This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek for ivy and vine), Menisper-maceae. Mostly twining plants, shrubs and herbs, one of which is cultivated far south.
Leaves various, mostly cordate or reniform, often peltate, alternate: flowers in axillary racemes or clusters, the plant dioecious; sterile flowers with 4 sepals and 4 petals united, the anthers 2-5 on a staminal column or disk; fertile flowers with 2 united fleshy sepals, subtended by a sepal-like bract, and solitary ovary, with 3 styles: fruit a subglobose drupe, with a flattened and tuberculate stone. Many species or distinct forms in tropical regions, but many of them are evidently forms of the widely distributed C. Pareira, Linn. This plant, as C. heterophylla, DC, and under other names, is cult, in S. Fla. and the tropics. It is known as Velvet-Leaf and False Pareira. It is an exceedingly variable vine, with downy round-cordate or peltate entire or lobed leaves, the very small sterile flowers in stalked corymbs and the fertile in large-bracted clusters, and a hairy or glabrate nearly globular red drupe. It occurs in all tropical countries. "Pareira brava" of the pharmaco-poeas is derived from the root of the related perennial climber, Chondrodendron tomentosum, of Peru and Brazil. Whether the genus Cissampelos contains 20 or 70 species depends mostly on the rank given to the many forms of the cosmopolitan C. Pareira. l H B