata (R.Br.) Spreng., Systema Vegetabilium 1 : 844(1824).
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