Photo: Bramley, G.

Photo: Bramley, G.

Photo: Bramley, G.


I. Subfam. Symphorematoideae Briq. in Engler & Prantl (1895).


Climbing shrubs; leaves entire; inflorescence often paniculate, terminal and axillary, usually with elongate, thyrsoid branches from axils of reduced leaves, cymes 3, 5 or 7-fld, pedunculate; bracts small, leaf-like, caducous; bracteoles of involucre 6, accrescent, usually conspicuous in fruit, often greenish; calyx narrowly infundibular, 5-10-nerved , ± accrescent, often inflated in fruit, usually actinomorphic, 5-6(-7)-lobed, rarely irregularly lobed, 5-merous species mostly with bifid or emarginate lobes, often inflexed and appearing 10-lobed, sometimes with 5 accessory, smaller lobes ("epicalyx"), erect to reflexed, in sinuses of larger lobes (or rarely opposite and external to them), or calyx rarely 2-lipped, lips minutely toothed, calyx-tube 5-10-nerved; corolla white, pale yellow or bluish to dark purple, longer than calyx, actinomorphic or slightly irregular, 5-6(-7)-lobed, lobes usually subequal, linear, acute to obovate-oblong and rounded, corolla tube slightly exserted from calyx, straight, hairy-annulate near insertion of stamens; stamens 5 or 6(-7), 5-merous species usually with equal, exserted, isomerous with corolla-lobes and alternating with them, 6-merous flowers with short-filamented stamens included within corolla-tube, thecae elliptic-ovoid, parallel, separate; style filiform, long and exserted from corolla or very short, stigma-lobes 2, subequal; ovary usually hairy or glandular towards apex.  About 14 species, India, China, Burma and Thailand to Malaysia. Munir (1966) recognized two sections: Sect. Sphenodesme: Stamens exserted from corolla-tube, filaments elongate, style elongate, epicalyx often present, flowers 5-merous.   Sect. Brachynema (Griff.) Clarke: Stamens included in corolla-tube, filaments very short, style very short, epicalyx absent, flowers usually 6-merous.


Native to:

29 Western Indian Ocean
36 China
38 Eastern Asia
40 Indian Subcontinent
41 Indo-China
42 Malesia


Roscoea Roxb., Fl. Ind. ed. 1832, 3: 54 (1832), nom. illeg.

Viticastrum C.Presl, Abh. Königl. Böhm. Ges. Wiss., V, 3: 577 (1845).

Decadontia Griff., Not. Pl. Asiat. 4: 175 (1854).

Brachynema F.Muell., Fragm. 3: 90 (1862), nom. rej.


Sphenodesme Jack, Malayan Misc. 1, 1: 19 (1820); Munir, A.A. Gardens Bull. Singapore 21: 315-378 (1966), rev.


Image resource

© Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew