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  1. Family: Araceae Juss.
    1. Cercestis Schott

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is W. & W. Central Tropical Africa to Uganda and Angola.


    CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

    General Description
    Laticifers present, simple, articulated. HABIT : climbing herbs, small to robust, stem long, producing flagelliform shoots with long internodes and bearing only cataphylls, followed by thicker, flowering stems with several foliage leaves and short internodes. LEAVES : many. PETIOLE : geniculate apically, geniculum sometimes inconspicuous, sheath short to long. BLADE : oblong-lanceolate or oblong to cordate, sagittate, or hastate, or trifid with acuminate segments, sometimes laciniate-pinnatifid with slit-like perforations extending to margin forming large rhomboid to obtriangular lobes ( C. camerunensis , C. mirabilis), resin glands pellucid, linear or punctate; primary lateral veins pinnate, running into marginal vein, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : usually 1-4 in each floral sympodium (up to 16 in C. camerunensis). PEDUNCLE : shorter than spathe. SPATHE : erect, thick, boat-shaped to subcylindric, convolute basally into a tube, gaping apically at anthesis, not constricted, persistent to marcescent. SPADIX : sessile, shorter than spathe, female zone shorter and contiguous with male. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : 2-4-androus, stamens prismatic, slightly narrowed basally, usually short and relatively broad, sometimes rather long and narrow ( C. camerunensis, C. mirabilis), filament very short, connective broad, thecae shortly oblong to linear, dehiscing by small apical slit. POLLEN : extruded in strands, inaperturate, ellipsoid to oblong or spherical to subspheroidal, medium-sized (mean ca. 40 µm., range 36-55 µm.), exine obscurely fossulate-verrucate, or almost perfectly psilate ( C. camerunensis, C. mirabilis). FEMALE FLOWER : ovary obovoid, 1-locular, ovule 1, hemianatropous to anatropous, rarely campylotropous ( C. taiensis), funicle very short, placenta parietal to subbasal, stigma sessile to subsessile, often rather broad, discoid, often somewhat concave centrally. BERRY : infructescence ellipsoid to oblong, berries obovoid to subglobose or ellipsoid, red, pericarp thick. SEED : obovoid to ellipsoid, testa smooth, thin, embryo large, outer cell layer green, endosperm absent.
    Tropical humid forest; climbing hemiepiphytes and terrestrial plants.
    Climbing hemi-epiphytes or creeping terrestrials; petiole rather weakly geniculate apically; leaf blade with resin canals and reticulate fine venation; spadix sessile, fertile to apex; female zone of spadix contiguous with male, flowers unisexual, perigone absent; stamens free; ovary 1-locular. Differs from Culcasia in producing flagelliform shoots with long internodes, leaf blades oblong-lanceolate to cordate, sagittate, hastate, trifid or laciniate-pinnatifid (in Culcasia leaf blades always simple, acute to rounded at base).
    W. & WC. Trop. Africa to Uganda and Angola.

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

    Robust, perennial, root-climbing, herbaceous, lianescent epiphytes with dimorphic feeding and clasping roots; juvenile plants with entire leaves, creeping on ground; flowering plants producing flagellae (shoots with long slender internodes and reduced leaves)
    Leaves numerous; petiole lacking apical pulvinus; sheath short and inconspicuous (broader when subtending an inflorescence); adult leaf-blade deeply and ± irregularly pinnatifid; fine venation reticulate
    Spadix cylindric, basal part pistillate, contiguous with longer apical staminate part Inflorescences in groups of 1–15, appearing with leaves; peduncles much shorter than petioles Spathe erect, boat-shaped, thickly coriaceous, convolute basally and gaping apically at anthesis, closing later
    Flowers unisexual, without perigon, densely congested
    Stamens prismatic, ± truncate apically, in groups of 3–5; anthers subsessile, dehiscing by apical slits; connective thick
    Pistil subglobose to obpyramidal; ovary unilocular; ovule solitary on single parietal placenta; stigma sessile, discoid
    Berry 1-seeded
    Seed ovoid, large, smooth, lacking endosperm.



    Native to:

    Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Repu, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, Zaïre

    Accepted Species


    Other Data

    Cercestis Schott appears in other Kew resources:


    First published in Oesterr. Bot. Wochenbl. 7: 414 (1857)

    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, 23C: 114 (1911).
    • F.T.A. 8: 180
    • in Oest. Bot. Woehenbl. 7: 414 (1857)


    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

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. 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 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.