Twining non-woody climbers, or trailing (N Australia) or erect herbs, mostly with perennial tubers. Leaves alternate, opposite, or verticillate (China, Japan); Inflorescences sessile or peduncled, raceme-like, rarely one-flowered. Flowers: Ovary superior. Fruit pendulous, capsular, opening with two valves, few- to many-seeded. Seeds basally inserted, dangling on long funicles, with a coralloid or lobed, hollow aril.
Asia-Tropical: Japan: present continental Asia: present northern Australia: present
Japan, Continental Asia, through Malesia to northern Australia; in Malesia: 5 species, apparently confined to coastal areas and areas with a more or less monsoon climate.
The frequently purplish and greenish flowers have an unpleasant smell and may attract insect pollinators.
J.J. Smith - in Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg. 1924: 73
Lour. - in Bot. Jahrb. 1925: 541
Telford - in Fl. Austral. 1986: 177
Merr. - in Enum. Philipp. Flow. Pl. 1923: 202
Prain - in J. As. Soc. Beng. 1904: 39
Schltr. - in Notizbl. Berlin-Dahlem. 1924: 190
C.H. Wright - in J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 1896: 490