Araceae Juss.

Rhaphidophora Hassk.

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


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

Morphology General Habit
Lianescent or epiphytic perennial herbs with tough fibrous stems; all parts of the plant (especially floral tissues) containing needle-like trichosclereids
Morphology Leaves
Leaves numerous; petiole pulvinate apically, with sheath extending over most of petiole length; blade entire, oblong-ovate or lanceolate, often oblique (pinnatifid or perforated in many extra-African species); primary and secondary lateral veins parallel
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences 1–few, appearing with the leaves Spathe boat-shaped, erect, soon withering and deciduous after flowering Spadix cylindric, uniform in appearance
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers bisexual, lacking perigon, densely congested
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 4; anthers dehiscing by oblique apical slits; connective very slender; filaments oblong, flattened
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Pistil
Pistil prismatic, truncate at apex; ovary unilocular, with 1–2(–3) intrusive parietal placentas and sometimes also base of locule bearing ovules; stigma sessile, linear to elliptic, ± prominent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Berries many-seeded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds elongate, fusiform or flattened, straight or slightly curved; endosperm copious; embryo axile, straight or slightly curved.


CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

Trop. Africa to W. Pacific.
Evergreen, often very robust, climbing hemiepiphytes, very rarely rheophytic, with abundant trichosclereids; petiole geniculate apically, sheath usually long; leaf blade entire, pinnatifid to pinnatisect, sometimes perforate, fine venation from parallel-pinnate to reticulate; spathe deciduous after flowering; flowers bisexual, perigone absent. Differs from Epipremnum in usually numerous ovules, on 2 (rarely 3) parietal placentas, seeds oblong, straight. Differs from Scindapsus in often having pinnatisect or perforate leaves, and more numerous ovules. Differs from Amydrium in having abundant trichosclereids in all tissues.
General Description
HABIT : evergreen, usually climbing herbs, more rarely repent, often extremely robust, climbing branches often thick, producing anchor and feeder roots, flagelliform shoots also produced, stem often square in cross section. LEAVES : many, distichous, juvenile shingle plants occur in some species. PETIOLE : geniculate apically, sheath usually relatively long. BLADE : lanceolate or oblong, ± oblique, entire, perforate or pinnatifid to pinnatisect, often very large, lobes often subfalcately narrowed; primary lateral veins pinnate, running into marginal vein, often not differentiated from secondaries, secondary laterals ± parallel-pinnate, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : usually solitary, rarely more. PEDUNCLE : relatively short. SPATHE : boat-shaped, deciduous. SPADIX : subcylindric, conic, clavate, often extremely thick, sessile to stipitate, shorter than spathe. FLOWERS : bisexual, perigone absent. STAMENS : 4, filaments oblong-linear, anthers much shorter than filaments, connective slender, thecae ellipsoid, dehiscing by longitudinal slit. POLLEN : dicolpate, extended monosulcate to perhaps fully zonate, ellipsoid or hamburger-shaped, medium-sized (mean 33 µm., range 24-55 µm.), exine foveolate, subreticulate, rugulate, fossulate, scabrate, retiscabrate, verrucate, or psilate. GYNOECIUM : obconic-prismatic to oblong, truncate, ovary 1- to partially 2-locular, ovules few to many, anatropous, funicle long, placentae parietal to basal, sometimes ± subaxile, partial septa variably intrusive, stylar region well developed, usually broader than ovary, usually truncate apically, rarely elongate-conic, stigma broadly elliptic or oblong and then transverse or longitudinal, or punctate-prominent. BERRY : usually many-seeded, stylar region deciduous at maturity, red or yellow. SEED : oblong, testa thin, smooth, embryo axile, straight, endosperm copious.
Subtropical and tropical humid or rain forest or deciduous forest; climbing hemiepiphytes, rarely rheophytic ( R. beccarii).

Native to:

Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Benin, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Cambodia, Cameroon, Caroline Is., Central African Repu, China South-Central, China Southeast, Congo, East Himalaya, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Gulf of Guinea Is., Hainan, India, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Malaya, Maldives, Maluku, Marianas, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicobar Is., Nigeria, Northern Territory, Philippines, Queensland, Samoa, Santa Cruz Is., Sierra Leone, Solomon Is., Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Uganda, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Zaïre

Rhaphidophora Hassk. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Feb 23, 2007 Johns, R.J. [8763], Indonesia 64510.000
Sands, M. [1146], Papua New Guinea 51826.000
Bogner [1738] 57528.000
Boyce, P.C. [810], Vietnam 59451.000
Giles [PB 114], Malaysia 62915.000
Boyce, P.C. [1262], Vietnam 63621.000
Johns, R.J. [10681], Indonesia 70000.087
Saw, L.G. [FRI44741], Malaysia K000501406
Ng, Y.P. [NYP 53], Sabah 64777.000

First published in Flora 25(2 Beibl. 1): 11 (1842)

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.


Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • F.T.A. 8: 199, as Raphidophora.
  • in Flora 25, 2, Beibl. 11 (1842)

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. & Krause in E.P. 37 (IV. 23B): 17 (1908)
  • Madison in Contr. Gray Herb. 207: 31 (1977)
  • in Flora 25(2), Beibl. 1: 11 (1842)

  • 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

  • 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.