Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Climbing or erect, shrubs. sometimes herbaceous. rarely small trees; tendrils leaf-opposed or absent. Leaves simple, unlobed or lobed, rarely digitately 3-7-foliolate, petiolate or rarely subsessile, membranous to leathery. Inflorescences leaf-opposed, compound, umbellate cymes, pedunculate. Flowers bisexual; flower buds not constricted in middle. Calyx truncate to shallowly 4-lobed, glabrous to hairy. Petals 4, free, hooded at apex. Stamens 4; filaments short. Disc cup-like, truncate or 4-lobed, usually prominent, adnate to ovary. Style subulate; stigma minute or subcapitate. Berries globose to obovoid, 1(-2)-seeded. Seeds usually obovoid with an encircling raphe, abruptly narrowed at base, smooth or coarsely reticulate; endosperm M- or .. -shaped in cross-section.

Chiefly pantropical in distribution; ca 150 species, 18 in India.

Notes. Planchon (in DC., Monogr. Phan. 5: 471-472. 1887) recognised the following sections under the genus Cissus: Cissus ("Eucissus"), Cayratia (A.L. JUSS.) Planchon and Cyphostemma Planchon. The last two sections are nowadays recognised as distinct genera.


1a. Branches quadrangular or 4-winged, very rarely flat and 2-winged 2
b. Branches terete or obscurely angled 3
2a. Plants succulent; tendrils simple; seeds obovoid, smooth except for the ridged raphe 11. Cissus quadrangularis
b. Plants not succulent; tendrils forked; seeds obtriangular, transversely rugose 7. Cissus glyptocarpa
3a. Leaves simple 4
b. Leaves compound 18
4a. Leaves subsessile 14. Cissus spectabilis
b. Leaves petiolate 5
5a. Erect shrubs 6
b. Climbers 8
6a. Seeds with angulal facets; plants pubescent 17. Cissus vitiginea
b. Seeds smooth except for the ridged raphe; plants glabrous or only the apex and the leaves beneath at first sparingly pubescent 7
7a. Leaves 20-30 x 20-25 cm; petioles 15-25 cm long; tendrils absent 18. Cissus woodrowii
b. Leaves 7-18 x 7-18 cm; petioles 4-12 cm long; tendrils present or absent 3. Cissus arnottiana
8a. Plants glabrous 9
b. Plants pubescent or tomentose, at least the young parts 13
9a. Leaves blotched with white above and purple beneath; seeds with angular facets 5. Cissus discolor
b. Leaves not variegated; seeds smooth except tor the ridged raphe, sometimes with faint ridges on sides 10
10a. Leaves oblong-elliptic. rounded at base 10. Cissus nodosa
b. Leaves ovate to suborbicular, cordate to cordate-sagittate at base 11
11a. Tendrils branched; flower buds contorted at apex 13. Cissus repens
b. Tendrils simple; flower buds not contorted at apoex 12
12a. Leaves 4.5-14 x 3-10 cm, not lobed, shallowly cordale and 3-nerved at base. shallowly distantly serrate at margins; stlpules adnate. cordate 8. Cissus heyneana
b. Leaves 18-25 x 15-20 cm. slightly 3-5 -lobed, deep cordate-sagittate and 5-nerved at base, repand-serrate at margins; stipules reniform. 15. Cissus subramanyamii
13a. Seeds smooth, except for the encircling raphe 14
b. Seeds with angular facets 15
14a. Tendrils branched; trichomes on lower surface of leaves dark coloured. usually dense; stipules pubescent; seeds ca 8 x 5 mm 12. Cissus repanda
b. Tendrils simple; trichomes on lower surface of leaves pale, usually associated with main nerves; stipules glabrous; seeds ca 5 x 4 mm 4. Cissus assamica
15a. Tomentum grey or fulvous; leaves usually 3-5 -angled or -lobed, conspicuously dentate 17. Cissus vitiginea
b. Tomentum ferruginous; leaves ovate to suborbicular, bristly serrate 16
16a. Trichomes on lower surface of leaves 2-armed; ovary glabrous at summit 2. Cissus aristata
b. Trichomes on lower surface of leaves predominantly of unbranched type; ovary pubescent at summit 17
17a. Branches pubescent; leaves dense pubescent beneath. 1. Cissus adnata
b. Branches glabrous, glaucous; leaves pubescent chiefly on nerves beneath 9. Cissus latifolia
18a. Leaves digitately 5-foliolate 6. Cissus elongata
b. Leaves 3-foliolate (or the upper only 3-lobed) 16. Cissus trilobata

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