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Herbaceous perennials, undershrubs or shrubs, usually scandent, scrambling, twining, or climbing, sometimes high lianas, often with prostrate or tuberous rhizomes or rootstocks; Leaves entire, sometimes 3-lobed (irregularly up to 7-lobed in extra-Malesian spp.). Flowers usually zygomorphic, rarely actinomorphic, solitary, fasciculate, or in inflorescences (cymose, racemose, spicate, paniculate), axillary or cauligerous. Stamens mostly 6 (4, 5, or more in extra-Malesian spp.) (10 in the MalesianA decandra), adnate to the style column in a gynostemium. Ovary oblong or elongate, slightly 6-angular and 6-celled (5-celled in extra-Malesian spp.); Fruits capsular, 6-celled (5-celled in extra-Malesian spp.), dehiscent (dehiscing usually acropetally, rarely basipetally: A. singalangensis) or indehiscent (A. dielsiana ?, and extra-Malesian spp.). Seeds ovate, deltoid, or triangular, often winged, flat, convex-concave, or slightly longitudinally curved;


Asia-Tropical, Australasia, throughout the tropics and subtropics present, warm temperate regions present
About 400 species, widely distributed mainly throughout the tropics and subtropics and some in the warm temperate regions, also in Australia; throughout Malesia: 28 species.


See the general chapters, also for chromosomes, phytochemistry, anatomy and palynology.


See the general chapters.


In the key and descriptions the pedicel and ovary are taken as a whole, like under Thottea, because these organs merge imperceptibly.
For the diameter of the floral tube, only the cylindric middle part is used for size.
In general flowering material is necessary for correct identification.
In Malesia a number of exotic species is cultivated; a dozen of these are entered in the key by .
For convenience of identification, local keys for islands have been added to the general key.


LINNÉ 1970: Tax. Rev. Pentam. Sp. Aristolochia. p 15
PFEIFER 1966 – In: Ann. Mo. Bot. Gard. p 122
SCHMIDT 1935 – In: E. & P., Nat. Pfl. Fam., ed. 2, 16b. p 235
DING HOU 1983 – In: Blumea. p 223
KLOTZSCH 1859: Monatsb. Akad. Berlin. p 593
HOEHNE 1942 – In: Fl. Bras. p 23
DU-CHARTRE 1864 – In: DC., Prod. 15. p 432