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Genus Cynanchum Family Apocynaceae

Synonyms: Enslenia APNI*
Mellichampia APNI*
Roulinia APNI*
Sarcostemma APNI*

Description: Twining or climbing shrubs, stems mostly glabrous; latex clear, watery. (White and milky in C. elegans.)

Leaves usually with glands at base of lamina or rarely glands absent; or leaves scale-like, opposite with long internodes.

Flowers in lateral or terminal umbels or cymes. Calyx deeply 5-lobed, usually 5-glandular at base within. Corolla ± rotate; lobes often pubescent within. Corona membranous, rarely minute or absent, sometimes annular, cup-shaped or tubular, 5-lobed, sometimes very deeply, or with 20 lobes, adnate to the column, at least basally. Anthers with a terminal membranous appendage; pollinia usually ovoid or oblong, pendent.

Follicles narrow and slender, acuminate; seeds numerous, flattened, with a coma of long silky hairs.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: c. 10 species (9 species endemic), Qld, N.S.W., N.T., S.A., W.A.

All species of Sarcostemma now sit in the genus Cynanchum. Meve, U & Liede-Schumann, S. (2012) Taxonomic dissolution of Sarcostemma (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae) Kew Bulletin 67.

Text by G. J. Harden & J. B. Williams; updated Louisa Murray April 2013
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves scale-like and exuding white latex when cutCynanchum viminale
Leaves obvious and longer than 1.5 cm long, exuding clear watery latex when cut2
2Leaves thick (semi-succulent), fleshy, but firm, without glands at base of laminaCynanchum carnosum
Leaves thin, soft, with 1–3 glands at base of lamina
                       Back to 1
3Most leaves with apex long-attenuate, triangular or narrow-triangular; corona lobes 20, much longer than anthers, long-attenuate, erect; cymes denseCynanchum floribundum
Most leaves with apex abruptly acuminate, or acute, ovate or ovate-cordate; corona lobes 5, about same length or slightly longer than anthers, abruptly narrowed and curved inwards; inflorescence sparse
                       Back to 2
Cynanchum elegans

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