Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Slender climbers, stems woody or herbaceous; roots sometimes tuberous. Leaves peltate, ovate to suborbicular or deltoid, palmately 8 - 13-nerved, glabrous or hairy; petioles usually geniculate at base. Inflorescences axillary or arising from old leafless stems; flowers in umbelliform cymes or disciform capitula, 1 many-peduncled. Male flowers symmetrical; sepals 6 or 8, in whorls, free, imbricate; petals 3 or 4, free, broadly obovate; stamens 2 - 6, connate, forming a peltate synandrium. Female flowers symmetrical or asymmetrical; sepals 1 - 8; petals 2 - 4, similar to as in male; carpel 1; style short, 3 - 6-partite or absent; stigma short or divaricately laciniate. Drupes obovoid or ovoid; style-scar distinct near base; pericarp thin, glabrous; mesocarp fleshy; endocarp bony, horseshoe- shaped; tubercles in 2 - 4 longitudinal rows or transversely ribbed on dorsal side; condyle perforate. Seeds curved.

Tropical Africa, Indian subcontinent, Malesia to Australia; ca 35 species, 8 species and 2 varieties in India.


1a. Inflorescences from main stem or leafless branches, large, compound, spreading; branches ending in corymbs with congested flowers 1. Stephania andamanica
b. Inflorescences from leafy branches; flowers in simple or compound psuedoumbels 2
2a. Cymes ultimately congested into a head; flowers sessile to subsessile; leaves 9 - 11-nerved 3
b. Cymes ultimately lax; flowers pedicellate; leaves 5-nerved 4
3a. Leaves entire; heads in panicles; flowers sessile to subsessile; peduncles 2 - 8 cm long; endocarp with erect tubercles 6. Stephania japonica
b. Leaves lobed; heads solitary; flowers sessile; peduncles 1.5 - 2.5 cm long; endocarp ribbed or grooved 8. Stephania wightii
4a. Sepals glabrous; endocarp ribbed and grooved 5
b. Sepals papillose; endocarp with erect tubercles 6
5a. Petioles 5 - 15 cm long; sepals linear-oblong, internally glandular; synandrium 1.5 - 2 mm long; drupes ovoid 3. Stephania glabra
b. Petioles 2 - 6 cm long; scpals ovate-oblong to obovate, glandless; synandrium ca 0.5 mm long; drupes obovoid 7
6a. Leaves entire, glaucous beneath; petals orbicular; drupes obovoid 4. Stephania glandulifera
b. Leaves lobed, papillose beneath; petals obovate; drupes ovoid 7. Stephania venosa
7a. Leaves long-triangular; petioles 2 - 4 cm long; bracts 1 - 1.5 mm long 2. Stephania elegans
b. Leaves broadly triangular, ovate or orbicular; petioles 5 - 6 cm long; bracts 3 - 4 mm long 5. Stephania gracilenta

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