Hypserpa decumbens (Menispermaceae)

Hypserpa decumbens

There is something about hairs. Plant hairs. Hairs make the pursuit of botany a most enjoyable exercise because hairs, their colour, the texture they confer to the leaves and stems of a plant, and the synergistic effect that have on the appearance of a plant, is a major aspect in appreciating and identifying plants.

This Far North Queensland endemic, also known as the Hairy Hypserpa, is a fabulous example of how plant hairs affect the aesthetic appearance of a plant. I am a fan of this hairy climber, with or without fruits and flowers. I find it special for some inexplicable reason, just like I find every plant special.

The leaves of this plant can be quite variable but even without flowers or fruits, one can easily recognize this rainforest vine by the rusty brown hairs that cover both leaf surfaces (upper leaf surface hairs can get worn off) and stems, alternate leaves with leaf stalks which swell at the attachment to the leaf blade (ie a structure called a pulvinus). The latter two characters are by the way rather good spot characters of the Moonseed family (Menispermaceae) to which this vine belongs.


About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Endemics, Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Climbers, Menispermaceae (Moonseed family) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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