Common name: Monkey's Comb, Monkeycomb, Monkey's Hairbrush, Brazilian White Bellflower
Pithecoctenium crucigerum (L.) A.H.Gentry APNI*
Synonyms: Pithecoctenium cynanchoides auct. non DC. APNI*
Bignonia crucigera L. APNI*
Amphilophium crucigerum (L.) L.G.Lohmann APNI*
Description: Woody climber, semi-evergreen, with hexagonal ribbed branchlets, and many-branched (multifid) tendrils.
Leaves opposite, 2 or 3-foliolate; leaflets with lamina ovate to heart-shaped, thin, 2.5–8 cm long, mostly 2–6 cm wide, the terminal leaflet often replaced by a tendril.
Inflorescence a terminal raceme or racemose panicle, mostly 2–10-flowered; calyx cupular, truncate, densely pubescent-velvety; corollla zygomorphic, ± bilabiate, tubular-campanulate, creamy yellow or cream and densely pubescent-velvety outside and yellow or deep yellow and glabrous inside (sometimes flowers white with a yellowish throat), up to 5 cm long, and up to 2 cm wide, with 5 lobes each shallowly notched at apex.
Fruit a thick woody, often compressed, elliptisoid–obloid capsule, with dense prickles; seeds surrounded by a transparent wing.
Distribution and occurrence: native of southern Mexico to Brazil.
Naturalised in bushland areas.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC
Other Australian states: *Qld
May be confused with the Argentine species Pithecoctenium cynanchoides which has flowers also white with yellow streaks in the throat but they do not have a characteristic bent in the floral tube as in P. crucigerum. The name Pithecoctenium cynanchoides DC. has previously been misapplied to naturalised specimens of P. crucigerum (L.) A.H.Gentry in New South Wales. Sometimes treated more recently under the name Amphilophium crucigerum (L.) L.G.Lohmann.
Text by (last revised) May 2017, P.G. Kodela
Taxon concept: Australian Plant Census (accessed May 2017)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.