Araceae Juss.

Culcasia P.Beauv.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropical Africa.


Araceae, S.J. Mayo. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1985

Morphology General Habit
Lianescent or creeping, perennial herbs (also subrosulate, erect and terrestrial in West and Central Africa), with tough, slender stems rooting along internodes
Morphology Leaves
Leaves numerous; petiole with well-developed persistent sheath and pulvinate apex; blade simple, lanceolate, ovate, elliptic to oblanceolate or obovate, with pellucid glandular lines or punctae; venation reticulate, primary lateral veins often forming inframarginal veins
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Spathe erect, ± convolute, sometimes with slight central constriction, ± boat-shaped and gaping at anthesis to expose at least upper part of spadix, usually completely deciduous soon after Spadix with basal pistillate part separated from apical staminate part by very short sterile zone bearing prismatic staminodes Inflorescences appearing with leaves, 1–many on short sympodial axes, subtended by lanceolate bracts
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers unisexual, lacking perigon, usually densely congested
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens free, in distinct groups of 2–4, subsessile, truncate; anthers dehiscing by apical pores; connective thick, fleshy
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Pistil
Ovary 1(–3)-locular; ovules 1 per locule; placentation basal to axile; stigma sessile, subglobose to discoid or shallowly lobed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Berries ellipsoid to obovoid or subglobose, usually red, 1(–3)-seeded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds large, ovoid, smooth; endosperm abundant; embryo small, lateral.


CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

Root-climbing hemi-epiphytes or creeping terrestrials; petiole geniculate apically; leaf blade with resin canals and reticulate fine venation; spathe boat-shaped, not or hardly constricted; spadix fertile to apex; flowers unisexual, perigon absent; stamens free. Differs from Cercestis in leaf blades always simple, acute to rounded at base, ovaries 1-3 locular, spadix stipitate or sessile, male and female zones sometimes separated by zone of sterile flowers, and lacking flagelliform shoots.
General Description
Laticifers absent. HABIT : erect, repent or climbing herbs, rooting at least from lower nodes, branches slender. LEAVES : many, often forming terminal crown in terrestrial species. PETIOLE : geniculate apically, geniculum often inconspicuous, sheath persistent, rather long. BLADE : lanceolate or oblanceolate to ovate or ovate-oblong, rarely rounded, rarely pubescent below, resin glands pellucid, linear or punctate; primary lateral veins pinnate, often forming submarginal collective vein, otherwise running into marginal vein, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : 1-12(-20) in each floral sympodium, internodes of floral sympodium sometimes relatively elongated. PEDUNCLE : short to relatively long. SPATHE : erect, green to whitish, boat-shaped, not or hardly constricted, convolute basally, gaping apically at anthesis, deciduous to marcescent. SPADIX : cylindric-clavate, equal to or somewhat longer than spathe, female zone usually densely flowered, rarely laxly, shorter than male zone and either contiguous with it or separated by a laxly flowered zone of sterile male flowers, male zone fertile to apex, axis often persistent in fruit. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : 2-4-androus, stamens short, obpyramidal, truncate apically, anthers subsessile, connective thick, thecae oblong, dehiscing by short apical slit. POLLEN : inaperturate, subspheroidal, medium-sized (mean 32 µm., range 27-40 µm.), exine verrucate to rugulate or subreticulate, usually with psilate patches of variable size, rarely spinose. STERILE MALE FLOWERS : with 3-4 obpyramidal, depressed staminodia. FEMALE FLOWER : ovary depressed, 1-3-locular, ovules 1 per locule, anatropous, funicle short, placentae subbasal, stigma sessile, hemispheric-discoid, relatively large, sometimes weakly lobed. BERRY : globose to ellipsoid, 1-3-seeded, mostly red, sometimes orange to greenish-yellow, infructescence subglobose to cylindric. SEED : ovoid to ellipsoid, testa thin, smooth, brown, plumule lateral, superficial, with leaf primordia ( C.liberica), endosperm absent.
Tropical moist and humid forest; usually climbing hemiepiphytes, sometimes terrestrial, terrestrial species tend to occur in damp forest sites.
Trop. Africa.

Native to:

Angola, Benin, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Repu, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Culcasia P.Beauv. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Dec 1, 2008 Watts, J. [1077], Cameroon K000381278 No
Dec 1, 2004 Cheek, M. [10490], Cameroon K000746212 No
Jun 1, 2001 Cheek, M. [9090], Cameroon K000107685 No
Bogner, J., Gabon 37371.000 No
Cheek, M. [7511], Cameroon 63802.000 No
Cheek, M. [9090], Cameroon 63839.000 No
Acworth, J.M. [335], Cameroon K000381288 No
Tchouto (Mbatchou), P. [1200], Cameroon K000381281 No
Mbani, J. M. [516], Cameroon K000381283 No
Watts, J. [1076], Cameroon K000381277 No
Acworth, J.M. [295], Cameroon K000381280 No

First published in Fl. Oware 1: 3 (1805)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.


Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • Engl., Pflanzenr. 4, 23B, Arac.-Pothoid. 295 (1905).
  • F.T.A. 8: 173
  • Fl. Oware 4 to ed. 3 (1803)5

CATE Araceae

  • Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. 1997. The genera of Araceae. 370 pp.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2008. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Engl. in E.P. 21 (IV. 23B): 295 (1905)
  • Fl. Owar. 1: 3 (1805)
  • Hepper in K.B. 21: 315 (1967)
  • Hepper in K.B. 22: 492 (1968)

  • CATE Araceae

    Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Science Photographs

    Copyright applied to individual images