Cissus quadrangularis L.

Cissus quadrangularis L.




Vitis quadrangularis (L.) Wight & Arnott.

Vernacular Names

English Climbing cactus, edible-stemmed vine, kangaroo vine.
Indonesia Patah tulang (Malay), tikel balung (Javanese).
Philippines Sugpon-sugpon (Bisaya), sulpa-sulpa (Cebu Bisaya).
Thailand Khankho (South-Western), phet sangkhaat, san cha khuat (Bangkok).
Vietnam H[oof] d[awf]ng b[oos]n c[aj]nh, d[aa]y xanh vu[oo]ng.

Geographical Distributions

Cissus quadrangularis is found in Tropical Africa, Arabia, Madagascar, Mascarenes, India and Sri Lanka. It is naturalised in Thailand, Vietnam, Java, the Moluccas and the Philippines.


C. quadrangularis is a deciduous and smooth climber. It is 1-2(-8) m long with stout, succulent, quadrangular, almost with winged stems, measures 1-1.5 cm wide, constricted at the nodes, simple tendrils and with minute bract in the upper half.

The leaves are variable, broadly ovate or triangular-kidney-shaped, measure 4-6 cm long, somewhat fleshy, truncate at the base, rounded at the apex and with distantly serrate at the margins. The petiole is 5-11 mm long while the stipules are ovate measuring up to 5 mm long. The cymes are leaf-opposed, subumbellate, more or less asymmetrical and measuring 2-3 cm x 5-6 cm. The peduncle is 7-15 mm long and with 2-5 primary branches where one sometimes is further branched.

The flowers are crowded, sweetly-scented, the petals measure about 2.5 mm long, recurved at anthesis, quickly caducous, pinkish inside while green and red outside.

The 1-seeded berry is nearly spherical, fleshy, measuring about 7 mm in diametre, reddish to blackish while the sepal and style are persistent. The seed is obovoid, measures 5 mm long while the endosperm is in transverse section M-shaped.

Ecology / Cultivation

C. quadrangularis occurs in arid and semi-arid conditions, especially near the coast, up to 300 m altitude, but it is also planted as a hedge.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.