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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Polygonaceae
Subfamilia: Polygonoideae
Tribus: Polygoneae
Subtribus: Reynoutriinae
Genus: Muehlenbeckia
Species: M. adpressa – M. andina – M. astonii – M. australis – M. axillaris – M. complexa – M. debilis – M. diclina – M. ephedroides – M. fruticulosa – M. gracillima – M. gunnii – M. hastulata – M. hypogaea – M. injucunda – M. microphylla – M. monticola – M. nummularia – M. peruviana – M. platyclada – M. polybotrya – M. rhyticarya – M. sagittifolia – M. tamnifolia – M. tiliifolia – M. triloba – M. tuggeranong – M. urubambensis – M. volcanica – M. zippelii

Muehlenbeckia Meisn., Pl. Vasc. Gen. 1: 316; 2: 227, nom. cons.

Type species: Muehlenbeckia australis (G.Forst.) Meisn., Pl. Vasc. Gen. [Meisner] 2: 227 (1841).


Calacinum Raf., Fl. Tellur. 2: 33. (1836), nom. rej.
Karkinetron Raf., Fl. Tellur. 2: 33. (1836), nom. rej.
Sarcogonum G.Don, Hort. Brit. 3: 577 (1839).
Homalocladium (F.Muell.) L.H.Bailey, Gentes Herbarum 2: 56 (1929).

Primary references

Meisner, C.F. 1837–1843. Plantarum vascularium genera secundum ordines naturales digesta eorumque differentiae et affinitates tabulis diagnosticis expositae. Weidmann, Lipsiae [Leipzig]. 402 pp. BHL Reference page.
Schuster, T.M., Wilson, K.L. & Kron, K.A. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships of Muehlenbeckia, Fallopia, and Reynoutria (Polygonaceae) investigated with chloroplast and nuclear sequence data. International Journal of Plant Sciences 172(8): 1053–1066. DOI: 10.1086/661293 PDF Reference page.


Muehlenbeckia in: Australian Plant Census (APC) 2017. IBIS database, Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria. Accessed: 2017 Mar. 10.
International Plant Names Index. 2017. Muehlenbeckia. Published online. Accessed: Mar. 10 2017.
Tropicos.org 2017. Muehlenbeckia. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2017 Mar. 10. For South American species.

Vernacular names
suomi: Lankaköynnökset

Muehlenbeckia or maidenhair is a genus of flowering plants in the family Polygonaceae. It is native to the borders of the Pacific, including South and North America, Papua New Guinea and Australasia. It has been introduced elsewhere, including Europe.[1] Species vary in their growth habits, many being vines or shrubs. In some environments, rampant species can become weedy and difficult to eradicate.


Species of Muehlenbeckia vary considerably in their growth habits; they may be perennials, vinelike, or shrubs. All have rhizomatous roots. Their leaves are arranged alternately on the stem, usually with stalks (petioles), but sometimes stalkless (sessile). The brownish ocrea is short and tubular, soon disintegrating. The inflorescences may be terminal or axillary, and are in the form of spikes or clusters, with at most very short peduncles (flowering stems). Individual flowers have pedicels (stalks). The flowers may be bisexual or unisexual, with sometimes a mixture of staminate, pistillate and bisexual flowers on the same plant. There are five white to greenish white tepals, joined at the base. Staminate flowers have 8 (sometimes 9) stamens and a rudimentary pistil. Pistillate flowers have rudimentary stamens and three spreading styles. The fruit is in the form of a black or dark brown unwinged achene, three-sided to more or less globe-shaped, at least partly enclosed by the persistent tepals.[2][3]

The genus was erected by Carl Meissner in 1841,[1] initially for two species that he distinguished from Coccoloba and Polygonum.[4] The generic name honours Alsatian bryologist Heinrich Gustav Mühlenbeck (1798–1845).[5]

Muehlenbeckia is placed in the tribe Polygoneae of the subfamily Polygonoideae. Within the tribe, it is most closely related to the genera Reynoutria and Fallopia s.s., forming the so-called "RMF clade".[6]



Polygonum ciliinode (syn. Fallopia ciliinodis)

DAP clade




RMF clade



Fallopia s.s.


