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Genus Marsdenia Family Apocynaceae

Synonyms: Stephanotis APNI*
Gymnema APNI*
Leichhardtia APNI*
Thozetia APNI*

Description: Climbers with twining stems or occasionally erect shrubs, latex milky or rarely watery.

Leaves with a cluster of minute glands at base of lamina.

Flowers mostly white or yellow, in simple or compound umbels beside leaf axils. Calyx segments 5, mostly with minute glands within at the base. Corolla rotate to urceolate, lobes contorted in bud. Corona of 5 thin expanded segments each with a free upper part and a lower part fused to staminal column, lower part sometimes with a wing or with 2 basal auricles; pollinia 2 per anther, oblong or obovoid, erect.

Follicles turgid, ovoid, fusiform or rarely orbicular; seeds with a silky coma.

Photo T.M. Tame


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 60 species, tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: c. 20 species (c. 18 species endemic), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., N.T., Vic.

Text by G. J. Harden & J. B. Williams
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Marsdenia tubulosa

 Key to the species 
1Corona absent2
Corona present3
2Stems and leaves with rusty to fawn hairs; latex white; flowers cream to pale yellow, 4–5 mm diameterMarsdenia pleiadenia
Stems and leaves with colourless hairs; latex clear to green; flowers red to deep purple or pale pink-cream, 20–25 mm diameter
                       Back to 1
Marsdenia hemiptera
3Leaves with lamina lanceolate to ovate or circular, less than 5 times as long as broad; coastal or eastern escarpment species4
Leaves with lamina linear or narrow-lanceolate, 6–15 times as long as broad; Western Slopes and plains, one extending to central coast
                       Back to 1
4Lower surface of leaves softly and densely pubescent; inflorescences open lateral panicles of 2–6 umbelsMarsdenia flavescens
Lower surface of leaves glabrous or slightly hairy, not softly pubescent; inflorescences simple lateral umbels beside leaf axils
                       Back to 3
5Flowers 20–40 mm diam., corolla lobes 9–17 mm longMarsdenia liisae
Flowers less than 15 mm diam., corolla lobes less than 7 mm long
                       Back to 4
6Corolla glabrous inside, latex clear, wateryMarsdenia longiloba
Corolla with a ring or tufts of hairs at throat, lobes hairy or glabrous; latex opaque, milky
                       Back to 5
7Stems with a soft, whitish, fissured corky covering, even on stems just below leafy portion, as small as 3–5 mm diam.; leaves mostly streaked whitish along main veins (on lower surface), often sparsely hairy on lower surface,occasionally sparsely hairy on upper surface; corolla throat densely bearded, hairs obscuring columnMarsdenia lloydii
Stems not whitish corky; young stems smooth, thick old stems sometimes brown-corky; leaves glabrous, lacking pale streaks along veins; hairs in corolla throat not obscuring column
                       Back to 6
8Petioles 1–12 mm long; leaves with lamina lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 2.5–5 times as long as broad, 2–3 cm long, 0.6–2.5 cm wide, margins recurved; reticulum invisible, main lateral veins faint or obscure; style head short, covered by anthers or slightly longer9
Petioles 15–40 mm long; leaves with lamina oblong-elliptic to broad-ovate, 1.2–3 times as long as broad, 4–13 cm long, 2–7 cm wide, margins flat, coarser reticulum distinct on lower surface; style head much longer than the anthers
                       Back to 7
Marsdenia rostrata
9Petioles 1–3.5 mm long, finely hairy; stems shortly hairy; south from Port Macquarie areaMarsdenia suaveolens
Petioles 4–12 mm long, glabrous, stems glabrous; north from Kempsey area
                       Back to 8
Marsdenia fraseri
10Corolla with spreading lobes, throat with a thickened fleshy ring or 5 hair tufts inside; flowers ca 2–3.5 mm long; leaves and stems finely and shortly pubescent or glabresent with ageMarsdenia viridiflora
Corolla with erect or incurved lobes, the throat glabrous inside and without a fleshy ring; flowers c. 4.5–6 mm long; leaves and stems mostly finely pubescent
                       Back to 3
Marsdenia australis

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