Leea novoguineensis (Vitaceae)

Leea novoguineensis DSC_0291 (7)

Known in Australia as the Bandicoot berry, this shrub is a well-known pioneer species, and related Leea species occur throughout Southeast Asia and Asia, usually also in successional habitats.

Leea novoguineensis JCU DSC_0082

The leaves of this species are alternate and two-times compound and the leaflets are toothed. At the base of the leaf stalk there is a large stipule.

Leea novoguineensisJCU DSC_0085

An astute observer might notice the similarity of the flowers and fruits to those of grape vines, and indeed, this shrubs belong to the grape family (Vitaceae).

Leea novoguineensis JCU DSC_0089

This fast-growing can grow to a 4m or higher, but plants that are commonly encountered by roadsides are typically no taller than 2 meters.

The species produces very straight green stems, and have to my understanding been used by aboriginal people as spears.

This species was previously know in Australia as Leea indica, but recent molecular studies (Molina et al. 2013) have restricted the name of this species to specimens from India, and named the Australian specimens L. novoguineensis.

References

Molina, J. E., Wen, J., & Struwe, L. (2013). Systematics and biogeography of the non‐viny grape relative Leea (Vitaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 171(2), 354-376.

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 Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Traditional Plant Use, Vitaceae (Grape family) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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