Paullinia pinnata

Primary tabs

Paullinia pinnata


Woody vine 5-15 m long, usually many-branched from base. Stems obtusely 3-5-angled, glabrous or pubescent, glabrous when mature, to 6 cm in diameter, producing scarce milky latex; cross section with a central vascular cylinder and 2 or 3 peripheral smaller vascular cylinders. Stipules subulate, ca. 5 mm long. Leaves pinnately 5-foliolate; petiole and rachis winged; petiolules 3-4 mm long; leaflets coriaceous, elliptical, ovate or lanceolate, 5-16 × 2.2-6 cm (the distal leaflet larger), the apex acute, the base attenuate or acute on distal leaflet, obtuse or rounded, sometimes asymmetrical on lateral ones, the margins deeply serrate-dentate; adaxially glabrous or puberulent along the midvein, green, shiny, with slightly prominent venation; abaxially glabrous or puberulent along the midvein, green, dull, the venation prominent, with a tuft of hairs in the axils of the secondary veins, tertiary venation reticulate. Thyrses axillary, racemiform, solitary; axis tomentose; cincinni sessile, few-flowered. Calyx light green, puberulent, of 5 sepals, outer sepals ca. 2 mm long, inner sepals 4-5 mm long; petals white, obovate, 4-5 mm long; appendages slightly shorter than the petals, with fleshy, yellow crest; nectary of 4rounded to ovoid lobes. Capsule pyriform to club-shaped, unwinged, long-stipitate, red, coriaceous, glabrous, 1.5-3 cm long, 1-3-seeded; mesocarp ca. 0.5 mm thick; endocarp glabrous. Seed usually one per fruit, 12-15 mm long, ellipsoid, with white sarcotesta except at the black apex.


Argentina present, Madagascar present, Neotropics present, Northern America, Southern America, tropical Africa present
Naturally occurring throughout the Neotropics from Mexico to Argentina including the West Indies, apparently native in tropical Africa and Madagascar where it is common (GU: 6; SU: 5; FG: 4).

Common Name

English (Guyana): bread & cheese, yaremana; English (Suriname): feififinga


Woody vine , usually many-branched from base.1
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