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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 23 | Araceae | Rhaphidophora

12. Rhaphidophora decursiva (Roxburgh) Schott, Bonplandia (Hannover). 5: 45. 1857.

爬树龙 pa shu long

Pothos decursivus Roxburgh, Fl. Ind. 1: 456. 1820 ["decursiva"]; Monstera decursiva (Roxburgh) Schott; Rhaphidophora affinis Schott; R. eximia Schott; R. grandis Schott; R. insignis Schott; Scindapsus decursivus (Roxburgh) Schott.

Lianas, very large, to 20 m or more, very robust. Stem green at back, yellow at front, robust, 3-5 cm in diam., rooting, internodes 1-2 cm. Leaves scattered, each foliage leaf separated from next by several (up to 7) cataphyll-bearing nodes; petiole green, cylindric, 20-40 cm, shallowly canaliculate; pulvinus indistinct; petiolar sheath extending to ca. 2/3 along petiole; juvenile leaf blade orbicular, ca. 16 × 13 cm, margin entire, apex abruptly acute; mature leaf blade pale green abaxially, green adaxially, oblong-ovate, ovate in outline, 60-70[-100] × 40-50 cm, base subcordate, margin irregularly and asymmetrically pinnately divided, apex acute; pinnae 9-15 per side, ca. 20 × 3-5 cm at mid-leaf, base narrowed, apex truncate with ascending falcate tip, with a strong costa. Inflorescences axillary, solitary; peduncle green, cylindric, very robust, 11-20 × 1.5-3 cm. Spathe initially involute, afterward spreading, yellow on both sides, cymbiform, oblong-ovate, 17-20 × 10-12 cm. Spadix sessile, gray-green, cylindric, 15-16 × 2-3 cm, base oblique. Filaments flat, ca. 5 mm, nearly as long as ovary, base angustate; anthers yellow, oblong, less than 1 mm. Ovary hexagonal-conic, ca. 5 × 3 mm; style distinct, ca. 1 cm; stigma yellow, longitudinally oblong; ovules many; funicle laterally inserted, slender. Infructescence 15-20 × 5-5.5 cm. Berry green-white, base white or yellow, hexagonal-obconic, ca. 18 × 5 mm, apex with a persistent style, stylar region green-white, sloughing to reveal white or yellow pulp cavity. Fl. May-Aug, fr. mature next Jul-Sep.

Monsoon rain forests, valley evergreen broad-leaved forests, creeping on ground, over rocks, or climbing against trees; below 2200 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Sichuan, Taiwan, SE Xizang (Mêdog, Zayü), Yunnan [Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, NE India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, N Thailand, Vietnam].

The stems and leaves are used medicinally for treating traumatic injuries, fractures, swellings, colds, lumbago, snake bites, coughs, and bronchitis.

There has been much confusion over Rhaphidophora decursiva and Epipremnum pinnatum because both species have large, pinnatifid leaves, but E. pinnatum has a leaf blade with tiny perforations (ca. 2 mm) along and adjacent to the midrib, an ovary with 2 or 3 ovules, and a sessile, longitudinally linear-oblong stigma. There is also a difference in leaf arrangement: R. decursiva has foliage leaves scattered and interspersed with several (up to 7) cataphyll-bearing nodes, whereas E. pinnatum has leaves often clustered distally without such cataphyll-bearing nodes.


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