23. Muehlenbeckia Meisner, Pl. Vasc. Gen. 1: 316; 2: 227. 1841.
Wirevine [for H. G. Muehlenbeck, 1798-1845, Swiss physician]
Craig C. Freeman
Shrubs, vinelike, perennial; rhizomatous. Stems suberect, prostrate, or scandent, glabrous or puberulent, sometimes papillose. Leaves deciduous, cauline, alternate, usually petiolate; ocrea usually deciduous, sometimes persistent, chartaceous; petiole base articulated, extrafloral nectaries present; blade linear to orbiculate, panduriform, or triangular-lanceolate, margins entire or irregularly wavy. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, spikelike, essentially not pedunculate. Pedicels prescent. Flowers bisexual and unisexual, with staminate, pistillate, or sometimes both sexes occurring with bisexual flowers on the same plant, 1-2(-5) per ocreate fascicle, base stipelike; perianth accrescent, white to greenish white, campanulate, glabrous; tepals 5, connate proximally, sepaloid, dimorphic, outer slightly larger than inner. Staminate flowers: stamens 8 (9); filaments distinct, adnate to base of perianth tube, glabrous; anthers yellow or pink to purple, ovate to elliptic; pistil rudimentary. Pistillate flowers: tube white or reddish purple to black in fruit, becoming fleshy; stamens rudimentary; styles 3, spreading, connate proximally; stigmas fimbriate. Achenes completely or partly included in fleshy perianth, black or dark brown, unwinged, 3-gonous to subglobose, glabrous. Seeds: embryo straight. x = 10.
Species 23 (2 in the flora); introduced; Central America, South America, Pacific Islands (New Zealand), Australia.
Brandbyge, J. 1992. The genus Muehlenbeckia (Polygonaceae) in South and Central America. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 114: 349-416.