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Dennis I Morris 2

Perennial herbs and non-woody vines, creeping or climbing, rhizomatous or tuberous; glabrous. Leaves alternate, exstipulate, petiolate, entire, often fleshy. Inflorescence a spike, raceme or racemose panicle; bracteoles 2 or 4 in 2 decussate pairs below the flower, sometimes connate at the base and enlarged in the fruiting stage. Flowers regular, bisexual or unisexual. Perianth segments 5, often petaloid, united at the base in tube, imbricate, persistent, often enlarged in the fruiting stage. Stamens 5, opposite the perianth segments. Ovary superior, unilocular; ovule basal; stigmas 3. Fruit indehiscent, thin-walled, sometimes berry-like. Seed globular to lenticular.

A family of 4 genera and about 15 species of the Americas, Africa and Madagascar; 1 species naturalised in Australia. The Basellaceae are placed in the Caryophyllales.

Synonymy: Anrederaceae.

External resources: accepted names with synonymy & distribution in Australia (APC); author & publication abbreviations (IPNI); mapping (AVH, NVA); nomenclature (APNI, IPNI).


Anredera Juss., Gen. Pl. [Endlicher] 84 (1838).

Vines with branching annual shoots from fleshy rhizome. Leaves fleshy. Inflorescence a raceme or spike, simple or branched; bracteoles 4, appressed to the perianth, the lower pair small, upper pair ± equalling the perianth and sepaloid or petaloid. Tepals connate at base and enclosing the ovary, thickening and enclosing mature fruit. Fruit globose, pericarp fleshy. Seed lenticular.

A genus of 5–10 species found in warm temperate to tropical America.

1 * Anredera cordifolia (Ten.) Steenis, Fl. Males., Ser. 1, Spermat. 5: 303 (1958)

Madeira Vine, Lamb’s Tail, Potato Vine, Jalap

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Boussingaultia cordifolia Ten., Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot. 3(19): 335 (1853).

Illustrations: Walsh, Flora of Victoria 3: 225, fig. 41 (1996); Harden, Fl. New South Wales 1, rev. edn: 177 (2000); Richardson et al., Weeds of the South-East, an Identification Guide for Australia 167 (2006).

An undershrub with a stout rhizome and annual climbing stems several metres long, sometimes woody at the base. Leaves alternate, shortly petiole; lamina 2–7 cm long, ovate, cordate, slightly fleshy, apex acute or obtuse, margins some what undulate; irregularly shaped tubers produced in the lower leaf axils. Inflorescences an axillary raceme, simple or branched, longer than the leaves, with numerous flowers; bracts c. 1.5 mm long; pedicels slightly longer than the bracts; lower bracteoles hyaline, c. 0.5mm long, broadly triangular, persistent; upper bracteoles shorter than the perianth, broadly elliptical to suborbicular, convex in bud, flat in the mature flower. Flowers sweetly scented. Perianth 4.5–6.0 mm in diameter, white segments oblong to elliptic, opening widely. Staminal filaments widened at the base; anthers versatile. Style divided, with 3 arms terminating in a clavate papillose stigma; ovary not developing, not known to produce seed. Flowering (Sep.–)Mar.–May.; fruiting ?

Tas. (TSE); also naturalised in SA, Qld, NSW, Vic.; native to tropical South America, naturalised in New Zealand. An occasional garden escape and doubtfully naturalised. A serious weed elsewhere.


ALA (Atlas of Living Australia) http://www.ala.org.au/

APC (Australian Plant Census) https://biodiversity.org.au/nsl/services/apc

APNI (Australian Plant Name Index) https://biodiversity.org.au/nsl/services/apni

AVH (Australia’s Virtual Herbarium) (Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria) http://avh.chah.org.au/

IPNI (International Plant Name Index) http://www.ipni.org

NVA (Natural Values Atlas) (Department of Primary Industries and Water: Hobart) https://www.naturalvaluesatlas.tas.gov.au/

NOTE: Web addresses can and do change: a list of current web addresses is maintained in the web version of this treatment on the Flora of Tasmania Online website at https://flora.tmag.tas.gov.au/

  1. This work can be cited as: Morris DI (2009). Basellaceae, version 2019:1. In MF de Salas (Ed.) Flora of Tasmania Online. 2 pp. (Tasmanian Herbarium, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart). https://flora.tmag.tas.gov.au/vascular-families/basellaceae/ (accessed ).  ↩︎

  2. Tasmanian Herbarium, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, PO Box 5058, UTAS LPO, Sandy Bay, TAS 7005, Australia.  ↩︎