As of March 2019, Plants of the World Online recognized 24 species (see note below):[1]

Muehlenbeckia adpressa (Labill.) Meisn. – climbing lignum, shrubby creeper, pohuehue (see note below)
Muehlenbeckia andina Brandbyge
Muehlenbeckia astonii Petrie – shrubby tororaro, wiggy-wig bush
Muehlenbeckia australis (G.Forst.) Meisn. (see note below)
Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Hook. f.) Walp. – sprawling wirevine
Muehlenbeckia complexa (A. Cunn.) Meisn. – maidenhair vine, creeping wire vine, lacy wire vine, mattress vine, mattress wire weed, necklace vine, wire vine
Muehlenbeckia diclina (F.Muell.) F.Muell. – slender lignum
Muehlenbeckia ephedroides (Hook. f.) Hook. f. – leafless pohuehue or leafless muehlenbeckia
Muehlenbeckia fruticulosa (Walp.) Standl.
Muehlenbeckia gracillima Meisn.
Muehlenbeckia gunnii (Hook.f.) Endl. – coastal lignum
Muehlenbeckia hastulata (Sm.) I.M. Johnst. – wirevine
Muehlenbeckia monticola Pulle
Muehlenbeckia nummularia H.Gross
Muehlenbeckia platyclada (F.Muell.) Meisn.
Muehlenbeckia polybotrya Meisn.
Muehlenbeckia rhyticarya Benth.
Muehlenbeckia sagittifolia Meisn.
Muehlenbeckia tamnifolia (Kunth) Meisn.
Muehlenbeckia tiliifolia Wedd.
Muehlenbeckia triloba Danser
Muehlenbeckia tuggeranong Mallinson – Tuggeranong lignum
Muehlenbeckia urubambensis Brandbyge
Muehlenbeckia volcanica (Benth.) Endl.
Muehlenbeckia zippelii (Meisn.) Danser

Some sources, including Plants of the World Online, regard M. adpressa as a synonym of M. australis.[1] Others treat them as separate species.[7]

Three species have been transferred to the genus Duma:[8]

Muehlenbeckia coccoloboides J.M.Black → Duma coccoloboides
Muehlenbeckia florulenta Meisn. – tangled lignum → Duma florulenta
Muehlenbeckia horrida H.Gross → Duma horrida



Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Norfolk Island, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
New Zealand: Chatham Islands, New Zealand North, New Zealand South
Papuasia: New Guinea


Central America: Honduras
Southern South America: Chile


All members of the RMF clade appear to have the potential to become invasive, in some cases via vigorous hybrids. The highly invasive Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) hybridizes with Muehlenbeckia australis.[6] The related Muehlenbeckia complexa has established populations in southern parts of Britain and in the Channel Islands,[6] and is a problematic invasive species in the San Francisco area.[9][10]

"Muehlenbeckia Meisn". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
Freeman, Craig C. "Muehlenbeckia". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America (online). eFloras.org. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
National Herbarium of New South Wales. "Genus Muehlenbeckia". New South Wales FloraOnline. Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
Meisner, C.F. (1841). "Mühlenbeckia". Plantarum Vascularium Genera. Vol. 2. pp. 227–228. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
Stafleu, Frans A. & Cowan, Richard S. (1981). "Muehlenbeck, Heinrich Gustav". Taxonomic Literature: a Selective Guide to Botanical Publications and Collections with Dates, Commentaries and Types. Vol. 3 (Lh–O) (2nd ed.). Utrecht: Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema. p. 614. ISBN 90-313-0444-1. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
Schuster, Tanja M.; Reveal, James L.; Bayly, Michael J. & Kron, Kathleen A. (2015). "An updated molecular phylogeny of Polygonoideae (Polygonaceae): Relationships of Oxygonum, Pteroxygonum, and Rumex, and a new circumscription of Koenigia". Taxon. 64 (6): 1188–1208. doi:10.12705/646.5.
"Vascular Plants: Muehlenbeckia adpressa". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI). Retrieved 2019-03-06.
"Duma T.M.Schust". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
Obscure Weeds Discussion Group. "2006 Cal-IPC Symposium" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-26.
"Mattress Wire Weed Control Study, The Presidio Trust of San Francisco". Habitat Restoration Projects. May and Associates Inc. Archived from the original on 2005-04-22.

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