Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Tetrastigma nitens (F.Muell.) Planch.

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Male flower. © Barry Jago
Male flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Flowers. © CSIRO
© W. T. Cooper
Leaves and fruits. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Male flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Planchon, J.E. in Candolle, A.L.P.P. de & Candolle, A.C.P. de (1887) Monographiae Phanerogamarum 5 : 320.

Common name

Three-leaf Water Vine; Shining Grape; Vine, Three-leaf Water; Grape, Shining


Vine stem diameters to 15 cm recorded. Vascular rays obvious in the wood and bark of stem cross sections. Blaze marked by pale granular stripes and slightly darker fibrous stripes. Blaze turns pink on exposure. Stems often laterally flattened.


Tendrils 2-branched or simple (unbranched) attached to the stem opposite the petioles. Leaflet blades 5.5-16 x 2.5-9 cm, leaflet stalks about 0.3-0.5 cm long. Stalk of the middle leaflet longer than those of the lateral leaflets. 'Oil dots' elongated. Stipules caducous. Twig lenticels small and pale but quite prominent on young shoots.


Inflorescence a panicle of umbels. Male flowers: Flowers about 5-7 mm diam. Pedicels about 5 mm long. Calyx lobes very small or absent. Petals reflexed at anthesis, narrowly ovate, about 2.5-3 x 1-1.5 mm, apices hooded. Staminal filaments about 2-2.5 mm long. Anthers yellow. Disk flat, about 1.2 mm diam., surrounding a rudimentary ovary. Female flowers: Flowers about 4-6 mm diam. Calyx lobes small, rounded and indistinct. Petals recurved, about 2.5-4 x 1-2 mm, hooded at the apex. Staminodes four, about 0.5 mm long. Ovary conical, green, about 1-1.3 x 1.5-1.8 mm. Stigma consists of four rounded lobes. Ovules 2 per locule.


Fruits globular to slightly ellipsoid, about 11-16 x 12 mm. Seeds tick-shaped, about 8-9 x 3.5-6 mm. Embryo about 1.5-2 mm long. Cotyledons slightly wider than the radicle to twice as wide as the radicle but cotyledons and radicle of similar lengths.


Cotyledons ovate, about 30-60 x 20-30 mm, +/- three veined at the base, petiole about 3-6 mm long. First pair of leaves trifoliolate, leaflets elliptic to obovate, margin with four to seven teeth on each side, midrib raised on the upper surface. At the tenth leaf stage: leaflet blades glabrous, +/- ovate to elliptic, about 10-12 x 5-6 mm, the stalk of the middle leaflet longer than those of the lateral leaflets, margins with four to six peg-like teeth on each side. Midrib raised on the upper surface. Stipules about 2-5 mm long, margins ciliate. 'Oil dots' often elongated. Simple (unbranched) leaf-opposed tendrils usually present. Seed germination time 25 to 36 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia. Occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as the central coast of New South Wales. Altitudinal range in NEQ from near sea level to 800 m. Grows in lowland and upland rain forest, sometimes along moist gullies in eucalypt forest.

Tetrastigma nitens (F.Muell.) Planch. var. nitens, Beitrage zur Flora und Pflanzengeographie Australiens : 926(1927). Vitis nitens F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 2: 73(1861), Type: New South Wales, Clarence River, Beckler; syn: K. MEL; Hastings River, Beckler; syn: MEL; Macleay River, Beckler; syn: MEL.
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