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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Cucurbitales

Familia: Cucurbitaceae
Tribus: Bryonieae
Genus: Bryonia
Species: B. acuta – B. alba – B. aspera – B. cretica – B. dioica – B. flexuosa – B. lappifolia – B. marmorata – B. melanocarpa – B. monoica – B. multiflora – B. syriaca – B. verrucosa

Bryonia L., 1753.

Typus: B. alba

Note: This species circumscription is based upon Jeffreys, (1969), does not take in account more recent research, Votz and Renner, (2009) and this needs to be incorporated in revisions.
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas. Tomus II. Pp. 561–1200, [1–30, index], [1, err.]. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae [Stockholm]. BHL Reference page. : 1012.

Additional references

Jeffrey, C. 1969. A Review of the Genus Bryonia L. (Cucurbitaceae), Kew Bulletin 23(3): 441–461.
Volz, S.M. & Renner, S.S. (2009) Phylogeography of the ancient Eurasian medicinal plant genus Bryonia (Cucurbitaceae) inferred from nuclear and chloroplast sequences, Taxon 58(2): 550–560. Available on line [1]. Accessed 2014 Aug 27.


Hassler, M. 2019. Bryonia. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Dec 25. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Bryonia. Published online. Accessed: Dec 25 2019.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Bryonia in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Dec 25. Reference page. 2019. Bryonia. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Dec 25.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Bryonia in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09 February 2009.

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Küstüşam
беларуская: Пярэступ
български: Дива тиква
čeština: posed
dansk: Galdebær
Deutsch: Zaunrüben
English: Bryony
eesti: Koeranaeris
euskara: Astamahats
فارسی: فاشرا
suomi: Koiranköynnökset
hornjoserbsce: Poćel
հայերեն: Լոշտակ
ქართული: ლეშურა
қазақша: Итжүзім
lietuvių: Brienė
polski: Przestęp
русский: Переступень
slovenčina: posed
svenska: Hundrovesläktet
தமிழ்: ஐவிரலி
українська: Переступень

Bryonia is a genus of flowering plants in the gourd family. Bryony /ˈbraɪ.əni/ is its best-known common name. They are native to western Eurasia and adjacent regions, such as North Africa, the Canary Islands and South Asia.
Male flower of white bryony (B. alba)

Description and ecology

Bryonies are perennial, tendril-climbing, diclinous or dioecious herbs with palmately lobed leaves and flowers in axillary clusters. The fruit is a smooth, globular berry.

Bryonia is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), including the tortrix moth Phtheochroa rugosana (recorded on red bryony, B. dioica) and the cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae).
Use by humans

Bryonies are occasionally grown in gardens, sometimes accidentally, sometimes deliberately so. Some species find use in herbal medicine. Generally however, these plants are poisonous, some highly so, and may be fatal if ingested. Cucurbitacin glycosides are primarily responsible for the plants' bitterness and emetic effects.

Variants of the plants' name, such as Briony, Bryonie and Bryony, are used in some cultures as female given names. They were quite popular in the 18th century.

The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom named two ships HMS Bryony after the plant.
The toxic berries of red bryony (B. dioica)

Twelve species are currently accepted by the USDA:[1] Ten of these are supported in a molecular-phylogenetic analysis:[2] The only English species, B. dioica (white bryony), grows in hedgerows as far north as Yorkshire.

Bryonia acuta Desf. (formerly sometimes included in B. cretica)
Bryonia alba L. – white bryony
Bryonia aspera Steven ex Ledeb.
Bryonia cretica L. – Cretan bryony
Bryonia dioica Jacq. – white or red bryony (formerly sometimes included in B. cretica)
Bryonia lappifolia Vassilcz.
Bryonia marmorata E.M.A.Petit
Bryonia melanocarpa Nabiev
Bryonia monoica Aitch. & Hemsl.
Bryonia multiflora Boiss. & Heldr.
Bryonia syriaca Boiss.
Bryonia verrucosa Aiton

A bryony root (broken at the bottom)
Formerly placed here

Many species of Cayaponia ("American bryonies")
Several species of Cucumis, Solena and Zehneria
Coccinia abyssinica
Corallocarpus epigaeus
Diplocyclos palmatus
Kedrostis africana
Melothria pendula (as B. guadalupensis)
Trichosanthes ovigera (as B. cucumeroides)

See also

Bryonopsis (meaning "looks like bryony"), a now-invalid genus currently assigned to close (Diplocyclos) and somewhat more distant (Kedrostis) relatives of Bryonia


USDA (2009)

Volz and Renner (2009)


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2009): Germplasm Resources Information Network – Bryonia. Version of 2009-MAY-15. Retrieved 2010-APR-15.
Volz, S. M., and S. S. Renner (Volz and Renner) 2009. Phylogeography of the ancient Eurasian medicinal plant genus Bryonia (Cucurbitaceae) inferred from nuclear and chloroplast sequences. Taxon 58(2): 550-560.
Renner S. S., Scarborough J., Schaefer H., Paris H.S., and J. Janick. (Renner et al. (2008) Dioscorides's Bruonia melaina is Bryonia alba, not Tamus communis, and an illustration labeled Bruonia melaina in the Codex Vindobonensis is Humulus lupulus not Bryonia dioica. pp. 273–280. In: Pitrat, M., ed., Cucurbitaceae 2008, Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine

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