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Stephania japonica

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Photo by M. Fagg, Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Photo by M. Fagg, Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Photo by B. Gray, Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Author: John Miers, 1866
Origin:  Andaman Islands, Assam, Northern Australia, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, China, East Himalaya, Hainan, India, Japan, Java, Korea, Laos, Lesser Sunda Islands, Malaysia, Maluku, Marquesas, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea,  Nicobar Islands, Norfolk Islands,  Philippines, Samoa, Society Islands, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi + Sumatera; Indonesia, Thailand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Vietnam
Soil:  Mix
Water:  Medium - Maximum
Sun:  Medium - Maximum
Thickness:  20 Centimetres
Height:  8 Metres
Flower:  Greenish White
Propagate:  Seeds
Names:  Snake Vine, Tape Vine
Synonyms:  Menispermum japonicum, Thunb. 1784.
Cocculus japonicus,
DC. 1817.
Stephania japonica var. discolor, Forman.
Stephania japonica
var. timoriensis, Forman.

This dioecious member of the Menispermaceae family was given this name by John Miers in 1866. It is found in northern Australia and southern Asia, growing in a well drained soil with some water and some to lots of sun. The caudex can grow to 20 centimetres in diameter, the entire plant to 8 metres in height. The flowers are greenish white, the fruits red.

The genera name after Stephan Ladislaus Endlicher, 1804-1849, an Austrian botanist who formulated a major system of plant classification. The species name as was first described from Japan.

There are several variations discolor, glabra, hispidula, japonica and timoriensis.

The bitter-tasting root is very poisonous due to its picrotoxin content.

Photo by  J. Kwinston,