Weekly Series
Nature Weekly
Short Notes on Nature Singapore

2 November 2014 | Climber: Tinospora macrocarpa |

I was quite delighted to add the pictures of a native plant new to my website without the need to venture out to the usual wild places. In fact, this plant or vine was located just a stone-throw away, in the park next to my home. I had actually seen it from afar, high up on a tree in April. Back then, I had mistaken it to be another climber. Tinospora macrocarpa is a member of the family Menispermaceae. There are 2 species of Tinospora, Tinospora crispa and Tinospora macrocarpa according to the Singapore Flora checklist published in 2009.

It all happened on 6 April. While making my usual route in the park, I happened to look up on a tall Ambay tree (Cecropia pachystachya). High up on the branches, there were a few flower stalks with tiny flowers that appeared to be originated from a vine that resided on the tree. Due to height, I was not able to take any decent picture of the flower. Fortunately, I did find some fallen flowers beneath the tree. I was quite certain that they belong to the vine on the tree. At that time, I had assumed it was probably Tinospora crispa based on the flowers and the leaves. I did not had a chance to look at the matured stem until a later date.

The later date came on 19 October --- one large branch of the Ambay tree with the vine had fallen to the ground. Judging from the recovery status of the vine, the branch should have fallen at least a month back. The last time I came by this spot was more than a month ago, on 27 July. The matured stem of the vine did not have the typical swollen lumps seen in Tinospora crispa. The vine has to be something else. I then noted that there was another Tinospora species locally, which got me excited. A search in the Internet led me to some pictures of Tinospora macrocarpa from Wee Foong's flickr site. The stem of Tinospora macrocarpa does not have the lumpy feature. With this observation and the similarity of the flowers from the 2 vines, I concluded that the vine was Tinospora macrocarpa.

Tinospora macrocarpa:
photo photo photo photo
Tinospora crispa:
photo photo photo photo

Judging from the size of the stem, the vine has to be around for years, quietly residing on the tree, patiently waiting for my discovery. Hopefully, it will recover after the fall and regain its foothold on the tree.

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