Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Secamone elliptica R.Br.

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1810) Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 464. Type: Northern Territory, Groote Eylandt, 4 Jan. 1803, R. Brown; lecto: BM; iso: BRI, MEL. Fide Forster & Harold (1989) Austrobaileya 3: 70.

Common name

Vine, Cork; Vine, Corky Milk; Cork Vine; Corky Milk Vine


Vine stem diameters to 5 cm recorded.


Twigs, petioles and leaves produce a milky exudate. Leaf blades about 25-55 x 8-28 mm, petioles about 2-9 mm long. Small reddish glands visible on the twigs close to the point of attachment of the petioles.


Sepals about 1.25-1.5 x 1 mm. Petals about 2.5 x 1.5 mm. Stamens fused together to form a corona and column. Anthers about 1 x 0.75 mm. Pollinia two per locule.


Fruits usually paired, each fruiting carpel oblanceolate to fusiform, about 60-70 x 5-9 mm, flat on one side. Seeds numerous, each seed flat, about 7 x 2 mm. Plume about 25-30 mm long, attached to one end of the seed. Embryo about 5-6 mm long. Cotyledons elliptic, longer and wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons elliptic, about 10-12 x 5 mm. First pair of leaves linear, about 25 x 2 mm. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade linear, about 30-40 x 2-3 mm; lateral veins difficult to discern. Stems twining, clothed in pale downward pointing curled hairs. Seed germination time 45 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to north-eastern NSW. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 750 m. Grows in vine thicket and monsoon forest. Also occurs in Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

A food plant for the larval stages of the Australian Crow and Blue Tiger Butterflies. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Secamone elliptica R.Br. subsp. elliptica, Kew Bulletin 47(2): 605(1992). Cynanchum dichasiale O.Schwarz, Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 24 : 94(1927), Type: Port Darwin: Dry jungle climber (Bleeser no. 586, flor., no. 244 fruct.). Secamone ovata R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 464(1810), Type: Queensland, Coen River, 6 Nov. 1802, R. Brown; lecto: BM; iso: CANB. Fide Forster & Harold (1989) Austrobaileya 3: 70.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.