Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Rhipogonaceae
Conran & Clifford (1985)

Rhipogonum see text for species

Rhipogonaceae distribution map

Rhipogonaceae (sometimes Ripogonaceae) is the botanical name of a family of flowering plants. The family is confined to eastern Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea. Rhipogonaceae is composed entirely of woody vines in the genus Rhipogonum (sometimes Ripogonum). Until recently this family was included in Smilacaceae, and its separation has been a matter of some debate. However, both the APG system and APG II system do recognize such a family and place it in the order Liliales, and the clade monocots. It differs from the closely related Smilacaceae only in that Rhipogonaceae is a twining vine that lacks tendrils, its seeds contain starch, the flowers are hermaphroditic, and the five sided anthers are longer than the filaments.


Some species of this family are used for constructing baskets, ropes, and fish traps by indigenous peoples. In Australia and New Zealand, Rhipogonum berries are known foods for some species of mammals and birds.

Supplejack (R. scandens) has a fibrous root rich in starch and used as a beer flavoring. Known to the Māori of New Zealand as Kariao (Kareao or Karewao) and Pirita, a concentrated decoction of the supplejack root has a sweetish sarsaparilla-like scent and flavour and is soothing to the throat. It was also useful in treating bowel complaints, fever, rheumatism and skin diseases. The edible small berry is dry and insipid but the cooked young shoots reportedly taste like fresh green beans. The sap is also edible.


It consists of only one genus, Rhipogonum containing only six species. A complete species list with distributions is given below.


The name is based on the generic name and there is no close agreement on how this is spelled:


  1. The Medicinal Properties of some New Zealand Plants
  2. Medicines of the Maori. ISBN 0-00-211548-4. Written by Christina Macdonald,1974. Accessdate=2009-07-31

External links

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