Cissus oblonga

native grape


Cissus oblonga

(Benth.) Planch. 1887

pronounced: KISS-uss ob-LON-guh

(Vitaceae — the grape family)


common names: native grape, smooth water vine

native 4Cissus is derived from the Greek κισσος (kissos), ivy; oblonga is from the Latin oblongus, longer than it is wide. Cissus is a genus of approximately 350 species of woody vines. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, although the majority are to be found in the tropics.

Cissus oblonga is a robust woody vine that climbs over trees and rocks, found in the vine thickets, dry rainforests and open forests of central and eastern Queensland, from sea level to an altitude of about 900 m. The photographs were taken on the edge of the remnant rainforest at the northern end of Nelly Bay. This can grow into quite a large vine: stem diameters up to 20 cm have been recorded. The surface of the sapwood is sometimes corrugated.

The leaves are simple, alternate, generally oblong, with a pair of distinct hooded domatia on the underside of the leaf, near the midrib at the base. The stipules are caducous, and clothed in prostrate brown hairs. The leaf blades are up to about 10 by 6 cm, with petioles up to 3 cm long. There are a dozen or so lateral veins on each side of the midrib. Any teeth present on the margin of the leaf are usually near the apex.

The inflorescence is about 2–4 cm in length, with pedicels 2 or 3 mm in length. The calyx is cup-shaped, with very short rounded lobes. The cream flowers, borne during the summer months, are small and compact, the petals with a hooked apex.

The fruits are berries of diameter about 1 cm, black when ripe, the surface marked with white spots. The pericarp is purple, and will stain the fingers if the fruit is cut or broken; the testa is covered with a fleshy green layer.

This is a food plant for the caterpillars of the moth Cruria donowani.

Photographs taken by Gustav Creek in Nelly Bay 2012, 2015
Page last updated 8th November 2018